52 Books 2018 – another year another challenge.
At the start of 2017, I created my 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 the most enjoyable resolutions I’ve set so far.
I’ve always been keen on reading since picking up my first book as 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 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.
So Why 52 Books 2018?
When I started the 52 books challenge in 2017, it was because I wanted to push myself to do more.
Once the challenge picked up the pace I suddenly found myself with plenty of time for:
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 them. Some were recommendations, others had just been sitting hidden away 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 I just won’t absorb the full extent of the concepts the first time around. Other times it re-reading a book that 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 52 Books Challenge
The majority of the books 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.
The challenge wasn’t just about me as there were multiple appearances from some authors.
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.
With so many great titles to compete against they did have a high benchmark.
The challenge shouldn’t be about trying to plough through as many books as possible. I learnt a few tips to make 52 Books 2018 more comfortable and less of a chore.
It’s best not to plan – I found reading whatever book whenever worked well for me and didn’t make the challenge rigid and scheduled. 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 books and take the sky’s the limit approach (or at least the top shelf of the bookstore!).
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 will be #52books2018.
So enough is enough and time to kick off the 52 books 2018 challenge!
by Steve Matchett
As a self-confessed motorsport fan what better way to start the year with a book by a former F1 mechanic. The Mechanic’s Tale by Steve Match gives a firsthand account of the great drivers from the 1990’s, including Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. He also talks winning three World Championships with Benetton and the aftermath that followed. A worthy read for any petrol head.
by Matt O’Sullivan
Founded in 1920 by two WWI pilots and a grazier, the “Flying Kangaroo” is Australia’s oldest and most respected airlines in the world. Famous for never having lost a jet during flight, in late 2014 Qantas had a crash of a different kind, recording one of the most significant losses in global aviation history. Mayday is a story about an airline at war with itself and the world.
by Scott Pape
Without a doubt one of the most down to earth and least boring books about money management I’ve read in my life!
by Vincent Bramley (
A hard book to find as it was supposedly banned for a time. Excursion to Hell is an account of the Falklands War told by an ordinary guy on the ground. Vincent Bramley gives an eye witness account of what happened to him and his fellow paratroopers during the bloody battle for Mount Longdon.
by Mitchell Zuckoff
Near the end of World War II, a plane carrying 24 members of the US military, including nine Women’s Army Corps members, crashed into the New Guinea jungle during a sightseeing excursion. The three survivors–a WAC, a young lieutenant who lost his twin brother in the crash, and a severely injured sergeant–were stranded deep in a jungle valley notorious for its cannibalistic tribes.
by Donald Trump
It seems everyone has an option about Donald Trump since he became president of the USA. Well everyone except me that is. Because, to be honest, I don’t know that much about the Man so what better way to find out more than reading about what makes him tick – money.
In How to Get Rich, Donald Trump covers how to: invest wisely – impress the boss and get a raise – manage a business efficiently – hire, motivate, and fire employees – negotiate anything – maintain the quality of your brand – think big and live large.
It’s only book number 7 of 52 but I have a feeling this could be one of, if not my favourite book of this year. Remarkably thorough and thought-provoking. If you have a curiosity about history and life – then read this book!
by Gretchen Rubin
I came across Tolhurst Downunder Bookshop while I was in Hobart a few weeks back. It’s an interesting 2nd hand bookshop run by an even more interesting gentleman who knows everything and anything there is to know about books. Anyway, to cut a long story short I ended up reading the book he ‘threw in for free’ before the one I purchased!
A must read for all those who plan on working remotely. 4HWW was one of the first books I read that got me questioning my decisions on life and work. Eight years later some points are still relevant. I’ve even integrated some concepts into my life like mini-retirements and not working for work’s sake. Some of what’s written can be far-fetched but there are plenty of gold nuggets inside this book.
By Peter Savodnik
Please note: some of the 52 books 2018 links featured in this post are affiliate links.