My New Year’s resolution is to read 52 books.
The fireworks have finished, and the hangover may have disappeared, but 2017 is here to stay. Then with every New Year, there’s a New Year’s resolution made.
Making a New Year’s resolution is a tradition that most of us who live in the Western Hemisphere do and have done for as long as I can remember.
However, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve never really taken them seriously. It’s not that I see them as a joke or a bit of fun (although they can be) but what I mean is I have never made a New Year’s resolution that I can accomplish.
Let me explain with some past New Year’s resolutions below:
- 2011: Go to the gym more
- 2012: Eat healthier
- 2013: Save more money for travels
- 2014: Minimise my gear and sell everything I don’t use/need
- 2015: Visit more new countries
- 2016: Travel less (stay in a fixed location longer)
Some of the above, such as go to the gym more and save more money, might also be familiar with your previous New Year’s resolutions. I will admit travel less was a bit random, but I will explain that in just a minute. I want to discuss the problem with my past New Year’s resolutions first.
The problem isn’t that they don’t have potential, they do. Who doesn’t want to be healthier, fitter, save money and travel more?
The problem with the resolutions I have previously made is they are not measurable.
- How many times a week is going to the gym more?
- Is chomping one more apple a day eating healthier?
- How much is exactly is saving more for travels, $100, $1000, $10000?
I’m sure you’re starting to get my point…
The good intentions are there. There’s just no measurement in place to monitor if the New Year’s resolution has been achieved or not.
With no way to tell if they have been achieved – they will always fail.
Enter the read 52 books challenge.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx
Why read 52 books?
I’m an avid reader and reading has been something I’ve enjoyed for a long time.
To make a resolution like this you have to enjoy reading. If you don’t enjoy reading, which some people don’t, completing a book a week is going to be extremely difficult. To read 52 books is a lot of work.
Reading does have many benefits though such as improving memory, vocabulary, writing skills and knowledge.
What better way to spend a few lost hours at the airport or waiting for that night train? One of the benefits of travelling so much is it allows plenty of opportunities to sit down and read the latest New York Times bestseller.
The perfect book can mesmerise your thoughts from start to finish, almost making you feel part of the story.
2016 was a good year in many ways. I met new people, developed new partnerships and set up a new business.
It also had its setbacks, and I ended some toxic relationships.
I also chose to scale back on travelling compared to 2014 & 2015 and set up a permanent base in Melbourne. Working from a remote location is an excellent way to see the world, but the main reason for setting up a semi-fixed base around travelling was to allow me to get more creative things done.
The downside of working more in one area is other areas of your life can suffer. My reading did.
I never officially counted how many books I completed in 2016 but it was a lot less than previous years.
At one point I was really struggling to find time to read anything at all and started listening to audio books in the gym. I’m not saying that audio books are good or bad, but for the pleasure reading gives me, I felt like there should have been more.
So for 2017 I will read 52 books
It will be the first time I have placed a number on a New Year’s resolution and plan on monitoring the results.
This post will be updated weekly with the books I have completed and you are more than welcome to take ideas from my reading list. I will also update my social media accounts and publish a post each Sunday with the book I will read that week using the hashtag #52books.
Finally, what happens if I fail?
Well at the end of the day it’s only a New Year’s resolution. Although I’m going to try my best to finish it, it’s not going to obstruct relationships with friends, family or business.
The good news is I’m fired up and looking forward to my reading time.
So to kick it off my first book of 2017 is:
by Christopher Sommer
Week 1 had me reading a very technical but informative book written by a world class gymnastics coach. Training is while you travel is hard work, not just because you have to train hard but because there just isn’t always a gym nearby. I love my backstreet dungeon gyms but often I have had to get a little creative with my body weight exercises. The gymnastics strength exercises in this book are broken down into progressions which are very well explained for the beginner like me. Starting from the basics it explains exactly when and how to move on to the next level, including tips on how to ease the transition between the two exercises. After trying a few exercises from the book in the first week I now know why gymnasts are so ripped! I just need to buy some gym rings next…
by Nicholas Shaxson
I was expecting to read a book about Wolf of Wall Street type characters flying cash overseas to Swiss Banks to avoid the tax man – but this book is way above that. The author seems to have done a superhuman level of research in the process of writing this book. It discusses the origins, features and impact of modern-day tax havens, from the early 20th Century up until the financial crisis of 2008. It points its finger not just at the usual suspects in the Caribbean, but also parts of the world which would not normally be considered to be located offshore, such as Delaware, and the City of London. It was hard work to read this book in a week but I well worth the effort it took.
A unique book and slightly refreshing after the first two more serious books I’ve read this year. From start to finish The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is truly one of a kind. I’m not sure if I’ve read another book quite like it – at least not recently. The best way to describe it would be science fiction meets humour. At some points during book, I was wondering what was going through author’s mind when he wrote this. He certainly has a distinctive story telling style.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
Tools of Titans is Tim Ferriss most recent book and the only one I’ve read without a “4 hour” title. I listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast regularly where he interviews world class performers and what he’s basically done here is taken show notes. I recognise many of the names from the podcast and he even interviewed the gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer (week 1 of the 52 book challenge.) Even though it felt like I was reading a summary of the Tim Ferriss podcast, like most of his previous books you can find some real gems and useful information inside.
I’ve never read oatmeal and don’t own any cats. However, after reading the page rich Tools of Titans I decided that I deserved something light hearted and easy going. This is a humorous book which has many cartoons about cats. It’s generally geared to make pet lovers smile. The cats in the book get up to all kinds of silly pranks. It was generally a funny and none serious apart from the two corporate cats called “the Bobs” – which were, well, a bit boring.
by James Boyce
James Boyce’s book Van Diemen’s Land had me hooked from the moment I picked it up because it’s an excellent introduction to Tasmanian colonial history. At first, it was almost like a time machine could be taking the reader back 200+ years – giving a perfect insight into the early days of British settlement of Tasmania. It covers Tasmanian history from the arrival of sealers and whalers on the Bass Strait islands and the settlement of the Derwent Valley in 1803, to later on the colonies name changing from Van Diemen’s Land to Tasmania in 1856. While early convict life in Australia’s other colony Sydney was labelled hell by many, the landscape and the abundant wildlife of Van Diemen’s Land shaped the colony and ensured not only its survival but the health of its inhabitants. Later many freed convicts enjoyed a life which was better than the one they had left behind in the UK or Ireland.
By Paul Garrigan
An epic story of a recovering expat alcoholic living in Thailand who turns things around and takes up Muay Thai, well that’s how the book started out anyway. Hats off to this guy for turning his life around and kicking the booze – I can’t image how hard that would be for someone to do. The first half of the book was great and I really got into the stories of the training and the sparring. It brought back memories of my hours spent in the boxing gym and I could totally relate to how much the training takes out of you. Yet after the half way point his heart wasn’t in it and he pulls out of training and the planned fight. I felt a little let down in the end. Well done for giving it a try but if you going to call your book Muay Thai Fighter then you should at least have a fight.
By William Strunk Jr
By Charles Dickens
By Sam Sheridan
By Ian Rankin
Please note: some of the read 52 books links in this post are affiliate links.