I go through major reading phases. Some months I will read for an hour+ every single day, other months I won’t pick up anything. 2019 for me was mostly an “on” reading phase.

I read 41 books in total. 23 of those were novels. The remaining 18 were nonfiction ranging from software engineering, personal finance, business and memoires. Here are my favorite reads of 2019.

Top 5 Novels

5. Alex Cross Series (James Patterson, 1993-Present)

I’m grouping these all together since I’m currently engrossed in James Patterson’s Alex Cross series. It is a 29(!)-book-and-counting series and I’m currently on book 23. I read book 6-22 in 2019 so I’ll be mostly not counting those as “best novels.” All 29, I assume, are mostly the same book and you know exactly what you’re get going in. They’re fun books but they’re truly nothing special. My favorites for this year are Big Bad Wolf, Cross Fire, Cross My Heart, and, lastly, Hope To Die.

4. Hold Tight (Harlen Coben, 2008)

Harlen Coben’s novels are always page-turners for me. This one is no different. It’s a fascinating story of a family whose son goes missing after his best friend dies of suicide. I bought a very used copy of this book at a local bookstore. It was a great $3 investment.

3. And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie, 1939)

An absolutely classic novel! 12 people are put on an island but nobody really seems to know why. They start dying off one by one and everyone suspects everyone else. A classic murder mystery book that is up there with the best.

2. The Runaway Jury (John Grisham, 1996)

The past few Grisham books I’ve read have not been up to par with what I’ve expected. A Time To Kill is one of my favorite novels of all time and Sycamore Row was a great follow-up. All the latest I’ve read from Grisham (Gray Mountain, Camino Island, The Whistler) have not, and I mean noooot lived up to the Grisham hype. The Runaway Jury is vintage Grisham and an excellent fast-placed legal thriller.

1. The Godfather (Mario Puzo, 1969)

I somehow avoided all Godfather hype for my whole life. I picked up the book this year and was blown away. I was absolutely glued to this book from start to finish and I could not put it down. The Godfather is a masterpiece and one of the all-time greats.

Top 5 Non-Fiction Books

5. Every Millionaires (Chris Hogan, 2019)

An excellent primer on how people become millionaires. There are a lot of statistics and figures in this book that may shock you. One figure that stuck out to me was that millionaires inherit money at nearly the same percentages as non-millionaires. It’s all about how you manage your money.

4. Kotlin In Action (Dmitry Jemerov, Svetlana Isakova, 2016)

Kotlin in Action is one of my favorite technical books. The book is insanely dense and wastes no time. The authors do a great job of breaking things down to their core and helping you understand the whole language. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn Kotlin.

3. Start Small, Stay Small (Rob Walling, 2010)

I just finished this book earlier this week, so this is possibly recency bias, but this is one of my favorite business books. It’s highly selected into my domain of how to market bootstrapped web companies. If you’re at all interested in that, this book is a good manual. The references are a bit dated but there are plenty of references for very interesting material. Highly recommend.

2. Essentialism (Greg McKeown, 2011)

Greg McKeown breaks down how to wade through the garbage to focus on things that matter most important in life. The book was written in 2011 but is more relevant today than ever. Americans spend insane amounts of time watching tv and going on social media and wonder where their time goes. I think we’re going to see a big trend in the principles laid on in this book in the coming years.

1. Hillbilly Elegy (J.D. Vance, 2014)

I don’t know what it was, specifically, about this book that drew me in but I was absolutely captivated by it from start to finish. J.D. Vance is a terrific writer and this memoire is raw and real. I wish this book was 1,000 pages. I would have read it for years.

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