Books I read in 2021
I set a goal for myself of re-reading 100 books, and reading 100 new books, in 2021. I’m not coming anywhere close to that, but I’ve learned a few things along the way. One thing is that for every 4 new samples I start, I usually end up reading one book. Another is that 100 books – two per week – is an incredibly difficult goal, but 50 might be too easy. Below are the books I’ve read; I have book notes on some that I will slowly be posting.
If you are interested in the ones I am reading in 2022, here’s the list.
The Halo Effect, and the eight other business delusions that deceive managers.
The 80⁄20 principle: the secret to achieving more with less.
The Wisdom of Crowds: large groups of people can be smarter than an elite few, in some cases.
Smarter, Faster, Better: the transformative power of real productivity.
The Effective Executive: the definitive guide to getting the right things done. [Emphasis on “the right things”, key to the book.]
The Catalyst: how to change anyone’s mind.
Blah blah blah: what to do when words don’t work. Dan Roam. The power of pictures, drawing, etc.
The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable. Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
The Advantage: why organizational health trumps everything else in business.
Rules of Contagion: Why things Spread, and Why they Stop.
The Big Sort: why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart. References McGavran & homogeneous principle.
Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software. Interesting, but probably not to be re-read.
Whoever makes the most mistakes wins.
Decision traps: ten barriers to brilliant decision-making and how to overcome them. #Reread
God’s secretaries: the making of the King James Bible. Fascinating, but probably not a re-read.
The Ascent of Money: a financial history of the world.
Man’s search for meaning. Hard, but good read.
The Coaching Habit: say less, ask more, and change the way you lead forever.
The Great Influenza: the story of the deadliest pandemic in history. 1918 flu. This has all happened before.
When prophecy fails. Another hard read, just for the weird places people go.
Crossing the Chasm: marketing and selling disruptive products to mainstream customers.
The witch doctors. All about business gurus.
Green Leaf in Drought. Getting CMF missionaries out of China. Isobel Kuhn
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction – Eugene Peterson
Messengers: who we listen to, who we don’t, and why.
Contagious: why things catch on.
Jesus and John Wayne: how white Evangelicals corrupted a faith and fractured a nation.
Simple rules: how to thrive in a complex world.
Conflicted: how productive disagreements lead to better outcomes.
Undercover Economist: exposing why the rich are rich, the poor are poor, and why you can never buy a decent used car.
The Talent Code: greatness isn’t born, it’s grown. Here’s how. All about myelin and how to use the right kind of practice/coaching.
Playing to win: how strategy really works.
How to be a power connector: the 5+50+100 rule for turning business network into profits. Explores relationships & Dunbar’s Number.
The personality brokers: the strange history of Myers-Briggs and the birth of personality testing. These people were weird.
Blessed: a history of the American prosperity gospel. But published in 2013, so misses later developments.
Upstream: the quest to solve problems before they happen.
Pinpoint: how GPS is changing technology, culture, and our minds.
Noise: a flaw in human judgment. Error is comprised of bias (which we read a lot about) and noise (which this book is about).
Predictably Irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions.
Nonsense: the power of not knowing. All about learning to live with and leverage ambiguity.
Scarcity: why having too little means so much.
The art of statistics: how to learn from data. This is not about graphs and the like, but about the science/practice of statistics.
Wanting: the power of memetic desire in everyday life. We want what others want, because others want it (credibility of the desire).
The Gospel comes with a House Key: practicing radically ordinary hospitality in our post-Christian world.
The Data Detective: ten say rules to make sense of statistics. Really useful read to increase numeracy.
You’re Not Listening: what you’re missing and why it matters. All the temptations not to listen, and all the benefits of listening.
Adapt: why success always starts with failure. (1) try new things, (2) make failure survivable, (3) learn from mistakes.
The world’s last night, and other essays. CS Lewis. The efficacy of prayer (first essay) is worth the entire book.