When I started laying out the direction I wanted to go in 2018, one of the things I wanted to do better was read more. I’m constantly reading articles and opinions online, but I wanted to make a better effort at finishing more books this year. That’s a fairly standard goal of most people when starting the year. Most people, however, don’t lay out the books they want to tackle.
I thought it would be best for me if I go through my shelf, find books that I’ve been meaning to read for the past year(s) to help or inspire some of the changes I wanted to make this year. I’ve always been in awe of how much and varied Ryan Holiday reads and I wanted to try and do the same with a few themes. I will likely include some fiction books to mix things up depending on how well I do with this.
I’ll list the books below. First book, that I’m a hundred pages into, is Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.
I’ve long had a fascination with the man- heck, I even have a print of the Mona Lisa hanging on my wall. One of my favourite books (maybe guide is a better word) is, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb. I discovered it in University and it’s weighed heavily on my mind ever since.
With the biography, I knew the basics about him and his artwork, but this book is really bringing him to life for me. It’s quite incredible after only a hundred pages and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
In addition to trying to read more, I want to buy fewer books. I have a bad habit of buying books, but not reading them. I want to utilize my Amazon Wishlist, keep logging books of interest there, and see what stands out a year later to purchase or borrow.
The list of books covers quite a few different areas: Zen Buddhism, creativity, introverts, writing, and a history of walking, which combined two of my favourite activities. Some well-known books, some not so well-known books.
It should be a very interesting year of reading.
Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
Drawing together many histories-of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores, Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers.
The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment and – Zen: Merging of East and West by Roshi P. Kapleau
Exploring the three pillars of Zen—teaching, practice, and enlightenment—Roshi Philip Kapleau, the man who founded one of the oldest and most influential Zen centers in the United States, presents a personal account of his own experiences as a student and teacher, and in so doing gives readers invaluable advice on how to develop their own practices.
Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies For Modern Life by Sakyong Mipham
In Ruling Your World, Sakyong Mipham shares ancient secrets on how to take control of our lives and be successful while cultivating compassion for others and confidence in our own intelligence and goodness. The key to this well-being lies in the ancient strategies of the warrior kings and queens of Shambhala.
The Beat Book: Writings from the Beat Generation by Anne Waldman
The Beat movement exploded into American culture in the early 1950s with the force of prophecy. Not just another literary school, it was an artistic and social revolution. William S. Burroughs proclaimed that the Beat writers were “real architects of change. There is no doubt that we’re living in a freer America as a result of the Beat literary movement, which is an important part of the larger picture of cultural and political change in this country during the last forty years, when a four-letter word couldn’t appear on the printed page and minority rights were ridiculous.”
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sold, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.
With Creativity On Demand, Gelb teaches a series of time-tested practices to clear blockages and open the flow of creative energy, then reveals how these techniques can be integrated with the renowned creative mindset and creative process tools he’s taught to individuals and organizations worldwide.
Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals what leads to these moments—be it the excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab—so that this knowledge can be used to enrich people’s lives.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture.