What I Read in 2016

One of my new year resolutions for 2016 was to read more books. I wanted to read books to be exact – 1 per quarter. In previous year I haven’t made reading a priority, but Peter is an avid reader and he inspired me to get back to books…apparently more so than I expected since this list goes far beyond the original 4 I had hoped to read!

What I Read in 2016 - A book review guide to all of the books I read in 2016. In 2017 I will be sharing my reading lists quarterly

Dreaming of when we can get our own two story library

You can follow along with what I’m reading via GoodReads here but in the coming year, I’ll be sharing what I read quarterly. For the list below, anything above a 3 I would recommend reading. Sadly the 2 out of 5’s I would not recommend.

What I Read in 2016

2 out of 5

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Marie Kondo
(2/5)

Some good tips and ideas but I really had to force myself to finish this one. If you want me to clean out my purse every day, Marie, that’s one thing, but please don’t go on and on about how I need to relieve my purse of its contents because my purse is exhausted from all the hard work it’s doing carrying my stuff around.

You know who else is tired from carrying my stuff around? Me. So I really don’t have time to empty my purse. Every. Single. Day.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
Adam M. Grant
(2/5)

If you’ve listened to Adam Grant on any podcast promoting this book, you can probably skip reading it. Very repetitive.

3 out of 5

The 4-Hour Workweek
Timothy Ferriss
(3/5)

An uber well-known read about how to escape the 9-5 but still earn an income and spend your time doing what you really want to do instead. Certainly not realistic for everyone and Timothy Ferriss is…well, a condescending jerk. If you can read past this, he has a lot of interesting ideas and while you may not be able to quit working completely, he does offer solutions to at least help make your workday more efficient.

My Life on the Road
Gloria Steinem
(3/5)

Super interesting and motivating for my fellow, feminist readers but somewhat repetitive.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business 
Charles Duhigg
(3/5)

Interesting but a bit repetitive.

The Universe Has Your Back
Gabrielle Bernstein
(3/5)

Why Not Me?
Mindy Kaling
(3/5)

4 out of 5

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
Atul Gawande
(4/5)

The Bonesetter’s Daughter
Amy Tan
(4/5)

I don’t read a lot of fiction but I loved this historical fiction and it made me eager to record and learn more about my own families history and stories.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
Mohsin Hamid
(4/5)

The title of this fictional novel comes off a self-help read, but it uses that unique premise to share a young boy’s journey from “impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon.” It took me a while to get through the first part of the book, but once the storyline and structure picked up, I was hooked.

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
Malala Yousafzai
(4/5)

Just as fascinating as Malala’s story, is the brief introduction to how life in Pakistan was dramatically transformed by terrorism and the Taliban. An emotional and inspiring story for readers of all ages.

Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
(4/5)

Oldie but goodie. A classic story that I had to reread. One of my favorite childhood memories is visiting Louisa May Alcott’s family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts – where Little Women was written.

The Power of Intention, Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way
Wayne Dyer
(4/5)

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
Adam Braun
(4/5)

Adam Braun may not be an everyday, ordinary person, but he’s certainly an inspiration for not only launching a great organization but successfully scaling it (and quickly!).

Rwanda, Inc.: How a Devastated Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World
Patricia Crisafulli
(4/5)

Many know of Rwanda’s devastating history and genocide, but the less known story of Rwanda’s remarkable economic success is one that needs to be shared. The book also happens to feature Sharon Haba, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education of Rwanda and current Executive Director of the University of Kigali who is a very proud Aggie and the Akilah Institute/MindSky CEO, Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes.

Walking The Himalayas
Levison Wood
(4/5)

Join Levison Wood on a walk across the entire Himalayas. I’m completely fascinated by this part of the world and while it may be a while before I’m able to trek across Pakistan, this book certainly brings you a bit closer to exploring part of the region.

5 out of 5

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson
(5/5)

I love, love, love Jenny Lawson. Her previous book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” is just as hilarious as Furiously Happy where Lawson somehow manages to share raw, ridiculous stories about her crippling mental illnesses and depression and make them entertaining, inspiring, and incredibly impactful.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Nicholas D Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
(5/5)

My favorite book on this list. A must read for all that shares inspiring stories of oppressed women and girls around the world, how they can be helped and how unleashing the power of women is key to fighting global poverty.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families
Philip Gourevitch
(5/5)

Emotional, incredibly informative, and beautifully documented.

“In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler’s war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch’s haunting work is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide’s background, and an unforgettable account of what it means to survive in its aftermath.”

When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi
(5/5)

I read this while traveling and shamelessly cried in the airport and on the plane while reading.

When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both”

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Shonda Rhimes
(5/5)

Motivating, funny and great on audiobook with Shonda Rhimes narrating.

“The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.”

Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
David Rock
(5/5)

A guide to understanding how the brain works so you can use it to the best of its abilities. This is a book I plan to read again in 2017.

“Your Brain at Work explores issues such as:
– why our brains feel so taxed, and how to maximize our mental resources
– why it’s so hard to focus, and how to better manage distractions
– how to maximize your chance of finding insights that can solve seemingly insurmountable problems
– how to keep your cool in any situation, so that you can make the best decisions possible
– how to collaborate more effectively with others
– why providing feedback is so difficult, and how to make it easier
– how to be more effective at changing other people’s behavior”

Yum