The best year of reading that I ever did was when I lived in NYC. All those trips on the subway were perfect reading opportunities. Living in LA and being stuck driving makes reading – actual reading, not audiobooks – very difficult.
So as part of a 2017 resolution to read more, I decide to track all the books I read and make this list. There’s not a lot of fiction on here, which I resolve to change in 2018, but if you’re into self-development and musical theatre – boy is this a list for you!
I love recommending books to friends, so while this isn’t exactly a BEST OF list, I did put stars next to my favorites from the year. Check them out below.
Manage Your Day to Day – Ed. Jocelyn K. Glei
Tactics for getting the most productivity and creativity out of your daily routine.
Tools of the Titans – Tim Ferriss*
All the wisdom you can learn about Health, Wealth, and Happiness from in-depth interviews with top performers in multitudes of fields.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
We have two systems in our brain: System 1 is our fast, thinking reptilian auto pilot; system 2 is our slow thinking, critical analyst. You’d be surprised how often System 1 takes over without our even knowing it.
Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio – Jessica Abel*
A wonderful and fascinating, non-fiction graphic novel about the behind-the-scenes processes of some of the best podcasts/radio programs out there. A great book for storytellers of all kinds.
Radical Acceptance – Tara Brach
Practice the Buddhist principles of pausing, becoming aware of sensations and emotions in our bodies, and showing compassion for ourselves and the world around us.
Stone Soup – Heather Forest, Susan Gaber
Two travelers come to a village in search of food and are turned away from every door. They create a spectacle around the creation of their “stone soup” and trick all the villagers into adding something into the pot.
Making Musicals – Tom Jones
Part memoir, part instructional, writer Tom Jones (The Fantasticks) walks you through a brief, but well-structured history of musical theatre (his and others) and uses that history to explain the structure of well-made musicals today.
The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
Fable-like stories from “Ancient Babylon” that extol the virtues of saving money, making safe investments, working hard, and living comfortably within one’s means.
The Great American Whatever – Tim Federle*
An achingly poignant and funny story about a gay teenager in suburban Pennsylvania, navigating the summer after the death of his older sister. I literally laughed and cried during the first chapter alone.
The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows are Built – Jack Viertel
An analysis of the structure of classic American musicals, using traditional song placement as a guide.
What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton*
The infamous retrospective on the 2016 election. It’s a gloves-off, defenses-down journey with the former Secretary of State through what went wrong with her campaign and the Democratic Party, and how to make it right.
The Lost Art of Finding Our Way – John Edward Huth
At times interesting, but also extremely technical, this book chronicles the various ways that previous civilizations navigated the globe without the use of modern technology.
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates*
A gripping, thought-provoking, and extremely poignant account of life as a black American man, told in the form of a letter from Ta-Nehisi to his son. A sobering and clear-eyed look at the human cost of the American “dream”.
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
Inspiring and easy to read, Sinek lays out his case for how the best leaders inspire others. Most corporations, brands, and people are clear about WHAT they do – but those who lead start with WHY.
Daring Greatly – by Brene Brown*
Paradigm-shifting exploration of the power of vulnerability and its relationship to shame. Brown opens the door to the ways shame and the “myth of scarcity” leads to disengagement, feelings of unworthiness, and fear. She provides tools for developing “shame resilience” and ultimately opening oneself up to connection, creativity, and self-love.