I read 52 books in 2019. These are the best 15.

BOOKS. Also audiobooks are good.

Starting in 2019, I made a goal to read 52 books a year. Some of them were amazing, some of them sucked. Here are the great ones I recommend:

Self-Improvement

Ultralearning — Scott H. Young
This book teaches you how to learn things really well, really fast. It’s super fun to read and has a lot of examples. While I read it, I imagined all the amazing things I would learn right after reading the book. Then I finished the book and promptly didn’t follow most of the lessons. But the lessons I did take away from it (like that the only way to get good at something is actually doing it) are important and applicable to many facets of life.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree — Eric Barker
This one is just generally interesting and made me want to be a better person. The biggest lesson I took away is that I should always be a Giver and make a great first impression, and if someone is a jerk in return, I can kick ’em to the curb.

Make Time — Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
The title is a bit misleading on this one. You’d think it’s all about productivity or efficiency, but really it’s about doing the things that are most important to you in all aspects of your life so that you can feel good how you spend your time.

Biography

Ten Years a Nomad — Matthew Kepnes (2019 MVP)
This was the most influential book I read all year. It describes Nomadic Matt’s journey from a 9–5 dude to a full-time traveler. After reading this I was so inspired to travel that I went on a life-changing 4.5-month adventure all over Europe and Southeast Asia.

Yes, Please — Amy Poehler
This one is really funny, and sometimes we all need a good chuckle.

The Glass Castle — Jeannette Walls
A dive into the upbringing of someone with unbelievably irresponsible parents. This gives perspective on how comparatively easy my life is, and makes me grateful that my parents aren’t insane.

Fantasy

The Lies of Locke Lamora — Scott Lynch
An adult fantasy book! They do swears! Wow! This book is awesome, and it made me extremely uncomfortable during a torture scene. (The part with the bag of shards of glass, to be exact.) Amazing characters and dialogue. The next two books in the series are super fun too.

The Farseer Trilogy — Robin Hobb
Unique magic system, and the character growth is stellar. The magic is a pretty minor part of the story, it’s really all about character interaction.

Underlord, Uncrowned (Cradle Series, books 6 & 7) — Will Wight
REALLY cool magic system. This is one of my favorite series, and when new books come out I typically devour them in a day or two. All other responsibilities go right out the bathroom window. It’s about a young lad who is told he’ll never be good at magic, but then he decides he won’t listen to the haters: he’ll surpass ’em all to save his clan.

The Night Circus — Eric Morgenstern
Hot dang. This is one of the only amazing fantasy books I can think of that isn’t part of a series, and I hope it stays that way because it wraps itself up really nicely. The descriptions are so vivid, I was fully immersed into the Circus and never wanted to leave.

American Gods — Neil Gaiman
Shadow (the main character) is a badass mo’ licka. I don’t want to spoil any of the story, but I really liked how they journeyed all throughout the U.S. (especially the Midwest) and involved lots of gods from all sorts of religions.

Science Fiction

Sacrificial Pieces (The Gam3 Series, book 3) — Cosimo Yap
This one isn’t for everyone, but I think most gamers will love it. In the series, Earth reaches a point where the aliens in the rest of the galaxy decide we’re advanced enough to welcome to the video game that replaces all real-life violence. The main character then becomes a total badass in the game. It’s great.

Iron Gold (Red Rising Series, book 4) — Pierce Brown
Red Rising is another series that I drool over. The first three books are a nice complete package, and then Iron Gold and the next few take place 10 years later. This is another series about a total badass. It takes place hundreds of years in the future, when we’ve colonized all the planets in the solar system, and we’ve genetically altered people into several classes of humans, where Reds are the lowest class and Golds are the highest. As the series title gives away, it’s all about the Reds Rising up in revolt. Hella cool space battles and stuff.

Classic Fiction

Lord of the Flies — William Golding
Short, classic, really good. Seems pretty close to what little boys would actually do if left alone on an island.

Animal Farm — George Orwell
Even shorter and classicker. Everything in the book relates to a real event in the early days of Soviet Russia — except all the characters are animals.

P.S. Goodreads is my best friend. If you don’t have it, I’d highly recommend signing up so you can keep track of all the books you read. This isn’t even a paid ad, I just love Goodreads.

That’s it! See you next year, happy reading!

Note: The links are affiliate links, so Amazon will hit me up with some of the cash you spend on the books if you buy ’em with those links. The prices will be the same for you. But these books are amazing, and if you can get them cheaper from somewhere else, I’m all for you saving that hard-earned moolah.

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