Books I Read: 2021

** = SUPERSTAR – Recommended For General Reading

All books are linked to Amazon unless noted. I’ll link the free pdfs as I find them.


  1. **Principles by Ray Dalio (reread): Re-reads of this book isn’t to get from beginning to end. It’s more “continual unpacking” for me at this point: revisiting the principles’ sub-points and referencing them to physically exercise them through journalling workshops on how I am applying a good principle or not applying it to current situations or circumstances in my life.
  2. **The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, & Power by Richard J Foster: Incredible book with a wonderful snippet on our call to love– and Foster does good to ground everything in scripture so that Christian naysayers of compassion, equality, and more have something to reference and challenge the personal views they uphold. Valuable insight on our relationship with money and power, and a short, but important comment on how the church ought to conduct affairs in regards to those with mental illness, the LGBTQ community and more. Every Christian ought to read this book (Catholic and Protestant) and every non-Christian would benefit from reading this book and enlarging his/her/them’s world view in regards to the ideologies a greater % of the world’s population grounds itself in. 
  3. The Anatomy of Color: The Story of Heritage Paints and Pigments by Patrick Baty Thames & Hudson (borrowed from a friend who initially bought the book at the Cooper Hewitt): I love learning about the history of color. I devoured this book; I much enjoyed it over The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, which I read at the end of last year. The Anatomy of Color is heavy on the education, but still very engaging and entertaining, whereas Kassia’s was more storytelling without much context, and the stories themselves of every color lacked the punch needed for them to stand on their own. It also includes many helpful, visual references to colors and color theories across history. It’s a supremely well structured book. One might learn:
    1. How a lot of the names today symbolize the history from which these colors were discovered or created, like:
    2. How the rarity or difficulty of procuring a pigment affects its entry, rise, demise in employment by society.
    3. How arsenic and lead was widely used for the creation of color
    4. Shout out to zinc oxide (the ingredient that also gives the famed white cast in sunscreens) and how it was employed in the construction of paints.
    5. Why Spanish white (more widely used in the UK) was sometimes valued more than Bougival White (said to come from Marly, France) And more!
  4. * Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney: I generally stay away from fiction books, because I found it hard to find myself attracted to any ones I’ve picked up or have been recommended thus far. Enough of that, and you just decide to stick to what’s known and a guaranteed enjoyable read.  I gave Sally Rooney’s works a chance as I’ve heard her two books spoken about ceaselessly from peers and from a number of different personalities from different spheres of life. Conversations with Friends, like Normal people is rooted in modern, worldly living.  And in both books, there’s a level of moral and ethical ambiguity in terms of interpersonal relations. The voice is almost indifferent to these considerations. I loved reading Rooney’s powerful prose. It makes the reader feel both like they’re looking in to the intimate details of others’ lives, and at the same time, a part of it.
  5. **The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller (reread):This is my second time reading through The Meaning of Marriage. It would be my first time reading and leaving with heightened retention. During my first read, I was struck by Tim Keller’s wisdom about the natural state of having anyone you know become different versions of themselves, and the natural probability of having your partner become a stranger over time…and that to maintain marriage, or any relationship for that matter, life requires the constant effort of re-learning and re-knowing a person. With that thought fixed in my head, I’ve found it to be true as I examined my friendships, romantic relationships, and family relations through this lens. This year, passages speaking to the pros of having a constant partner– a relationship that sounds more of peace than excitement and thrill really resonated with me.
  6. Searching for Enough: The High-Wire Walk Between Doubt and Faith by Tyler Staton: I enjoyed reading this primarily for two reasons: 1)Being that Tyler Staton is my pastor at Oaks Church, I was curious to learn more about his thoughts and his mind and 2) The title and the summary of the book intrigued me as it’s definitely a topic of interest for me and other Christians. Regarding the book itself and its quality of reading, I would say the best parts were the collection of excerpts and insights Tyler has offered to us through the voices of leading industry figures and theologians of our day and in history. Tyler’s prose is very much like the way he speaks. I would personally prefer there to have been more unpacking on select themes, and this book is more a quick skip through many, many complicated topics.
  7. ** For those interested in music ** Words Without Music by Philip Glass: I picked this book up at the Alabaster Bookshop on 4th Avenue, after a very thorough read through its reviews online. Philip Glass’s music has always been a source of entertainment and intrigue for me, along with the insane level of esteem our generation holds for him, and I was curious to learn more about how he became and what went on his mind– what experiences, forces, and values drove him.
  8. *Who You Are (When No One’s Looking): Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise by Bill Hybels: I read this because I wanted to build my character.
  9. Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization by John Browne
  10. The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs by Charles D. Ellis
  11. Cézanne by Ulrike-Becks Malorny: I’ve been thoroughly enjoying learning about Cézanne, his perspective, and his life more through this book (published by Taschen). I was inspired to pick up this read as an exhibition of Paul Cézanne’s drawings were on view at the Museum of Modern Art, and I wanted to have a better understanding of his life, the processes, habits, and environment which influenced his artist’s eye, and more. Although the book is only 96 pages in length, and certainly not enough to explain through the many nuances probably necessary to justify Cézanne’s quirkly personality and life, I loved getting an easy introduction to Paul and a thorough explanation of how his artistic style and works developed and matured.
  12. Dune by Frank Herbert: This is maybe the first science fiction book I’ve picked up. And as such, for the sake of respecting this new foray, I’m committed to reading it through! I decided to read this book after seeing it on the shelves of many of my loved ones. I read it in one part, to finally try science fiction, and one part to read something my loved ones love. Update: I loved it! It took me around 200 pages to acknowledge the merit of the book and to get hooked on its contextual complexities, and from then on, I was hooked.
  13. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss: I picked this book up because I spotted it in the library. It was ok. I think it would have been a valuable resource to a younger me. At this time, however, most of what I read were things I already online. What I did appreciate: It was very interesting, easy on the eyes, and efficient to be able to look at the profiles of whoever public figure you were interested in and have a curated selection of their life/work principles. It’s a great resource for someone looking for a pre-selected scan of successful people’s habits. 
  14. Marcel Duchamp by Janis Mink: Fantastic introduction into Marcel Duchamp’s mind and his artistic journey. I did not realize how much eroticism fueled the constructs behind his art.
  15. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  16. L’Etranger by Albert Camus (the French version!): The Stranger is an interesting one in that the book, narrated by one man is centered on him being observant and pensive about his regard towards the happenings of one’s life and society. It’s got an existentialist bent to it, making one think to the meaning or lack thereof, of life. 
  17. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis: This was a a great book, and I didn’t see the ending coming! It had me re-evaluating what I’m doing in life– how I am spending my days, what I am occupying my thoughts with, what I am centering my life around. The things we do and say that allude to what we see valuable and meaningful. Do they mean anything when we face death or the ultimate truth?
  18. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte (recommended by colleague Andy Myers)