A friend inspired me to take a closer look at what I read. After reading a book, he writes a short summary of the main learnings, ideas and favorite quotes from the book. He sets a calendar reminder to review the summary after a month. He reviews his initial summary once he had the chance to digest and try the new information out in the real world.
A book is like a software update for our operating system. Be it mind, body, soul, or overall knowledge of self or the world. Wouldn’t it be great to pay more attention to what we put it and how to best make use of the new code?!
Without further ado, my 2018 Reads List:
2018 Reads: Life and other stories
Starting with my absolute favourite:
- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – a captivating novel of love, adventure, and discovery. After the big success of Eat, Pray, Love the author followed her curiosity. Her seemingly random interest in gardening grew into extensive international long research into the 18th and 19th century of botanical exploration. It eventually turned into this breath-taking novel.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. It was a light read. It first annoyed me with the abundant use of the f*ck word, then got me inspired, but all in all, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. I somehow never read the Winnie the Pooh stories until Gabor Mate spoke about it on the Tim Ferriss podcast. Gabor sparked my interest, claiming that there’s so much to learn from Winnie Pooh and his friends. I didn’t quite recognize myself, but I do share Winnie’s love for honey and adventure.
- What You Should Know About Your Child by Maria Montessori – eye-opening. I’ve been always curious about the Montessori educational method and I was amazed that it dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and was established by a kick-ass, rule-breaking educator, physician, and educator Maria Montessori.
2018 Reads: Memoirs
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – the beautifully written memoir of a young neurosurgeon who despite his cancer diagnosis decides to give life to his daughter shortly before he dies. Death was something he experienced through his patients, now it was knocking on his door. Deeply touching, it left me with a lot of thoughts about life and death and what’s my time worth spending on.
- Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner – another memoir. The author’s attempt to put together 3 generations under a roof ends up into a disastrous generational clash. It was a thrilling read, very relatable – who doesn’t have ‘mother issues’
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. My obsession with Mindy Kaling started with her TV show The Mindy
Project ,and continued with her 2 autobiographical books. An actress, show producer, comedian, writer – it was strangely entertaining to peek into her personal and career life.
- Why not me? The second book by Mindy Kaling
- Sinclair – The true story of one man’s search for enlightenment – by Marc Steinberg. I attended a Creative Consciousness retreat lead by Marc himself and it got me curious to learn more about his life which is anything but “by the book”.
2018 Reads: Mind
- The Elon Musk Series on the WaitByWait blog – this is not really a book but it is as long and well-researched as a book. It covers almost everything Elon Musks is up
to:The Deal With Solar City, The Deal With the Hyperloop, SpaceX’s Big Fucking Rocket — The Full Story, SpaceX’s Big Fucking Rocket — The Full Story ,How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars .I’ve learnta tremendous amount about these topics while being entertained by Tim Urban’s illustrations and writing style.
- The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World. The short book reveals the author’s exploration into the mind’s remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness.
2018 Reads: Body
- Fit for life – by Harvey and Marilyn Diamonds – an oldie but goodie. It covers the basics of healthy nutrition – when what and what combinations of food to eat. It inspired me to make a few tweaks in the way I eat. I even lost a few kilograms.
- Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them – by Louise Hay – the title says it all. A short but powerful book on how to heal our bodies by attending to our emotional and psychological needs first.
- Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period by Lisa Lister – another title that speaks for itself. A must-read for every woman and every man who wants to understand the women in his life. This book has opened my eyes to how my feminine body works, what causes the sudden mood changes and how to love and appreciate my cyclical nature. I often refer back to this book when I feel blue. Guess what – it’s the hormones, it’s not me.
2018 Reads: Soul
- The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron – it’s a book you can never finish reading. It provides the key to awakening the creativity in you. I learned two life-changing practices: Journaling and Creative dates. This book has helped me so much in overcoming my creative blocks and has brought so much delight in my life!
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff – this book was a soul-soothing game changer. I have a particularly hard-to-please inner critic. This book not only taught me how to get to know her but also many practical tools and practices to make friends with her. Highly recommended!
- The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm – another classic – a rich and detailed guide to love. Everyone should read this book.
- Passion for Awareness – another book by Marc Steinberg. It became a bit too philosophical, I don’t think I finished it.
- Subtle Energy Techniques by Cyndi Dale – a short one, many interesting techniques. I use one of them.
2018 Reads: Money
- Rich Dad’s Advisors: The Advanced Guide to Real Estate Investing: How to Identify the Hottest Markets and Secure the Best Deals – Wow! This the only personal finance book for this year … A lot of details and insights on how to invest BIG in big multi-apartment buildings. It is more applicable to the USA market, not so much in Germany, where I live.
- The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman – a very detailed, and rather basic book which makes the bold statement that you can save yourself the time and money – the book provides all the information covered in
2018 Reads: Purpose
- Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul by Shawn Askinosie, founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate – a company born in the spirit of sustainable farming and quality chocolate production. It’s beautifully written, tells the inspiring story of a criminal defence lawyer who made a career change to making chocolate and making the world a better place. The book provides good insider information on what’s really “fair-trade”, profit sharing with the community methods and sustainable farming. The biggest discovery for me was to see how a profitable business with a delightful luxury product can be combined with community building, education
- Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future by Ayse Birsel – a beautifully illustrated book about how to apply the Design (thinking) approach to life and career
2018 Reads: Writing
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – If you want to learn about writing, who do you go to?! To the masters, of course. This book was an utter delight to read – short, up-to-the-point and full of stories from the author’s life and creative process.
- On Writing Well: The Classic guide to writing non-fiction – by William Zinsser – first published in 1976, this book has been continually re-edited and updated. A treasure of technical details on how to write well. This book reminded me of the joy of writing well, of sculpting the words into a meaningful token of information, of style, of getting my message across, of grammar. Interestingly enough, it was again the Tim Ferriss podcast which inspired me to look into these topics. His guest Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp, also an author, was speaking a lot about the importance of being able to communicate clearly and effectively.
2018 Reads: Bulgarian Books
- Животът може да е чудо (Life Can Be a Miracle) by Ivinela Samuilova – My discovery for the year are Ivinela’s heartwarming and spirit lifting books.
- Ако животът не е чудо by Ivinela Samuilova – the second of the series
- Бабо, Разкажи ми Спомен by Ivinela Samuilova – it’s like coming back home. It took me way back to my childhood in the quiet mountain village where I spent many summers with my grandmother. It reminded me of the simple life, the forest, the views, the animals, the very delicious meals, and the hospitable neighbours and family.
- Къде отиваш, пътнико? by Ivinela Samuilova – the author’s Camino de Santiago adventure. I had the pleasure to read this book while I was walking the Camino this year.
- Близки срещи със смесени чувства by Maria Kasimova
Moase– a collection of intimate short stories I couldn’t put down. A memoir of the Bulgarian journalist who I met personally at the book tour in Berlin.
- Камино – Пътят на завръщането by Tihomir Ivanov – another book on the Camino, by another young Bulgarian author. I loved to read about the places along the French way I’ve also been to. The author followed a rigid plan, running to catch up with his schedule, all stressed out only to get injured midway. I wanted to scream at him: Chill out, why are you in such a hurry?! I guess by the end of the journey, he discovered it himself.
- За Богомилите от “уста на ухо” by Damyan Pophristov – the captivating history of early Christianity on the Balkan peninsula.
- Гладът – приятел и лекарство. Българската система за лечебно гладуване by Lidia Kovacheva – the amazing life work of the author who healed herself and consequently hundreds of people’s severe medical conditions with hunger treatments and major changes to their nutrition.
I wish I had written down the main discoveries and learnings right after I finished reading a book. As I write the book summaries now, I feel like peeking through spider nets, and clouds of dust in my brain to bring back memories about what these books were about… I guess my brain is pretty efficient that way – it discards everything that’s not immediately needed or put in practice.
How has it been to you? What’s your favourite book of the year? What rituals and practices do you have around reading? I’m looking forward to hear from you! Read on!
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