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Best Books of 2018

As I wrap up 2018 and take a look back on the year that was, I feel compelled to review the best books I read through the year that shaped my thinking.

I always read with a pen in my hand as I tend to make notes in margins and underline important sections. This makes it easy to look back at a later date and see what I was thinking at a given point in time.

It has always been my belief that it is important to read from a variety of sources. While the focus of this blog is personal finance, my interests run the gamut. Accordingly, the list below is representative of those varied topics.

Over the past twelve months, here are my favourite four books:

Man’s Search For Meaning

Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, recounts his time amid the Nazi prison camps of World War II. He provides first-hand anecdotes and insights which allow a glimpse into what makes humans tick.

Frankl poses the basic question of why are some people destroyed by horrible situations while others are elevated and then does his best to answer this throughout the text.

I have always believed that it is important to be internally motivated and to find reasons to believe and to hope and be optimistic in everyday life regardless of the things happening around us. While the vast majority of what happens in the world falls outside of our control, we are always in control of how we respond.

What this book offers, most of all, is perspective that whatever we deal with in our lives today pales in comparison to what others have had to overcome. Or, at least, that we’re not alone in our personal sufferings. Let that perspective fuel inspiration in yourself to improve, and let that lead to positive action.

“…[E]verything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

– Page 66

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

We each get 24 hours per day to live the life of our dreams. However, when looking around, it is clear that the vast majority are living consumer-driven lifestyles. While 95% of people foster aspirations without action, there are those who are able to get the results they are looking for.

In this book, Stephen Covey shows that effectiveness in life comes down to a set of behaviours. In fact, if a person would embody each of the seven traits he outlines, it is clear that success would be a foregone conclusion.

Without spoiling each of the habits he recommends, I will just say that my personal favourite from the book is to begin with the end in mind. Doing that encourages a holistic vision of whatever it is you’re pursuing and will force you to think beyond short-term results.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

– Page 161

Shoe Dog

The easiest way to see far is to stand on the shoulders of giants. Phil Knight, founder of Nike Inc. (NKE), provides a great roadmap to succeed both in life and in business. He talks the reader through the inner and outer struggles he faced from a young age all the way through building Nike into the behemoth that it is today in the sports apparel universe.

Having run three marathons, I found it easy to relate to Knight’s discussion of what it feels like to run, why he loves the sport, and what it takes to make it in the long term. Beyond that, he did an incredible job showing that getting where you want to go comes down to a mixture of hard work, unrelenting belief, and sometimes just a few good breaks along the way.

“The secret of happiness, I’d always suspected, the essence of beauty or truth, or all we ever need to know of either, lay somewhere in that moment when the ball is in midair, when both boxers sense the approach of the bell, when the runners near the finish line and the crowd rises as one. There’s a kind of exuberant clarity in that pulsing half second before winning and losing are decided. I wanted that, whatever that was, to be my life, my daily life.”

– Page 3

On Writing

I closed the year by reading Stephen King’s very personal memoir. As a writer myself, I found it fascinating to see behind the curtain of one of the most influential fiction writers perhaps of all time. He has written over fifty books, all of which became number one best sellers; it’s safe to say he has a good idea of what he’s talking about.

He uses plenty of personal anecdotes to demonstrate the factors that shaped his work over the years and what led to many of his greatest ideas. He gets down to the nuts-and-bolts of how to write, both from a scheduling perspective and also on the technical side. Though I have seen a fair number of movies based on his books, I’ve never read any of them myself and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This one exceeded my expectations and I believe will continue to influence my writing technique for the rest of my life.

“Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

– Page 74


To kick off 2018, I had a basic goal to read at least one book per month. I was able to succeed in this regard and happened to read quite a few exceptional ones along the way.

The four books I’ve listed here are each worth taking the time if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the written word in the year to come.

Thank you for reading.


What books did you enjoy over the past year?

Full Disclosure: No position in NKE and no intention to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.

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11 thoughts on “Best Books of 2018

  1. SentriForce says:

    Great list! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mary Leland says:

    Sounds good and I love good deals! Great review!
    Mary Leland recently posted…Book Tigers Self Help and Success SummariesMy Profile

  3. Happy Hiller says:

    Great list. Thanks!

  4. Md Tariqul islam says:

    Hi ,thank you for sharing your blog post…. SO helpful!!! give me some advice.I i’ll wait for your reply

    1. Hi Md,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’m not sure what you’re looking for advice about, however.


  5. Betty Ross says:

    Really enjoyed your article. Keep them coming. Going to be reading these books for sure.

    1. Hey Betty,

      Glad you enjoyed the article and look forward to hearing what you think of the books.

      Take care,

  6. ash green says:

    It was really insightful.
    Thanks for the info.
    Wanna have more contents from you.

    1. Hi Ash,

      Glad you enjoyed the post.


  7. DivHut says:

    Those look like some really good reads based on those quotes. I can say that I have read none of those though their messages do seem to resonate with me. Thanks for sharing. Maybe start a GRB book club 🙂
    DivHut recently posted…Dividend Income Update December 2018My Profile

    1. Hey Keith,

      You’ll definitely enjoy any of them if you give them a shot. A GRB book club would be great, actually. Might have to do some thinking on this one….

      Take care,

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