Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Books - my ultimate list of the (audio)books I’ve read in the past and I’m reading now

Latest Update: October 20, 2017

Note: I haven’t updated this page in the last 5 years, so it’s totally outdated. I’ve read many more books since then. I’m hoping to be gradually updating this page again and at least post the list of my favorite recently read books here. Soon-ish!

As a CEO of an established company Nozbe I need to keep growing as a leader and the best way to do that is to read lots of books. As they say: “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”! But how to find time for books? Well, back in 2010 I started listening to audiobooks instead of reading physical books and I went from 2 books per year to around 30… and from then on I’ve been either listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Right now my Audible library is really huge so I created a document with the list of all the books I read in the past. I was losing track. And I only managed to write about some of them on this blog. Long story short, I decided to share my list of books with you - together with links, notes, everything right here… on this page. Here goes:

Books - my ultimate list of the (audio)books I’ve read in the past and I’m reading now

Michael’s ultimate list of books:

  1. Books I’ve read and reviewed on my site
  2. Books I’ve read - no review yet, only notes
  3. Books I’m reading now
  4. Books in my Audible queue
  5. Books I’ve read - no review, no notes

Bonus: (and shameless promo) - I wrote three books you might be interested in:

Note: Links to books point either to my reviews on this site or directly to Audible/Amazon (with my affiliate code). Links to authors point to my video interviews with them which I did for this blog or for the Productive! Magazine

1. Books I’ve read and reviewed on my site:

2. Books I’ve read - no review yet, only loose notes:

(I’ll be gradually adding more notes to the section here)

Books I’ve read in 2017

Very good book! Eye opening how stoicism still can be applied to our life - and even to a person like me who is catholic! It was so good we both discussed it on the The Podcast in two episodes! First in episode #103 and later in episode #104

Well, this book wasn’t as good as people were saying, maybe because I already get the power of a morning routine…

Was kinda skeptical about this book but it has some counterintuitive opinions of how we should breathe and the importance of not over-breathing - and a few breathing exercises I should be trying soon. Let’s see if what the author is really saying… really works.

Interesting stories of how 117A and other anti-radar planes were constructed, the importance of Cold War and the ways they had to deliver projects… where some of them were really top secret!

Interesting method which we haven’t applied at Nozbe just yet but we’re thinking about it. Still haven’t made my mind about the value of it, but will definitely have to give it a try!

Another take on Clay’s theory of “jobs to be done” and how we should be thinking about our products in this way - what jobs are they hired to do by which kind of customers? It’s a difficult question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer as jobs can vary not only on type of customer but also on the timing of them getting to know the product…

Here I’ve learned why homeopathy is complete BS and why many quasi-scientific research results can sound scientific yet can be used just to fill out the goal of the manufacturer of the thing… scary stuff!

This book was flat out boring and I didn’t really take much value from it. I’m not sure if I actually finished it… it’s all about storing memories and repetiotions… but I feel like I’ve read better books on that subject before…

Very good salesman book - I really liked how the seller should be not only an advisor but also should be challenging the customer into thinking differently about their market and their business. This is what we’re trying do with Nozbe and we’ll try more of that in the future!

Very uncomfortable book to read - turns out we’re victims of our biases much more than we think we are… I need to re-read this book again and take good notes. It was really eye-opening!

Very good book on feelings and expressing them… and asking the key question: “what needs of yours do you want to have met?”, we discussed it on The Podcast #110

Amazing book about the blame game that people (and industries) are playing and how we should “own our shit” = own our mistakes and learn from them. If we don’t admit to mistakes - we won’t be able to move forward. Will review it soon on this blog + the podcast.

Interesting book on the role of randomness in our lives. We talked about it on The Podcast - episode 92.

A blueprint of how to check if your idea “will fly” and make sense in the real world. Maybe I’m not the target audience of this one but I didn’t like this book so much. If you’re totally new to the building-your-business-online thing then maybe it’s for you. It wasn’t for me.

Very good follow up to her previous book - The Happiness Project (Audible, Amazon) - and a good book to read after the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg - because this book is about habits and understanding how they can help us be better and happier. I really liked it!

Great book on the importance of sleeping well. Reviewed it on this blog and on The Podcast - episode 87.

Amazing book on tidying and cleaning and clutter-free places. This book completely changed the way I approach storing things. I’be already re-designed my home office and my wardrobe according to this method and it feels great! Read my review

Interesting book on coaching and how we should be asking our peers questions to learn from them and teach them at the same time. I’ll probably elaborate on this more later.

If you’re a “Gilmore Girls” fan like me and my wife, you’re really going to like this book. Lots of great stories from Lauren as well as some “behind the scenes” info on how the show Gilmore Girls got done. And a productivity trick for aspiring authors as a bonus.

If you’re Anna Kendrick fan like I am (after seeing her in “Up in the Air” and “Pitch Perfect”) it’s her story - how she got into acting, Broadway and later Hollywood. What she’s trying to say here is that she’s just a girl who’s trying to figure it all out. Like every other girl. Not a know-it-all celebrity. Entertainment.

Books I’ve read in 2016 and earlier

Great book on how ego influences our decisions. Have lots of notes on it, hope to publish a review soon. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 77.

Very important book on learning better through deliberate practice. Read my review

Amazing book on how we should choose what we really care about. The vulgar language is just to provoke you to think, like this citation: “You and everyone you know will be dead soon and in the short amount of time between here and there you have a limited number of fucks to give. Very few in fact. If you go around giving fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice, well, you’re going to get fucked.” I’ve got plenty of more notes, hope to pubilsh a review here and discuss it on The Podcast.

Very good book on understanding the introverts and extroverts with lots of advice on how to approach children and help them find their ways in todays world. Lots of notes, hope to review it and talk about it on the podcast.

Great book to read after you’ve read and understood the “Essentialism”. Totally recommended. Will hope to review it here and on The Podcast soon in more detail.

Great book on how to execute consistently. How to plan goals and how to influence what we can and create a lasting long-term impact. Something I’d like to study deeper here on this blog. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 50.

Great book on how the discoveries are made. On the concept of “standing on the shoulders of giants” and much more. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 63.

One of the better productivity books on the market now. Lots of great tips on achieving more and with better results. Discussed this book on two episodes of The Podcast - episode 61 and episode 62.

Really liked this book - what makes us original? How to implement original ideas? What really is original? Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 53.

Great book on unconventional concepts of running a company. Something we actively practice and preach as a NoOffice company. Lots of concepts to digest there and hopefully implement. Discussed this book on two episodes of The Podcast - episode 75 and episode 76.

Amazing book. Goes great with “The One Thing” and “Essantialism” but focuses more on the concept of the significance of deliberate work. Also ties well with “Peak”. Anyway, I’ll write more on this book soon. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 46.

Great book on what the future holds for us. On what will happen, not precisely how it will go down. Discussed this book on two episodes of The Podcast - episode 68 and episode 69.

Great (and a very long book) on the laws of power - lots of stories from the past analyzing how to gain power, how to hold on to it and much more. A little devious but totally worth reading.

Great book - especially the audio version of a great story. A fiction book but with true concepts of productivity. How the main character gets out of Mars by applying the concepts of “getting things done” :-)

Very cool Steve Jobs biography. Much better than the official one. How Steve really became Steve and how he developed Apple into a mega company we know (and love :-)

Great story of how the “startup world” really works. Maybe too critical at times and exaggerating some points, but insightful nonetheless. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 74.

Does money really make us happy? How to use money to create happiness? Why should we buy “experiences” rather than “things” to be happy? Great short book about understanding the concept of money, hope to review it in more detail at some point here.

Great book if you’re interested in the future and how this one man is trying to reinvent it. What I’ve basically learned here is that I love what Elon does, but I would never want to be him and live his kind of lifestyle. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 12.

Great of Gary to compile his show’s Q&A segment into a book. Reads a little like an autobiography. Great insights into a mind of a very successful guy. Hope to analyze this more in detail later on this blog.

Interesting concept of the third wave of the Information Society. At times a little too self-indulgent biography of the author and his America Online story. Discussed this book on The Podcast - episode 48.

Update: They finally released an abridged version of this book (7 hours - get it and let me know in the comments if it’s worth listening). Notes: I couldn’t get around to finishing this one. Long audio book (21 hours) and I dropped half way through it. Basically: your financial brokers are cheating on you with management costs (duh!) and you should focus on the power of compounding (the more you save, the more you invest, the longer you do it… the better the results). And I don’t know… too much talking too little practical take aways from me.

Great book about how content creators con people and press to get coverage. How to create news out of thin air, how to manipulate press and others. Really morally questionable but it’s good to be aware of this and know this stuff is happening. And it’s spooky to know what extra lengths people will go to get press…

Interesting story of the founder of Minecraft. I’m a sucker for biographies of successful people and you can’t say that Minecraft wasn’t successful. The sale to Microsoft was just icing on the cake. But to be able to create such a following and fan base and such an epic game was an amazing feat. And the guy was your typical geek who just had a great idea and (of course) great execution.

I hated statistics at the University. I wish I had a book like this to teach me stats. What seems like a boring subject was shown in a great way, with lots of examples and practical ways of using data. And how to use data to manipulate outcomes or bend them towards your goals. Now I understand more when I listen to stats on the news… it’s amazing how the same sample of data can prove two contrary theories, depending on how you show it and which measures you focus on…

kick-in-the-pants book to move it up, basic advice - lots of success stories, less detail - $100 is a headline catcher - it takes more than that - Nozbe as like a $100 startup kind of - focuses on being on your own and at least matching your salary doing what you love - I say doing what you love is the most important thing - You can live anywhere and do a global business - I do live by that

We are all leaders to some extent - It’s not a guide how to become a leader, but how to find a leader within you. It’s all about passion and communication - Kick in the pants to inspire you to lead- I know this, I’m trying to find a leader in myself - shaping the future of the “productivity industry” - Short manifesto - but I like Seth’s manifestos, they inspire and pump me up

Include referrals everywhere you can in your product cycle. - Gave me thought how to re-think referrals, how to convert more of what we do to help people refer. - I knew most of this, but helped me re-shape my actions both with Nozbe and with my blog. - Anyway, there are many opportunities - a great product/content is not enough

Good ol selling advice - Very good tips and tricks - how to sell - Good ethical advice - How you have to believe in what you’re selling - The “why” is there, too. - Although we don’t sell door to door anymore - selling is the most important thing - I want to become a bestselling author - not a best writing one

Untapped markets everywhere - Easy customization - Democratization of goods - See how you can reach these markets - Mass culture is series of niches - Less cost to distribute - more cost in “intelligence” to help people find something JUST FOR THEM - Recommendations, rankings to help people search niches - Niches when added up - do more than the hits

How we should build prototypes in life and in business - How talking to customers is important - Measure measure measure - AB testing - Keep costs low, keep overhead low, keep iterating - Follow passion but look at numbers

She’s on the cover of the magazine - How we should be conscious about happiness - How we can easily get turned off - Why it’s important to enjoy the moments - If money buys happiness?- Build happiness yourself - get yourself happy

3. Books I’m reading now:

4. Books in my Audible queue:

5. Books I’ve read - no review, no notes:

(in no particular order, uff, there are so many… need to start taking notes or I might forget what these books were all about…)

As I’ve read all of the books above, feel free to ask me about them in the comments, as well. I do remember most of them… I think :-)

Question: Which book would you suggest I read next? Which one on the list did you like / not like?