My top 5 books of 2018

Disclaimer: This list is not a “top 5 book of 2018”. I’ll discuss the best books I‘ve read during 2018. Some of them were released many years ago while some may appear pretty bad to you compared to what you’ve read on your side. These are my best readings this year, I’m not the New York Times best sellers list ;).

5) The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich – Timothy Ferriss, 2007

I’m still reading this one so I can only talk about the first half of it, but I love it. This is a book about productivity and thinking out of the box. It explains how you can leverage the difference of currencies and how to become a “new rich” by working less but more efficiently.

Even if most of the tips in this book won’t work if you are bound to a place (can’t work remotely from another country), there is still a ton of great ideas and models you can apply. This is a great motivational book and, as someone who seeks motivation on a daily basis, this book helped me focus on my vision by giving me useful tools.

4) Your second life begins when you understand that you only have one – 
Raphaëlle Giordano, 2015

I know how the synopsis of this book sounds: a success story that nobody can apply to his/her life. And this is wrong on every level. Remove the fictional part of the book and you have a practical guide for positive psychology that will help you have a fresh start if you need to.

This book has a lot in common with what my wife and I did during the past year: we hacked our life to exit the routine we were in (I’m preparing a series of posts about that so I won’t go into much details here). De-cluttering, meditation, positive thinking… this book gives so many helpful tips that it’s no longer a simple novel to me (even if sometimes, I admit, there are some cheesy parts).

3) A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes – Stephen Hawking, 1988

Ever wondered how the rules that made the universe work? This book is a pretty good summary of everything we now today about general relativity, quantum physic, black holes and the search for a unified theory that could explain what happens at singularity points.

I’ve also read “Black Holes And Baby Universes And Other Essays”: it’s, in my opinion, a good follow up to “A brief history of time”, so if you want to pay tribute to the great man Stephen Hawking was, do yourself a favor and read these books.

This book can be a little intimidating, it is definitely not the book you want to read before going to sleep, but it’s a great book.

2) Ready Player One – Ernest Cline, 2011

When I heard about the upcoming film of Steven Spielberg last year I couldn’t resist having a closer look at the story and it has been on my reading list ever since. 

If you haven’t seen the movie, the story is basically a dystopia taking place in a near future (2044) where everyone plays (and works, and learns…) in a virtual reality world named “the Oasis”. You will follow the story of a young man competing in a quest for an Easter egg inside this virtual world.

I remember exactly where I picked it up: Harvard Book Store in Cambridge near Boston. I was on a trip for work and I was visiting Harvard University like every tourist in the area, I had run out of books to read and was trying to figure out what I could enjoy during the flight back to France when I picked it up. I remember reading 3 pages in the library and saying to myself “Oh boy, this book is like heroin, if I start reading it I won’t be able to stop”.

This is the most addictive book I have ever read. Maybe it won’t be for people that aren’t familiar with the geek culture of the 80′ / 90′ but I doubt that you won’t find a reference to something you used to like as a child. A comment I loved about this book is: “Harry Potter for grown-ups”, I find that quite accurate. Also, even if you have seen the movie, you can still read the book: there are countless differences, the end isn’t quite the same and the depth of the movie is irrelevant compared to the book.

1) Factfulness – Hans Rosling, 2018

Factfulness is, for sure, the book that changed the most the way I see the world. I deliberately don’t read the news and avoid as much as possible the TV so the view I have of the world problems isn’t biased by that, but I still wasn’t even remotely close to the facts shown in the book.

I mean, you think the world is going nuts, right? That everything is wrong and that the developed countries are more than ever crushing developing countries under their economy? Think again.

This book basically shows that you, as almost everyone, are wrong about a lot of things and that the world can be bad AND better at the same time.

I got this book from the list of recommendations from Bill Gates earlier this year, and I can see why he puts it in his top books too. 

What’s next for 2019?

I’ve read 15 books this year and plan to allocate twice the time I allocated this year on reading books. I won’t go into the details of my list of books to read but I already gave out one of my sources: Bill Gates. This man has a freaking good taste when it comes to reading material, and he has a dedicated section on the gatesnotes website about it. His top 5 looks really cool and I’m looking forward to it, especially “Army of None” which will probably be my next reading.

I hope this list has been helpful and if you decide to read it or have done so already, I’d be glad to discuss them with you 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone!

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