Thanks for checking out my virtual bookshelf!
Discovering Audible years ago has rekindled my love of books, so with a few exceptions, these are audiobooks I've listened to since then.
The books within each of the two lists are arranged in roughly chronological order.
These are the books that resonated with me and that I still remember fondly.
📝 Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
A great book, and one of my favorites. Not being serious about life makes a world of difference. Seeing the challenges of life as games you choose to play, and not as obligations, makes it that much easier to cope with the inevitable hardships.
📝 The Steal Like An Artist Trilogy by Austin Kleon
I enjoyed the trilogy. The books give you plenty of useful advice and inspiration to become a more prolific creator. They're written by an artist for artists, but you'll find them useful no matter who you are. You get 30 ideas to sharpen your creative skills and a plenty of inspirational quotes.
📝 No Hard Feelings by Liz Fosslien, Mollie West Duffy
A fun little book about relying on emotions to survive and thrive in a modern workplace. As someone who's been a boss and an employee in the span of a few years, I related to the whole of it. Get this one in the paper format, the illustrations are hilarious and will brighten your day!
Immune by Philipp Dettmer
I have an immune system. But what does it actually do, and how? Now I know about the human immune system in a nutshell, and am even more thankful to mine for keeping me safe, especially during the Covid times. Written by the Kurzgesagt founder in their usual fun and exciting manner.
📝 Peak by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool
If there's one no-bullshit science-backed book about going beyond your limits and achieving whatever you put your mind to it's this one. Innate talent isn't a thing, but neither is the 10,000-hour rule. Persistent, deliberate practice just outside your comfort zone is the way. One of my all-time favorites.
📝 Atomic Habits by James Clear
I'm not exaggerating when I say habits saved my life, and this book is pretty much the Bible of Habits. I stumbled upon most of the concepts covered by James Clear on my own, and I'm sure I would have benefited from Atomic Habits had I read it a couple years sooner.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
It's been years since I finished Foundation and Hyperion, and Red Mars is a great addition to my sci-fi family. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
A fixed mindset makes you believe in innate talent, a growth mindset makes you believe that everything is possible given enough time and thoughtful effort. Another one of my favorite science-backed books on self-improvement, learning, and growth.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
It's imperative that we start taking climate change seriously. In his book, Bill Gates outlines the challenge and the possible solutions to climate change, and getting to Net Zero by 2050 is the bare minimum should be aiming for. Great book for those interested in climate science and technology.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
Headspace played a big role in helping me overcome my last major life crisis, and I'm forever grateful to Andy for making it happen. In his book, Andy shares his own story about getting lost in life, becoming a monk, and discovering a new way forward, in a fun and entertaining manner.
Range by David Epstein
Generalists develop a broad range of skills instead of rushing to specialize. Which is great, because a broad range is increasingly important in a world with more information than those willing to creatively connect the pieces across different areas. As someone who enjoys discovering new interests and learning new skills, I definitely enjoyed this book.
Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
Have you ever felt that your job has no meaning, creates zero value, and pretty much sucks big time? This book is a quick fun read on the fact that a large chunk of modern jobs are useless and suggests that the world would be better off without these bullshit jobs. Just don't confuse them with shit jobs, which are good.
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson
Why are some nations more successful than others? Great read on what role corruption and the lack of inclusivity in political processes plays in the economic and social outcomes of countries around the world.
The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
The exciting story of Bob Iger's life and his journey to becoming the head of The Walt Disney Company, told by Bob Iger himself.
Guy Martin: Worms to Catch by Guy Martin
Another one of Guy Martin's books I loved. This one's about his Ulster Grand Prix crash that left him with a broken spine and out of motorcycle racing for a while. So why not take up hardcore mountain biking and breaking wall of death records while you're healing up?
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
What does it take to become an astronaut? As much as you'd think, and more. What does it feel to become one? Chris Hadfield tells his story. Love space, loved this book.
Guy Martin: My Autobiography by Guy Martin
I fell in love with Isle of Man TT and Guy Martin after having stumbled upon a music video on YouTube a long time ago. As someone who considers getting a sports bike once in a while and is a fan of extreme sports, I enjoyed Guy Martin telling the story of his life and racing, and coming across as a very down-to-earth and casual Guy.
On the Road by Jack Kerouak
I came across On the Road at a very strange time in my life, and it resonated with me so much I listened to it twice in a row. Classic, and with great Audible narration, too.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Living in Anno Domini or the Common Era makes me sometimes forget that we as humans have been around for much, much longer. In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari tells the full story. A fascinating read if you're curious about the brief history of humankind.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
I stumbled upon Dr. Burns and this book during the darkest months of my life. It was my first introduction to CBT and the concept of automatic negative thoughts, and it played a major role in helping me get out of the hole I was in and put my life back together. Can't recommend this book enough.
Life by Keith Richards
When I was younger, I didn't listen to The Rolling Stones much. To me, they felt like one of those way-too-mild dad rock bands. Keith's autobiography made me see the Stones in a completely different light. It also made me binge-listen to them for some time. Still do sometimes.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The story of Viktor Frankl is a striking example of the resilience and the ability of us humans to remain hopeful in the face of extreme adversity. I've come across this during a pretty dark period in my life, and it made me appreciate the book that much more.
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
Why do we live in a Western-centric world? Why did Western civilization come out on top? Thanks to guns, germs, and steel, for the most part. I didn't know the details, so I enjoyed the book. It's one of those books that manage to compress a huge chunk of history into something that's both informative and entertaining.
Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw
This is one of my favorite biographies of the early American industrialists, alongside the one on John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Andrew Carnegie is known for his Gospel of Wealth, but also for being a notorious robber baron in the steel industry. How can we reconcile this? Are today's billionaires the modern robber barons? I found this book fascinating for so many reasons.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
Are cells the smallest units of life? Are we the masters of our fate? What if it's actually our genes that are in charge and in the driver's seat? I've found Dawkins' ideas and the potential implications more than fascinating.
Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
Are we on our way to singularity and immortality, or are we heading towards extinction at the hands of superintelligence? A classic on the future of AI.
Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick
I'm pretty sure I never watched the original movie back when I was a kid, so this book was my first experience of Blade Runner. Not only I loved it, but it made the movie feel somewhat meh in comparison by the time I finally got to it.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This one's one of the few true crime books in my library. Equally fascinating and frightening. I was never too fond of the idea of living in a house in the countryside, and In Cold Blood sure hasn't changed my mind about this. It did make me appreciate the fragility and the fleeting nature of life, though.
Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
I love Walter Isaacson's books, and this one's one of my favorite historic biographies. Leonardo da Vinci had everything going I'm a fan of, such as creativity, prolificacy, and a broad range of interests. Highly recommended, especially if you're thinking about becoming more creative.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 by Mark Twain
Samuel Clemens sure knew his way with words. I've come across this one while being stuck on my business journey, so it was a pleasant distraction.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman
If Leonardo da Vinci had been around in the 20th century, he and Feynman might've become great friends. Just like da Vinci's biography, Feynman's book has everything I enjoy: it's funny, it's about a lot of things, and it makes me appreciate my broad range of interests even more. Did I mention it's funny?
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This was the second book I've read about Theodore Roosevelt, the first one being The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. The Bully Pulpit focuses more on his political career, and makes for a great read, no matter what views you hold about his personality.
Business Adventures by John Brooks
If you like insightful financial and corporate business stories from the 20th century United States, you'll like this book.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The first time I had seen the movie was back in the VHS times with a classic nasal Soviet voiceover, and can still recite the whole "We had two bags of grass" line. So, it was quite refreshing to read the original.
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
The WW1 is a fascinating story of a complex political equilibrium held together by a myriad of pacts and agreements unraveling in an instant and turning into a bloodbath. A very exciting historical read.
A Full Life by Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter is one of my favorite down-to-earth US presidents, so I enjoyed his autobiography. My takeaway is that being a good and amiable person is detrimental to being a good politician. If you want to speak softly, you'll need that big stick.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
It's kinda incredible that we're talking about colonizing Mars when it was only a hundred years ago that the early planes became a thing. If you like planes and history, you'll like this fascinating book.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Up until recently, I wasn't too interested in history in general, let alone the history of the early United States and the founding fathers. This biography of Alexander Hamilton has made me a lot more interested in how things were in the early republic.
Truman by David McCullough
This biography of Truman was the second book after Lincoln's Team of Rivals that made me think about what it meant to be the President of the United States during times of crisis. It also made me appreciate the fact that WWII ended like it did, even though a lot worse outcomes weren't too far away from reality.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A classic dystopia. I've read 1984 and Zamyatin's "We" back in high school, but hadn't gotten to Brave New World until recently. Loved it.
The Snowball by Alice Schroeder
This biography of Warren Buffer is HUGE, so the sheer size of the book made me feel a little intimidated. Turns out, it's 40+ hours of great listening about the story behind one of the most famous investors of all time.
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
You'll probably lose money trying to pick stocks, but probably grow your investment into index funds. This book's one of the top recommendations for those starting in investing, and reading it has made me look at investing in a lot more realistic way than I did before.
Where Are the Customers' Yachts? by Fred Schwed Jr.
A short and fun read about the stock market and the fact that it's the money managers who get wealthy, not their clients. This book was my entry point into the world of finance alongside The Intelligent Investor.
My Life and Work by Henry Ford
Loved this autobiography of Henry Ford. I had no idea about how modern mass production started out, and this book tells the story. He also had some pretty wild ideas in other areas.
Titan by Ron Chernow
Probably my favorite book on robber barons, and Rockefeller might be the number one on my list of favorite robber barons. It doesn't just take grit, dedication, ruthlessness, and immorality to build a business empire. Loved his biography so much I listened to it three times in a row (without making any notes - how dumb).
Call Me Ted by Ted Turner
Didn't know anything about Ted Turner or the US media history, so this lively biography was quite entertaining to listen to. If you're curious about where the concept of 24-hour news came from, check it out.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
This book has introduced me to the theory of the state of flow. Flow is definitely something I had encountered before, but I had no idea it's an actual concept that's backed by science. Definitely near the top of my favorite science-backed self-help books.
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
This is where my Hyperion experience ends. And what an ending! The closer to the end of the story, the crazier it gets. Took me a while to listen to the whole book, but it was absolutely worth it.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This might be my favorite historical political biography so far. Considering how well Lincoln's "keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer" approach worked for solving the most complex political challenges of his time, I like to think that the US would be in a much different place had he stayed at the helm for longer.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
This is probably my most favorite historical political biography so far. Considering how well Lincoln's "keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer" approach worked for solving the most complex political challenges of his time, I like to think that the US would be in a much different place had he stayed at the helm for longer.
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
This was one of my first biographies of major US political figures. It got me interested in the history of the United States in general, and politics in particular. No matter what you think of Roosevelt as a person, you'll enjoy this book.
2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
I am afraid I can't do that Dave. Never watched the movie, but the book was great. A quick break between the huge Foundation and Hyperion series.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
The fascinating story behind the founding of Nike. It was one of my first contemporary non-FAANG company bios and I found it fun and informational.
Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
The last book of the Foundation trilogy, which was also my last Foundation book altogether. Loved it, but I've yet to get to the rest of them.
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
Great read, just like the rest of the Foundation series.
Empire by Donald L. Barlett
This biography of Howard Hughes was my first foray into the biographies of historical business leaders. A great read, and a very unusual life.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
As soon as I finished Martian I knew I needed more sci-fi in my life. Foundation was a great choice that got my mind blown by the scale of the events.
The Martian by Andy Weir
The first science fiction book I've ever read in my life, as far as I remember. Never thought about the genre before, but the movie was all the rage. I decided to get the book instead and it totally hooked me on sci-fi. Still into it all these years later.
Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
I never considered myself a creative person, but this story of Pixar made me think about creativity as a concept and what happens when it gets paired with leadership. I still struggle with being more creative sometimes, but I like to believe I'm a lot better than I was back then.
The Innovators by Walter Isaacson
My first introduction to the modern tech giants as a whole and the personalities behind them. Picked it up after having finished The Innovators and loved it, just like the rest of Walter Isaacson's books.
Get Up! by James A. Levine
Your chair is killing you. A fun and exciting read about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. It was one of my first scientific self-help books, and I LOVED it. It motivated me to toss my old chair and get a better one, and to buy a pair of running shoes. Running didn't stick, but I became a lot more active in my daily life thanks to this book. Recommend!
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
A classic by Walter Isaacson. You'll like it even if you're not into tech or Steve Jobs all that much.
The Everything Store by Brad Stone
I was working on my own ecommerce startup during this time, so the story of Bezos and Amazon resonated with me that much more. It didn't make me an ecommerce superstar, but it certainly changed the way I approach some things in life and business.
The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
This was my introduction to operational efficiency and the idea behind The Toyota Way. A ton of great information wrapped into an easy-to-follow story. Must read.
The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim
An entertaining tale of an IT manager in a typical midsize company. This was my introduction to actual DevOps that taught me a thing or two.
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
This book was my introduction to Audible and Elon Musk. I enjoyed it immensely. It rekindled my love of reading for the first time since high school and kickstarted my audiobook journey, which made the rest of this list possible.
Most of these are books that I don't remember much about by now or that didn't resonate with me at the time of reading.
Still, most of them are good books. I'm sure I'll move a good chunk of them to the top list when I get time to relisten to them.
And some of them, I assume, are lousy books.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
People who've been to conflict zones often feel safer amidst the conflict and have trouble adjusting to normal life outside of it. When you're in a conflict zone, you're usually part of a smaller community or a "tribe" that is much more tight-knit and purposeful than what you experience within society as a whole. A very interesting take on tribalism.
Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos, Walter Isaacson
Not a book per se, but a collection of Jeff Bezos' memos, shareholder letters, and other writings. Less exciting than a book, but gives you a glimpse into his mind, which is arguably at least as informative.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Not quite a book, but a collection of Eliezer Yudkowsky's articles on AI. Has some good stuff in it, but doesn't form a narrative and is thus somewhat hard to follow.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
A classic by Kurt Vonnegut. Started, but have yet to finish.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Barack Obama's path to the White House and the complexities of the presidency in today's political climate. The story felt honest and intimate, and is narrated by Obama himself, which is something I always appreciate in audiobooks.
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
What did actually happen in 2016, and why? Picked this one up after listening to Hillary on a couple podcasts, and actually enjoyed it. Honest and transparent.
The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
Arguing with Zombies by Paul Krugman
The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb
There's no one solution to depression, just like there's no single cause of it. You move up and down the spiral one step at a time, so it's possible to take small steps to prevent yourself from spiraling all the way down. This book helped me look at my own depression from a different perspective. Pair it with Feeling Good and Mindset for a bigger effect.
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
As a longstanding subscriber to Ann Handley's delightful newsletter, I was very excited about the book and did indeed find it both amusing and informative. Unfortunately, the circumstances of my life back then prevented me from finishing it, but I'm very much looking forward to getting back to Everybody Writes. If you have anything at all to do with marketing or writing, you'll love it.
Chief Marketing Officers at Work by Josh Steimle
Alchemy by Rory Sutherland
A great book on marketing magic. I remember loving it, but have forgotten so many of the details by now that it's on my reading list once again.
Propaganda by Edward Bernays
Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman
A great book on how businesses scale from LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman. I struggled with a different set of problems running my business at the time of reading this book, so I didn't take as much out of it as I could have under different circumstances. It's a great book nevertheless.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A book-burning dystopian classic. Always up for a good one!
Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort
Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella
The story behind the Microsoft reboot. This one really took me down the Microsoft memory lane. I spent most of my life with Windows and the early versions were widely considered unreliable in our neck of the woods. However, I really fell in love with Windows 7 after switching back to it after a few Linux years, and listening to the book made me appreciate Satya Nadella even more.
Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer
Marketing is about the people, not the technologies. Great book on human marketing by Mark Ritson.
Power Moves by Adam Grant
Christmas Eve, 1914 by Charles Olivier
A short, well-produced audio drama based on the 1914 Christmas events of World War I. Enjoyed listening to this around Christmas time.
Out of My Mind by Alan Arkin
Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin
I got most of my SEO knowledge from Rand Fishkin's Whiteboard Fridays at Moz, and I was working on getting my own business off the ground at that time. So, hearing Rand's story of starting and growing Moz and struggling with business and his own mental health challenges really struck a chord with me.
The 10-Day MBA by Steven Silbiger
The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen
A practical application of Lean Startup principles. Probably a little rehashed and dated by now, but I found it useful as I listened to it early in my startup career.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The patterns of adventure and transformation, creation and destruction, can be found in the mythic traditions throughout history all around the world. If you're curious about the roots of classic storytelling techniques or are into mythology, you might find this thought-provoking. In-depth, but drawn-out.
Principles by Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio's principles are the core component of his success. A very popular book that didn't quite click with me back then, as it felt too dry and long-winded. I'll probably revisit it at some point in the future.
Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss
If you're looking to up your negotiation game, you'll probably like this book by a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI. I found it pretty entertaining, but the takeaways didn't stick with me back then, likely because negotiating wasn't really part of my life at that point.
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
At one point in life, I briefly bought into the idea of growth hacking being here to replace traditional marketing, which is BS. The book is pretty superfluous with not that much actual content.
Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
Good to Great by Jim Collins
What's the difference between good and great companies? A few things. Liked the book.
The Way of the SEAL by Mark Divine
A motivational book written by a former Navy SEAL Commander, haven't retained much more than that.
Positioning by Al Ries, Jack Trout
A great read on branding and positioning that I enjoyed when figuring out the basics of marketing. Still relevant almost 50 years later.
Ending Aging by Aubrey de Grey, Michael Rae
This book was my first foray into the topic of longevity. Some say the idea is overhyped, but if anything I would say it's underhyped, considering the massive scale of problems caused by aging.
How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything - Yes, Anything! by Albert Ellis Ph.D.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
Rework by Jason Fried
I haven't finished Rework back then since it just didn't click with me, although I found some of the advice quite helpful. So now might be the time to relisten to it.
Traction by Gino Wickman
Contagious by Jonah Berger
Smartcuts by Shane Snow
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
I'll go against the grain of critics and say that I really enjoyed this book. Yes, much of it is motivational fluff without much depth to it, but sometimes that's exactly what some of us need. I came across this book exactly at the right time in my life, and a little motivation without too much substance was just what I needed back then.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
Short, sweet, and motivational, I liked it. That's exactly what I needed to just chill out at the time. It's not always the dense and intellectual stuff that helps.
Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz
Great story of Howard Schultz and Starbucks. It didn't make that big of an impression on me like some of the other business biographies I've read, but I enjoyed this one nevertheless.
The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
Superhuman by Habit by Tynan
Felt more like a booklet on Tynan's life than an actual book. If you're into habits, read The Power of Habit and Atomic Habits instead.
The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer
The Power of Broke by Daymond John
This one felt a bit too long and drawn-out for a book that basically covers a single idea: stay hungry, stay foolish, work your ass off.
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
10% Happier by Dan Harris
More of a biography than a self-help book, but I actually liked it. Look elsewhere if you're after a deep dive into the science of mindfulness and meditation, but if you're fine with seeing the application of mindfulness through the eyes of a person struggling with stress and overwork, you'll probably like it. Casual.
59 Seconds: Persuasion by Richard Wiseman
Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump
The best deal in the history of deals, maybe ever. Being a European, I didn't know that much about Trump before 2016, so I picked up this and the two other books to get a better idea. Politics and authorship aside, they aren't terrible books if you think about them as memoirs, rather than treat them as business guides.
Scrum by Jeff Sutherland
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Marcus Aurelius
The bible of stoicism. I listened to it while wandering around the forest during a difficult period of my life, and I liked some of the ideas, but eventually decided stoicism isn't for me. Yes to going through the hardships of life without too much emotion, no to getting rid of emotions altogether. Life is too exciting to be too serious about it.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This book was my introduction to habits, which changed the way I think about my own behavior. The timing wasn't that great and it didn't turn my life around, but it was my favorite book on habits before Atomic Habits came about.
#AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk
A lot of hype, not that much substance.
Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
A warfare classic you can apply to pretty much anything.
Think Like a Champion by Meredith McIver, Donald J. Trump
Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life by Donald J. Trump
How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban
More of a collection of blog posts than a book. Some good advice here and there. Not great, not terrible.
The Chimes by Charles Dickens
A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger
Misbehaving by Richard H. Thaler
The Little Black Book of Innovation by Scott D Anthony
Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
A classic on creating versus competing by Peter Thiel. I feel like I've read it way too early in my startup and business "career" and missed out on a lot of the important parts, so it might be the time to revisit.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This was my first non-scientific self-help book, and I don't think I finished it. Sometimes I'm up for a quick, fun, and upbeat self-help read like The Subtle Art that makes me take a break from thinking and just chill out, but Think and Grow Rich is not that.