I grew up hating to read until I dropped out of college and felt free to choose the books I wanted to read. Since then, reading books has been an extension of my curiosity rather than an assignment.

One year ago, I made a commitment to read more. I challenged myself to read 52 books in 2017. I fell short and ended up reading 34. I’m very proud of this because I still accomplished my core goal: to rekindle my desire for reading. After this year, a new book seems like candy to me. My family keeps asking me what I want for Christmas and the only thing I can think of is more Audible gift cards.

I love books because they give me a glimpse into somebody’s mind. They let you in on another human’s unique explanation of ideas. Understanding a new book means I understand something about humanity in a new way.

Here are my 3 favorite books from this year in no particular order.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I listened to this audiobook over the summer. It’s an anthropological view of the whole of human history. What I love about this book so much is how objective Harari’s viewpoint is. He analyzes things like religion, economics, and politics as if he were coming from the perspective of an alien who is viewing the events of history for the first time. It’s eye-opening and refreshing, and I can’t recommend this book enough. In fact, Richard Branson recommended it recently as one of his top books of 2017.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I read this book at the very beginning of the year and then reread about half of it later in the year. This book changed my life. It helped me begin to grasp what it truly means to be virtuously selfish. It shaped my understanding of my own values as they relate to work and love, and I continue to expand this understanding every day.

Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse

I read the kindle version of this book in February. It gripped me the whole way through. Carse breaks down life into two types of games: finite and infinite. Understanding the difference between these two types of games has helped me prioritize the events I choose to participate in. I’ll be reading this one again in 2018. It inspired me to write about freedom and choice.

Honorable Mentions:

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

What are the best books you read this year?

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash