When 2018 started I set out to read 10 books this year. Much to my surprise I ended up reading 25 books in 2018. The most important reason I was able to get through 15 more books than I'd expected was that when the year started I set a goal for myself to read at least 15 minutes every day. I ended up accomplishing that 328 times over 2018, meaning 9 out of every 10 days I made significant progress on a book. I was able to find time by replacing a couple of podcasts I'd listened to with time for reading, a strategy that netted me about 1-2 hours every week.
Without further ado, the books I read this year are below in reverse chronological order, newest at the top. I'd highly recommend reading the bolded ones, generally because they've shaped how I think or how I perceive the world. Most of the rest were pretty good too if you're looking for a suggestion.
- Why We Sleep
- The Inner Game Of Tennis
- Stubborn Attachments
- Brave New World
- The Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path
- An Autobiography of John Stuart Mill
- Intercom On Jobs To Be Done
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- Communist Manifesto and Social Contract
- How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
- Shop Class as Soulcraft
- The Purity Myth
- High Output Management
- Amusing Ourselves To Death
- Algorithms To Live By
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street
- A Brief History of Time
- Machine Learning: The New AI
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
The most surprising thing about reading this year wasn't the books I read, but sheer amount of content from the internet I consumed. I save a lot of essays, blog posts, and articles in Pocket so I can read them on my time, without keeping dozens of tabs opened, in nicely formatted manner, and most importantly available offline.
This year I was very cognizant of not letting articles pile up in Pocket, which meant I had to put in a concerted effort to either read posts or delete them when I realized I wasn't going to get to them. I devoted a little time every other Saturday to cleaning out my Pocket queue, pruning my list either by reading or deleting. The end result of that — I read 102 books worth of content from the internet this year.
An additional surprise was that Pocket isn't where I read all my content, but I also read a lot directly in my RSS reader. I can't know for sure how much I read through RSS, but at the very least I'm sure it would have added on another 20-30 books.
And that's what I read in 2018. I'm setting my goal a little higher in terms of books in 2019, my goal is to read 20. I really enjoyed getting into books, and all that I learned. I'm also setting a goal to counter-balance my internet consumption. I don't have a number, but I intend to read less articles and blog posts, and about the same number of essays. I really enjoyed the long-form content I read, but I'd also like more time in 2019 to work on side projects, so that time has to come from somewhere.
Joe Fabisevich is an indie developer creating software at Red Panda Club Inc. while writing about design, development, and building a company. Formerly an iOS developer working on societal issues @Twitter.
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