How To Choose Your Reading List This Year (and every other one)

Gearing up for the next year, I was contemplating about what are the books (non-fiction) I want to read. Judging by my last read, it took me about 2 months to get through. Which seemed like a realistic pace when taking into account life and other priorities.  That means at a satisfying rate, I can read approximately 6 books in 2016.

When I read The Tail End article, I realized that though in my mind I have an infinite time to go through the reading list that I have, I only have around 350 books to read in my lifetime. It makes me realize I want to stop wasting time reading books that add no value to my life. What a waste of perfectly good reading and learning time!

Then from a perspective of what would be the most important books that I can read in my late 20s that will have a long term and large impact on my life, there is a greater epiphany of the importance of prioritization on my reading list.

When choosing your books, try and ask yourself these yes/no questions:

  1. Will it greatly improve my life?
  2. Will the book impact a large part of my life?
  3. Does it focus on a glaring weakness that I practice everyday?
  4. Does my learning and sharing with those around me impact many other’s lives?

We all have the habit of adding books to our reading list, almost taking a matter of pride in the size of the pile. However, maybe it is a weak indicator.  Maybe it just shows little control of oneself or a lack of focus on priorities.  When you boil down your reading list to “I have a limited amount of books I’ll ever read, is this worth it?”, books can begin to be easily tossed aside.

I can realistically only choose 6, maybe 8 if I’m lucky this coming year. Here is what I am preparing to read in 2016 in no particular order:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – William Irvine
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
7 Principles of Making Marriage Work – Dr. John Gottman
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon
Remote: Office Not Required – Jason Fried and DHH
Rework – Jason Fried and DHH (re-reading and taking notes)
The Diamond Age – Neil Stephenson

I know there is 8 here, but 3 of them are actually really short books that can be consumed casually without really needing to set aside time, so I know when I’m lying in bed or at a boring party, I’ll probably flip through a few pages of them per week.  Also the last one is my first venture in fiction in a really long time, so it’s a bit of a substitute for less TV this year.

Look out for my book notes soon!  In my next post, I’ll cover how to “read” the books that you have some interest in, but don’t make it into this more important reading list.

Leave a comment on what you think?  Am I on point?

Discipline Equals Freedom

Discipline equals freedom — Jocko Willink from episode of the Tim Ferriss Podcast.

Discipline in how you treat your body (exercise and food) leads to more freedom.

  • from physical exhaustion
  • pain as a result of sedentary lifestyle (back/neck pain)
  • walk long periods of time
  • try interesting new activities
  • prolong your “able” life to try new experiences
  • from doctors
  • from health problems

Discipline in your relationships (friendships or romantic) leads to more freedom.

  • increased closeness
  • increased trust
  • increased support
  • increased belonging
  • increased understanding
  • increased romance
  • increased love
  • decreased disputes

Discipline in your career leads to more freedom.

  • to pick jobs you enjoy
  • to have greater salary potential
  • to take riskier career moves
  • to have greater freedom to take sabbaticals
  • to negotiate perks and benefits
  • to make autonomous decisions for the business

Discipline in your personal finances leads to more freedom.

  • No debt = no stress
  • More options when you want to take a break or retire
  • Make financial mistakes
  • Buy things that you wouldn’t otherwise
  • Experience (ie. travel) where money is required

Discipline in businesses leads to more freedom.

  • disciplined approaches lead to creativity
  • more empowerment across the organization
  • alignment amongst all members
  • “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness” — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

Discipline in training your dog …

  • greater sense of connection
  • more trust
  • freedom to roam around
  • freedom to go to public places
  • freedom of a leash entirely
  • freedom to play more
  • freedom to interact with others more

As you can see, freedom can impact any and every area of your life.  This is because discipline is practice, which leads to experience, which leads to skills and expertise.  The greater skills you have in any area, the more options it opens up to do more meaningful and greater things.  For anyone who is successful at anything, discipline is always a prerequisite.  Whether an athlete, business person, spouse, writer, or artist, they all put in the time and have disciplined habits and approaches that allow them to pursue more.