The 2019 Book Awards: The Books I Read in 2019

One thing that changed, in 2019, was my commute. I went from no commute to having a 1 hour commute by train. Rather than spending an hour watching You-tube or Netflix, which I would have done in the past, I thought the best way to maximize my time was to… read. Reading on the train turned out to be the best decision that I made all year!

I read more books in 2019 than ever before! I ended the year with 15 books read. I learned so much from these 15 books. Of course, I learned more from some than others. However, each one gave me at least one nugget of wisdom to act on.

The Categories

I didn’t win any of those cheesy superlative awards in high school. You know like: ‘most likely to succeed’ or ‘most likely to become President’ or ‘most likely to fall off a cliff’. So… I’m going to take this opportunity to make my own awards about a few of the books that I finished in 2019.
Let’s get started:
    1. The “Know it All” Book – My girlfriend always calls me a ‘know it all’. I blame books like these. If you read and quote books in this category, be prepared for an epic eye roll. The information in these books is 85% useless.
    2. Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover – This is for books that are filled with the best content, but have the worst cover. You would never notice these books in a book store. The most famous book in this category is the Holy Bible.
    3. The Stinker – This category is for the books that are just terrible. I am only comparing this book to other books on my reading list for 2019. Therefore, you may still enjoy it, but let’s be clear… this is not a recommendation.
    4. The Golden Ticket – This is the book that had the largest impact on my life over the year. The book in this category gave the most clear cut and actionable advice or lessons. It may not be the most entertaining or literary work of art, but it helped me the most.
    5. Damn: The Story You Wish Wasn’t True – We all know those books that have amazing stories that bring tears to our eyes. Stories about struggles from around the world that make your jaw drop, and make you wish the story wasn’t true.


And the Winners are:

The “Know it All” Book

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

I really enjoyed this book! I created this category only so I could talk about it more. The book goes into detail about Genghis Khan’s life and dynasty. You learn about his origin and legacy, and how that impacted the world we live in today.
Western culture teaches a one-sided narrative of Genghis Khan, but this book presents an alternative narrative to what I was taught.
The author is very researched and presents his case in an entertaining manner… well at least for me. Do I think I will EVER use this information other than at a dinner party, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – By – Thomas M. Sterner

I’m not sure what Thomas Sterner was thinking when he picked the cover art for this book, but it is ridiculous. I would never chose this book in a bookstore. Thank God for Amazon reviews and Goodreads.
On another note, this book helped me change my mindset on what it actually takes to master & develop a skill. The answer is “practice”! Not just practice for the sake of practice, but intentional practice. Practice to develop a weakness that will help you reach a predetermined goal.
I learned the importance of enjoying practice and being present in the moment. Worrying about something in the future doesn’t solve the problem in front of you, but focusing on whatever the task is in front of you could possibly be the answer.

The Stinker

Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger

Although this book was a good reference for people beginning running, it seems like a mash up of random blog posts (the author is very transparent about this in the book). It just seemed like this book existed, because the author wanted to make money from having another product. Not because it was designed to help people. The book did add value to the reader, but compared to the other books I read in 2019, this was my least favorite.

The Golden Ticket

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

I consider myself to be a professional “5k finisher”. Meaning that if someone asked me to run a 5k, I can drag myself through the race at a pace slightly faster than the strollers. I would be motivated after the race and run for a few weeks after the race, but I would ALWAYS fall off… until Atomic Habits.
If there was one book in in 2019 that changed my behavior the most, it is Atomic Habits. I’ve read other books on Habit change before, but the way this book is easily digestible is unbelievable. The tips in the book are instantly actionable and I used them to develop a solid running routine.
Atomic Habits made me start thinking about the person I want to become, not the person that I am now. Part of the reason that I was able to start running is because I know that the person I want to become would be … a runner. The only reason I was able to finish 15 books this year is because the person I want to become is … a reader.

Damn: The Story You Wish Wasn’t True

Homes: A Refugee Story

This book was quite the tear jerker. It told the story of a boy that grew up in the middle of a war in Syria. It made most of the problems in my life seem trivial and small. It also reminded me that there are people in the world that just want to feel safe at night.

Complete List

  1. What is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can
  2. The Alchemist
  3. Homes: A Refugee Story
  4. When Breath Becomes Air
  5. The Latte Factor: Why You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live Rich
  6. Xiaoming’s Day: A Bilingual Story
  7. Incognito: The Secret Lives of The Brain
  8. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
  9. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
  10. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  11. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
  12. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – By – Thomas M. Sterner
  13. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  14. Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger

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