Reading List

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truthfully, I was never a reader growing up (read more here). It wasn’t until I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as an adult that I started to question the way we do things as a society. That book was the beginning of a rabbit hole journey of self-knowledge, discovery, and infinite learning.

Here are my book notes, lessons, summaries, and thoughts on the books I’ve read over the last few years. This page will constantly be updated as I read more.

Alcohol 

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate (10/10) (Amazon)

  • If you absolutely love cocktails and would love to own a beautiful book all on Tiki history and rum, this is your book. I frequently reference this book as I make my cocktails every Friday!

Rum Curious by Fred Minnick (7/10) (Amazon)

  • I am an absolute rum fanatic. I think rums are underrated and there is a good rum for everyone. This wasn’t a cocktail book like Smuggler’s Cove, but rather gave in-depth information on rum, its variation, and history. (Plus, there are rum recommendations at the end of the book).

Biographies/Memoirs 

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (10/10) (Amazon)

  • This is Phil Knight’s memoir on building NIKE. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to the budding entrepreneur who’s chasing their dreams. (It also made me a little guilty for wearing Adidas).

So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister by Anna Akana (10/10) (Amazon)

  • If there’s one person I enjoy on Youtube, it’s Anna Akana. She touches on sensitive topics such as her sister’s suicide, depression, failure to how those inspire her to be much bigger. Seriously, she’s my spirit animal.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (10/10) (Amazon)

  • As the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, I felt very connected to this book. This graphic novel had amazing artwork and it really made me appreciate the sacrifices my family had to go through for me to be here in America.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (8/10) (Amazon)

  • To think what happened to Anne Frank before the publication of this book makes me sad… and hopeful at the same time. Anne wrote beautifully and this diary gave insight into Nazi regime.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (8/10) (Amazon)

  • One of my favorite TV shows is Parks and Recs… so naturally, I picked up this book. You get a very raw Amy Poehler through the book.

Career Guides

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris (8/10) (Amazon)

  • If there’s one person I could pick as a mentor, it’d be Tim Ferris. I’ve listened to both of his podcasts, The Tim Ferris Show and Tribe of Mentors and found

Psychology

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (10/10) (Amazon)

  • I have never thought of habits as the key major factor in our success until I read this book. It is because of this book that I am so diligent about my morning routine now.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (9/10) (Amazon)

  • Honestly, the first time I skimmed this book, I thought it would be full of knowledge of stuff I already knew. Of course, it is the stuff that we already know that needs to be repeated over and over until we actually apply it.

Grit by Angela Duckworth (8/10) (Amazon)

  • Grit isn’t hard work. It’s a mix of persistence and passion. Mind-blowing concept and now I strive to be a bit more grittier in the things I do.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay (8/10) (Amazon)

  • Everyone in their 20s or about to be in their 20s should read this book.

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff (8/10) (Amazon)

Philosophy 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (10/10) (Amazon)

  • If there is one book I recommend or give out the most, it’s this book. This book completely changed my life for the better – and it’s not all about tidying up either.

Letters from a Stoic by Seneca (9/10) (Amazon)

  • Advice for the death of a friend? These letters were written 2,000 years ago and the advice is still as sound as it was than as it is today.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday (9/10) (Amazon)

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (9/10) (Amazon)

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (9/10) (Amazon)

  • This is a short read.

Lying by Sam Harris (8/10) (Amazon)

  • A short read that you’ll get through in a seating. If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s to never lie (even white lie) because of the reprocussions it causes.

Personal Finance 

I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi (8/10) (Amazon)

  • Still relatively good information despite being published nearly 10 years ago! I recommend this book especially if you’re in college (after all, our youths aren’t being taught money management whatsoever.

Financial Independence / Early Retirement

I put this section in it’s own category as I feel Financial Independence / Early Retirement (or FIRE) books are an ‘advanced’ level of Personal Finance. Nothing wrong with reading these, but the concepts will be more foreign to the average person (eg. advise such as save 50% of your income) if you don’t have your personal finances set. I recommend reading these books after basic understanding of your personal finances. 

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin (10/10) (Amazon)

  • This book started the movement for the Financial Independence movement. Ask yourself how much you’re spending your life energy on things that don’t matter.

Your Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins (10/10) (Amazon)

  • This is a must read. The ideas and concepts are pretty crystal clear in here as they are written by the granddaddy of FI himself!

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker (7/10) (Amazon)

  • Most of the information was good, but there was also a lot of filler/unnecessary information.

Public Speaking / Communication 

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun (9/10) (Amazon)

  • I read this book shortly after I joined Toastmaster as I wanted to be an effective public speaker. This book will give you techniques into how you can hone your public speaking skills and confidence.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier (9/10) (Amazon)

  • Straightforward and to the point! This was an easy read with very actionable steps to take to step up your interpersonal communication.

Marketing

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout (10/10) (Amazon)

  • There are 22 laws to marketing… don’t break them! This was an easy and clear read that I will be referencing a lot.

The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert (10/10) (Amazon)

  • For a marketing book, this was such a fun read! I almost wished I had a pops in prison sending me letters on life and marketing.

Love, Romance, Dating

Modern Romance by Azis Ansari (8/10) (Amazon)

  • The research in here is pretty informative, as it covers how the younger generation now date (with help thanks to technology and such). With Azis’s humor sprinkled all over the book, it’s hard to put down.

Management

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio (9/10) (Amazon)

  • (FYI, this would have scored a 10/10 if the work principles applied to my life). Ray Dalio is the Steve Jobs of investing. Principles is broken up into two section – Life & Work. The Life Principles will go through effective decision-making whilst the Work Principles go through management principles. An excellent read.

Memory 

The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks by Dr. Mike Dow (7/10) (Amazon)

Self-Help

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (8/10) (Amazon)

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason (8/10) (Amazon)

The Invisible Leader: Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose by Zach Mercurio (8/10) (Amazon)

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant (9/10) (Amazon)

Poetry 

Salt by Nayyirah Waheed (10/10) (Amazon)

  • One of my friends, Jenn, gifted me this book when I was having trouble sleeping. I only digested 10 or so pages at a time because the words were so powerful.

Uncategorized

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh (9/10) (Amazon)

  • I read this book for two reasons: Bill Gates had it in his recommended list and well… the meme. As much of a satire it really is, Brosh covers topics such as depression beautifully in a way that you wouldn’t want to put down the book.

Fiction

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

  • Confession: I’ve watched all the Harry Potter movies, but never read past the 3rd book growing up. Reading this as an adult was a magical experience and I felt like I was transported into the Wizardy World of Hogwarts.

Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

  • This is a historical fiction piece that I enjoyed a lot. It follows a Korean family living in Japan through the generations (1930s through 1980s). I never knew of the harsh conditions Koreans had it in Japan and this book really opened my eyes.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  • I read this in high school, but had the inkling to re-read this as an adult.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Children’s 

Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi 

  • This was on Reddit’s Top 200 list. The title caught my eye and I naturally had to read it. This book is amazing and I wish I read this when I was 5 or so.

What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada 

  • My brother got me this beautifully illustrated children’s book and I truly think the lesson can be remembered.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • Before The Harry Potter series dethroned it, The Little Prince was the most bought children book in the world. I’ve never read this as a kid and wanted a break in between all the nonfiction I read. What can I say – wow, the lessons here about having to grow up really sticks with you.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

  • I went on a Wes Anderson movie binge earlier in 2017 and was surprised to find that Anderson did a Roald Dahl book adaptation. Dahl is one of my favorite children’s author (along with Shel Silverstein of Where the Sidewalk Ends) and realized I never gave this Dahl book a go.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

  • I had an itching to reread this book for quite some time now. I originally read it in 3rd or 4th grade and thought it was amazing how some 13-year-old survived in the wilderness.