Favorite Reading Lists


“I don’t have time to read another book.”

Even though I read an average of 50 books a year, this thought comes up from time to time.  Then Mark Twain reminds me, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

Okay. Maybe one more.

Here are several reading lists that I use to filter through the vast titles of available books for the very best.

Admiral (ret) James Stavridis writes in his book The Leader’s Bookshelf that Secretary of Defense (and retired General) James Mattis has what could be the largest personal library of any active-duty military officer ever. Secretary Mattis recommended these 30 books (from his own 7,000 book library) to Foreign Policy during an interview.

The Air Force’s Reading List (My favorite so far on the most recent list is The Effective Executive)

The Army’s Reading List  (A short story called “A Message to Garcia”. Read it for free at this link.)

The Navy’s Reading List (Try Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World)

The Marine Corps’ Reading List (Once an Eagle is a must!)

The Coast Guard’s Reading List  (again Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World)

Derek Sivers’ List (includes fantastic summaries and his personal book notes) (The most difficult list to pick a favorite from…either Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind or Ego Is the Enemy)

Ryan Holiday’s List (find his annual lists here) (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt)

Do you have a recommended reading list? How about a favorite book from last year?

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5 thoughts on “Favorite Reading Lists

  1. My favorites from 2017 in no particular order of preference:
    1. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (Mark McCormack)
    2. Pre-Accident Investigations (Todd Conklin)
    3. Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
    4. The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday)
    5. Ego is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday)
    6. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Alfred Lansing)

    • Nick,
      I’ll have to put “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” on my list for 2018! We should start issuing Todd Conklin’s book at the Safety Academy…and maybe invite him to speak at a Major Command conference or two? As for “Endurance”, we might have spoke about it, but it’s THE book I go to when something in my life seems tough. Whatever it is seems quite minor after rereading this incredible adventure story!

  2. Extreme Ownership; How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin should be required reading for all safety pros!