It’s the holidays.  The time of year to give gifts, to have fun, and invest in relationships.  

Let’s not forget to take some of that downtime to invest in ourselves.  Over the years, I’ve found no investment that pays off like reading the right book at the right time.  

Whether you’re a voracious reader or are still working on the same book since summertime, it doesn’t matter.  We can all probably spend more time learning and opening our minds.

Here are some of the best books I’ve read in 2019 that I strongly recommend for anyone looking to improve themselves next year.  I’ve chosen categories based on the different “buckets” of life that I’ve been focused on, along with some notable runner-ups.  

Best Personal Development Book: Mindset by Carol Dweck 

This book absolutely rocked my world and is one that I’ve written about before.  In it, psychologist Carol Dweck makes her case for why it’s so important to have a growth mindset, rather than a fixed one.  This means that instead of perfection, we should be constantly be striving for improvement and learning. Quite possibly a top 5 book I’ve ever read. 

Other notable books: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Own The Day Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus.

Best Leadership Book: Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt  

Trillion Dollar Coach really hit me at the right time and punched me in the gut.  In my first year of management, this book taught me about empathy when I needed it most.  Bill Campbell, the centerpiece for the book, coached some of the most successful leaders in the world and is a well of wisdom. 

Other notable books: The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz 

Best Creativity Book: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

This should be the bible for any creative person.  Recommend by filmmaker Brian Koppelman, this book took me from writer’s block to being able to see the world in a whole new way.  The book is set up as a 12-week course to help you overcome the many different obstacles that a creative person faces on their journey.  Pick this book up.   

Other Notable Books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Best Business/FInancial Book: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Dubbed as Warren Buffet’s favorite book – and written by his early mentor – this book breaks down value investing to its core.  The newer edition with Jason Zweig adds color commentary that adds in color about what has changed and what has stayed the same since Graham wrote the book in 1949.  Warning: this book is 600+ pages and will take some time to comb through. 

Other Notable Books:  Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger 

Best Fiction Book: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway 

Fiction is a new and unexplored category for me, so I figured it’d be good to start with a classic.  I read this small book cover to cover on my plane ride to Japan this summer and the writing was captivating. 

Other Notable Books: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Best Biography: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin 

This is actually a re-read for me.  I initially read this and was unimpressed.  I picked it back up recently with fresh ideas and totally changed my opinion.  There may not be a better, more vulnerable depiction of stand-up comedy and what the “come-up” is really like.  With equal parts comedy, struggle and inspiration, this is an excellent read. 

Other Notable Books: Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict

Best Health Book: Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is hands down one of my favorite authors and his newest book hits the nail on the head.  The world is busier than ever and stillness is the way we get to our best selves. Not by secluding ourselves as a monk on a mountain, but by finding pockets of stillness within our everyday lives. 

Other Notable Books: Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond

Best Relationship Book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

I remember reading this book back in high school and didn’t really get it.  Holy shit is this one a tear-jerker. It’d be great to complement with another Albom book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  

Other Notable Books: How To Love by Thich Naht Hanh 


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