The amount of reading I do goes in waves. I aspire to read much more than I did in 2016. A good year for me is 10-15 books, but this year was far fewer: just 5. I typically read non-fiction (biographies, business, behavioral economics, personal improvement, etc), but this year 40% of the books I read were fiction. Here is a list of what I read in 2016:
I actually started this book in 2015 but it took me a while to finish it, mostly due to its size. This book was written by a family friend who passed away in 2016, a couple months after I finished reading this book. Gideon's Children is historical fiction, based on the early adulthood of the author. It chronicles the efforts of a group of public defenders in the Los Angeles area during the 1960's as they fought for the rights of African American's in the legal system. If you are a legal wonk or a student of civil rights, you'll enjoy this book.
Shoe Dog is the first person telling of Nike's origin story. As a life long sneaker head, University of Oregon alum, occasional entrepreneur, and former Nike employee, this book was exactly what I needed in 2016! Knight focuses the book on the years after Stanford, and leading up to the company's IPO. Its a great telling of the entrepreneurial journey that often comes with financial woes, growing pains, relationship struggles, and more. I'd recommend every entrepreneur read it, as well as any Nike or footwear enthusiast.
Another book written by a friend, this short story was a fun tale of a lonely man dreaming to be a super hero. Its a great read for a teen or an adult looking for a quick escape. As someone that doesn't read much fiction, I didn't expect to like the story as much as I did (the twist at the end got me)! Jonny's next book is coming out soon, and he even has a teen novel published under a similar, but more noble author name!
A business book, and the most simple books I've read, but one I really enjoyed! Sprint uses real world examples and a straight forward framework to teach teams & entrepreneurs how to validate product ideas quickly. Using this framework, in just 5 days, teams can select a problem to solve, generate ideas, select a path forward, build a prototype, and test with customers/users. After reading this book, I am determined to use this process in my work during 2017! If you are an Engineer, Product Manager, or Entrepreneur of any kind, I highly recommend this book. Think outside the box, its not just for software or technology products!
This book came as a recommendation from one of the Product Management leaders I work with at New Relic. Its part "how to turn the ship around" and part "how to be honest and direct in work conversations." Effective communication is something I am fascinated with, in part because I screw it up more often than I'd like. I am in the middle of this book, a victim of my choices to spend free time doing less valuable things than reading, but I am committed to finishing it up soon.
What books did you read last year, and what are your reading goals for 2017? Share by tweeting at me!