The Alchemist – One of the simplest and most beautiful stories I have ever read. Sometimes you must let go of what’s comfortable.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – This book will blow your mind. Conventional wisdom tells us that the best way to grow wealth is to have the “best” people manage your money and actively invest it. John Bogle, pioneer of the index fund, clearly articulates the simple fact that low cost passive investing is the surest way to build wealth, it’s simply no contest. This investing strategy aligns with that of Mr. Money Mustache, which I also recommend.
Accidental Superpower – No book has had a bigger impact on the way I view the world than this one. Dare I say this book made me proud to be an American. Peter Zeihan describes the new world order created by the United States at the end of World War II which unleashed a global economic revolution. Though it’s in vogue to say the U.S. is over the hill as the EU or China take its place, Zeihan argues that from an economic and defensive standpoint the U.S. has nothing to worry about. The rest of the world, however, will have to come to terms with a more disinterested U.S., which will cause global instability over the coming decades. History is not over, in fact, it’s back in session.
The Obstacle is the Way – This book has had the biggest impact on me, really ingraining in me the truth that obstacles and hardships are actually a GOOD. I think we can all superficially agree that obstacles make us stronger, but this book actually makes you believe it. When you are done, you are going to wish your life was harder.
Sapiens – An amazing high level, detached, and objective view of how humans have evolved over time and come to organize in the world we live in today. The first history book I’ve read that allowed me to view modern society in a detached and unemotional way. Crucial for putting modern humanity in perspective.
The Lessons of History – Like Sapiens, this offers a detached and objective view of human history, with a focus on big historical events and political systems. Will and Ariel Durant are most famous for their huge 11 volume set, The Story of Civilization. They’ve taken those ideas and put them in a short, easy to understand read.
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl gives an objective and philosphical account of his experience surviving in several Nazi concentration camps. Given he was a psychologist, this adds a layer to his narrative and gives us many lessons applicable to everyday life.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel is a provocateur, and that certainly shows in this book. But he does an excellent job of forcing you to rethink conventional wisdom.
Elon Musk – Similar to Zero to One, Ashlee Vances’ narrative on Elon’s life gives an account of someone who consistently challenges conventional wisdom through enterprise. In the 21st century no one has taken bigger or more risky bets than Elon Musk, and it is absolutely fascinating to learn about.
Rework – The way most people and businesses work is a glorious waste of time and resources. This will challenge your understanding of what it means to get things done, both inside and outside of work.