My Favorite 66 Books Read in 2017

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18 min read. Personal.

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I listen to a lot of audiobooks. 72 in 2016, 78 in 2015, 44 in 2014 and 66 (!) in 2017. I started listening to more podcasts this past year, which lowered the number a little bit. Most people that know me in person have seen me walking around with a single-ear Bluetooth earbud. I can’t listen to books while working, writing or programming, but if I’m doing anything else alone I’ll have an earpiece in. I thought it would be interesting to look back at 2017 and see what books stood out!

Not all of the books came out in 2017, but 2017 is the year I read them. Some of these books I’ve read before, but I’m including all books read or re-read in 2017 in here. This order is by where they are relative to each other for me at this moment in time. Before getting to the full list of books, let’s look at some high-level stats!

Breakdown

I tend to lean towards fantasy, science fiction when it comes to fiction. For non-fiction, I prefer science, technology, business, productivity and self-improvement. Compared to previous years, I think I rated many more books higher – which could mean I’m being a little more picky about what I listen to. Here’s the individual breakdown for the year:

  • 23 – Non-fiction (35%)
  • 19 – Fantasy (28%)
  • 10 – Science Fiction (16%)
  • 9 – Fiction (14%)
  • 5 – Memoir (7%)

I read 14 books by women, 52 by men – which is still crazy skewed. In 2016 I made more of an effort to read more books by women, which resulted in a still measly 15 out of 75. This year I didn’t make a conscious effort to do this. I’m always on the lookout for voices outside my sphere, especially in sci-fi/fantasy/memoir. This is an area I could still improve on in 2018.

I re-read/listened to 4 books this year, including the long and exciting Stormlight Archive books 1 & 2. There are many other books I have on my list to re-read  (Hyperion comes to mind) that I might revisit in 2018. I want to spend some time in 2018 revisiting these memorable ones.

The Books

Here are the 66 books I read (well, mostly listened to) in 2017. This list doesn’t have 66 books on it because they’re grouped by series with the highest book in the series used for ordering purposes. They’re listed from favorite to least favorite. I’m using a 5-star scale for these to add more separation between them.

1) The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (2007-?)

This was my favorite book/series I read this year. This series includes these 3 books so far, the 3rd being a short story. A final full-length 3rd book in the trilogy is planned for someday down the line.

This book is both a literary masterpiece as well as amazing fantasy writing with deep, flawed characters and a fully developed world. The story follows Kvothe, the main protagonist as he learns about underlying magic and world around him. This book covers so many different subjects that any review would leave them out. There are people who speak and convey emotion with their hands as they talk, entrancing performances which leave people awestruck and a love story tying things together. If you love amazing fantasy, check this out.

2) Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons 5/5

Dan Lyons is amazing. I remember reading Fake Steve Jobs, his secret identity, years earlier without ever knowing it was him. He’s been a writer at Forbes, Newsweek, and ReadWriteWeb before eventually joining HubSpot – which was the trigger for this book. If you enjoy the HBO show Silicon Valley, you’ll probably love this one. It is a real-life tale of the craziness that is working at a startup trying to go through an IPO at a time of crazy growth and questionable decisions.

What I loved about this story was just how true it was to my own experiences in startups. He jokes about HubSpots orange logo (I work at a company with an orange logo), or about how the company is referred to as a unicorn, a $1b+ valued private company (I work at a “unicorn” as well).

3) Magic 2.0 by Scott Meyer (2013-?) 5/5

Bridging fantasy, comedy and science fiction, this hilarious series kept me laughing throughout a year when I desperately needed that escape. There are already 4 books in the series, and they are all tremendous fun.

The premise of the series is very straightforward. There is a file on a server that controls all settings of the entire world. How much money you have in your bank account? It’s a number in this file. How tall are you? It’s in this file. The year your character lives in? Also in this file.

The File is found by computer programmers investigating old servers where the fun starts. After getting in trouble in the present, men have a tendency to go back in time to medieval England and use their new-found powers of creation to become Wizards (women tend to go to Atlantis). The lack of seriousness adds brevity to the story, enabling it to stay in the land of hilarity.

Although the series is ongoing, each book ends in a good place to be able to stop wherever you want. You should start at the beginning though.

4) We Are Bob by Dennis E. Taylor (2016-2017) 5/5

The comedic tone of We Are Bob is similar in many ways to Magic 2.0, but with a space/science fiction setting. The series consists of 3 books – 2 that came out just this year (Taylor is a crazy fast writer!).

Bob just got extremely lucky. He sold his startup and is now financially independent! With a bright future, he walks out of the office, gets hit by a bus and dies. (this is chapter 1, so don’t worry about spoilers).

The rest of the series follows a future where his consciousness is revived to be put in charge of managing a system. In the future, this happens often – for systems as basic as garbage trucks to power systems to rockets. The remainder of the story follows as Bob manages his system (and creates copies of himself – hence the title “We are Bob”). The Star Trek references help keep the story light and comical.

5) How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey (2015) 5/5

For the last 7 years, one of my biggest focuses has been teaching people how to code. At Pluralsight, we recently read How We Learn as a group and talked about the takeaways. What was most interesting to me about this one was how many things I wouldn’t have known actually help people learn. For example:

  • Taking a pre-test before you know anything helps people attach to ideas better when they’re taught.
  • The more touches of a material the better – even if you completely forget between sessions.
  • Studying in a loud space (like a coffee shop) can yield better results than in a quiet room.
  • Deliberate interruptions can help remember the material more.

6) The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (2010-?)

This series could easily be #1 here, but since this year I re-read books 1 & 2, I’m moving it a little lower. This series is Sanderson’s lasting epic and it’s just getting started. The series may go beyond 10 books, with only these 3 out so far:

These books are ambitious and amazing. If you’ve ever looked at the NPR Scifi Top 100 flowchart , you’ll see this series right next to Game Of Thrones – which makes complete sense. The series jumps between characters in a world ravaged by war. Sanderson writes absolutely amazing characters, and each one in this series is fully fleshed out person with motives and dreams. Even 3 books in the magic of the world is still slowly being unlocked – but not so slowly that it ever feels like the story is dragging.

7) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (2016) 5/5

This book was a fun, in your face reminder to communicate my own needs. That’s the top takeaway from this – find out how to be happy yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, and be sure to practice joy. Although it has an in-your-face title, the topics covered are all great personal health advice on how to be mindful and control your emotions.

8) Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (2016) 5/5

This book is a story of hustle. Knight started Nike, and in doing so revolutionized the shoe business. This memoir follows the growth of Nike and the dedication involved in creating a company that would become a household name.

What stood out to me most was that Knight didn’t start Nike with the hope that it would become what it was today. He was just a runner who was passionate about running and helping people. He created his OWN shoes to help, and worked with mentors help improve the product.

9) Artemis by Andy Weir (2017) 5/5

Andy Weir hit it out of the park with The Martian – leaving me to wonder if he would be a one-hit wonder. He’s not. Artemis sets a tone that’s different enough to feel new, but still like Weir. The setting: a future where the Moon is inhabited by 35,000 people – mostly tradesmen and service jobs who support the thriving Moon tourism industry. Like The Martian, what makes this book great is the attention to detail in the science and world building. Ever details makes sense – down to the science behind why coffee sucks in space.

10) The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins (2016) 5/5

It’s rare for me to read a financial book and nod in agreement so much. Even still J.L. Collins presented a few ideas that challenged my own view on investing – which was happily unexpected. In addition to index fund investing and taking advantage of tax-free growth, two areas he mentioned stood out as things I’ve advised that he recommends against: dollar cost averaging and international funds. If the market grows more often than not over time, then why DCA? If international markets overwhelmingly track the US market, why invest in intl? Both good questions that I don’t have great answers to. Either way, they got me thinking.

11) Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle (2016) 5/5

I spotted this book browsing a bookstore and ended up adding it to my Christmas list in 2016. It’s been a reference on my bookshelf ever since. The focus is on practical life changes that help organize, declutter and create a happier, healthier space for you to live. Beyond merely eliminating stuff, Boyle goes into cleaning and even aromatherapy – areas I wasn’t expecting but found interesting.

12) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 5/5

I found this exploration into what it means to be human to have completely new ideas I hadn’t seen presented anywhere else. One of the topics that stuck with me was the concept that humans are defined by our ability to make things up that others believe. This includes things like rules, currency, trust, laws, social norms, and many more invisible beliefs which have allowed our civilization to thrive.

13) Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

Eddie Huang is a character. He grew up in Orlando in the 90s – making this story connect all that much more with my Florida-self.

We’ve been fans of the TV show based on this memoir for a while but hadn’t taken the time to dive into the book until this year. Eddie is an asian American growing up with traditional parents trying to fit in. Story after story touches on familiar 90s themes as well as non-stop in-jokes about Orlando.

14) The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians trilogy is surprisingly good. The TV show on Scifi actually does the story justice, even if it’s not following the source material. It’s a gritty but fun world filled with magic that doesn’t take itself too seriously (but things are serious). I read the first in the series in 2016, which is why it’s not listed here.

You could think of The Magicians as Harry Potter for adults. It’s a world that goes from PG to R fast.

15) Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan (2013) 5/5

Mrs. Minafi read this one and recommended it – and I’m glad she did! The story follows a couple on a trip to Singapore for a friends wedding. Singapore is a place I’ve always wanted to travel, and this book felt like it was half a travel guide to city and culture, while still being a look behind the curtain to an extremely lavish lifestyle. The series is 3 books long, and I’ll likely read the rest in 2018.

16) Deep Work by Cal Newport (2016) 5/5

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “flow”. The ability to dig deep into a topic and concentrate on it for long periods of time takes some time to nurture and practice to get good at – and when I stop practicing it gets more difficult. The focus on deep work and the advantages it can bring in this book range from learning, to execution to producing the best work you’re capable of.

17) Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (2016) 5/5

I’ve listened to Hamilton more times than I’d care to admit. We were lucky enough to even buy tickets and see it on Broadway last December. Needless to say, I know every line by heart – or at least I thought. This book goes over the entire script line by line with commentary by Miranda and stories about the actors. Here’s one line I completely missed in it’s deeper meaning:

A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists? Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!

But what the hell is a manumission? It’s the act of a slave owner choosing to free their slaves. There were a bunch of these moments when reading the lyrics that made me respect Miranda and the work that much more.

18) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011) 5/5

If I were to recommend one book, it would usually be Ready Player One. This one isn’t #1 on this list only because I’ve re-read it 4 times. It was one of only 2 books that I ever finished and then immediately re-read (the other was Enders Game). I cannot wait for the movie to come out for this one. The trailers are looking amazing for it. If you like MMORPGs and you want a dose of 80s nostalgia, you should read this one before the movie. Here’s my full review from the first time I read it:

One of the most FUN books I’ve ever listened to — and read by Wil Wheaton. The premise for this one takes place about 30 years in the future, where the creator of an MMO dies (imagine 2nd Life + WoW + Eve + the web itself + more). His will leaves his assets, and the fate of the game itself, to whoever can find the Easter Egg he hid within Oasis, his game.

The quest to find the Easter Egg dives into geek culture — specifically from the 80s. Games, TV, movies, anime, cartoons, computers, music and too much more to count are referenced. Most of the book takes place in the game itself, allowing for a world where anything can happen without the need to justify. Things get interesting when the high score list highlights names of players — effectively making them targets both in the game and in the real world.

If you’re up for an 80s pop culture history lesson in the form of a book, that reads like a game, you should check this out.

19) Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972) 5/5

I loved the Redwall series when I was a kid. Redwall follows a group of mice living out their lives in a fictional fantasy-esque world. Watership Down follows rabbits, but the world is anything but fantasy. They face challenges rabbits would actually face, from breeding to running from farmers.

The follow-up story about how Watership Down was written was fascinating. It started with bedtime stories told to his daughters where they would constantly ask for more. Eventually, he took those stories and turned them into a book!

20) Don Tillman Series by Graeme Simsion

This series was recommended by Bill Gates. He went so far as to buy dozens of copies and give them away as gifts. With that endorsement, I knew I needed to check this out.

The series follows Don Tillman, a socially inept yet brilliant professor who attempts to find a wife — in the most logical and statistically probably way. The story takes a turn when he meets Rosie – a woman who by all accounts should not be a match.

21) You Have Too Much Shit by Chris Thomas (5/5)

Just spend the 10 minutes and read through this one. It’s free on the linked site.

22) Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (2009) 4/5

Warbreaker was one of the first books written by Sanderson, yet it still feels the same as his most recent works. The magic system revolves around “breath” – which has a similarity to peoples souls. The more “breaths” you have drawn from others (by way of them giving them to you), the more unique and powerful abilities you’ll have. The way this concept is expanded on, as well as giving and taking a breath to others and physical objects makes for a depth of ways to explore this idea.

23) Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon (2015) 4/5

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is amazing. I knew a little of this before reading this one, but the amount of respect I have for her now is just off the charts. This book follows her life – filled with ups and downs – as she tirelessly became a champion of all people specifically women’s rights.

24) Run Program by Scott Meyer (2017) 4/5

After consuming the entire Magic 2.0 series, I saw Meyer had a new book out and immediately grabbed it. Run Program focuses on research lab that has developed a child-like AI being trained by two research assistants. As stories about AI often go, things don’t exactly go as planned. Although it could go to a dark AI route, Meyer keeps this one fun.

25) The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson (2017) 4/5

Ever since reading Anathem, I’ve tried to read whatever new books Stephenson writes since I know they’ll be solid. When I heard he was writing a time travel book I picked it up right away. The style of time travel relies on a bit of mysticism, with a technology tilt – a signature of most of Stephenson’s work.

26) The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish (2017) 4/5

After hearing Tiffany on Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show, I knew I had to check out her book. That same matter-of-fact honest comedy comes through in her writing and her story. I laughed out loud more than once while listening to her sometimes awkward (and sometimes downright sad) stories told with humor.

27) Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker (2016) 4/5

In the last 20 years, some of the largest wealth in the world has been made by the creators of multi-sided marketplaces. Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, eBay, Pandora – it’s hard to think of a massively successful site that doesn’t fit this mold in some way. This book takes a deep look at how these platforms work and explore the strategies they employ to be successful.

28) White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (2016) 4/5

Another recommendation by Mrs. Minafi. Don’t be turned off by the title or you’ll miss a history book about a group that doesn’t usually get a strong voice – poor whites in America. After the election, I was wanting to better understand just how the hell this could happen, and this book actually helped me better empathize with a large swath of the population. The story of landless whites in the 1700s, giving way to Andrew Jackson (who seems to be the Trump of the 1800s) and eventually reconstruction which pitted poor whites against slaves all gave background to where we are today.

29) The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love by Donna Lichaw (2016) 4/5

As a Product Manager, I failed at reading enough books in my trade. I finished this one, which was actually great, but I only read parts of 3 other books that are still unfinished on my bookshelf.

One analogy that stuck with me from this book was the comparison of a users journey in building products to the movie Back to the Future. (B2tF spoilers in the following lines). Donna mentions the build-up of the story and eventual resolution with Marty returns to the present. At that point, the main problem is solved, but if the story ended right there it would seem incomplete. Instead, there’s an important “falling action”, a way of bringing the user, reader, watcher, listener back to closure on the topic. It’s a chance to tie up all loose ends and make sure the participant leaves feeling a sense of completion.

30) The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin

I follow the Hugo Awards closely for recommendations on what to read. These awards go to the best science fiction or fantasy books from the previous year as awarded by the World Science Fiction Society. The flagship award each year is always “Best Novel”, which was won in 2016 and 2017 the below two books.

Unfortunately winning this award doesn’t mean I loved the book. The world just didn’t connect with me in the way I hoped. I’ll still likely read the 3rd one when it comes out to finish the series, but only reluctantly.

31) Spark Joy by Marie Kondō (2016) 4/5

I should not have listened to an audiobook that has “illustrated” in the title. Although this did go more into some of the order and systems involved in the konmari method, it wasn’t as useful as if I’d given it the time to go through a physical copy (ironically enough).

Mrs. Minafi and I tease each other with the “does this spark joy?” phrasing, and even with the idea of “thanking” items for their use. Although we joke, it is a great way to differentiate perceived value in our possessions when making difficult choices.

32) Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson (2017) 4/5

This short story by Sanderson explores an extremely interesting idea. What if we could recreate an entire snapshot of a day in an enclosed, safe environment? One where you could then insert police and have them try to understand and solve crimes? That’s the idea of Snapshot. Even within these 98 pages, I was able to build up and be surprised.

33) Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson (2017) 4/5

The concept behind “virality” has always seemed vague. In the early internet days before Twitter and big stars with their own internet followings, very few things achieved this. In retrospect it makes sense – the systems weren’t there to support the fast flow of ideas. Now though, a single celebrity Tweet can lead to something going viral.

The concept that stuck out to me most was the idea that most people want something new, but they don’t want it to be TOO new. They usually want a better version than something they need to be a beginner again. This quote hits on that idea: “Most consumers are simultaneously neophilic – curious to discover new things – and deeply neophobic – afraid of anything that’s too new.”

34) Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (2016) 4/5

When Mrs. Minafi and I got together, we introduced each other to some of our favorites music, movies and of course TV shows. This meant watching 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls (with Lauren Graham) in only a few weeks. I loved the show and connected more with Grahams character than anyone else. When I heard she had a memoir out, I grabbed it right away and enjoyed the ride.

35) Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher (1991) 4/5

I’ve never put much effort into negotiating. Some of the questions asked in this one are excellent ways to help a conversation move forward. For instance, after someone states what they want, asking “how did you determine that?”. Diving into the how and why of someone else helps better understand where they’re coming from.

While I thought this book would be more about convincing, it’s actually a lot about how to ask great questions and get to common ground. If you’re having conversations or negotiations, this book could help generate some new approaches.

36) Radical Candor by Kim Malone Scott (2017) 4/5

Although I’m no longer managing people, I’ve heard enough people mention this book that I wanted to check it out. The focus is around communicating clearly with people and teams as the way to be the most effective. Opting for empathy over insincerity and candor over aggression. The goal is to actually CARE while challenging people directly.

37) The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master, Volume 1 by Tim Terriss (2015) 3/5

When I saw Tim Ferriss was involved in a book on stoicism I was immediately intrigued. I loved Ryan Holiday’s  The Obstacle is the Way, and have made it through about a quarter of The Daily Stoic. Originally when I started Minafi, I the topic wasn’t going to be “Mindfulness” but instead “Stoicism”, but in talking with others, the idea of stoicism was around not feeling – but that’s a far cry from Seneca’s exploration of the topic.

This book isn’t filled with original content about Stoicism. Instead, it’s a reading of letters by Seneca. The letters are all interesting, and each has a unique focus. They’re the equivalent of blog posts in their day – short essays on specific topics around how to live life. I want to read volumes 2 & 3 sometime.

38) Discworld by Terry Pratchett

I’ve heard about Discworld from too many people to ignore it. I quickly learned it’s an acquired taste that I wasn’t able to get into. Although there could be books in the series that I might completely love, Pratchett’s writing style didn’t connect with me the same way as others. I might go back and jump straight to Mort or another highly rated book later, but for now, I’m calling it after 2 books.

39) A Taste of Generation Yum by Eve Turow (2015) 3/5

What most defines the millennial generation? Debt? Laziness? No, it’s avocado toast. No really – it’s the food. While cases can be made for many qualifiers, it’s hard to argue with the fact that this generation has a much different relationship with food than our parents. This book dives into this idea through interviews with familiar names in the food industry around the topics of the food generation.

40) La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1) by Philip Pullman (2017) 3/5

I love the original Golden Compass trilogy. It was one of the books that restarted my love for reading/audiobooks. When I heard Pullman was writing a new series I couldn’t wait. When I read it, it felt very much in the same world. There were mysteries that organically unraveled to open new possibilities in the world while introducing the characters. This one had a lot of groundwork being laid that I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.

41) The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (2011) 3/5

Focusing on what matters and just getting it done is the focus of lean startups. Although I could +1 many of the concepts in this book, trying to put them into practice into any place is going to be an uphill battle.

We do a form of lean at my work, and even read this book as a group and came away with a few things to try.

42) Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey (2013) 3/5

The format of this book was odd but interesting. It follows dozens of artists, scientists, business people and creators in their daily life to see what their routines are. Each chapter is a snapshot of someone’s life and how they find time to be productive.

While I listened to this one straight through, I’d recommend taking it one person at a time. If you instead read about one person, then spend some time thinking about what worked by them and what you could learn from them you could walk away with more actionable takeaways than I did.

43) Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo (2014) 3/5

Presenting has always been something I’ve struggled with. If I’m well prepared and know my stuff, then I’m not at all scared – but when I don’t invest the time it shows. Talk like Ted dives deeper into the core of the presentation – focusing on adding pathos, logos and ethos to your talks. I like the idea of sharing memorable experiences and novel statistics as a way to stand out as well.

44) Superhuman by Habit by Tynan 3/5

I’m fascinated with habit development and productivity. I’m hoping to build on my own keystone habits and create new ones. The description of this one roped me in, but left me wanting more actionable steps.

Without a deliberate system for building habits, we become our own worst enemy.

The entire focus is around transforming difficult tasks into easy ones through habit – allowing them to be more productive and require less willpower.

45) Nine Princes in Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #1) by Roger Zelazny (1970) 3/5

After seeing this one on countless Top 100 lists, I wanted to give it a shot. I had trouble connecting with the story.

46) The End of the Day by Claire North (2017) 2/5

I’ll read anything that Claire North writes. After The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, she’s made me a convert to whatever she writes. The End of the Day takes a more lighthearted tone, following the messenger for death (it’s a job like any other) that goes before him. The idea was fascinating, but it was missing something that left me wanting a larger meaning.

47) Seo Fitness Workbook by Jason McDonald (2017) 2/5

Very much an introduction to SEO rather than a deep dive. Audio perhaps isn’t the best medium to dig deep into such a visual, text-based topic.

48) Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie

I really loved the first book in the Imperial Radch trilogy. It explored all new ground in defining what “I” is for artificial intelligence as well as gender in a world of bits. The 2nd book did an amazing job of expanding on that world. By the 3rd book, however, I was looking for how the series would end.

49) The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis (2016) 2/5

I love Lewis’s writing style and his past books, but this one just didn’t connect with me.

2018 Books?

For 2018 I’m setting my Goodreads challenge number at 75 books. Slightly higher than this past year, but I won’t likely be re-listening to 3 extremeeeemly long books (I’m looking at you Way of Kings). Topics will stay roughly the same, but I’d like to read more physical books than the past year. I have a bookshelf of things I want to read but haven’t made time for.

I’ll continue to track what I read over on Goodreads, do occasional book reviews here on Minafi and challenge myself to listen when I have free time!

What was your favorite book (or books) you read in 2017? What are you most looking forward to reading in 2018?

Comments (11)

  1. Did you actually finish the Undoing Project? I tried but the whole bro-mance aspect of it got on my nerves. Plus, the author kept rambling on about how smart these guys were, which got tiresome after the first 25 times.

    The Simple Path to Wealth changed my perspective on finances dramatically. He and Bogle both say INTL investing isn’t required. There are arguments both for and against. Maybe you could do a post on that? Personally, I am currently not invested internationally, but that has to do with a future 401(k) rollover later in the year. I plan to invest in both INTL stocks and bonds, plus add 5% of my portfolio to the Vanguard Emerging Markets Index Fund (VEIEX).

    1. Hey Matt! I did finish it, but I seriously don’t remember much of it. I have a tendency to turn the audiobook speed up more and more the less I’m enjoying something. I think by the end I was on 3x just trying to make it to the end and see if some part of it caused me to slow it back down (it didn’t).

      Funny you should say that about The Simple Path to Wealth! I have a post coming out next Friday (1/19) that’s alll about that book and my takeaways from it. I dive really deep into 2 parts that challenged my own beliefs of investing — and the idea of a 2-fund portfolio was one of them.

      My current asset allocation has 1 international fund – VTIAX. I’ve held Emerging markets in the past, but ended up selling it a few years ago for tax-loss harvesting purposes then next re-added it. I’ve liked holding a smaller number of stocks since then. That fund has 20% of it’s investments in Emerging Markets already which is nice. When looking at the Annual Returns by Class, Emerging Markets and International are usually right next to each other, or track closely. EM has higher highs and lower lows, but I still like the idea of adding 5% – especially if it can be in a tax-advantaged account.

  2. When listening to fantasy audio books do you go with the standard narrator reads or Graphic Audio performances? About to start The Way of Kings next and noticed I had both options.

    1. Ohh, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that option. For Way Of Kings, it was read by a woman when the primary character was a woman, or a man for those parts. It worked out well. I’ll have have watch for that option though!

  3. Ok, you officially cued up my entire year of reading 😉

    I really enjoyed reading “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles. Both books were written beautifully and ended up being very captivating. And I just cracked open “A Man Named Ove” this week (yay for libraries for all of these!)… it is great so far!

  4. I LOVE Ready Player One. My husband got the book for Christmas and we immediately flew to Tanzania. We kept stealing the book back and forth to read and then re-read. The downside was that it is a quick read. We read his second book too, Armada, it’s good, but not as good as the first.

    1. Haha that would be a fun read on the a trip for sure. I’d agree on Armada – it was fun and an exciting story, but it didn’t stick with me the same way as Ready Player One.

  5. Thanks for this list! I have a long commute and love audiobooks for keeping myself entertained/educated on the road. As soon as I saw Magic 2.0 on your list I knew we’d have similar tastes (only confirmed by all the Brandon Sanderson also on your list!). I’m bookmarking this list for anytime I need a new audiobook!

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