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The books I read in 2017

The books I read in 2017

One of my most important goals each year is to read a lot of books.

In the last two years, the aim was to read at least twenty books annually. Short or long, fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to follow my curiosities, learn and enjoy.

To hit the goal of twenty books, I need a habit of reading, so spending at least a bit of time with a book on a daily basis counts as one of the few significant wins in any given day.

When it comes to my reading habits, I mostly listen to audiobooks, predominantly non-fiction. While reviewing my 2016 reading list, I realized that I’ve read non-fiction exclusively, so my 2017 reading goals included the addition of some non-fiction as well.

As you’ll see from the list below, I didn’t completely follow P.J. O’Rourke’s advice that we should always read something that will make us look good if we die in the middle of it, but I did learn, grew, and occasionally found answers to some of my challenges and heartaches.


The books I read in 2017 (in order of preference)


1. Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts) by James Hollis

  • a deep dive into challenges of men in a today’s society
  • the book reveals men’s secrets, the shadows, and their manifestations, predominantly through the lens of analytic psychology
  • this book spoke to me on a profound level, offered insights into my behaviors, troubles, fears, and placed me on a new, broader path of self-work

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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2. Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

  • reveals the ingredients of creating works that have a potential to last, and equally important, how to appropriately market those
  • as a creator, marketing is your responsibility, it’s not something you can easily outsource

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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3. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

  • our species developed in tribal societies which functioned significantly different than our present culture and that imposes one of the most prominent contemporary challenges
  • in my opinion, it addresses the issue well, more than resolving it, but it’s still valuable since it vividly brings the challenge to the forefront and encourages reflection on the topic

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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4. Ask the Dust by John Fante

  • one of the first novels I’ve read in a long time
  • if you don’t read non-fiction, this is a good start
  • I’ve visited Los Angeles for the first time when I was reading it, which was a delightful combination since a lot of the novel takes place in L.A.

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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5. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday

  • a compilation of citations from the classic stoic works accompanied with a short contemporary reflection
  • conceived as a story/excerpt per day, to be studied throughout the whole year, but similarly useful to read in a shorter timespan (as I did)

My recommendation: Recommended

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6. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

  • a fantastic story on building Pixar and the creation of some of their best movies (at the same time describing the general concepts of creativity and creative teams)

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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7. Radical Self-Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame by Tara Brach

  • a short audio program which aims to teach how to accept ourselves, especially the parts which lurk in the shadow
  • it’s about leaning in and embracing what we too often avoid
  • I was dealing with some heartaches at the end of 2017, and this program helped me in managing that

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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8. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

  • this book addresses the issue of fragmented/shallow work, which is often a characteristic of our contemporary work habits
  • it describes a better approach to doing relevant work

My recommendation: Recommended

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9. #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

  • if you like Gary Vaynerchuk, you’ll love this
  • if you don’t know anything about him, give it a shot, it’s packed full of his contagious energy and life/work nuggets
  • especially useful for his approach to, and in-depth knowledge of, entrepreneurship and social media

My recommendation: Recommended

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10. Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards

  • from the first impression to working and sharing life with people, this book teaches the science and art of understanding them and making the most out of each interaction
  • at the same time, it provides tools with which we can make an in-depth examination of ourselves

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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11. Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette Jiwa

  • a short guide to one of the most important differentiating factors in development and marketing of new ideas, be it a simple project, an ambitious business, or anything else which requires an audience or customers

My recommendation: Recommended

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12. Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins

  • a systematic and inspirational manual with lessons on how to thrive as a creative professional/artist in the contemporary marketplace

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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13. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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14. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

  • a profound mix of poetry, philosophy, wisdom, mystique
  • I first started listening to the audiobook, but it was difficult to follow along since each line invites contemplation, so I got a printed edition, which was a more appropriate way to consume this work
  • as an A-type personality seeking practical advice, this proved to be a challenging read, but in the end, that was the most significant benefit of this book

My recommendation: Recommended

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15. Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing by Bernadette Jiwa

  • a guidebook to conceiving and marketing a business or a project, through the lens of what actually matters in the new connection economy

My recommendation: Recommended

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16. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

  • fresh strategies and tactics for the new world of marketing, by one of the leading practitioners

My recommendation: Recommended

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17. Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson

  • as someone who became single after a long committed relationship, meeting women and dating was a huge challenge, so I turned to literature and other content to learn about that
  • this book is a fun, practical and mature guide for men who are stuck or want to improve the way they meet, seduce or have relationships with women
  • however, the book I would most recommend in this domain is Mate: Become the Man Women Want, by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller, which I’ve read in 2016
  • don’t let the somewhat peculiar/immature book titles or covers discourage you from giving both books a try

My recommendation: Optional read (if you’ve read Mate)

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18. Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

  • a short and practical guide to remote work
  • I’ve been a fan of remote work for a while, and since in 2017 I started working remotely again, I found this as a useful resource

My recommendation: Recommended

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19. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

  • an inspirational espresso shot for any creative

My recommendation: Recommended

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20. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

  • a classic Coelho, a fun and light read

My recommendation: Optional read

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Books I've re-read in 2017 (in order of preference)


The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

  • one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read, it unquestionably changed my life for the better
  • the book introduces the practice of stoicism in a compelling and practical way
  • I re-read this book at least once a year, often during more stressful periods, since it helps me to put things into perspective and focus on what matters

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin

  • basic premise: we’ve been deceived into flying too low, which doesn’t serve us, or the culture
  • the book offers a poetic take on a contemporary world of work/art, with why’s and how’s on flying higher
  • I’ve been listening to it almost every day before going to sleep during most of 2017
  • I discover different nuggets of wisdom with every new listen

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack Trout

  • one of the best books on marketing and its core principles
  • a true classic of the genre

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

  • an interesting take on how to approach life if you want to be more content and authentic, told with a casual and genuine tone of voice

My recommendation: Highly recommended

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P.S. What great books have you read lately?

I’m always on the lookout for the next book to read, so let me know in the comments below, or contact me more privately.

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