Skip to content

(Un)official Reading List

2019 Completed Reading List:

12. Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro.

11. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

10. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon.

9. How To Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management by Seneca.

8. Feck Perfuction: Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life by James Victore.

7. Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life by Guy Kawasaki. Here is my podcast interview with Guy on this great book!

6. The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker. I currently live a simple life, with my own minimalist home, many thanks to Joshua. But it’s way more than just owning less physical stuff….

5. Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott. I swear you don’t need to go to business school. Just read all of Trott’s books…

4. Mastery by Robert Greene. This is the third of Greene’s books I have read. Fascinating stories of how the true greats actually became masters of their craft. And it isn’t natural talent…

3. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. What a great read, heartily recommend. I will be reading Millard’s other books posthaste! Most of you are familiar with James A. Garfield, but know nothing about him. What a shame. This book begins to change that.

2. The Inevitable: Understanding The 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly.

1. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain. I was never into Bourdain until, naturally, we lost him. This is the book that made him, of course. As advertised, it certainly gives you a new perspective into the kitchens preparing your food. Some good stories, some (really) bad stories, but mostly, just lessons that life is meant to be lived, hard and fast. Honestly, it’s just a book that teaches you to give no fucks about living a memorable life. If you haven’t read this book, buy it now. Reading it, yes, you’ll see subtle little clues into his ultimate demise, but actually, you won’t think much about that. Rather, you’ll read this and realize your life is probably boring, but you’ll be inspired to do something about it.

2018 Completed Reading List:

26. The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough. It was fun to actually finish this book whilst visiting New York City!

25. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin.

24. Forever And A Day by Anthony Horowitz, the prequel to the original 007 novel, Casino Royale.

23. Apollo VII – XVII (Collector’s Edition) by Simon Phillipson.

22. Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday.

21. The Third Door: The Wild Quest To Uncover How The World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan.

20. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

19. The Space Within: Inside Great Chicago Buildings by Patrick F. Cannon and James Caulfield.

18. It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

17. North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek.

16. The Excellence Dividend by Tom Peters. CLICK HERE to listen to my interview with Tom on this book!

15. Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield. I always assume I’m a professional. But then I read this book and remember that I’m still an amateur.

14. Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley. Check out my recent interview with Chip on this book!

13. Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.

12. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. This makes me feel a little better about my 62-item travel checklist…

11. Creating Moments of Joy: Along the Alzheimer’s Journey by Jolene Brackey.

10. The Artist’s Journey by Steven Pressfield.

9. Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics by Charles Krauthammer. With the author’s recent passing, thought I should honor his life and work and read his most recent.

8. Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition by Dave Trott.

7. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Made a ton of marginalia whilst going through this book.

6. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

5. Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual by Jocko Willink. This is a great kick in the ass. Will reread this one often.

4. One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott. You can pretty much ditch most marketing, PR, and strategy titles out there, and just read Dave Trott books.

3. Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence, and How You Can Too by Gary Vaynerchuk.

2. The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse by Rich Cohen. Cohen is one of my favorite writers. I’ve have loved everything I have read of his. His book on the ’85 Bears is next…

1. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s more to F.S.F. than just Gatsby

2017 Completed Reading List:

20. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.

19. The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield.

18. Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday.

17. The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss.

16. Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos. Well, this was interesting…

15. Change Starts Within You by Cortney McDermott. Coming soon (my recent interview with her).

14. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. I will recommend this book to all those looking to sharpen their tools on how to tackle life. If you want to learn how to focus, this is your book…

13. What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn) by Seth Godin.

12. Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger. If you have any interest in America’s space program, this is a wonderful book about one of our most important and significant missions.

11. The Innovation Book by Max Mckeown.

10. Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.

9. Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahney.

8. Do The Work by Steven Pressfield.

7. The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene. An intense read, and what I believe is the modern guide book for those in business and politics. A 21st Century version of The Prince.

6. Open Up and Say AAAH: Discover…Who You Are Now Shape…Who You Are Becoming Create…What You Want to Experience by Erica Peitler.

5. Open by Andre Agassi. If you are a sports fan, you don’t want to miss this book. If you are a tennis fan, you’ll be over the Moon and will wonder why you waited this long to read this memoir.

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F_ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. I can only recommend this book to….pretty much everyone on the planet. As the author would tell you, you are giving too many fucks about too many (insignificant) things…

3. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. I thought I knew the story of Nike, but I didn’t. This book is amazing. Rarely have I been more inspired. They always say a book might just possibly change a life. It might have just happened to me…

2. Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher.

1. Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge. A friend recommended this to me, not because I needed it (but I did), but because she wanted me to interview the authors. The best book I’ve read on how to slow (and almost stop) aging, and live a productive happy life well into your senior years.

2015-2016 Completed Reading List:

64. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. If you see life as full of roadblocks, you desperately need this book.

63. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. My all-time favorite book. I lost my old beaten up copy from high school in the move, so I bought a new copy from a cool, local independent bookstore in the Chicago Loop.

62. Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold.

61. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. My favorite business book, which I try to read at least once per year.

60. I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter. I interviewed this Pulitzer Prize winning writer a while back. I do enjoy his Swagger novels.

59. What Would Keith Richards Do? by Jessica Pallington West. If you don’t like all the usual writers of philosophy, you might look to Keef as your new source of how to survive and live life. What a fascinating read. A gift from my friend Bill Wooditch.

58. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I try to read this book once per year. My all-time favorite read on being more creative. It’s a must read. In the book, he shares this simple manifesto: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.

57. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

56. The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli. The classic read on achieving and holding power, and one I haven’t read since my early days in politics. “It’s better to be feared, than loved.”

55. A Stranger To Myself by Willy Peter Reese. A German soldier shares his journal of life from the Eastern front of WWII. This is a horrifying account of war, and for me, an eye-opening understanding of a part of the war I knew very little about…Hitler’s invasion into Russia. A gift from my friend, Bill Wooditch.

54. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More + Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier.

53. The Sun + The Moon + And The Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen.

52. Leading With GRIT by Laurie Sudbrink. And Laurie and I did a complete audio series around GRIT, which you can find here!

51. Washington’s Spymaster, the Revolutionary War memoirs of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge.

50. Thumbs Up: 5 Steps To Create the Life of Your Dreams by Joey Reiman.

49. Always Forward by William Wooditch. A great read to help kickstart your sales…and life. And Bill and I have recorded a new series that will launch late May 2016. Get a preview here – Be A Game Changer!

48. One+One Equals Three by Dave Trott. If you are in marketing, you need to read EVERY book by Dave as soon as possible. Will change your thinking instantly.

47. Life by Keith Richards. If you dig music, the sixties, and the history of rock n’ roll, this is a can’t miss. One of my favorite books of all-time.

46. The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

45. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

44. And the Good News Is: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side by Dana Perino.

43. Not Taught: What It Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century that Nobody’s Teaching You by Jim Keenan.

42. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.

41. The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

40. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub. My second favorite book from this year. If you have any interest in the entertainment industry, you’ll totally dig this book.

39. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

38. Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll.

37. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

36. Think Round: How To Own The Future By Focusing 100% Of Your Company On Customers & Consumers 100% Of The Time by Martha Pease. Click here to listen to my interview with the author!

35. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.

34. We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons by Tim Kreider.

33. Letters from a Stoic (Hardcover Classics) by Seneca.

32. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk. My conversation with Gary, where he teases the idea of this very book…

31. Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Businessman (Classic Reprint) by Robert R. Updegraff. Or, click here for the free PDF download!

30. The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments: Ten Essential Tools for Business Forged in the Trenches of Hollywood by Jeff Cohen. You may know the author as Chunk from The Goonies, but now is a high-powered dealmaker in Hollywood, and this book is his process. Fantastic. And CLICK HERE to listen to my recent interview with him.

29. Thumbs Up!: Five Steps to Create the Life of Your Dreams by Joey Reiman. This book is in my 2015 Top Five. CLICK HERE to check out my recent interview with the author!

28. Just Add Water by Michael Baldwin. If you do a lot of speaking and presentations, this book is a MUST READ. Here is an interview of mine with the author.

27. The Sales and Marketing Nexus: A Quick Hit Guide On How to Grow Your Business and Increase Revenue by Travis Kennedy.

26. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris. The best book I’ve read in 2015.

25. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod.

24. The Effective Executive (Harperbusiness Essentials) by Peter Drucker. Here are some my lessons learned from Drucker’s book.

23. Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans by Peter Shankman. Check out my recent interview with Peter on the release of this book!

22. Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield.

21. Prolific: The Art & Science of Collecting, Creating and Communicating Your Ideas by Scott Ginsberg.

20. Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield.

19. Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon.

18. The Third Bullet (Bob Lee Swagger Novels) by Stephen Hunter. If you have any historical interest in the JFK assassination, you’ll be intrigued by this book. Here is a link to an interview I did with Stephen Hunter, the author.

17. The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer. We ALL need to read this. Because we all need to slow down and sit still…

16. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. A great read for those of us in leadership roles with our organizations. This book will serve me well when I have to deal with tough situations. Worth the read!

15. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. A classic. Dated, sure, but still full of valuable lessons.

14. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel. If you have launched or plan to start your own organization, this is a necessary read.

13. Introverts in Business: Being Quietly Successful by Alen Mayer. Enjoy my interview with Alen on this book!

12. Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. If you enjoyed the film 300, you should probably read this book.

11. Advertising with Balls by David Bonner. This book used to be available as a free download, but I can no longer find the website. Email me if you want me to send you the PDF.

10. Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life: Build More Muscle. Burn More Fat. Have More Sex by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein.

9. The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield. This is yet another book that I read annually. It is my favorite book of Pressfield’s.

8. V Is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone by Seth Godin and Hugh MacLeod. A short fun read. Sort of a Dr. Seuss book for adults!

7. Civil War Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) by Ambrose Bierce. As recommended by Ryan Holiday. One of the most unique Civil War books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot…

6. Poke the Box by Seth Godin. Yet another annual read. I didn’t interview Seth about this book, but about V is for Vulnerable. Enjoy.

5. The Flinch by Julien Smith. Another one of those books I read every year. Here is my interview with Julien from 2011 on this mind-blowing book.

4. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. One of those books I read every year. My interview with Austin on this book.

3. The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James + Claudia Altucher. This book started slow for me, but I am really glad I read it. It finished strong.

2. The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau. Here is a recent interview I did with Chris on this book. This is my favorite of his three books.

1. Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott.