Saturday, December 24, 2016

The year 2016 in terms of books read

It's becoming clear as we move towards the end of 2016 that my target of reading 52 books this year is not going to happen. Not going to give any excuses for not being able to do so, it is just as it is. As usual, I'm going to list down all the books that I've read, then I'm going to recommend a few good ones that forms a deep impression after reading.

Here's the list of all 38 40 (updated 28th Dec 2016) books that I've read this year:

Alibaba: The house that Jack Ma built - Duncan Clark
The new sell and sell short - Alexander Elder
Living with a SEAL - Jesse Itzler
When breath becomes air - Paul Kalanithi
Continuum concept - Jean Liedloff
Asian Godfathers - Joe Studwell
Pregnancy: for the first time moms - Darrell Spice
Hard truths to keep Singapore going - Lee Kuan Yew
Extreme ownership - Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
Choose yourself - James Altucher
Gorilla mindset - Mike Cernovich
Beautiful souls - Eyal Press
Start-up nation - Dan Senor/Saul Singer
Concierge confidential - Michael Fazio
What money can't buy - Michael Sandel
It's only money - Cara MacMillan
Real Food / Fake Food - Larry Olmsted
Be financially free - Morten Strange
Flashpoints - George Friedman
The monk who sold his Ferrari - Robin Sharma
Left behind 01 - Tim Lahaye, Jerry Jenkins
Dietland - Sarai Walker
The money culture - Michael Lewis
Absolute beginner's guide to pregnancy - John Adams, Marta Justak
The Happiness Equation - Neil Pasricha
The Infinite Sea - Rick Yancey
Forever Free - Joe Halderman
The art of Procrastination - John Perry
Forever Peace -Joe Halderman
The Forever War - Joe Halderman
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Bartleby The Scrivener - Herman Melville
Man's search for meaning - Viktor Frankl
Do androids dream of electric sheep? - Philip K. Dick
Portfolios of the poor - Daryl Collins et al
Gang leader for a day - Sudhir Venkatesh
The ultimate success secret - Daniel S. Kennedy
The education of millionaires - Michael Ellsberg
Way of the peaceful warrior - Dan Millman
Money: Master the game - Tony Robbins

I can probably squeeze one book book or two before the year is up, but that is pretty much it. Not in any order of preference, here's the shortlist of 6 books that I think are crucial in my personal development:

Portfolios of the poor - Daryl Collins et al
Man's search for meaning - Viktor Frankl
Flashpoints - George Friedman
Beautiful Souls - Eyal Press
Start-up nation - Dan Senor/Saul Singer
Extreme ownership - Jocko Willink/Leif Babin
When breath becomes air - Paul Kalanithi

1. Portfolios of the poor is so good that I can't help but post some sort of reflections while I'm still half way through the book. You can read about my post here. It talks about the financial statements (balance sheet and cash flow) of those who are living wit 2 USD per month or below. No other books I've read talks about the portfolio of the poor and their apparently bad choices in life like this book. I think while it's important to read the majority of the books out there that talks about the portfolio of the rich, it's also important to examine the other side. After all, both cases are extremes and likely we fall in between these two.

2. This book is on so many people's recommended list that you just have to read it to see why. He is a logo-therapist who survived the Holocaust and found that people who suffered needed meaning to understand why they are suffering. Everyone can take suffering, as long as it serves a greater purpose, but nobody wants to take meaningless suffering. It is a very engaging book and is a page turner for me. Beware, because once you started on this, you  might just want to quickly get to a quieter corner to devour this book in its entirety as soon as possible.

3. This is a sequel of the book "The next decade" also by the same author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This continues from where he left off and focuses more on the EU region and where the conflict areas, known as flashpoints, are in the region. I read this around the Brexit saga and it allows me to understand the different scenarios that might be played out. This is a very interesting book if you're interested in the global political scene that is happening right in front of our very eyes. What will happen to Russia, and to the different countries that made up the EU? How is Turkey going to navigate the scene, being sandwiched between Europe and the middle east?

4. This is a brilliant book recommended by Sillyinvestor. It is collection of stories that portrays real people displaying extraordinary courage by rising above all others to do what they think is right. The author infuses each story with some comments on how difficult it is to go beyond the social rules of the group and act what is right. There is a story of an immigration officer who allowed fleeing Jews into Switzerland, a guy who did the right thing in the conflict between the Croats and Serbs, an israeli soldier who refused to follow orders and a whistle blower in corporate America. It's a very light reading but with a very heavy lesson behind all the stories - when it comes to your turn, would you sacrifice personal gains to do what is morally right?

5. What's wrong with Singapore's education system? How come we don't have a start up culture here, compared to other countries? Israel is one of the most war torn nation surrounded by hostile countries who loved nothing but to see the downfall of their nation, but it still produces a lot of companies that brings so much innovation plus patents that drives technological advances globally. This book explores some of the things that went right for Israel. There's a lot of references to Singapore as a comparison to Israel, so the locals here might find it very relevant. I think any parents or teachers with a stake in educating our next generation will find this book extremely relevant and thought provoking. 

6. Two SEAL officers come together to give business consultation to companies by applying what they've learnt in their combat training and experience. I thought it'll be pretty cheesy, but it's surprising relevant. Every chapter they will illustrate some exciting combat situation and how they navigated through all the screw up and potential dangers and emerged victorious. And after that, they will apply this story to one case in their consulting work, followed by a summary of the lesson. One concept of extreme ownership is what I'm trying to practice after reading it. It's about how everything and anything that didn't go according to your plan is your fault. If my student is not motivated, it's my fault. If my student didn't do well, it's my fault. If my student wanted to leave the tuition, it's my fault. It might be a little harsh, but it empowers me and gives me the ability to change my environment, rather than to give that power away. One of the best self help book I've read this year in 2016. Don't take my word for it, go and read and see for yourself.

7. After reading Viktor Frankl's book on Man's search for meaning, this book seems like accompanying book. While Viktor's book is more philosophical and theoretical, Paul's book is much more practical and it feels that the author is showing us how to lead a life full of meaning even though he is suffering. I think there is a great deal of lessons we can learn from him. This book can be read easily and is a page turner, so be prepared to sleep late at night once you've started on this book. Be warned. You might even cry a little at the end of it all.

In 2017, I'm going to have a major change in my status. I'm going to be a father! I wonder if that will derail my target of 52 books a year. Probably so, but we shall see. As it is, I still intend to read, but I wonder if this is just fantasy on my part haha :)


Sillyinvestor said...

No la LP,

More time to read... because u are waiting for child to wake up and change the whatever, or feed the milk before u sleep so that u get a full 2-3 hour sleep. So u will just hang around and ... if your eyes are still good... can read ...

I just lie on the floor and stone

la papillion said...

Hi SI,

Haha, don't scare me :) Probably I will stone, until I'm used to the routine lol

Zach @ Four Pillar Freedom said...

Extreme Ownership is definitely a book I hope to read in 2017. Ever since I discovered Jocko Willink from the Tim Ferris podcast I have been listening to Jocko's own podcast regularly on my way to work in the mornings. I love his no-nonsense work ethic and lifestyle, every time I hear him speak I feel encouraged to improve my life in some way and stop making excuses in all areas of my life.
It's funny, you seem to have similar reading interests as me. I guess financial independence seekers have similar mindsets! :)

F4FF said...

Hello LP!

Thanks for the recommendations! I've been following your blog since donkey years ago, just thay i've remained a silent reader. Haha.

I am in the process of penning down some of my goals for 2017, and this post will definitely help me get more specific for my book-reading goal.

I have a daughter too, and another son on the way. I have to concede that reading has become a luxury since my daughter's arrival about a yr ago. Haha. Nonetheless, i am sure u will rise above all of these.

Merry X'mas!

la papillion said...

Hi Zach,

It's really a good read, you should like it :) Yes, agree that those who are seeking the same things should have very similar mindsets :)

la papillion said...

Hi F4FF,

I'll look out for your post :) Congrats for your incoming son! Might ask you for tips on how to handle fatherhood lol

Merry xmas to you as well!

Anonymous said...

To be able to read 38 books is already a great achievement. On top of it, write their sequals, and blog!

Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

la papillion said...

Hi anonymous,

Haha, thanks for your encouragement :)

Would you kindly leave a nickname so that I can address you properly? This really sounds like spartacus where everyone is 'anonymous' lol! Thanks and have a great long xmas weekend!

Unintelligent Nerd said...

Hi LP, great work!

I noticed some interesting titles that you have there ;)

Might pick up on a few of them :)

Unintelligent Nerd said...

...And before I forget, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

la papillion said...

Hi UN,

Great, my end of year book list is for people like you to pick some of the titles for your own book list :)

Have a great long xmas weekend to you as well!

simplefolk said...

Merry Christmas!
How I wish I could do that! I should try at least 12 next year. But it's so hard to find a book that I could stick for long
And there are too much US dramas that's distracting me :P

la papillion said...

Hi simplefolk,

You should! Don't settle for 12 though, set an impossibly crazy target, so that you can push and see your own limits :) You will find that instead of scrolling through your fb list, or channel surfing, you'll dedicate 30 mins to 1 hr each day to read. It's one of the best habits I've cultivated so far :)

I also follow GoT and walking dead, but usually I watch it several seasons in one go. I'm sure you can find some time to read :)

Lastly, have a great long xmas weekend :)

Sun said...

Congrats! Hv always been a silent reader of ur excellent blog n even more so now, that i hv a 18mths old. Just wanna say congrats n welcome to parenthood!
From an ardent fan of urs that got married in the same year as you and shared the same wedding song "somebody" :)

la papillion said...

Hi Sun,

Hey, thanks! Wow, I didn't know you and me had so many things that are similar :) Thanks for making my day!

caifanman said...

Hi LP,

Do you buy all these books, or borrow them from our public libraries?

la papillion said...

Hi lazy singaporean,

Mostly borrowed, though I bought some too.

caifanman said...

Hi LP,

Thanks! You make me want to set a reading goal for myself too.

la papillion said...

Hi lazy singaporean,

Please do! It's the best habit you can cultivate! The library is fantastic. You can now borrow ebooks from it too, if you so wish. No excuses :)