Books Read in 2019
Here's a quick rundown of all the books I read in 2019. Books I particularly enjoyed and would recommend are in bold. Total books read: 62.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Re-read in 2019 on a whim. As good as I remember...and perhaps more relatable than ever in this Instagram-obsessed time we live in.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman
There were some great lessons in a bunch of these short stories but the overall message is to be curious, question everything and not take yourself too seriously in the process.
Contact by Carl Sagan
Great balance of just enough physics and science to make the scenario seem plausible, whilst also having an amazing storyline and colourful characters who seemed dysfunctional enough to be realistic.
The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton, James Patterson
It was so-so, I think I might have enjoyed it a little more if I read the book, as I disliked the voices of the various narrators on the audiobook version (some of the accents were just so strange!).
Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
I'm obviously not the target audience, but this was a good comic that I'd happily recommend to young readers.
Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
Helps take some of the emotion out when considering what the benefits of religion are (or at least, what makes religion so successful).
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Growing up in Malaysia, I know this world extremely well. Entertaining.
Ghost by James Swallow
Abandoning this book...and the series permanently.
Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Codifies all of the principles that have helped Ray Dalio become the legend that he is. Loved it.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Another winner in the Cormoran Strike series.
How to Travel by The School of Life
Nothing mind-blowing or new, as most of us will be familiar with travelling to "find ourselves" etc. However, this is written in the usual gentle, calming way of the SOL voice, with clear messages that just make it really easy to ponder and digest.
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
A re-read. Enjoyed the thoughts it provoked around the themes of feminism, Marxism, the British class system and gender issues.
Built to Sell by John Warrillow
Must-read for anyone thinking of starting a small business.
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Wasn't taken by the story, but high quality of writing.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Considering the year it was written, I'm impressed at how imaginative the world was and how it can still hold its own today.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Excellent, for not just providing some perspective in my life (reminding me to be grateful for all that I have)... but also in helping to identify what it is that helps an individual human being find meaning in their life.
Fairy Tail Vol. 1 by Hiro Mashima
Definitely one of the more entertaining manga I've read since One Piece / Naruto.
Grit by Angela Duckworth
An interesting exploration into grit, the role it plays in the long term success of an individual and how it can be developed internally and from external sources.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant
Written from Sandberg's own experience of the sudden loss of her husband. Interspersed amongst anecdotes are scientific and psychological studies on why she might have felt a certain way or what the appropriate action or advice might be for certain situations.
The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
Wasn't the best introduction to a thriller series I've ever read, but definitely enough sparks to light my interest and continue on with the next book to see where it leads.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Short and to the point, just the way business books should be.
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
Having only ever heard of Kahnemann, I found this to be a really interesting introduction to Tversky and their unconventional relationship.
The Confessor by Daniel Silva
I love a good Vatican / Catholic church conspiracy and this one didn't disappoint.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
Another wickedly entertaining satirical read.
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
Not as intriguing as the original books.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
I couldn't put this one down and finished this 700+ pager over 2.5 days. I love epic multi-generational dramas and this definitely fit the bill.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
This has now ignited all sorts of desires in me to want to venture forth on an adventure of my own.
The Future of the Sales Profession by Graham Hawkins
Structured more as a career planning guide for a sales person, rather than a sales playbook for a B2B company.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The timing and pacing of how the mystery was built up and finally answered was perfect.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
An entertaining read with an ending that I guess was satisfying. Throughout the book, I couldn’t help thinking about how the story would be different in today’s world with social media and increased population density in major cities.
Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak
Couldn’t get into it. It just seems too complicated a story to get into.
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
I enjoyed the parallel 1980's universe McEwan creates and his attempt at introducing us to some of the questions we should be asking ourselves on the progression of artificial intelligence into general intelligence.
The Startup Owner's Manual for Web/Mobile Channel Startups by Steve Blank
Not to be read cover to cover, but to be applied one section at a time to correspond with whatever stage your startup is at.
Disobedience by Naomi Alderman
Interesting for me to learn more about orthodox Jewish traditions, but besides that, felt the characters and plot just fell a little flat.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Slow-paced book that goes deep into the characters and what it is that has driven them to act in the way they do. It serves as a great reminder in real life to seek first to understand others' perspectives, before jumping to conclusions or judging others too harshly.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Sparked in me an interest to read more sci-fi books from some of the other sci-fi greats.
The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung
Considering this is called the "complete guide", I expected it to go into a lot more scientific detail than it actually did.
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Beautifully written book that's given me an even deeper appreciation for plants and nature.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
After trying numerous times to read this book and failing within the first 50 pages, I finally managed to complete the audiobook version... and it was amazing!
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Very classically Murakami. All in all, I did enjoy the book and loved reading it night after night.
Inspired by Marty Cagan
Excellent book on product management and how to be an amazing product manager.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
This book has a definite place in introducing people to think more critically about things like social media, digital tracking and facial recognition software as use of these technologies become ever more pervasive in our modern lives.
The Circadian Code by Satchin Panda
Fairly quick read for information that could create a step function improvement in your health and well being.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I love a good time-travel thriller and this one hits all the right notes.
The 4 Pillar Plan by Rangan Chatterjee
Provides you with the foundations, or "big wins", and communicates it in a simple, common-sense manner that is non-judgy and encouraging.
The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
Would say it's a must-read for entrepreneurs needing to do customer development interviews... that is to say all entrepreneurs.
Range by David Epstein
There's a lot of pressure in society today to get a head start and specialise early in life. This book tries to make the counter-argument against this notion.
The Walking Dead Vol. 20-27 by Robert Kirkman
Still enjoyable. Classic.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An intriguing read for me that opened up a point of view that I've never really considered.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Definitely one of my top reads for 2019. Stayed up until 2am on my first sitting and read about 40% of the book straight through.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Beautifully written book which really transported me back in time. A poignant ending that lingered with me for days.
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Enjoyed this even more than Normal People!
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Collection of short sci-fi stories which touches on themes that I found to be quite different from any other sci-fi I've read.
Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Really wanted to love this book but just couldn't get into it. I found it too long-winded and repetitive.