Every Book I Read This Year – 2016

readers-leadersLet me start this post by wishing everyone reading a very “Happy New Year.” 

A few years ago I decided that I wasn’t reading as much as I would’ve liked, and I made a resolution to read at least 2 books per month.

I was out of practice, and sitting down for several minutes on end in deep concentration was not easy.

Like most adults living in the “Age of Information,” my brain had adapted to quick bouts of stimulus from multiple sources spread out across the day.

I decided to treat this endeavor as a form of mental exercising, and I started with a slow, gradual approach, just as I would any type of athletic pursuit.


Sooner than later, 15-20 minutes of sustained focus turned into an hour or more of intense intellectual enterprise, daily.

I can honestly say that it has been the single greatest custom that I have developed in my twenties, and something that I look forward to doing every single day of my life.

2016 was a great year in reading for me, and I managed to get through 34 pretty amazing books.

I would like to share them today in an effort to inspire you to pick up this life changing practice.

If you are an avid reader already, hopefully you find a book or two in my list that you can add to your catalog.

I will go through the entire list, first, and at the bottom of the post you’ll find “My Top Picks” of the entire bunch.

Links for each will be provided, so that if a title catches your eye you can get some more info, and even purchase a copy if you are so inclined.


The List 

  1. My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy Of Israel, by Ari Shavit 
  2. The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr
  3. The Swerve: How The World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt 
  4. Michael Jordan: The Life, by Roland Lazenby 
  5. Between The World And Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. The Auto Biography Of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Halley
  7. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow 
  8. Unstoppable: Harnessing Science To Change The World, by Bill Nye 
  9. A. Lincoln, by Ronald C. White, Jr. 
  10. Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, by Sherry Turkle 
  11. The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmond Morris 
  12. Theodore Rex, by Edmond Morris 
  13. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller 
  14. Dreams From My Father: A Story Of Race And Inheritance, by Barack Obama 
  15. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, by Christopher Vogler 
  16. Saving Capitalism: For The Many Not The Few, by Robert B. Reich 
  17. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism, by Olivia Fox Cabane 
  18. Bacardi And The Long Fight For Cuba, by Tom Gjelten 
  19. The Republic, by Plato
  20. Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau 
  21. Walden; Or, Life In The Woods, by Henry David Thoreau 
  22. Self Reliance And Other Essays, by Ralph Waldo Emerson 
  23. Gandhi, An Auto Biography: My Experiments With Truth 
  24. The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success: A Pocketbook Guide To Fulfilling Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra  
  25. Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu 
  26. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig
  27. The Wisdom Of Insecurity: A Message For An Age Of Anxiety, by Alan W. Watts
  28. Society Of The Spectacle, by Guy Debord 
  29. Poetics, by Aristotle 
  30. Politics, by Aristotle 
  31. A People’s History Of The United States, by Howard Zinn 
  32. Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In, by Bernie Sanders 
  33. Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes 
  34. Stronger Together:  A Blueprint For America’s Future, by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine  


My Top Picks (In No Particular Order)

  1. A People’s History Of The Unites States
  2. The Republic
  3. Tao Te Ching
  4. Bacardi And The Long Fight For Cuba
  5. Dreams From My Father: A Story Of Race And Inheritance
  6. The Auto Biography Of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Haley
  7. Between The World And Me
  8. Alexander Hamilton
  9. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
  10. My Promised Land: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Israel
  11. The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains
  12. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
  13. Saving Capitalism: For The Many Not The Few
  14. The Wisdom Of Insecurity: A Message For An Age Of Anxiety


I encourage each and everyone of you not to neglect your education outside of your particular field of expertise, and to remain infinitely curious of all things at all times.

Strive to learn about people and places that are different from what you are accustomed to, and that challenge any preconceived biases and/or stereotypes you may have of the world and the people around you.

If the material above isn’t enough for your appetite, and you’d like to check out last year’s reading list, you may do so, here.

For a guide on how to structure your quarterly reading, so that you stay well rounded and intellectually robust, click here.

Here’s to a prosperous and academically accomplished 2017.



Author: J.J.Valdivia

My name is J.J. Valdivia. I've worked in the fitness industry for almost a decade, helping others achieve their goals and dominate in all aspects of life. I started writing on the internet almost 3 years ago in order to reach out to as many people as possible and spread my personal philosophies on training, nutrition, and life. Along with health and fitness, I have many other passions and interests: I enjoy listening to music, watching films, and reading as many books as I possibly can in my free time. I believe that learning is a life long endeavor, and I strive to better myself on a daily basis in order to grow as a human being and spread positivity, love, and knowledge throughout the world. I don't believe that anyone should be limited to doing any one thing; and I encourage others to explore their creativity and unique genius in as many mediums as possible. Some of my personal heroes include: Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Bruce Lee, Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Steve Jobs, Samuel Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., Viktor Frankl, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth, Sydney Portier, Charles Darwin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Nelson Mandela.

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