52 Books 2018 – another year another challenge.

At the start of 2017, I created a new year’s resolution to read 52 books by the end of the year. It was a challenge with a difference, and it quickly turned into one of my most enjoyable resolutions.

I’ve always been a keen reader since I was a kid – and’s let’s face it, to complete 52 books a year, you must have an interest in reading!

So how hard was the challenge?

Well, although at one point I did start to question what I had got myself into, it turned out not to be as bad as expected. Once a regular reading routine was put in place the challenge turned out to be quite fun. More importantly, I enjoyed the challenge so much that I’ve decided to continue it on into 2018.

52 Books 2018

When I started the 52 books challenge in 2017, it was because I wanted to push myself to do more. Then once the challenge started I found myself with time to:

Reading forgotten books – there’s a small list of ever-increasing books that I’ve wanted to open up over the years, and for whatever reason, I’ve just not got around to starting. Some were recommendations, others had just been sitting hidden away in folders on my laptop.

Reading books on new topics – if I’m only reading a few books a year then its guaranteed I‘m sticking to something that’s proven to be enjoyable. Reading 52 books a year allowed me to expand an experiment with other books on a wide range of topics.

Re-reading old books – sometimes a subject might be information-rich, meaning it’s just not possible to absorb the full extent of the concepts the first time around. Or maybe the book was so good the first time its worthy of a second or third.

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
― Francis Bacon

Highlights of the First Challenge

The majority of the books I picked up last year were enjoyable to some extent. But I enjoyed these four the most:

Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway – my first Hemingway book and I loved it!

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I’ve never been a huge Apple fan but the story behind Steve Jobs was well told and captivating.

Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss – sounds very similar to the title of my blog but as usual Tim Ferris brings a wealth of information gathered from the top performers in their relevant fields.

Van Diemen’s Land by James Boyce – a look back into the history of how a convict state turned into present day Tasmania.

Also, the challenge wasn’t just about me and there were multiple appearances from some authors.

Top of the list was Bill Bryson with a massive three books: A Short History of Nearly EverythingAt Home: A Short History of Private Life and In a Sunburned Country.

From the following authors I read two books each:

Sadly I couldn’t get into the Albert Einstein biography with the same enthusiasm as the writer’s effort on Steve Jobs. A Geek in Japan and Muay Thai Fighter didn’t get the blood flowing either. But with so many great titles to compete against they did have a high benchmark.

Lessons Learnt

Any challenge shouldn’t be about trying to plough through as many books as possible just to tick them off and I did earnt a few tips to make 52 Books 2018 more comfortable and less of a chore.

They are:

It’s best not to plan – I found reading whatever book whenever worked well for me. The challenge wasn’t rigid and scheduled as that would have just taken the fun out of it.

Not a book a week challenge – it’s natural to think 52 books a year divided by 52 weeks would equal a book per week. However (quite quickly) I found that not all books are made equal. Some had less than 300 pages while others were nearly three times bigger with more than 800!

Don’t be afraid of big books – looking back, this shouldn’t have worried me as much as it did because I’ve always been a fast reader. Now I know what I’m capable of handling 1000+ page monsters and now take the sky’s the limit approach (or at least the top shelf of the bookstore).

Finally, The 52 Books 2018 List

For all those who wish to follow my progress or join in the fun this year, like before I will be updating toolsoftravel.com with all the 52 books 2018 titles as they become available.

Also, the hashtag for social media like last year will be #52books. Updates will be published on my Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts.

So enough is enough and time to kick off the 52 books 2018 challenge!

1) The Mechanic’s Tale by Steve Matchett.

2) Mayday: How warring egos forced Qantas off course by Matt O’Sullivan.

3) The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need by Scott Pape.

4) Excursion to Hell: Mount Longdon by Vincent Bramley.

5) Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff.

6) Trump: How to Get Rich by Donald Trump.

7) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

8) Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin.

9) By the Rivers of Babylon by Nelson DeMille.

10) The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

11) Brokenomics Dina Gachman.

12) No Easy Day By Mark Owen.

13) Stretching Your Boundaries By Al Kavadlo.

14) C-Mass: Calisthenics Mass By Coach Wad.

15) The Interloper By Peter Savodnik.

16) Fatal System Error By Joseph Menn.

17) Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff.

18) Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari.

19) The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart.

20) David Busch’s Sony Alpha a6000/ILCE-6000 Guide by David Busch.

21) Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

22) Do Less, Get More by Shaa Wasmund.

23) Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens.

24) 5:2 Fast Diet for Beginners by Rockridge Press.

25) Killing Rommel: A Novel by Steven Pressfield

26) Empire by Niall Ferguson.

27) The Adventures of Martin Cash by Martin Cash.

28) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

29) Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink.

30) Land Of Fire by Chris Ryan.

31) Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals by Ray Moynihan & Barbara Mintzes.

32) Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane.

33) Spartan Warrior Workout by Dave Randolph.

34) Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society by Longman.

35) Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson.

36) Multiple Streams of Property Income by Rob Moore.

37) Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink. (2nd time reading)

38) Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

39) The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer.

40) Basic Manual Of Knife Fighting by William L. Cassidy.

41) Darwin Spitfires: The Real Battle for Australia by Anthony Cooper.

42) Martin Cash: Life After Bushranging by Maree Ring.

43) Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark.

44) I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart.

45) Udaipur: Travel Hacks for an Awesome Trip by Akhil Holden.

46) The White Tiger: A Novel Paperback by Aravind Adiga.

47) Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography by Lonely Planet & Richard I’Anson.

48) 101 iPhone Travel Tips, Tricks, Hacks and Apps by David Ragg.

49) 7-Day Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan by Louise Hendon.

50) Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan by Jonathan Manthorpe.

51) The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin.

52) Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.


Please note: some of the 52 books 2018 links featured in this post are affiliate links.


  • Tim
    Posted March 25, 2018

    Great idea! I need to do something challenging like this. Good luck to you

  • Tracy
    Posted February 5, 2018

    Excellent idea! I find I read less books now I am blogging all the time but I am trying to fit more books in. I had a twitter chat with you about the barefoot investor so that is next on my list to read as well as some Tony Parks books as they are set in Africa which I enjoy reading about!

  • Travel Lexx
    Posted January 31, 2018

    I really admire stuff like this – I read a lot but not books unfortunately – I subscribe to a lot of travel and games magazines and read them cover to cover which doesn’t leave any time for books – maybe my challenge for 2018 should just be “get back to reading books”. Thank you for sharing and I will be keeping an eye out on your progress

  • Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)
    Posted January 30, 2018

    We lament often about not “having time” to read anymore. Of course, that’s really just a matter of making time! But with a mounting, well, mountain of books I keep meaning to get to, I could do with hopping on this bandwagon. In particular, it’s a great way to indulge my love of history and early travelogues. I can’t say we’ll hit 52 books in 52 weeks, but any additional reading is good! Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Well guys, you have come to the right place as I love a good ol bit of history also. Not sure how many history books will make it into the 2018 challenge yet but there will be a few for sure. You hit the nail on the head about making time – that’s the secret 😉

  • Urska | sliva
    Posted January 29, 2018

    Bravo, congrats! Have to say it sounds quite a challenge to read so many books, but on the other hand, I can imagine how much can you learn/experiences than in a year. Definitely a challenge worth taking.

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Thanks Urska – I really enjoyed it. You certainly learn a thing or two by reading so many books.

  • Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    Posted January 28, 2018

    I take my hat off to you for repeating this challenge – 52 books a year is definitely a challenge and I love the lessons you have learnt from it, aside from all the knowledge you will have gained from reading all those books! I really enjoyed Bill Bryson’s “Down Under” and when I was in Australia, I found “He died with a felafel in his hand” rather amusing as it had references to places I knew. I also find Steve Jobs’ story of his rise to power and how he broke the stereo-typical mould fascinating. Thanks for this re-cap and sharing your 2018 vision 🙂 Pinned #feetdotravel

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      I agree with you Angie. Bill Bryson’s Down Under was so much more enjoyable when you either been to or know the places he is talking about. Having lived in various parts of Australia I expected to come across some bits in the book where I would loudly say ‘that’s not true!’ – but he did a great job and everything he said is spot on.

  • Lisa
    Posted January 27, 2018

    That’s a really cool goal! I wish I had enough time to read 52 books a year. Sadly college won’t let that happen (yet). Last year i read 12 books and this year my goal is 24 🙂

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      That’s still a fairly decent goal Lisa. Good luck and let me know how you get on!

  • Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    Posted January 26, 2018

    That’s a big task you took on reading all those books. Very impressive and informational as in “You Lessons Learnt”. How fun you are starting off with 52books for 2018. Good luck! Looking forward to seeing your progress and learn about the books you have read. Happy reading… #feetdotravel

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Thanks Stephanie. Hopefully, this years challenge will be as fun a last years.

  • Ruth
    Posted January 26, 2018

    I love to read but have to admit I have not been able to read actual books because of spending too much time on the Internet (a lot of time working on the blog). I still read everyday but it is online (newspaper, articles, blog post, etc.). I have a bunch of books I would like to read and I need to start moving thru the pile. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      It’s surprising how much of our day is spent on the internet now. Sometimes I have to force myself to down computer for some quiet or reading time.

  • Samantha (Vibrant Yogini)
    Posted January 26, 2018

    Wow what a challenge! I love listening to audiobooks nowadays too as I can multi-task (rest and listen or drive and listen!). Although when I am on vacation there is plenty of time to read!

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Vacation is the best time to read. Audiobooks are cool too but I listen to podcasts regularly also so don’t get much chance for them.

  • Kate and Kris
    Posted January 26, 2018

    Great idea! I love to read. I love Bill Bryson too. Read all his books.

  • Shona
    Posted January 26, 2018

    I’ll be following your progress and I’m going to read this year’s book 2. The Qantas story – egos indeed!

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Just finished it today and its worth a read. I wasn’t aware of all the politics that that go on and just how cutthroat the airline industry is. Mind you now I’ve read how much the CEO’s get paid I can see why!

  • California Globetrotter
    Posted January 26, 2018

    Wow that’s impressive! Only one year I managed to read like 30-40 books bc I was spending so much time on the bus that I actually had the time to read something! Now I barely make it one book a year! #FeetDoTravel

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Those long commutes can help your reading! I don’t need to travel to work but do always take a book on a flight with me.

  • Rachel Heller
    Posted January 26, 2018

    I’m so impressed you did this. How did you find the time?

    • Barry Sproston
      Posted January 31, 2018

      Thanks Rachel. I normally try and do some reading every day even if it’s only a little. I always take a book with me everywhere also.

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