Since I started this blog, whenever summer arrives I like to share the best books I’ve read in the last 12 months, and this year was no exception.
Below, you will find the titles that I have liked the most of all those that have passed through my hands since last summer.
If none of them convince you, you can take a look at my suggestions from previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
1. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
“The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals that had no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies, or jellyfish.”
—Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
I’ve never been one for history books, but I must say that this one fascinated me and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.
Sapiens tells of the evolution of human beings, from millions of years ago when we were simple monkeys to the present day. And it does it in a different way, analyzing our species “from the outside”, as if it were any other animal species.
This last detail is key, because it makes you see our history from a totally different point of view than the one in the school history book, and for me that is what makes Sapiens such a fascinating book.
And it is that, in addition to being interesting and entertaining, Sapiens makes you rethink many things that you surely took for granted.
In my opinion, a very top book.
If you’ve still read it, feel free to grab a copy.
And don’t be scared because of the fact that it’s a “history book”, because it’s not an insufficient tostón. It is written in a very entertaining way, more literary than technical, so it reads very well 🙂
Spanish: Sapiens: a brief history of humanity
2. Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio
“I became so afraid of being wrong that I went from thinking that ‘I’m right’ to wondering ‘how do I know if I’m right?’”
—Ray Dalio, Principles
I already recommended this book in 2016, but I recommend it again this year because before it was just a free PDF that the author shared on his website, and now it’s finally a real book, with its publisher, its paper version and everything. .
In case you had not heard of Principles, tell you that it is a compilation of the principles that follow ray dalio to manage your life and your business.
Ray Dalio is one of the brightest minds in the world.
is the owner of Bridgwater Associatesthe largest investment fund in the world, has a net worth of more than 15,000 million dollars, and is the person to whom ministers, presidents and bankers ask for advice on the economy (in the book he talks about his meetings with De Guindos, Lee Kuan Yew or with the Dalai Lama, among others).
Well, good old Ray has decided to compile his rules for living and running a company that he has been developing and perfecting throughout his 68 years of life, and has packaged them in a book that you can buy for less than 15 €.
All his wisdom for less than the cost of a dinner.
If you know English and haven’t read it yet, do it. It will change your life.
If you have already read the old version, buy the new one, because it has included a lot of new material and it is one of those books that is worth reading several times.
Spanish: Not available
English: Principles: Life and Work
3. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
“Your results are your title”
—Russell Brunson, Expert Secrets
This is the only marketing book I’ve read this year.
I didn’t plan to read any of them, because I’m a bit saturated with the subject, but I made an exception because of who the author is… and the truth is that I don’t regret it.
Russell Brunson is a genius.
A guy touched by the wand.
One day, sitting under an apple tree, he reached marketing enlightenment, and since then he sees everything in zeros and ones like the Matrix.
In Expert SecretsRussell tells in a simple and entertaining way what it is that makes people believe in something (an idea, a social movement, a solution), and then explains step by step how to apply all that in a webinar to sell your product or service.
Personally, I find it a brilliant book for two reasons:
- It doesn’t focus on online marketing tactics that will go out of style in a few years, but on the principles of human psychology that make those tactics work.
- It explains everything in such an easy and clear way, with so many little drawings, diagrams and examples, that anyone can understand it.
If you sell anything online or offline, or if you’re simply interested in what drives people to buy products or ideas, Expert Secrets it’s a must read.
Spanish: Not available
English: Expert Secrets
4. “Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard Feynman
“Nobody manages to discover what life consists of, and nothing happens. Explore the world! Almost everything is interesting if you dig into it long enough.”
— Richard Feynman, “Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman!”
Richard Feynmann He was one of the most important theoretical physicists in the world, even receiving the Nobel Prize in 1965. But above all, he was a genius and a character without equal.
In this autobiographical book, Feynman shares different anecdotes from his personal and professional life, and although said like that it may seem like the most boring thing in the world (who wants to read about the life of a theoretical physicist?), I can assure you that it is everything contrary.
I have never met anyone who has done so many things, and who has had adventures as varied and colorful as this man.
Their stories include:
- How Richard learned to open safes as a hobby while working on the atomic bomb
- How he went to teach in Brazil for a year and ended up learning Portuguese and playing the bongo at carnivals
- How he took to learning to paint from scratch, and became so good that he managed to have his own painting exhibition
… And a long etcetera.
The more I read about Feynman, the more I admired him for his curiosity, his honesty, and his zest for life, and the more I wanted to meet him in person.
If you’re looking for my definition of a life well lived, you’ll find it in this book.
Spanish: It exists, but the translation is horrible. Do not buy it
5. Skin in the Game, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Skin in the game: being exposed to the real world, and paying the price for its consequences, good or bad.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game
taleb He is a modern philosopher who writes books about how the world works today, in which he talks about risk, chance, asymmetries and other fascinating topics.
I warn you that they are deep books and difficult to read, but they are worth it because as my friend Joan says:
“You don’t understand half of Taleb, but the other half changes your life”
I had already recommended some of his works on the blog, such as antifragile either Fooled by Randomnessand this year I have to recommend your new publication, Skin in the Gamein which he explores this concept and its consequences in the real world.
If you have never heard of it, having “skin in the game” means that the consequences of your actions affect you directly.
For example, an entrepreneur has skin in the game because if you make bad decisions, you lose your own money and your business ends up bankrupt. However, a senior manager of a savings bank does not have skin in the game because, even if he does it fatally and ruins the company, he will continue to earn a million-dollar salary.
The presence or non-presence of skin in the game in different areas of our society it has more consequences than we think, and in his book Taleb analyzes exactly what its impact is on our lives.
A work that will make you reflect and help you understand why some aspects of the world work the way they do.
Spanish: Not available
English: Skin in the Game
6. Tiago Forte
I heard about Tiago Forte for the first time on the podcast of nat eliason.
Nat said that he had bought his productivity course Get Stuff Done Like a Boss and that it was the best 50 bucks he had ever invested, so I decided to take a look at his blog to see who this guy was.
What I found surprised me.
Instead of the typical posts with tips for using a specific tool or with “10 tips to be more productive”, which do not add anything new, I found much more in-depth and totally original articles on digital organization systems, how to best summarize for create a “second brain” or the theory of limitations.
I loved what I read so I started following him more closely and have since purchased two of his courses, implemented several of his systems in my company and subscribed to his paid articles and I have no doubt that one day this kid will be one of the benchmarks in the world of productivity.
Eye! What Tiago writes is not for everyone. I think that to like it you have to be a bit of a geek about productivity, organization and systems. But if you like these songs, I think you’ll love what he does.
Take a look at their website and judge for yourself 🙂
7. The island of the bird catchers, by Peter May
I always like to end my list of recommendations with a novel, usually a crime novel (my favorite genre), and this year’s is The island of the bird hunters.
The story takes place in a small town in the isle of lewis called Ness, in deep Scotland, where they have a strange tradition: every year a group of 10 men go for a week to an islet called Sula Sgeir and kill 2,000 gugas (a type of bird).
One fine day, they find one of its inhabitants murdered in the town, and a detective who works in Glasgow but who was born on the island returns to his hometown to investigate… and that’s as far as I can tell you 🙂
I would not qualify this book as a crime novel, because there are no serial killers, no torture, and not even a lot of action. I would say that it is more of an intrigue novel… but even so, I loved it.
It hooked me from the first chapter, it made me go back to my childhood and made me feel like I was in those lost islands of the world, which I still haven’t had the pleasure of meeting in person.
A perfect read for the summer.
Spanish: The island of the bird hunters
Now it’s your turn 🙂
What has been the book that has impacted you the most or changed your life this year? Tell us in the comments!
Today I’m leaving for Costa Rica and officially starting my summer vacation (if you’re from there and you’re going to be in San José on Saturday, August 4, let me know!).
After a few very intense months, I need to disconnect, so I won’t take my laptop with me.
I’ll be back in September, with my batteries recharged and my head full of ideas for new content 🙂
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