Books to Read in 2019

It looks like I’ve started a bit of a tradition as I shared my favourite books last year around this time too.  Since that update, my taste has moved to a bit different direction and I ventured into previously unchartered territories. For the whole of 2018, my hands have not touched a fiction book and I’m planning to keep it that way going to 2019.

A lot of the books I got this year were focused on productivity, brain science, the science behind habits, marketing and business strategy, child development and a few quirky ones for a bit of fun. If you’re looking for a new inspiration what to read for next year, here are my absolute favorites, selected out of the  40+ books I consumed in various forms (see below).

books to read december
books to read
books to read december

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

This one is a close tie to a first spot with the second book mentioned here. I got it as an audio book and found it so useful that I bought a printed version too, which actually arrived today.  The title can be a little deceptive though – these are no productivity hacks, but rather principles to live by, which you can implement in your personal and business life.

The book contains a ton of common sense advice and a very pragmatic approach to modern problems which leaves you wondering why you never thought of it yourself. The book is recognised as one of the msot influential books ever written and I can’t believe I only got to it now.

The book presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step by step framework for living and working based on fundamental principles or natural laws, giving us the security to adapt to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. “

A quote that I thought capture the essence of the book:

“This book contains the kind of penetrating truth about human nature that is usually found only in fiction. At the end, you will feel not only that you know Covey, but also that he knows you.”

Orson Scott Card, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards

This book is my new bible.

You can get it here

books to read december

Principles – Ray Dalio

Another one of those life changing books. I only have this one as audio, but it was the first book I got as an audio book and I immediately regretted as I couldn’t make notes while listening.

This book is very similar to the one by Covey and written in a very similar way. It’s centered around principles to live by, both in your personal life and in business. I have completely skipped the business advice section but found the first part with personal life advice enormously valuable.

Dalio speaks in very plain language and I really enjoyed his own voice in the audio book. The book is very easy to understand and is filled with examples from author’s own life. Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, which has become the largest and best performing fund in the world. The book is, in essence, a capture of his life’s work and principles he learned along the way, through his own mistakes and experiences, which he wants to pass on.

There is very little space to go into details about this book, but it’s safe to say I will be ordering this one in print too so I can fully immerse myself in this wisdom =) . 

You can get one here if you want to give it a read. 

Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself – Dr Joe Dispenza

books to read
books to read december

I looked up the author after I saw his TED talk on brain development and brain plasticity which I found extremely interesting. This book was a bit harder to read compared to the first two due lots of details from neuroscience and quantum physics. 

In essence, the author uses neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology and plenty of other fancy concepts to tell you that you are not doomed by your genes or circumstances and you create your own reality.

The book goes a bit further than the nice theory and provides a practical approach for changing your brain, habits and yourself, one step at a time. The substance of the book is very accurately captured in the sub-headline: How to lose your mind and create a new one. I’m yet to go over the applications from the second part of the book, but I look forward to putting it into practice. If you want to get an idea what it’s all about, here is the TED video.

“Dr Joe Dispenza’s entertaining and highly accessible manual for rewiring your mental and emotional circuitry carries a simple but potent message: what you think today determines how you live tomorrow.”

Lynne McTaggart, best-selling author of The Field

You can get the book here.

The 5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins

Another audio book that I absolutely loved. Mel Robbins has so much energy that just listening to her makes you feel empowered and ready to make things happen. That’s why she is probably the most booked female speaker in th world. 

So what is the 5 second rule? 

“The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.” that’s a short recap from her blog.

Simple enough right? Easy to execute? Certainly not! I still loved the book and I’m looking forward to re-playing it again at the beginning of the new year. Watch her video here or you can get the book here

Contagious: Why Things Catch on – Johan Berger

Brilliant marketing book which lays down the fundamentals of why certain things become a huge success and what are the building blocks that are needed. The book uses real life examples revealing the psychology behind some of the most powerful campaigns and what you can learn from it. 

For a marketing book, it wasn’t actually a boring read and I really enjoyed it. The book focuses mainly on word of mouth and social transmission and reveals six basic facts which make something contagious. 

A great read for anyone who is into marketing, but its also great as a general knowledge book. 

The Miracle Morning – Hal Erold

This is the book that made me get up 6am in the morning. That was the reason I bought it and it did the job! For a few months at least, I’m recovering from a long break and looking forward to jumping back on the train.

The book presents a morning routine that will help even the hopeless cases like myself get out of bed. It’s based on a routine that is a mix of different activities which you will enjoy, even at 6am.  I have combined this routine with using my morning journal and doing my morning reading. 

My personal routine was something like this: morning pages (writing), yoga (or other physical activity), meditation, reading. The next element was visualisation which I never got to, but you are supposed to design a routine that works for you. The whole thing can take between 5 minutes to one hour, that’s up to you. It’s a great book for developing a routine that will set off your whole day on a right note. Because the way how your start your day will determine the rest of it, so it’s worth getting it right every morning.

The Curated Closet – Anuschka Rees

This book has been sitting on my desk for a few months now and I’m slowly working my way through it. I came across it because I know the blogger and she has written very good “how to” rebuilding wardrobe articles and guides for finding your own style. 

Those articles and much more advice has now been complied to a single book, which will guide you through defining your own style, identifying what you actually need vs what you think you need and narrowing down your choices to a wardrobe that you both love and find fucntional.

I’ve just completed the first stage where I got rid of 70-80% of my wardrobe and kept only the stuff I really used and loved. That also meant that when winter came, I did not have a single pair of sweatpants at home! 

If you feel like you’ve got a bit of fashion identity crisis, or your wardrobe is bursting with clothes and you have nothing to wear, give yourself this book to start fresh in 2019. Get the book here.

books to read December
books to read December

Other books that I enjoyed

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson – the idea of the book is that repetitive actions accumulate over time and lead to success. Most people give up along the way, not seeing the bigger picture. While I enjoyed the main message, the book felt a bit too much like the author’s biography. 

Books by Peter Gray – I’ve read three books from him on child development which I found eye-opening. Some of these books were written in the 60s and 70s yet they have points which are valid even today. Great insight into the mind of children and how they learn.

Where to Find Time to Read Books

Most of us probably have already a list of books they want to get to, but the earliest you get your hands on a book is actually on holiday. That’s what it used to be like for me too, until I changed my priorities and the way I structure my day.

First step was implementing the morning routine (see the Miracle Morning book I mentioned earlier) and after that exercise and limiting TV.

I used to read 10-15 minutes every morning after waking up at 6pm, and believe it or not it makes a world of difference. Especially if you read non-fiction books on self-development. The morning routine is one of the priorities I’m trying to get back to now.

I got a subscription for audible and started doing regular lunchtime walks which had a dramatic impact on my energy levels, and I dont consume that much coffee anymore. I get one audio book per month and enjoy that on my 30-40 mins walks each day.

And last but not least, we don’t have any TV channels at home, only netflix. I watch way less TV now, but would like to limit even Netflix as it’s really easy to get hooked up on a series and binge-watch. Instead of watching TV, I read my Kindle in bed or by the TV. Not great at it still, but working on limiting the TV as much as possible. 

I think part of the reason I managed to go through so many books this year is because they were all non-fiction. With fiction books, you either get into the story or not. With non-fiction I find it that there is always something useful to learn, improve yourself and find motivation to do the things you always wanted to do. 

Just a short disclaimer – I don’t happen to have the luxury of working random hours, I have a 9am to 6pm job, small child and 3 side projects that I’m working on in the evenings, weekends and early mornings. So I would be the first one to have an excuse of not having enough time to read. Everything is possible, just make it a priority.

Book Formats I Enjoy Now

Start of 2018, I ventured into a previously unexplored territory – audiobooks. It’s a concept that’s fairly new for me and I couldn’t get my head around why people would prefer to listen to someone instead of reading a book, it kind of defies the whole purpose of a book. But then I find a way how to make them compliment my lifestyle and we’ve been best buddies ever since.

I take daily walks at lunchtime, which takes around 30-40 mins on average. Some people prefer to listen to music while working out, but I found that listening to audiobook that I enjoy gives me an extra bit of motivation to get out of the house to actually do the exercise. I subscribed to audible where you can buy credits and purchase books from the shop. They run offers on credits so you can get one as cheap as 6 dollars and buy any book you want, as all of the books cost one credit.

I listen to non-fiction books only and the only problem I see with audiobooks is the fact that you can’t hold all that information in your head and can’t take notes while you’re walking. So that’s something I’m still trying to figure out.

I still have an extensive library on my Kindle, and the books I really love and want to keep as a physical copy I simply order in as an extra. I have two books like this so far and usually when I’m done with them, I give them away to friends.

books to read december

I hope you enjoyed this roundup and if you have any non-fiction that you would recommend, I’m all ears! Drop a comment below the post! 

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