The most surprising thing about 2019 was that I found out that I’m highly allergic to buckwheat. Buckwheat!? Yep, buckwheat. Got an Epi-Pen and all. The doctor was so surprised he wanted to use me as a case study. Apparently no one is as allergic to buckwheat as I am.
My 2019 word was Finish. So I finished 54 books. Normally I eat books buffet-style. I read for action. Get actionable insight and move on.
However, finishing more books was gratifying. Getting in the habit of finishing books cultivated the muscles of completion; the skill of seeing things through.
NOTE: The goal isn’t to finish all the books you start. Just the ones worth finishing. Don’t be guilted by sunk cost bias.
In addition to improving my habit of reading, there were a few more habits that helped me in 2019:
- Daily Gratitude. I started doing this more seriously in 2018 and it became an important anchor.
- Daily Affirmation. It might seem cliché or cheesy but starting the day with strong reminders of who you aspire to be and who you are is both empowering and humbling. The exact place you want to be.
- Daily Excercise. It took me most of the year to settle into this, but getting into a daily lifting routine is perfect. I like to lift weights and tend to go hard and heavy. Doing that and everything else I do in my day made it difficult to maintain. Once I realized that lifting isn’t an end, but a means to an end I figured out the right level of effort.
The habits are not breakthrough ideas. At the end of 2019, I’m more convinced than ever that success in life is just closing the gap between what you know you should do and your ability (and commitment) to do it.
I love learning and in 2019, I decided to go more formal with it again. I joined the Harvard Business Analytics Program. It had exactly the right blend of coursework that I was looking for in a program. It has business, leadership, data, technology, programming, marketing, and everything you need to become a leader in the modern digital world. You can learn more here. Plan to complete it in 2020.
Twenty Nineteen established a strong foundation. Habits are the key (Atomic Habits is the perfect 2019 book about habits). They are the engine and the wheels, but you still need a map and a destination.
Here is the list of books I finished (in order of when I finished). Some were released in 2019, others have been on my list for a while, and others I like to reread often (like Linchpin and Essentialism). I’ll probably come back and add links later.
- Your Best Year Ever
- Leadership and Self-Deception
- On Writing (by Stephen King )
- Awaken the Giant Within
- Power Moves
- Zone to Win
- Innovators Dilemma
- Daring Greatly
- Measure What Matters
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Book Yourself Solid
- Deep Work
- The Snowball
- Extreme Productivity
- Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
- Never Split the Difference
- One Page Marketing Plan
- The Coaching Habit
- Own the Room
- Made to Stick
- What got you here won’t get you there
- How will you measure your life?
- The Great Mental Models
- Extreme Ownership
- Trillion Dollar Coach
- Making of a Manager
- Prosperity Paradox
- Atomic Habits
- Lead and Disrupt
- Company of One
- The Magic Of Thinking Big
- Secrets of Sand Hill Road
- Good Jobs Strategy
- The Dip
- The Culture Code
- The Alchemist
- Get Together
- How to be yourself
- What you do is who you are
- Creative Calling
- The Compound Effect
- Playing to Win
- New Testament
- The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life
- The Man Who Solved the Markets
- Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance