2021 Reading Challenge – Smashed It

December 31, 2021 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: Books.

In 2020 I read just 8 books.

In 2021 I apparently read 31 books. As you can surmise from this blog post’s featured image, there are some duplicates for some reason and I can’t work out why.

The real number of books I completed in 2021 was actually 27. So I smashed my goal by more than double. And to let you into a little secret, I achieved my 2021 goal by listening mostly to audiobooks.

I will admit that I don’t always soak up all the information from an audiobook, but then that’s the same with a real world tome. That’s OK with me too because I don’t see the point in remembering absolutely everything, that’s too much data in your head (Think Jonny Mnemonic!). Books, like all things, have highlights and salient takeaways, so that’s what I look for, new knowledge, wisdom and perspectives.

The other issue is that I have quite often fallen asleep whilst listening to some audiobooks. But I have always “made up” and rewound to listen to where I last remember listening to.

The Best of 2021

It was so nice to read The Hobbit again with my daughter, even though she tried to read as little as possible and it took 9 months!

Robert Greene’s The Daily Laws was right up my street – the best book I’ve read in years. Almost everything he said resonated, especially my deeply held tenet of seeing things as they really are.

Manifesto by Dale Vince was brilliant. I laughed at and relished the stories of his time as a traveller. I had many friends in that community and saw a few scenes similar to those he described. I also admired him sticking so much to his principles – he really is a decent guy. And that’s why I chose Ecotricity as my energy supplier so many years ago and haven’t switched. I believe in them and their principles putting my money where I believe it will be used best.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson was also a much-needed validatory book. He aligns with my desire to do the very best that I can in all fields, otherwise you’re mediocre. We all have skills and talents, we just need to hone them and genuinely be brilliant. I’ll also admit that it was a conversation about books as good as Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning that led to the purchase of this book.

Other notable mentions are Spencer Gallagher’s Agencynomics – I have a paper copy somewhere, which I lent out and it has now “done the rounds”. However, I have not read my own book so I listened to the audiobook version. I still want my valuable book back though. The Naked Trader was excellent too, Robbie Burns has a highly sensible approach to trading stocks and shares, so if you’re interested in trading, it’s well worth a read.

The Worst of 2021

I’m not going to name and shame these books, but they were either too religious (I’m OK with being spiritual, just not with anyone pushing a monotheistic agenda), one had a really poor narrator (who also had some highly-rated spam reviews on Audible) and other books either made no impact with nothing new to say or they were just too full of stories rather than information.

I’ll admit that a lot of the self improvement books I read had many similarities, so the difference between them was how the author or narrator framed a particular view. However, they were all beneficial, just not as much as I’d expected.

Additionally, there are some books that receive genuinely gushing reviews from many readers, and those are the ones that draw you in to buying them in the first place. Reviews are all subjective so it would help if there were better context to those viewpoints. Either that or I need to just take them all with a bigger pinch of salt.

The 2021 Booklist

The books I read in 2021 included, in reverse order:

  1. Positive Thinking Every Day: An Inspiration for Each Day of the Year
    Peale, Norman Vincent
  2. Think Your Way to Success: How to Develop a Winning Mindset and Achieve Amazing Results
    Mark Rhodes
  3. Manifesto: How a maverick entrepreneur took on British energy and won
    Vince, Dale
  4. The Naked Trader: How anyone can make money trading shares
    Burns, Robbies
  5. Mastery
    Greene, Robert
  6. The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy and Human Nature
    Greene, Robert
  7. Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up to Do Business with You
    Priestley, Daniel
  8. The Hobbit
    Tolkien, J.R.R.
  9. A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life
    Heying, Heather E.
  10. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
    Singer, Michael A.
  11. All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World
    Godin, Seth
  12. Build a Great Brain: Control and Reprogram Your Brain, Unlock Your Unlimited Potential With Neurolinguistic Programming and Rewire Your Injured Nerves With Neuroplasticity
    Moore, Matt
  13. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
    Epstein, David
  14. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
    Godin, Seth
  15. Think and Grow Rich
    Hill, Napoleon
  16. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
    Olson, Jeff
  17. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
    Ramsey, Dave
  18. Agencynomics
    Gallagher, Spencer
  19. The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits that Will Transform Your Life Before 8 a.m.
    Elrod, Hal
  20. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
    Stevenson, Shawn
  21. Black Box Thinking: Why Some People Never Learn from Their Mistakes – But Some Do
    Syed, Matthew
  22. Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential
    Chopra, Deepak
  23. Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being
    Tanzi, Rudolph E.
  24. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
    Pirsig, Robert M.
  25. The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness
    Puddicombe, Andy
  26. Revelation: Connecting with the Sacred in Everyday Life
    Brand, Russell
  27. Daily Rituals
    Currey, Mason

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