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Book List

I've read through a lot of great, but also some mediocre books in my life. To make your life easier I put together an overview of books I recommend. You're welcome.

For better readability, I've arranged my favorite 57 books into eight categories. This book list is regularly updated and continuously expanded.

Recent Changes

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius - It is the work that most endured former Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. During his reign and military campaigns, he wrote down his thoughts on the workings of the world, and reflected on ways to improve himself. Today his opinions are ever-contemporary. A unique personal account by a powerful ruler who never intended his writing to be published.

Marcus Aurelius - Meditations.jpeg

Biographies

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - The best biographical business book that I've ever read. The story of Nike's founder demonstrates that running a business venture never follows a straight path.

Will by Will Smith & Mark Manson - One of the greatest entertainer in recent history opens up about his path to success and the struggles he encountered along the way. In essence it is a memoir about a man's search for inner happiness and fulfilment.

Open by Andre Agassi - An honest and revealing memoir that chronicles Andre Agassi's rise to tennis stardom, delving into the triumphs, challenges, and personal struggles he faced throughout his remarkable career.

Einstein by Walter Isaacson - A biography that unveils the life and genius of Albert Einstein, one of the most influential scientists in history. Explore his groundbreaking theories, unconventional thinking, and the personal journey of a man who reshaped our understanding of the universe.

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger - From his humble beginnings in Austria to becoming a bodybuilding champion, Hollywood superstar, and influential political figure; Schwarzenegger is the embodiment of the American Dream. A biography about relentless determination.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer - Christopher McCandless abandons society to seek a deeper connection with nature on his pursuit of happiness. An essential read for those seeking adventure and introspection.

Educated by Tara Westover - From an isolated and abusive upbringing in rural Idaho to obtaining a PhD from Cambridge University, Westover's powerful storytelling offers an inspiring testament to the transformative power of education and overcoming adversity.

Poor Charlie's Almanack by Charles Munger - Often overlooked but no less brilliant, Warren Buffett's longtime business partner, Charles Munger, is a fascinating investor. This comprehensive collection of his speeches, essays, and wit offers invaluable lessons on decision-making and investing for anyone.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey - His memoirs are like the author: unconventional. McConaughey's journey from a small-town Texan to a Hollywood icon is filled with unexpected turns and valuable life lessons. Moreover, this book is a roadmap for those seeking authenticity, adventure, and the art of catching greenlights.

Business

No Rules Rules: Netflix by Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer - Insights into the business culture of one of the most successful companies in recent history. Hastings' principles are ground-breaking.

Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy - Growing at all costs in combination with a competitive and ambitious CEO has led to numerous scandals and pitfalls. Still, social media remains in vogue.

Lights Out by Thomas Gryta & Ted Mann - A detailed account of how mismanagement, pride, and a strict focus on investors' dividends led to the downfall of America’s most valuable corporation. A priceless lesson for any business leader.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek - Centered around a question we ask ourselves too little. If you find the answer to it, not only will you be transformed - but your leadership style as well.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie - A book on dealing with people and what we can do to improve ourselves in everyday interactions. Read it, remember it, live it and success will follow you.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner - Ever wondered what the economics of a crack gang look like? Or that a decreasing crime rate isn’t due to better policing, but rather due to extensive abortion rights? Follow a rather unconventional economist's thinking.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries - You can create the best business plan with the best product, but chances are your startup will still fail. Ries advocates a lean approach of continuous experimentation and innovation. Essential reading.

Classics

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - It's long, yet brilliant. Tolstoy narrates in meticulous fashion about the troubled lives, relationships and rivalries of Russian aristocrats during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Iliad by Homer - A Greek epic, and a piece of work to read through. Few books capture the endless struggle for war, revenge and strive for glory better than this classic. Immerse yourself and take your time.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - More relevant than ever in our age of physical disconnectedness and online worlds. Huxley shows a utopia that will leave you wondering whether it is a desirable one or not.

1984 by George Orwell - The classic dystopian novel. The endless reach of governmental control and intimate insights into citizens' private lives hit close to the realities of some authoritarian governments today.

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer - A novel that follows two ambitious and ruthless men across six decades. Archer makes you want to turn the pages from start to finish. Masterful.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - With a touch of dark humor, an entrepreneur tells his story of how he rose above the caste system of modern India. The novel leaves one disturbed and unsettled.

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann - A captivating 19th-century family saga, chronicling the decline of the wealthy Buddenbrooks family across generations and exploring the tensions between tradition and modernity.

Effingers by Gabriele Tergit - Follow the lives and fortunes of the Effinger family, a prominent Jewish dynasty, during the early 20th century in Germany. A novel about the complexities of identity, ambition, and the pursuit of happiness amidst a rapidly changing world.

History

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - Sapiens covers the history of humanity, and the way we have influenced and shaped our environment. Harari also lays out the pillars of our societies and how our cultures have evolved. It will elevate your understanding of the world we live in.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari - An extension of Sapiens, Harari delivers a thought-provoking exploration of the future of humanity. Travel through time to a possible endgame of our species where technology, ethics, and fate clash and immortality merges with AI.

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson - It's London. It's World War II. And it stars Churchill. Although lengthy, it shows brilliantly the human determination and personal struggles in the face of adversity.

Night by Elie Wiesel - The autobiographical account of Elie Wiesel takes you deep into a concentration camp and the daily life of a teenager. It will take your breath away - in a horrific, and core-shaking manner.

Genghis Khan by Jack Weatherford - As Europe struggled through the Dark Ages, the Mongols united and conquered a territory that stretched from Beijing to Kyiv. In its wake, the Mongol Empire transformed cultures, trade, and communication. An epic tale.

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu - Relevant as ever, Daron lays out the reason why some nations prosper while others suffer from poverty and inequality. The decisive factor is neither geographical location nor culture but the underlying economic institutions of a nation.

The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio - This book outlines the economic history of major empires and the big cycle of the rise and decline of those powerhouses. Dalio gives us the key to understanding current developments through our rearview mirrors.

Red Roulette by Desmond Shum - The best and only original insider account of Chinese business and politics in the 21st century. Risking his life, Shum details the power, corruption and wealth struggles amongst China's elite.

Investment

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill - Reading this book feels like time-traveling to the United States during the 1940s. You will meet the most successful businessmen of that time and learn their principles.

One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch & John Rothchild - Peter Lynch was a giant on Wall Street and to this day looked upon as one of the best investors ever to exist. His investing strategy is as simple as brilliant.

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Often we strike luck or bad fortune in our lives and either attribute it to our genius or our circumstances. Even though it was all just sheer chance.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Normal distribution curves applied to real-life events often fall short. Events with an extremely high unlikeliness are more prone to happen than we assume.

Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke - Most things in life are not like a chess play, but more like a game of poker. You can make all the right moves at the time and still lose. A must-read for venture capitalists.

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis - Unintentionally this became the origin story of the Great Recession. Once the prime address on Wall Street, Salomon Brothers nurtured a culture of greed, and massive compensations whilst pioneering derivative trades for mortgages.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis - Follow the footsteps of an unlikely band of people who saw the 2008 crash coming, and eventually bet on it. It reads like a sequel to Lewis’ first book; Portraying a derivative and financial product market that completely got out of hand.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis - A riveting account about the high-frequency trading industry and the few rebels who run against it. This is not fiction, but Wall Street’s daily reality written by a master storyteller.

Meaning of Life

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - A young shepherd goes on an adventure to find his destiny. A book that teaches us the inevitability that life is a journey, and that what we seek is often right in front of us.

The Why Café by John Strelecky - Meant to be read by anyone typing mindlessly away in a cubicle, and feeling disconnected with themselves. A book that challenges your autopilot, and leads you on a path of self-discovery and greater fulfilment.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - A great read if you feel like you're not in control of your life anymore. Maybe you just care too much about what others think, and too little about yourself.

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker - Reading this book was in some parts painful and others very enlightening. It's a must-read to understand life's uncomfortable final destination and how we cope with it.

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins - A daring account that natural selection follows unconscious and automatic processes without foresight or intention. It's an analogy to our existence and that we indeed are without a purpose.

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm - Most of us feel love but rarely understand it. Fromm with his compassionate insights and precise observations shows us what it really means to love.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius - During his reign and military campaigns, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote down his thoughts on the workings of the world, and reflected on ways to improve himself. Today his opinions are ever-contemporary.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl - A book by a man who truly understood the meaning of suffering. Frankl himself had lived through the Nazi death camps and lays out how we find meaning and purpose despite the bleakest situations we find ourselves in.

Money & Personal Finance

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason - Through captivating parables set in the ancient city of Babylon, Clason imparts invaluable lessons on wealth accumulation, savings, and the importance of financial discipline. A timeless classic.

Money Master the Game by Tony Robbins - Robbins combines his engaging storytelling with expert insights from some of the most successful investors of our time, presenting practical steps to achieve financial freedom.

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel - With insightful anecdotes and thought-provoking perspectives, Housel delves into the behavioral patterns and cognitive biases that influence our financial decisions, providing valuable lessons for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of their own financial mindset.

Psychology & Your Mind

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - Do your future self a favor and read this monster of a book. Chances are that you will make better decisions in the future and feel more empowered by it.

Nudge by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein - Although in some parts similar to Kahneman, the authors equip you with the knowledge to stay wary of your default choices and weigh your opportunity costs.

The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman - Scientific studies show that lucky and unlucky individuals are given the same opportunities and face similar challenges. Yet, the former take chances and deny fate, while the latter give up too early and brand themselves as unfortunates.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker - I never prioritized sleep in my life. Then I read this book and my priorities shifted. Walker knows his field and proves the importance of sleep for your health, life, and career.

Atomic Habits by James Clear - Goals are great. Good habits are better. Clear gives guidance to athletes, companies, and individuals to effectively fulfill their potential. Start reading, and make it a habit.

What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro - Written by a former FBI agent, Navarro shares practical techniques for understanding body language, enabling readers to enhance their interpersonal skills, improve relationships, and become more effective communicators.

Last updated September 27, 2023

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