For 2018, I decided to focus on reading one book at a time, instead of reading three books at the same time as I had been doing before, and it worked. I was able to read more books in 2018 than I had in 2017.
While every book I read this year had an effect on me in one way or another, here are five that stood out.
“Manhood: How to Be A Better Man – Or Just Live With One”, by Terry Crews
Although I knew Terry Crews by his famous movie roles and Old Spice commercials, I became a fan after I listened to his interview on the Tim Ferris Show podcast. While his story of finding success even after experiencing one failure after the other is an inspiration, it was his way of framing what it means to be a man in the 21st century that stood out to me.
“Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimized Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex”, by Aubrey Marcus
Aubrey Marcus is the owner of Onnit and host of the Aubrey Marcus podcast. His debut book tackles the small – yet effective – daily habits you can apply to your life that will help you feel better throughout the day. The chapter that has had the most profound effect on me was the chapter on Binaural napping. Napping has always been a part of my daily routine, but I feel like a different person after discovering this new technique, and have told just about everyone about it in my inner circle.
“The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11”, by Lawrence Wright
Written in 2006, this is a book that I believe should be on the required reading list of every U.S. high school history class. Lawrence Wright wonderfully articulates the origin of Al-Qaeda and how they were able to accomplish the most infamous terror attack that changed the entire world. Not only does the author provide a great history lesson, he also writes in such an engaging fashion that I couldn’t put it down.
“No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need”, Naomi Klein
Ever since Donald Trump became elected president I felt like I was living in a continuous Twilight Zone episode, because nothing made sense to me. By describing the social and political conditions that paved the way for someone like Trump to enter the White House, Naomi Klein made me feel like I was no longer alone. While it paints a grim picture of the challenges he poses to progressive values, she offers practical solutions to meet them.
“The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America”, by Mohammed Al Samawi
This is a story about one man from Yemen utilizing Facebook to seek out those who were different than him, specifically Jewish people. This led to him finding interfaith Facebook groups, which led to him attending international peace building conferences, to eventually – albeit narrowly – escaping the tragic, ongoing Yemeni civil war with the help of those he had met at these conferences. It typically takes me two weeks to a month to finish one book, but Mohammed’s account resonated so strongly with me that I finished it within three days.
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Photo Credits: Janko Ferlič