23 Books That Changed My Life

Google researchers tried to count how many books have been published. They came up with 129,864,880, or something like 12 trillion words.

That’s the worst thing about books. You can dedicate your life to reading just the best books and still miss 99.9% of them.

Still, we try our best to find the great ones. Books that stick with us long after we’re read them, and pull us back to reread them again and again.

Here are 23 that truly changed how I think.

The Science of Fear is the first book that opened my eyes to how poor we are at interpreting risk.

The Big Change, a look at how life in America changed from 1900-1950, got me interested in the social and cultural part of economic growth.

The Quest of the Simple Life, written in 1907, totally changed how I think about personal finance and life goals.

Famous Financial Fiascos is one of the best investing history books that few people have heard of.

The Great Depression: A Diary is the best economics book I’ve read, written by a person who didn’t know he was writing one.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit has had the biggest influence on how I write.

The Patriarch, a biography of Joseph Kennedy, shows Kennedy to be one of the most fascinating people in American history even if his son had never became president.

Endurance is the best example of how far people can be pushed when the stakes are high.

Truman, a biography of the 33rd president, is an incredible story of the world’s biggest problems falling into the lap of someone who never thought he’d face them.

The Wright Brothers is one of the best business and innovation stories of all time.

The Frugal Housewife, written in 1833, shows how primitive everyday life was not that long ago.

23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism will make half of readers angry, but the other half will be better able to realize that no system for organizing an economy is perfect.

Guns at Last Light is the best World War II book I’ve read, and explains the most important event in modern history through human stories rather than bland statistics.

The Better Angels of Our Nature taught me that you can be a long-term optimist even when things around you look pretty bad.

30 Lessons for Living is a collection of life advice from very old people who have seen it all.

This Will Make You Smarter is a series of short essays by brilliant people in a book that lives up to its title.

Boyd is an excellent story on brute-force learning, focus, and bureaucracy.

The Birth of Plenty is the best explanation of how and why economies grow.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths shows how big an advantage you have when you’re unemotional about emotional topics.

When Breath Becomes Air will make you reexamine what’s important in life and make you appreciate each day you’re here.

Investing: The Last Liberal Art is the most underappreciated investment book.

Why Don’t We Learn From History? shows why people keep screwing up after others before them did the same thing.

How To Lie With Statistics will make you laugh and be skeptical of almost everything in one sitting.