Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann

Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (JUST NO)

The Neverending Story – Michael Ende

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger

The Love Machine – Jacqueline Susann

The Portrait of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde (loved it, gift from best friend)

Sisters – Danielle Steel

Once in a Lifetime -Danielle Steel

Once Is Not Enough – Jacqueline Susann

Everyone Worth Knowing – Lauren Weisberger

Living History – Hillary Clinton

The Undomestic Goddess – Sophie Kinsella

Snobs – Julian Fellowes

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo

Follow Your Heart – Susanna Tamaro

The Great Gatsby -F. Scott Fitzgerald (the worst $4 I’ve ever spent)

Le Rouge et Le Noir – Stendahl

The Stranger – Albert Camus

Three Comrades – Erich Maria Remarque

The New Life – Orhan Pamuk

The Night in Lisbon – Erich Maria Remarque

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel García Márquez

This is on my must-read books list. I’ve written a bit about Gabriel García Márquez’s concept of circular time.

Zahir- Paulo Coehlo

Arch of Triumph – Erich Maria Remarque ( first tears from him)

Il Paradiso E Un Cavallo Bianco Che Non Suda Mai – Adriano Celentano

The Black Obelisk – Erich Maria Remarque (least favorite book of him)

Restless Nights -Dino Buzzati (gift from someone very dear for my 18th birthday)

The Solitude of Prime Numbers -Paolo Giordani (gift from someone very dear for my 18th)

All the tulips in the world – Viktor Canosinaj

Memoria de mis putas tristes – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal

The Double -Fyodor Dostoyevsky (speechless)

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

Time to Live, Time to Die – Remarque (it was about time)

The Black Cat- Edgar Allen Poe (1$)(but still)

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (disappointing)

Conversations with Kafka – Gustav Janouch (thrifted and read by the river)

Shakespeare never did this – Charles Bukowski

L’exil et le royaume – Albert Camus (short stories i didn’t like)

Love Lasts Three Years – Frederic Beigbeder (me gusta)

Strange Pilgrims – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (short stories i didn’t like)

Autism- Edmond Tupja

Love-Leo Buscaglia LIFE CHANGING/what I need(ed)

La delicatesse-David Foenkinos

The Power of Negative Thinking- Bobby Knight (gift from father)

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón (unusual beauty)

The Fall- Albert Camus (speechless….in love with him again)

Aphorismes sur la sagesse dans la vie -Shoppenhauer

The Damaged Woman-Simone de Beauvoir (got me thinking SO MUCH)

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite – Paul Arden (gift from father)(astonished)

The Misanthrope- Moliere

Love in the Times of Cholera- Gabriel Garcia Marquez (goosebumps)

Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre

The Art of Loving – Erich Fromm

Ulysses – James Joyce (not really)

Think and grow rich- Napoleon Hill (not really)

The Miracle of Mindfulness -Thich Nhat Hanh

Waking Time – Jodi Piccoult

Les Jolis Garcons- Delphine de Vigan

She Came to Stay- Simone de Beauvoir

Loving each other – Leo Buscaglia

Crime and Punishment- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Genuine Happiness Meditation as the path to fulfilment- B. Alan Wallace

The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway

One More Day – Fabio Volo

The Prisoner of Heaven (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #3) – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Orange Girl – Jostein Gaarder

13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Lead In- Sheryl Sandberg (gift from father)(such a good fucking book)

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

milk and honey – Rupi Kaur

The attention revolution – B. Alan Wallace (not reading him ever again)

How Not to Be Wrong – Jordan Ellenberg (not really)

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl (overrated)

Anxiety – Sadik Lala (I helped make this!)

John Barleycorn – Jack London

The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus (pretentious/disappointing/unexciting)

Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fay Weldon

The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Harmless Like You – Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

enough – Patrick Rhone

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (muy bueno)

You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero (I LOVED THISSS)

The Royal Game – Stefan Zweig

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson (If you’ve also spent hours reading Mark’s articles, you’ve already read this book. P.S. He thinks everyone reading is desperately unhappy with their actions/behavior/life. It was alright, I just expected better/more.)

The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz (sorta)

39 books I read in 2017

1984 – George Orwell

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger (what the?!?!?!)

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy – Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (really puts things in perspective, will kindly recommend this to people who’ve lost dear ones)

Notes from a Dead House – Fyodor Dostoevsky (meh)

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters – Jessica Valenti

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression – Terrence Real (please read this)

Woman: an intimate geography – Natalie Angier (too scientific for my liking oops)

Deep Work – Cal Newport (pretty good, but the more you read the worse it gets. Here are some thoughts & excerpts.)

Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed (Mark Manson recommended) (WOW)

On Writing – Stephen King (wow)

Brain Over Binge – Kathryn Hansen (wow)

Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari (have a slight crush on this guy)

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Anything You Want – Derek Sivers (I love this guy)

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship – Mira Kirshenbaum

Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit

This Is How You Lose Her – Junot Díaz (boyyy)

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays – Scaachi Koul (in love)

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking -Oliver Burkeman (enjoyed, but it felt like he purposefully missed the point at times)

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde

Poke The Box – Seth Godin b(l)a(n)d writing

The Case Study to Freelance Writing – Jacob Jans (so helpful!)

Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence – Lisa Cron

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (bad writing)

Personal Development for Smart People – Steve Pavlina (i love him)

Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi (twas ok, but not my kinda life)

Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult (on racism, bonus the best writing)

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams (how to excel at life basically, I really enjoyed it)

Sex Object: A Memoir – Jessica Valenti (ummmm, okay?)

Models: Attract Women Through Honesty – Mark Manson (very good, I’ve recommended this to at least 12 people by now)

Feminist Fight Club An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace – Jessica Bennett (so good)

The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth – Scott Peck (wooh)

Scared Selfless: My Journey from Abuse and Madness to Surviving and Thriving – Michelle Stevens (couldn’t go through with it, triggering AF)

Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment – Robert Wright

Difficult Women – Roxane Gay

Hunger – Roxane Gay

The Art of Public Speaking – Dale Carnegie (mehh)

The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking – Chris Anderson (unsurprisingly very good)

15 Books I read in 2018

Ask and It Is Given – Abraham Hicks (forgive me LOA gods, couldn’t go through with it, maybe I’ll revisit in a few years)

The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur (her books are intoxicating)

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge (Reni is an award-winning journalist and you can see why throughout the whole book, MUST read for white people)

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: Guidance on the Path to Mindfulness from a Spiritual Leader – Haemin Sunim (I’d missed mindfulness books)

Notes of a Native Son – James Baldwin (a hard must-read, will go back)

Neuroplasticity – Mo Costandi (only if you’re a psych/medical geek SVP)

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (not really)

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. Thomas

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative – Austin Kleon

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives – David Eagleman (amazing)

So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport (meh)

Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine – Derren Brown (not reading similar books again, I’ve had it)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed (loved it!)

Psychopath Free (Expanded Edition): Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People- Jackson MacKenzie (Author)

Bad Blood SECRETS AND LIES IN A SILICON VALLEY STARTUP – John Carreyrou (worth it)

18 books I read in 2019

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain (must read)

Everything Here Is Beautiful – Mira T. Lee (hard, necessary read)

Rework – David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried (10/10)

The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love – bell hooks (forever thankful for WOC work)

The Mars Room – Rachel Kushner

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Unwifeable – Mandy Stadmiller (extremely beautiful, important read)

Cherry – Nico Walker

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron (emotionally draining, creatively empowering)

Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

Comedy Sex God – Pete Holmes (umm.. amazing)

Crudo – Olivia Laing

Secrets of Six-Figure Women – Barbara Stanny (here’s something I learned from it)

Baby Proof – Emily Giffin (Internalized misogyny is a cruel beast. Book is about couple who doesn’t want kids, until..)

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You – Julie Zhuo (hate Facebook, loved this)

The Divided Mind – John E. Sarno (a must-read for the medical community and people with chronic pain)

Breakthrough Advertising – Eugene M. Schwartz

Copywriting Secrets – Jim Edwards (my manager gave me this 🙂 )

16 books I read in 2020

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage – Elizabeth Gilbert

“At the end of her best-selling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship. They swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married.”

very good, 9/10

Company of One – Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business – Paul Jarvis

“Paul Jarvis Jarvis makes a compelling case for making your business better instead of bigger. A must-read for any entrepreneur who prioritizes a rich life over riches.”

9/10, here are some thoughts & excerpts

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

“a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.”

teary-eyed of course. 7/10

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them – Meg Jay

Here are some thoughts & excerpts.

Beloved (1988 Pulitzer Prize) – Toni Morrison

“Set after the American Civil War, it tells the story of a family of former slaves whose Cincinnati home is haunted by a malevolent spirit.”

7/10. I was so excited to finally read her work, but this wasn’t exactly my thing. I can see why she won a Nobel and a Pulitzer though.

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

“An essential volume for generations of writers young and old, Bird by Bird is a modern classic.”

8.5/10, here’s a sweet excerpt, here’s another.

Heartland – Sarah Smarsh

“We are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland.”

Amazing. 10/10.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

“The path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.”

Amazing. 10/10.

The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children -Shefali Tsabary Ph.D.

“A radically transformative plan that shows parents how to raise children to be their best, truest selves.”

Amazing. 10/10

Breathing Lessons (1989 Pulitzer Prize) – Anne Tyler

“As Maggie and Ira rediscover the magic of the road called life and the joy of having somebody next to you to share the ride . . . bumps and all.”

Needed some fiction in my life. 8/10.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma – Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

“He uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.”

Amazing! Must read. 10/10

The Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis

“The plot and characters are used to address Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it.”

My boss sent me this. The writing’s out of this world. A great read for anyone questioning their faith. 10/10 writing style, 8/10 book.

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal – Nick Bilton

Read this with my boyfriend. Captivating if you’re into successful businesses BTS. I loved the drama. Jack sucks.

Where Reasons End – Yiyun Li

“An imagined conversation between a mother and the son she lost to suicide.”

I’m a simple girl, I’m sent a New Yorker article, I like it, I get the author’s book. Learned ~50 words & a new way to cope with suicide. The author’s son killed himself after his 16th birthday and the book is her conversation with him. Felt a bit like an intruder in a mother/son conversation or like I was reading someone’s diary. Very powerful.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

I learned so much. 10/10. Please read this.

Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career – Laurence G. Boldt

“Goes beyond inspiration, providing a proven formula for bringing creativity, dignity, and meaning to every aspect of the work experience.”

I found one of the chapters amazing, I knew most of the points in the book, but I still enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to people that want impactful careers. 7/10.

Books I read in 2021

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life – Rory Sutherland

Nothing is as it appears. A must-read for anyone who: is in marketing/ enjoys behavioral design/ has felt alone in their war against corporate-speak and corporate-think. I really, really enjoyed this. 10/10.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed – Lori Gottlieb

Reading a book written by a therapist writer/writer therapist felt meta since this is what I want to eventually do. I loved the writing, loved the stories, loved the psychology aspect of it, oh my God, I devoured this book and I stayed up till 2 am to finish it. 10/10.

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – Gay Hendricks

This was wonderful. I included an excerpt in my article We Did It, Joe! Reflections and Tips After Writing New Weekly Articles for a Year:

“After he heard me talk about Einstein Time at a seminar, a Manhattan stockbroker sent me an e-mail telling me about what had happened recently on his daily subway ride to Wall Street. He said that he was running late one morning and had sprinted to catch the train, trying to balance a cup of coffee, a bagel, and his briefcase.

Jammed in with the other riders on the crowded train, he started to look at his watch but couldn’t raise his arm because he was wedged in so tightly between people. He felt a wave of panic building because he couldn’t see what time it was or assess how late he might be for his meeting. Suddenly he recalled our conversation about Einstein Time.”

Check it out. 8.5/10.

June 27, 2021 update: I wrote We All Have the Same Problem based on this book.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion – Jia Tolentino

“In her debut essay collection, the writer unveils nine new pieces that help cement her place in the essayist canon. She’s an expert in the sweet spot where contemporary politics and youth culture meet and make out.”

As I said for Yiyun Li’s Where Reasons End: “I’m a simple girl, I’m sent a New Yorker article, I like it, I get the author’s book.” Her piece, Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston, is out of this world.

However, named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, I didn’t really enjoy this collection of essays as much as I thought I would. As other readers have pointed out, while she is a magnificent writer, the book was often depressing, rambling, and often feels like it lacks point. I skipped a few pages. 6/10.

Humankind: A Hopeful History – Rutger Bregman

When I wrote Humanity’s Best Kept Secret, I hadn’t finished this book yet, but it had already moved me to tears. That article is mostly based on what I learned from the book, it quickly turned into a reader favorite and I can see why.

After finishing it, find out what I had to say about it below.

All About Love: New Visions – bell hooks

Made me think. Her love for love is contagious. Made me feel extra grateful for the endless love in my life. I really loved some chapters, others not so much.

I shared some book excerpts on my Instagram. Someone messaged me saying “Imma read every book you read” and I loved that. I wrote a bit about the book on Why People Who Are Perfect For Each Other Break Up.

Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth – Stuart Ritchie

Amazing read for anyone in science and anyone who idolizes science from afar. Quite eye-opening about how research works and how flawed a lot of it and how we can make it right. There’s also a chapter about learning to read scientific research that is pretty helpful in this day and age. 9/10

Own Your Weird: An Oddly Effective Way for Finding Happiness in Work, Life, and Love – Jason Zook

I absollutely loved 40% of the book. The other 60% was anything but weird or revolutionary. Great read for “weirdos”, entrepreneurs, and those scared of what society will think of them if they do X. I learned a lot. The blueprint does not exist. 10/10 on some chapters, 4/10 on others.

Content Design – Sarah (Richards) Winters

Be warned: quite niche. I listened to How to be an exceptional content designer, with Sarah Richards, creator of the content design discipline on the Content Design Podcast so I got the book.

“Between 2010 and 2014, Sarah Richards and her team at the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service did what many thought impossible: they took over 400 separate government websites and transformed them into a single site designed to effectively serve its users. In doing so, they defined a new discipline: content design.”

I read this in a day. It’s perfect for people who are “just” writers or “just” UI/UX designers who want to do more strategic work. Great for those who really, really care about people and their time and attention. 10/10.

Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning – Benjamin K. Bergen

The writing style isn’t my thing, so 6.5/10, but still a great read for anyone who spends time thinking about words, what makes sense to us and why, and the meaning of things in general.

Words like eat, pray, poop mean different things for different people.

In Japan and Korea, the way you hand over small objects to someone depends on who the person is.

“Suppose I tell you that I was in the park and saw a guy in a purple track suit jog past me. Which way did you see him jogging?

There’s a lot of evidence showing that you’re likely to have seen him going from your left to your right than any other direction.”

The book is filled with similar fascinating studies and facts related to meaning.

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close – Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

I was so excited to read a book about friendship! Why are there so few books solely about friendship? As the authors also note, if we’re facing relationship or family issues, there are hundreds of books and resources to our help.

Does your lifelong friend feel like a stranger? Good luck figuring that out.

“There’s an expectation that friendship is the easy part of life. All support, no strife. If it gets hard? Well, it wasn’t meant to be. While there are piles and piles of books to help you through a crisis in your marriage and offer you advice on repairing estranged family relationships, not much guidance exists for best friends who can sense things falling apart but don’t know how to put them back together.”

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close – Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Big Friendship focuses on the importance of friendship and how friendships have changed throughout history. For me, it felt like the part I was waiting for was coming in the next chapter, but it never did. After sharing how they met, why they were best friends, and research on friendship, I was expecting to hear how they fixed their friendship after ruining it.

Spoiler alert: they went to couple’s therapy together. The therapist helped them realize how they differed, how these differences were hurting them, and how to change that. Then, they lived happily ever after. 

Favorite idea from the book: while we expect our relationships to hit rough patches and go through hard times, we assume friendships run smoothly forever. They don’t. We need to express our love, gratitude, and investment in our friends frequently.


Everyday Information Architecture – Lisa Maria Marquis

A book on how to craft more thoughtful and effective digital spaces. It’s just 126 pages, but it covers everything IA related:

  • Systems of Organization
  • Content Analysis
  • Categories and Labels
  • Site Structure
  • Navigation and Wayfinding
  • Tags and Taxonomies

“Of course, user needs aren’t the only consideration on a website—otherwise, something something downfall of capitalism.”

Kudos to Marquis who somehow wrote a book about IA that was very fun to read.

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

currently reading