Updated Book List: December 2019
If you want to read the complete write up for the 2020 Kickoff-The-Year Book List see the full 55-book break down here. If you would rather see the breakdown on our Amazon page see them all here.
Since many people have asked for our favorite books based on our suggestions in the past, here is a list that we will update as we read more during our world travels.
We love holding and reading a physical book but most of our consumption on the road comes on our Kindle or through Audible. We can ‘read’ so much faster through audio. It’s also very easy to get FREE books from your local library (physical, virtual, and audio) so be sure to take advantage of that.
Click on the book title to get a deeper description on Amazon. Yes, we will get Amazon Affiliate Fees (it does NOT raise your price at all) if you purchase one of the books through our links. Thank you for helping us read more with that support.
Matt’s 180-page photography book showcasing police officers encountered during the 800-day journey around the world. 89 large-format color photographs from 60+ cities celebrate police who, while performing daily duties, paused to show off their uniforms proudly.
Passport Joy: Reflections on Life, Love, & Other Stuff While Traveling the World – Nikki Javit – Obviously, we are very biased on this book 🙂 Nikki shares her experiences from our world adventures in this short read that will give you insight into her background before travel and what she has gone through on the road.
Subject – > Foundational Thought Process, Mindset, and Self Talk:
These would be our START HERE books – the earlier in life, the better, but it’s never too late. Without a strong positive mindset, the rest is very difficult. We talk to ourselves all day long…start telling yourself the right things.
As A Man Thinketh – James Allen – Amazing that this was written over 100 years ago! A short read of about 45 pages that will change your life. I have read it several times and it is the only physical book that we have on our travels. Control your mind and you will control your life.
Mindset (The New Psychology of Success) – Carol Dweck – Decades of research by a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist. Mastering our mindset is critical for lifetime achievement. There is also a focus on children in the book and it describes how we speak to them will determine how they overcome challenges in the future. If you work with children in any capacity, you should read this book.
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – David Goggins – This book will change the way you think about your own capabilities and if you are truly pushing yourself to the limit. You might begin to question everything that you thought was hard work and set new limits of achievement. This book changed everything for me.
Something Like Happy – Eva Woods – One hundred days and one hundred new ways to be happy. This book is all about living in the now and finding anything, that makes you happy. This book is a great reminder that happiness comes to us in ordinary moments and we risk missing out on life when we get too busy chasing the extraordinary.
The Art of Learning (An Inner Journey To Optimal Performance) – Josh Waitzkin – For anyone faced with a difficult task or work with kids that think something is ‘impossible’, I love this book and the inspiration it provides. The author went from being a chess prodigy as a child (Searching for Bobby Fischer was based on him) to Martial Arts champion while applying the same learning structure. He walks you through the mindset of these accomplishments and how he continues to use them today. Anybody that thinks they have reached a “peak” and needs reinforcement should read this.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill – ‘Rich’ in this case doesn’t just mean money but the riches of life – health, love, wealth, spirituality. Understanding how to control your thoughts will lead to great amounts of success. This book written in 1937 is still extremely relevant because it continues to change lives. It changed mine.
Love yourself like your life depends on it – Kamal Ravikant – Another short read that will impact your life. “I love myself!” – Self-talk is critical. This book will help you understand how changing yours can drastically change your future.
Subject – > Self Improvement and Life Advice:
There are many self-help books out there and it doesn’t stop with this list. Each of us is different in our gifts and talents as well as our weaknesses. I hope to continue to work on my weaknesses and strengthen my talents until I am no more. “If we aren’t getting better, we are getting worse”.
Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss – I am a dedicated Ferriss podcast listener. ‘The 4-hour workweek guy’, is an epic interviewer spending 2-3 hours with his guests. In this book, he summarizes the best thoughts and advice from his first 200 interviews. You get the tips, tricks, advice, and life hacks from billionaires, Olympians, actors, and other successful icons. Big thick book…..thank God he took the time to pack it all in there. It’s even split into Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise sections. I gifted this book many times over the years.
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield – For anyone that has struggled with focusing on whatever passion you might have or want to discover. The main topic of the book is writing literature but the framework can be applied to anything you might be wanting to tackle. Great book to help you get focused and understand what is keeping you from achieving the achievable. A favorite that I read back-to-back.
What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey– This book is packed with insight and discoveries that Oprah has learned over the years. The quotes and revelations in this book are uplifting, to say the least; a sort of “life guide” to live by.
The Obstacle is the Way & Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday – Holiday is an extremely talented author in how he breaks down ‘simple’ ideation into relevant and actionable ways of living. We get in our own way too often. These books help you understand how we can control this and give ourselves a chance to WIN. These books are known for making their way around locker rooms in the most successful sports organizations in the world.
The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers – Alex Banayan – Many of the principles discussed in this book are terms that I live by. Find a creative way to solve your ‘impossible to do’ problems. Anything is possible. This book will help you see how the greats have found a way around the obstacles that many of us use as excuses.
The Miracle of Morning Pages: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Most Important Artist’s Way Tool: – Julia Cameron – In this invaluable companion to Julia Cameron’s seminal work on the creative process, The Artist’s Way, she provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about her most powerful tool for unblocking creative stores: Morning Pages. According to Cameron, keeping a Morning Pages Journal is essential to cultivating creativity and personal growth. These pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing will provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand. The Miracle of the Morning Pages Journal clarifies and expands upon the ins and outs of the art of keeping a Morning Pages Journal.
Will Power Doesn’t Work – Benjamin Hardy – We rely on willpower to create change in our lives…but what if we’re thinking about it all wrong? In this book the author explains that willpower is nothing more than a dangerous fad-one that is bound to lead to failure. Instead of “white-knuckling” your way to change, you need to instead alter your surroundings to support your goals. This book shows you how.
Eat to Live – Joel Fuhrman & The China Study – Thomas Campbell – These books absolutely changed my health life! After reading both of them within weeks of each other and following the advice laid out, I lost 23 lbs in 6 weeks and significantly changed my blood results helping me to avoid medication for cholesterol. I love food, especially while traveling in foreign lands, and these books helped give me a lifestyle to live within (based on the biggest nutrition study ever completed) while still adventuring out once in a while.
Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence – Eric Goodman – this book should be at the top of my list because HEALTH is WEALTH. The principles that are written within this have changed my life! After a back surgery that replaced 3 discs and left screws, plates, pins, and rods in my lower back, the last thing that I wanted to do was get on an airplane or sit on a bus for 12 hours. It was actually after getting an epidural steroid injection before a work trip to India that I made the decision to have surgery because the voyage was so difficult. Now, four years later, I am as healthy as I have been in my adult life thanks to these books and doing the exercises every day. The training is exploding with popularity now, here are a few people that you may know that use it. Whether you have back, neck, or hip pain, or if you are competitive in athletics, these exercises will help you. I wish I had this knowledge when I played Division 1 basketball.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport – “One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.” If you struggle to focus on important tasks, this book will change the way you look at productivity.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Written – Anne Lamott – Advice on writing and life from an acclaimed bestselling author. If you have ever thought about writing a book, movie, blog post…read this amazing book to understand the process better. Not only does it give wonderful advice on the becoming a ‘professional’, it lays out advice on life. Humbling but rewarding. It’s a book you should visit more than once.
The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson – Small daily choices affect the biggest changes in our lives. This book focuses on determining how we handle those choices and the events that will follow. A classic read that will help teach the basic tools for a wonderful life.
Subject – > Travel Books:
The following are great books about travel or inspiring worldviews. As you can tell, we think travel is extremely important to open the mind to other cultures and ways of seeing life.
Vagabonding – Rolf Potts – A wonderful book that lays out how to travel with the right mind-frame, to take in all the road offers. It’s inspiring and motivating. He really paints a beautiful picture of the road and all it brings…even the negative stuff.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho – A classic book, and one of the best selling novels ever, telling the story of how a young shepherd from Spain finds his way and calling during an epic trip in Northern Africa. I’ve read this more than once and each time it speaks to me a different way.
The Unthinkable – Amanda Ripley – We all think that “it will never happen to me”…..well, in preparing for our world travels, we wanted to understand how people reacted to crazy life tragedies – hotel fires, hostage situations, plane crashes – so that we could be better prepared mentally in case life comes at us quickly. This book does an excellent job of laying out what worked for survivors and the errors of those that did not.
Spy Secrets that can Save Your Life – Jason Hanson – Safety, security, and survival advice from a former CIA officer? I’m in! In preparing for our trip, we listened to this together and now use several of the key components DAILY like staying on ‘yellow’, carrying tactical pens, and making eye contact with potential predators. This is a great book for daily life no matter where you live. Security first!
Subject – > Mind Opening Reads of Discovery:
These are great books that helped us look deeper on subjects that we have an interest in.
Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari – A great book on the history of humans on our planet. The way it is written and laid out made it hard to put down (or turn off as I was listening to it). If you enjoy history or have questions on how it all came to be…..this book answers all that and more. Extremely fun read.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi – At 36, a young neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi, was diagnosed with Stage IV, terminal lung cancer. This memoir attempts to answer the questions, “What makes life worth living?” “How will we live our lives?” I think these questions are so very important and we must ask ourselves these two questions daily. None of us know how much time we have here on earth, but what you choose to do with the time you have should be meaningful.
The Inevitable – Kevin Kelly -The author predicted much of what we are living through today from a technology perspective……30 years ago! In this book, he is doing the same about the future. If you are a tech geek like me, you will likely love how he lays out the future and what is coming. If you are at a career change stage in life, get this book so you understand what direction you might want to focus on.
When Helping Hurts – Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert – & Toxic Charity – Robert D. Lupton – Putting these two together as they both focus on charity and giving back. We all want to help the needy but can we be hurting them instead? These books have actionable steps to help you help others. If you are dedicating yourself to working with the underprivileged or if you are thinking about booking that volunteer trip to a foreign country, you might want to pick up these books first. They will help you in your pursuit to do the right thing.
Night – Elie Wiesel – Night is the first in a trilogy—Night, Dawn, Day—is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, marking Wiesel’s transition during and after the Holocaust from darkness to light, according to the Jewish tradition of beginning a new day at nightfall. “In Night,” he said, “I wanted to show the end, the finality of the event. Everything came to an end—man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing left. And yet we begin again with night.” For me, Night is more than learning about the atrocities and dark side of human nature, it is an intimate account of what happened from a survivor’s perspective and teaches us the importance of the power of hope.
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond – Chris Burniske & Jack Tatar – “This clear, concise, and accessible guide from two industry insiders shows you how to navigate this brave new blockchain world’and how to invest in these emerging assets to secure your financial future.” If nothing else, it will give you the insight you need to understand the topic at dinner conversations.
Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster – Darren Hardy – If you have ever chased that dream of owning your own business, you know how crazy it can be. The highs and lows. This is a great book if you are thinking about entering the entrepreneurial world. Tools, tips, plans, and action that you can follow. Why try to reinvent the wheel when so many have failed for you? Focus on your idea and use this framework to help you be successful.
The Theory of Poker – David Sklansky – I am a poker and card junkie. It’s a universal language 😉 This book has theories that you can also apply to life. I think it is THE poker bible and only book you need on the subject…..or, am I bluffing?
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain– Betty Edwards – I am traditionally a horrible drawer and artist. This book helped give me the basics to overcome this burden. If you are someone that might have an interest in getting better at drawing for a hobby or so you will not embarrass yourself playing Win, Lose, or Draw, pick this up and spend a few weekends getting better.
Subject -> Entertaining Reads:
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road – Nick Bilton -‘The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it.’ If you want to understand how Silk Road was started and how parts of the Dark Web operate, this is a fascinating book. How did a guy that was so rich, blow it all in the end from a rented apartment. I couldn’t put this book down once I got started.
Molly’s Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World – Molly Bloom – Now a major motion picture, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera—the true story of “Hollywood’s poker princess” who gambled everything, won big, then lost it all. I love hearing stories of how people create their own enterprise out of nothing so this book that combined that level of entrepreneurial spirit along with poker, I was hooked! I saw the movie then read the book. Both are worth the time.
Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need – Blake Snyder – Have you ever thought about writing a screenplay? Have you ever wondered how writers bring together all of the storylines? Or are you just trying to become a better storyteller? This book delivered on my curiosity on the subject and helped armed me with the necessary know-how to begin the process of writing my own screenplay.
We are always open to suggestions and feedback. Please share ideas!