When 2018 started I set out to read 10 books this year. Much to my surprise I ended up reading 25 books in 2018. The most important reason I was able to get through 15 more books than I’d expected was that when the year started I set a goal for myself to read at least 15 minutes every day. I ended up accomplishing that 328 times over 2018, meaning 9 out of every 10 days I made significant progress on a book. I was able to find time by replacing a couple of podcasts I’d listened to with time for reading, a strategy that netted me about 1-2 hours every week.
Without further ado, the books I read this year are below in reverse chronological order, newest at the top. I’d highly recommend reading the bolded ones, generally because they’ve shaped how I think or how I perceive the world. Most of the rest were pretty good too if you’re looking for a suggestion.
- Why We Sleep
- The Inner Game Of Tennis
- Stubborn Attachments
- Brave New World
- The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path
- An Autobiography of John Stuart Mill
- Intercom On Jobs To Be Done
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- Communist Manifesto and Social Contract
- How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
- Shop Class as Soulcraft
- The Purity Myth
- High Output Management
- Amusing Ourselves To Death
- Algorithms To Live By
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street
- A Brief History of Time
- Machine Learning: The New AI
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
The most surprising thing about reading this year wasn’t the books I read, but sheer amount of content from the internet I consumed. I save a lot of essays, blog posts, and articles in Pocket so I can read them on my time, without keeping dozens of tabs opened, in nicely formatted manner, and most importantly available offline.
This year I was very cognizant of not letting articles pile up in Pocket, which meant I had to put in a concerted effort to either read posts or delete them when I realized I wasn’t going to get to them. I devoted a little time every other Saturday to cleaning out my Pocket queue, pruning my list either by reading or deleting. The end result of that — I read 102 books worth of content from the internet this year.
An additional surprise was that Pocket isn’t where I read all my content, but I also read a lot directly in my RSS reader. I can’t know for sure how much I read through RSS, but at the very least I’m sure it would have added on another 20-30 books.
And that’s what I read in 2018. I’m setting my goal a little higher in terms of books in 2019, my goal is to read 20. I really enjoyed getting into books, and all that I learned. I’m also setting a goal to counter-balance my internet consumption. I don’t have a number, but I intend to read less articles and blog posts, and about the same number of essays. I really enjoyed the long-form content I read, but I’d also like more time in 2019 to work on side projects, so that time has to come from somewhere.