Many books were released in 2017.
Most of them are ‘me too’ books.
Authors with nothing original to say. Authors who copied, instead of stealing and improving, the way real artists work; building on the foundation of men before them, using history to their advantage.
The books below are the best of 2017.
This list is in no order or structure.
A book doesn’t need to be a self-help book to help.
Humans learn through story. We have since the invention of fire. It won’t change soon.
Reading an autobiography inspires action, emotion, and growth. Often, more than a book telling you, how much of a badass you are for… what reason again?
Listening VS. Reading
Humans learned through story, then books.
Audiobooks are modern-day fire circles after a brutal hunt in the Tundra chasing lethal mammoths.
Every book entry includes a link to a physical book, e-book, or audiobook.
Sometimes, you learn more listening, than reading. It depends on you.
Every audiobook link is directed to audible because we haven’t found anything better than audible for consuming books on tape. Other than, visiting your local library in hopes they have a secret, dusty copy of an 8-track somewhere in the back.
If you don’t have audible, any link will offer you two books for free.
Also below, is a link to Audible’s two-book special partnership with us. If you cancel before two months, you pay nothing. You also support future article publications.
Check all versions of the books below. Many e-books are more expensive than print. Amazon doesn’t set prices in most circumstances. Publishers do.
The Best Books of 2017
- Leonardo da Vinci | Walter Isaacson
- Homo Deus | Yuval Noah Harari
- Killers of the Flower Moon | David Grann
- Hit Makers | Derek Thompson
- Astrophysics for People in a Hurry | Neil Degrasse Tyson
- What Doesn’t Kill Us | Scott Carney
- Blue Ocean Shift | W. Chan Kim
- Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook | Tony Robbins
- The Upstarts | Brad Stone
- Grant | Ron Chernow
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck | Mark Manson
- Principles | Ray Dalio
- Tribe of Mentors | Timothy Ferriss
- Endurance | Scott Kelly
- The Road to Jonestown | Jeff Guinn
- Braving The Wilderness | Brené Brown
- Norse Mythology | Neil Gaiman
Leonardo da Vinci | Walter Isaacson
4.4 Star Rating
Leonardo Da Vinci was an inventor, painter, astronomer, a polymath (person of expertise in many disciplines), whose achievements are greater than the sum of all achievements from every 9-5er today.
In this biography written by Walter Isaacson, acclaimed biography writer, Da Vinci’s curious nature is exposed to the world.
Da Vinci’s drive to learn everything about his interests comes from a passion for living. He understood a key principle most don’t: Life fulfillment is achieved through accomplishment.
Idea sex involves splicing ideas from different fields like sewing contrasting fabric colors to create franken-fashion. Since Da Vinci was a polymath he was able to merge art and function into fields lacking one or the other.
Walter Isaacson is the author of numerous other biographies of great men including Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs – the book Isaacson is most known for. He is a master of writing the story of great men. Da Vinci is no exception.
- He never finished any of the works he began because, so sublime was his idea of art, he saw faults even in the things that to others seemed miracles.
- Leonardo at twenty-nine was more easily distracted by the future than he was focused on the present.
- Vision without execution is hallucination.
Homo Deus | Yuval Noah Harari
Homo Deus is a sequel to the book Sapiens. Both books were crafted by Yuval Noah Harari, a Historian, residing in Israel.
His first book, Sapiens, is about the formation of humanity. Harari asks: What does it mean to be human? This book lives in the same apartment building as Guns, Germs, & Steel. A classic written by Jared Diamond.
Humans control their evolution. We’re close to becoming gods.
When an animal breaks its leg it becomes prey. If a human suffers the same fate, she travels to the hospital, forty miles away in a climate-controlled cabin while listening to her favorite band in 30 minutes. This trek would take days for her relatives two generations before her.
We’re moving fast.
To what end?
Elon Musk’s greatest fear is AI. A man, who as a boy, rationalized his fear of the dark as a lack of electrons while you resorted to tears.
Progress won’t stop.
- People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.
- In the past, censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the twenty-first century, censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information.In ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today having power means knowing what to ignore.
- Islamic fundamentalists could never have toppled Saddam Hussein by themselves. Instead they enraged the USA by the 9/11 attacks, and the USA destroyed the Middle Eastern china shop for them. Now they flourish in the wreckage.
Killers of the Flower Moon | David Grann
A book so unreal it feels like fiction. Killers of the moon is a true story.
In the 1920’s, the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma were one of the richest people in America; after they found liquid gold beneath their feet – oil.
Life was wonderful. Mansions were built, exotic cars parked outside, college tuition of children paid four times over.
Until the Osage began slowly dying from assassination. Many investigators were murdered. Everyone wanted oil.
The investigations from the Osage murders are revisited in this book. New evidence is included too.
This book expands on racism against Indians and the murderers who got away, in a way which can be devastating.
- As Sherlock Holmes famously said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
- “Stores gone, post office gone, train gone, school gone, oil gone, boys and girls gone—only thing not gone is graveyard and it git bigger.”
Hit Makers | Derek Thompson
4.3 Star Rating
A meme’s popularity isn’t coincidence.
Viral is orchestrated.
Many factors contribute to content going viral. Primarily, influence. Early adoption falls behind as a close second.
Thompson believes quality is not a determining factor in going viral.
A short look back confirms people will buy anything their friends and family buy. Remember Snuggies?
What about Fidget spinners? The toy grown men were convinced to spin in their hands while building Excel pivot tables. Marketing.
Thompson reviews events, and products and explains the science behind their viral growth. This book is for the entrepreneur who wants more product visibility.
- Most consumers are simultaneously neophilic, curious to discover new things, and deeply neophobic, afraid of anything that is too new. The best hit makers are gifted at creating moments of meaning by marrying new and old, anxiety and understanding. They are architects of familiar surprises.
- A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry | Neil Degrasse Tyson
4.6 Star Rating
Neil Degrasse Tyson is the Carl Sagan of today.
A former wrestler turned astrophysicist, Tyson injects astrophysics with a wrestler’s work ethic.
Astrophysics for people in a hurry is exactly as the title says. A mixture of various topics underneath the starry umbrella of astrophysics for people who are not, astrophysicists.
In the book, Tyson covers topics like the big bang, black holes, and quantum mechanics. The book is short, but, it’s as long as it needs to be – for people in a hurry. He even narrates his audiobook.
Many reviews have described Astrophysics for people in a hurry as a combination of bits and pieces from many of Tyson’s other works. If you’re an aspiring astrophysicist or an avid fan of Tyson, this book may not be for you.
- The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.
- We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.
- In other words, after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion.
What Doesn’t Kill Us | Scott Carney
4.5 Star Rating
Ever wanted to learn how to summit a mountain in nothing but your boots and a pair of shorts?
What Doesn’t kill us is a book about pushing human limits.
He teaches his students to control body temperature through breathing & meditation.
Hoff holds multiple Guinness world records for cold-exposure challenges like longest ice bath and farthest swim under ice. This resulted in frozen-eyeballs after he swam beyond his exit.
Hoff seems like a superhero.
Except, he teaches his power. Hoff holds seminars in person and online.
What Doesn’t Kill Us is a book about human resilience.
People can do virtually everything they put their mind to. Most minds are fragile. Nothing is accomplished.
- With no challenge to overcome, frontier to press, or threat to flee from, the humans of this millennium are overstuffed, overheated, and understimulated.
- Much of the developing world—no longer suffers from diseases of deficiency. Instead we get the diseases of excess.
- Ten thousand or more years before that our species migrated between continents on rafts of seaweed and surmounted mountains in little more than animal skins and leather soles. Those ancestors probably didn’t think of themselves as different from the environment at all. They knew what we are learning again today. That we are all just here.
Blue Ocean Shift | W. Chan Kim
4.6 Star Rating
Blue Ocean Shift is the sequel to Blue Ocean Strategy.
Blue Ocean Strategy is a business book about making competition irrelevant.
Instead of competing, find niches and build them.
Competing leaves tie-wearing-gladiators fighting over nickels while kings who rule their niche absorb wealth like a desert sponge.
New research inside Blue Ocean Shift builds on Blue Ocean Strategy’s original program: Create markets no one can compete in. A market for a king.
Dominating is for kings.
If you haven’t read Blue Ocean Strategy, pick this book up first. Unless you’re the kind of crazy who watches a sequel first.
- We call this atomization after Einstein’s reflection that if you deconstruct any challenge into its basic components, or atoms, and focus on solving them one at a time, even the largest challenge shifts from being overwhelming to being intellectually and psychologically solvable.
- If you can move people by inspiring and building their confidence to own and drive your new strategy, they will be committed to seeing change through and overcoming the organizational constraints you confront.
4.6 Star rating
Tony helps other create lives they believed to exist in fiction; not reality.
Unshakeable is a workbook for Tony’s last financial book: Money master the game.
Unshakeable is better. Action is always better than reading.
Unshakeable offers strategies to improve financial stability. Unlike money master the game, which is more theory than practice.
Don’t forget Tony’s career path: helping others succeed.
He is the first internet guru before the internet, selling cassette-tapes with financial secrets to people who make more money than him like a snake-oil salesman from the wild-west.
If a book makes you feel good, it’s trash.
Self-improvement doesn’t make you feel good. change hurts.
The law of attraction feels good because it’s easy. Working 16 hours a day for little validation hurts. The true artist’s life.
Self improvement is action.
- I can tell you the secret to happiness in one word: progress.
- As Warren Buffett says, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
- the purpose of business is to produce happiness, not to pile up money.
The Upstarts | Brad Stone
4.8 star rating
In 2009 hitchhiking was dangerous. Stepping into a stranger’s car was a left-behind artifact of a world without internet. Yet, in 2018, many people use strangers as their primary transportation.
What about staying in a strangers home? Airbnb Made this normal.
Uber and Airbnb have changed the world forever.
Both of these deviants destroyed their competitors.
Overthrowing what’s normal.
Normal exists until beaten to death by convenience.
Uber & Airbnb are more convenient than taxis and hotels.
The upstarts follows Uber & Airbnb, and their founder’s stories, while explaining the success each leader obtained and how they did it.
- When you’re starting a company it never goes at the pace you want or the pace you expect. You imagine everything to be linear, ‘I’m going to do this, then this is going to happen and this is going to happen.’ You’re imagining steps and they’re progressive. You start, you build it, and you think everyone’s going to care. But no one cares, not even your friends.
- McAdoo and Graham were discussing that most essential characteristic of great entrepreneurs: mental toughness, the ability to overcome the hurdles and negativity that typically accompany something new.
Grant | Ron Chernow
4.7 Star Rating
Ron Chernow’s massive, 1098-page biography of Ulysses S. Grant is masterpiece as much as it is brick.
Grant is a polarizing figure in history. Before the civil war, Grant was a drunk, lauded by many as an unreliable soldier. He soon resigned.
Later, Grant found his purpose. As the right-hand-man of Abraham Lincoln, Grant fought for freedom leading the Union in the civil war to end slavery, a purpose worthy of any man, and, enough of a reason for Grant to clean up his act.
Ron Chernow created a window into a great man’s life whose dedication to justice is still felt today.
- By 1872, under Grant’s leadership, the Ku Klux Klan had been smashed in the South. (Its later twentieth-century incarnation had no connection to the earlier group other than a common style and ideology.)
- As his life steadily unraveled, he pawned his gold watch and chain for $20 on December 23, 1857, to purchase Christmas presents for his children—perhaps the symbolic nadir of his life.
4.5 Star Rating
The subtle art Of Not Giving a Fuck is what The Secret, a book with as much value as a car without wheels, wanted to be.
Not giving a fuck is a superpower.
Professional athletes don’t give a fuck. They execute.
The best leaders don’t care. Winners share one trait – they don’t give a fuck.
Winners allow personal mistakes. The others, the ones with ego, are afraid to fail. Worse, many fear trying.
When you stop caring you’re free to fail, then learn.
- Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.
- This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.
- The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
4.5 Star Rating
The number one business book of 2017.
The 5th most read book on Amazon.
The cover is barren, except for two references; one from Bill Gates, the other, from Tony Robbins. Nothing else needed.
Dalio explains his success over the past forty years. Dalio is a billionaire investor. He grew his hedge fund into a monolith of financial power.
His tenets are radical truth and radical transparency.
Dalio believes, never lie to yourself. An enemy will take advantage of you. The weakest version of yourself will rise.
Bill Gates loves this book.
- It is far more common for people to allow ego to stand in the way of learning.
- Truth – more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality – is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.
- Pain + Reflection = Progress
Tribe of Mentors | Timothy Ferriss
4.5 Star Review.
Tribe of Mentors contains advice from experts spanning many fields.
After the death of multiple friends, Ferriss sought answers to questions brought by death. Tim asks, what really matters?
He asked everyone.
Young prodigies, and old masters. Tim created a book of answers to questions he carries. You may carry some of the same questions.
Tribe of mentors is a lifestyle-advisory book from Tim and hundreds of other influencers.
- How they think.
- How they execute.
- How they dream.
- How they command.
Tim self-describes his book as a reference he wrote for himself.
- Never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to learn something new and rise to the next level of your potential.
- Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask. After all, conscious thinking is largely asking and answering questions in your own head.
- Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you, just measure it in inches.”—Andy Warhol
4.6 star rating
Scott Kelly holds the American record for longest duration in space.
Space is unforgiving.
Scott tells us.
- The crippling effects of zero gravity.
- Leaving everyone he loves behind on Earth, while he watches from a black heaven.
- Everything. Space is hell.
We cannot comprehend the galaxy.
We can try. And, be amazed.
No man has lived like Scott Kelly. We get the privilege of living through his words.
- If you were doing something safe, something you already knew could be done, you were wasting time.
- Working with the right person can make the toughest day go well, and working with the wrong person can make the simplest task excruciatingly difficult.
4.4 Star Review
Jim Jones was a powerful, but evil man.
Not powerful in physical strength or character. But in leadership.
When the boss asks you to reconcile ten-years of excel-spreadshit financial projections you cringe and carry on. You don’t want to do it, but you inevitably crack and execute his request.
Jim Jones asked 900 people to take their lives in an act of defiance against the US Government, fabricated by the Indiana preacher for reasons Jones may not understand himself.
This is power in it’s most-malicious form.
300 infants and children. Gone.
Many will fear to revisit the travesty of the people’s temple suicide of 1978. How do you prevent the past from resurging without comprehending the events which created an unfavorable circumstance?
Abandoned history repeats it’self.
Jim Jone’s story and the story of the people he brainwashed.
- On Jones’s instruction, Larry Schacht ordered one pound of sodium cyanide, enough for 1,800 lethal doses. It cost $8.85.
- Individual suicide was wasteful, but mass suicide that sent a message of defiance, and that encouraged future generations to fight oppression to the death, was admirable.
Braving The Wilderness | Brené Brown
4.6 Star Rating
Brené Brown’s book success started after a Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability(link).
To be vulnerable is to be strong.
You’re only impervious inside of your comfort zone, your comfort coffin, a cozy, safe place to die.
Your path to life-fulfillment is going to be a nightmare. If you fight through the obstacles you’ll reach the holy land of fulfillment.
Don’t suppress desires. Rather, investigate your desires, cradle them like a new-born baby in a nurses arms while she checks the child for any signs of poor health.
What are your desires?
Not your desire for pleasure, like eating fast-food because you’re too lazy to cook. Your true desires. What you want to be known for after you die.
Brené believes we’re experiencing a crisis of disconnection. How can she be wrong?
Social media, created by the soft, never-seen-hard-labor hands of Stanford, sexually frustrated nerds to make friends and meet women.
Social media isn’t about making friends. Social media is a dog-show. You prance, smile, and dance in Facebook albums begging for likes like a fourth-generation inbred Poodle barely conscious of its existence performing parlor tricks for chewy factory-grown milk bones.
Learn to stand alone.
Then stand with others.
You’ll never love yourself until you accept yourself.
- Here’s what I believe: 1. If you are offended or hurt when you hear Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters called bitch, whore, or the c-word, you should be equally offended and hurt when you hear those same words used to describe Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, or Theresa May.
- True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.
Norse Mythology | Neil Gaiman
4.3 Star Rating
Andreia is a new philosophy from past philosophies.
Stories were told through mythology. Some stories instructed how one should live.
Norse mythology encourages bravery, similar to the samurai, who believe one must live like their already dead to serve.
Neil Gaiman’s book is a fictitious rendition of Norse mythology.
When men don’t have an answer they make one.
Humanity conquests to make question marks into periods. The earth isn’t suspended by gravity; Atlas holds it.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman retells classic mythos like the formation of the world and its end. Norse Mythology also includes ships constructed from the fingernails of the dead. Toenails too.
- He said nothing: seldom do those who are silent make mistakes.
- The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.
- Rebirth always follows death.
Recommended: The 9 Best Books About the Samurai & Bushido
Notable passages were all sourced from Goodreads. A fantastic social media platform for books.