Last holiday season, I shared my first annual reading list which was an overview of all the books I devoured in 2014. I’ve always been a big advocate for lifelong learning so I’m constantly trying to practice what I preach by reading one or two books at any given time. There’s no question it’s a big commitment but the investment pays off in so many ways. I find reading helps me go deeper in my work as a VC, develop greater self awareness, build historical perspective, and most importantly escape from the world. I’ve always believed that buying (and reading!) books is by far the best and most rewarding investment that anyone can make in themselves.
Many of the titles on the 2015 list were recommended by close friends, colleagues, Twitter followers and my wife. The topics ranged from innovation to healthcare, history, science fiction and urban planning. As you’ll see, I devoted a considerable amount of time learning about addiction since I decided to get sober in 2015 and led an extensive research project on the topic. Not only was I interested in the science of addiction but also the war on drugs, the rehab industry and new approaches to treatment.
I found going deep into one subject was useful because I was able to develop a new expertise. This reinforces the belief that one doesn’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a degree in order to become dangerous on a subject. I was able to develop deep knowledge on addiction by spending $100 on Amazon and talking with a dozen experts that I met online. All that said, I highly recommend this approach if you would like to immerse yourself in a subject that you’re passionate or curious about. As 2016 approaches, I plan to follow suit and select a new topic. Right now the leading candidates are genomics and integral theory (Ken Wilbur).
With all that being said, I’m excited to share my 2015 reading list with you. I’ve bolded the titles which I believe were the highlights. I’m always open to discussing any of these whether you’ve read them or you’re just searching for a recommendation. Additionally, I’m always looking for new recommendations so I’d love to know which books moved you this year. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Twitter @schlaf. Happy exploring and reading!
Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Johann Hari (Link)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Gabor Mate (Link)
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Link)
The Rise of Superman, Steven Kotler (Link)
Predictable Revenue, Aaron Ross (Link)
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (Link)
Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, David Sheff (Link)
The Wright Brothers, David McCullough (Link)
My Promised Land, The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, Ari Shavit (Link)
The Biology of Desire: Why Addition Is Not a Disease, Marc Lewis (Link)
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (Link)
May Cause Miracles, Gabrielle Bernstein (Link)
Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction, John Dupuy (Link)
The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen (Link)
Ready Player One, Earnest Cline (Link)
The Martian Andy Weir (Link)
Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl (Link)
Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, Cory Doctorow (Link)
The Lean Startup, Eric Reis (Link)
Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery, Erica Spiegelman (Link)
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande (Link)
Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company, Andy Grove (Link)
City on a Grid: How New York Became New York, Gerard Koeppel (Link)