The books RadReaders devoured in 2017

Best Books 2017

Every year, our community nominates the best book they read in 2017 (not necessarily by publish date). We culled through the books and responses – and picked our favorite 42 books.

(Note: The links below are Amazon Affiliates – all proceeds support the growth of the community.)

Editor’s Picks

[amazon_textlink asin=’1439195455′ text=’Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a6ef1ba9-289b-11e8-b3bf-2344f8a0748c’], by Robert Wright. It is an interesting exploration of Buddhism as a personal operating system / philosophy and how it may help you overcome anxiety, depression, anger, and greed. @Steve_Mcginnis

It was a true “quake book” — changing the way I see and process myself and the world. @canthardywait

Note: Listen to Robert Wright discuss this book on Sam Harris’ podcast.

[amazon_textlink asin=’081298840X’ text=’When Breath Becomes Air’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’34b13cdb-289c-11e8-8f65-591dcf086545′], by Paul Kalinithi. Thoughtful, relatable, makes you think, causes grief and empathy in people you don’t know. Important way to understand life and death, written by someone we could all stand to emulate. Sarah

Bill Gates said it best – “This short book has so many layers of meaning and so many interesting juxtapositions—life and death, patient and doctor, son and father, work and family, faith and reason” Taylor Moore

[amazon_textlink asin=’0061253170′ text=’Intellectuals’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’593f9bd8-289c-11e8-be14-9993baec9520′], by Paul Johnson. It examined the lives of various modern philosophers, the consequences of their philosophies, and how they impacted humanity. @brentbeshore

[amazon_textlink asin=’1628653566′ text=’The Gifted Storyteller’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’880c59df-289c-11e8-b442-2ba0406bb289′], by Gregg Korrol. Reminded me to stay present and pay attention  to the gifts all around me. Amy Tsang

Defines life as a story you create with your thoughts and teaches presence wrapped in a great story. Sean Lorrow

[amazon_textlink asin=’0143124870′ text=’A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d1db27b2-289c-11e8-82a6-45d38c64d22b’], by Ruth Ozeki It’s a captivating story: a older woman discovers a diary washed ashore, written by a young Japanese woman before the tsunami. The woman reads it and tries to piece together the author’s life — revealing multi-generational perspectives on living and being alive. @lisashalett

[amazon_textlink asin=’0307455777′ text=’ The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=”], by Jonathan Haidt. After over 40 friends suggested this book, I finally read it. And glad I did — was the best book I’ve read since Sapiens. The subtitle is “Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Highly recommend. @auren

Note: Listen to Jonathan Haidt on the On Being Podcast.

[amazon_textlink asin=’1501135910′ text=’Shoe Dog’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0b76dbc8-289f-11e8-ab88-896b6e31cedf’], by Phil Knight. Great story of failure at the beginning and then success becoming ubiquitous. Dan Palmer

Untold story of Phil Knight and how he fought to make Nike the company it is today. Also touches on the sacrifice he made in his family life. Liz Gardner

[amazon_textlink asin=’162336793X’ text=’Peak Performance’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’38da1f72-289f-11e8-988d-87cb8cdec4b5′], by Brad Stulberg. Actionable advice in each chapter. @zanelatham

Combination of insights into high performance and scientific research. @caroline_webb_

Note: Listen to Brad Stulberg on the Invest Like the Best Podcast.


[amazon_textlink asin=’0375704027′ text=’Norwegian Wood’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7cc7cc6f-289f-11e8-962e-93ddea8d799c’], by Haruki Murakami. Beautiful, melancholic, funny and jarring. A commentary on love and depression. @khemaridh

[amazon_textlink asin=’0307887448′ text=’Ready Player One’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’863743fe-289f-11e8-8150-fdcfd753ba62′], by Ernest Cline. It helps me better imagine and understand one potential future for our world. @aurorakb

[amazon_textlink asin=’B00BP0JUGY’ text=’Things fall apart’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’919237df-289f-11e8-9429-abd449d9a52e’], by Chinua Achebe. Totally new perspective on a culture I knew very little about but with a universality I related to. @Simonpwarner

[amazon_textlink asin=’031242440X’ text=’Gilead’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’98773408-289f-11e8-8e3a-0d7b88178fd3′], by Marilynne Robinson. Beautifully written and as a recent father the message/theme resonated with me. @john_shanleycfp

[amazon_textlink asin=’0679731725′ text=’The remains of the day’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’khemaridhhy0a-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4559a066-28a0-11e8-b0cf-53317e5e6cb0′], by Kazuo Ishiguro. The subtle story the sad light end. Georg

History, Sociology, and the Humanities

Animals strike curious poses, by Elena Passarello. Essay structure allowed her to jump around to different animals and serve a whole meal worth of styles in one sitting. Long historical arc made it feel grandiose in a good way; narrow focus on each animal made it feel concrete and immediate. Philip Simon

Reading with Patrick: A teacher, a student and a life-changing friendship, by Michelle Kuo. A compelling story of a teacher trying to help an African American student in Alabama beat the odds. Heartbreaking yet hopeful and inspiring. @suzanneskyvara

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, by Edward Osborne Wilson. Consilience means the unity of knowledge, and what could be better than uniting knowledge?! @colemanruiz

A world lit only by fire, by William Manchester. Great high level, entertaining history of the middle ages. @dylanvdistasio

The pillars of the earth, by Ken Follett. All the history is aroud the construction of a cathedreal. At the begin I was incredulous about this. @andresfran

The Evolution of Everything, by Matt Ridley. Shifted my thinking from topdown to bottomup. @mikedariano

Philosophy, Theology, and Spirituality

The Five Invitations, by Frank Ostaseski. Spectacularly aggregation of 30 years of wisdom. Working in a hospice will teach you a lot about living fully. Tom Morgan

Total Freedom, by Jiddu Krishnamurti. Clarified the presence of mind necessary to be truly engaged with the world. The kind of engagement that comes from transcendental meditation. Also was highly digestible. @davealevine

Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave, by Peter Heller. It encapsulates the beauty and challenge of learning how to surf. @Tmanic21

Happy Pocket full of money, by David Cameron Gikandi. The reminder that the universe is pure energy and that through clarity and focus anything can be created. @kinger909

The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama. A week with the Dahli Lama and Desmond Tutu. Dick McGoldrick

The Upanishads, by Eknath Easwaran. Spiritual inspiration that is timeless; old ideas that are new to me and make sense. Singe Kastberg

The Obstacle Is the Way, by Ryan Holiday. I happened to read it at precisely the right time, and found my inner Stoic. Greg Tusar


Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, by R Coram. A beautiful book about an incredible man / thinker who deserves to be better known than he is for his impact. Incredibly well researched. @rhughesjones

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., by Ron Chernow. Best business biography I’ve read. Late 1800s America to the interwar years is a fractal of today with the creation of asset classes, rise of populism, regulatory debates, etc. John D. is a deeply conflicting figure and this is equal parts a rich history and majestic story. @arjunblj

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin, by Paul Cronin. Werner Herzog is one of the most fascinating individuals I’ve ever come across. Insight into a beautiful mind. @michalispolakis

Shep Supermensch, by Shep Gordon. Life stories like I have never heard before. @Natetkirk

Master of the Senate, by Robert A. Caro. Character analysis and historical context. Alex Wheeler

The Fish That Ate The Whale, by Rich Cohen. I found the story inspiring. It reminded me with a little creativity and a work ethic, a lot can be accomplished. Travis Woods

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan. Insanely captivating autobiography about someone who began post-grad life by heading west from California w the goal of surfing his way all the way around the world and finding some meaning along the way. Journey began in early 70s. Nick Belfanti

Business, Finance, Economics

Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, by Deirdre N. McCloskey. McCloskey, an economic historian, tries to show how the Great Enrichment (1880 – present) occurred and what forces–specifically, the invention of “trade-tested betterment”–made it possible. @andrewjtaggart

Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio. Principles is a unique and controversial perspective on the workplace. It is extremely well thought out and communicated. @Theleonking27

Timeless but also lots of connection to his life and experiences. Eric Bundonis

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant. It is spot on in combination with what I believe in. @fredrikperdahl

The Last SAFE Investment, by Bryan Franklin,‎ Michael Ellsberg. It spins traditional financial advice on its head in a way that prioritizes fulfillment in work and life while still enjoying stability. @K8rising

Hit makers science in age of popularity, by Derek Thompson. A distillation of an incredibly complicated, nuanced and fascinating topic (how hits become hits) into a brilliant narrative that cleared up my own thinking. @shaneoleary1

Explains what makes a hit. @Evanratner

The Acquirers Multiple, by Tobias E. Carlisle. Easy read and clear approach to identifying undervalued stock investment opportunities. @27_Collin

Dark Money, by Jane Mayer. Unbelievable level of research. Great writing. Scary but important topic. Dan Kaminski


Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived, by Laurence Shames. It made me question how intentional / purposeful I am with my time. @patricksouth

Big Love The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart, by Scott Stabile. The honesty, vulnerability, wisdom and humor. It’s a memoir but I found so much to apply to my own life. This book changed me. @brandanwilde

The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin. Tried to bridge pressures of multi-tasking with basic neurology while providing suggestions for ‘organizing our minds’. Eric Nelson

How to have a good day, by Caroline Webb. Simple ideas, big impact. Michael K

The four agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is gives four agreements to make with yourself that will allow you to let go and becomes your best version. @tsomerv

The Mask of Masculinity, by Lewis Howes. This theme has been coming for men needing to be more vulnerable and there is no one better to bring it mainstream than Lewis Howes. @kyleshuberg

Here be Dragons, by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh,‎ Ken Harbaugh. Made connection with family in story very quickly. M Guillet

Stealing fire, by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal. Finding flow stories. Matt Fordyce

Mistakes were made (but not by me), by Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson. Clear description of processes of lapses and faults’ of judgment to gain awareness. Jean Romain Lhomme

The subtle art of not giving a fuck, by Mark Manson. Tons of useful advice. Larry M

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