Recent Reads

Reviews of my recent reads.

Rome’s Last Citizen by Rob Goodman

Rome's Last Citizen is a mixture of a biography of Cato the younger and an overview of Roman history. At first, I expected this book to be all about Cato and his stoic philosophy, but in actuality, the book is largely focused on the surrounding political circumstances in Cato's life. This includes the political struggles of his day as well as his struggle with certain individuals like Pompey and Ceasar.

The authors go in-depth on Cato's reaction to the political trial of his time and how he was successful or not successful in applying stoic philosophy.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. If you're interested in learning some Roman history as well as learning about Cato's stoic philosophy, then you'd enjoy this one.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

I just finished Extreme Ownership for my second read through. We filmed a review of it in podcast form. The links to listen or watch are below.

Watch on Youtube

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Meditation by Marcus Aurelius (translated by Gregory Hays)

Meditations is a culmination of journal entries written by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. These entries were written at some time near 160 A.D. when Marcus ruled.

Aurelius was a student and early practitioner of stoic philosophy and this is exactly what you’ll find throughout the Meditations. It is for this reason that Meditations has become one of my favorite books, because of the calm mentality of Aurelius.

Marcus was one of the most powerful men of his time, yet his thoughts and reflections all relate to self-regulation and self-control.

The particular version by Gregory Hays has an incredible amount of information on the history of both Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism. You can buy this version here.

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Wild at Heart is yet another book on the topic of masculinity. If you’ve been following my reads for a while you’ll see that masculinity has been one of my favorite topics to learn about.

Wild at Heart shared similar ideas to books like King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, and especially Iron John by Robert Bly, which is quoted multiple times by Eldredge.

 However; Wild at Heart was different than these other books in one particular way, which was Eldredge’s emphasis on Christianity and its relationship to masculinity. While this may turn some off to the book immediately, I’d highly recommend you still check it out. Eldredge has a very intrigueing perspective of Christianity and it made me reevaluate my belief in what Christianity is as well as who Jesus was.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was an incredibly sad but necessary book for me to read.

From the first page all the way through, Dee Brown wastes no time detailing just about every major injustice that the white settlers forced on Native Americans from the 1500’s onward.

Dee Brown covers all major tribes, treaties, soldiers/warriors, and wars between the white and Native people. Most of which takes place in the 19th century. 

 I’m glad for having read this book, even though it wasn’t an uplifting one. And feel it has brought invaluable information as to how America was created.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

I just finished The Hero With a Thousand Faces for my second time. This book has become a staple in my library that I refer back to on a regular basis. I feel the main premise of the “hero’s journey” is one of the most fascinating ideas I’ve read.

Throughout his book Campbell breaks down the hero’s journey and gives countless examples of this story being told in myths, ancient stories, as well as religions.

I feel you should read this book because in a sense, the hero’s journey resembles aspects from all of our lives. Having an awareness of this will absolutely enliven and make your life much more purposeful.

The Mount of Olives by Michael Ivanov

I just finished The Mount of Olives for my second time and I loved it even more than the first. This book is such an uplifting story about a young man that finds his purpose through a tedious path of struggle. 

This story revolves around a mute boy named Felix, who starts out his journey with an attitude of hopelessness. However, his life takes a turn for the better when he makes a giant leap of faith.

Throughout his journey, the boy writes 11 declarations that he has learned which are the foundations of his success.

If you’re interested in an inspiring fictional journey, similar to The Alchemist by Coelho, then I would highly recommend The Mount of Olives.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Can’t Hurt Me has just become one of my favorite books ever.

Goggins takes you on the incredibly relentless journey that his life has been. From physical and mental abuse as a child, to going through Navy SEAL “hell week” three times, to running ultra marathons over and over.

This book made me feel I was with Goggins every step of the way. Which is inspiring, because his achievements are a direct result of pure will, not lucky circumstances or God-given talent.

I was genuinely sad to finish the book, knowing that I was done reading this incredible journey was a difficult realization.

The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

I just finished this thrilling story about a 1787 bottle of wine supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson. The most important detail of this wine bottle is the price it was auctioned at, which happened to be $156,000.

Wallace spills all the details about the questionable history for this bottle of wine. And I have to say, the story is absolutely incredible.

If you’d be interested in some learning about history of wine and Thomas Jefferson, The Billionaire’s Vinegar is a great read.

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

The Power of Myth is a written form of a conversation between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell. It is an interview of Joseph Campbell that asks him many questions about myth, which is a topic he has dedicated his life to understanding completely.

Campbell has a vast wealth of knowledge of mythology and religion from all cultures dating back to thousands of years B.C.

With this knowledge of his life’s work he finds common denominators in all past religions and myths, explaining how they can help us today. He also explains why it is so crucial that western society return to these myths for guidance.

I personally love Campbell’s work and look forward to reading more of it in the future. I’d highly recommend this book.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

I just finished The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing for my second time.

This is one of my favorite books on business and I feel it is a must read for those who are trying to sell a product or brand.

The authors have 25 years of experience in marketing and have analyzed some of the United State’s biggest companies and their direct competition. They compare the success of companies like General Motors and BMW, as well as Coke versus Pepsi.

The 22 laws are short, simple, and to the point. And my favorite thing about this particular book is that each law can be very easily applied to your brand or business. 

The Spiritual Emerson Essential Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always heard about how great Emerson’s writings were, so I was really excited going in to this one. And I’m happy to say that this book completely exceeded my expectations.

The Spiritual Emerson has been added to my list of favorite books and I see why many call it a must-read. In the introduction by Jacob Needleman he mentions how he seems to forget everything else when he reads Emerson, it is as if the surrounding world disappears. This is the exact feeling I got while reading through the book.

This truly is an incredible book, I look forward to reading more from Emerson.

The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian

The Marketing of Evil was a book I knew virtually nothing about before reading, usually I read some reviews before buying a new book. However, with this book I purchased it based on the interesting title alone.

For this reason, many of the authors viewpoints were extremely different than my own. Throughout the book Kupelian discusses many controversial issues that America is currently dealing with. These topics include homosexuality, abortions, sex/pornography, and education. His main claim is that America is so divided and full of hostility because of our deviance from the Judeo-Christian morals and principles our country was founded on.

I say all of this to help you understand how controversial this book may be, before you buy it. I personally learned a ton from this book and enjoyed having my beliefs challenged. The Marketing of Evil helped me either shift some of my pre-existing beliefs or it helped me understand them on a deeper level.

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

I just finished reading Mindset by Carol Dweck and I absolutely loved it.

Mindset is a very powerful book, one that I wish I had read sooner. Dweck discusses the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset and how these mindsets play out in multiple different situations.

She lays out how beneficial a growth mindset can be in just about every life situation including relationships, business, school, and parenting. Her description of the growth mindset is extremely inspiring, suggesting that with it just about anything can be conquered.

I’d highly recommend you read Mindset as soon as possible.

Iron John by Robert Bly

I just finished Iron John for my second time.

The books main premise revolves around masculinity and the ancient story of Iron John. Many of the ideas presented by Robert Bly with regards to masculinity were completely new and refreshing to me.

Bly uses the ancient story of Iron John to describe a natural process that must occur throughout the life of a man in order for him to fully embody a strong masculine core.

I’d highly suggest all men pick this book up! Also, check out the list I put together of books for men.

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven

I just finished Make Your Bed for my second time.

The book is written by a former Navy SEAL and in it he discusses lessons learned from his time as a SEAL. The book is only about 100 pages, it took me an afternoon to finish, but the lessons from McRaven are some of the most powerful and inspiring I’ve read to date.

I feel that reading the struggles that these men endure in SEAL training and what they learn from these struggles is one of the most inspiring things one can read. McRaven discusses the importance of teamwork, never quitting, and of course making your bed.

I cannot recommend this book enough!

David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

David and Goliath is another GREAT book by Gladwell. This is my second book from this author and i’ve grown to love his writing style.

Gladwell starts the book with an example that exhibits his main premise and throughout the book offers multiple different examples from different points in history where this same premise can be found.

In David and Goliath, he breaks down how David was able to defeat Goliath in a seemingly impossible scenario by using unconventional tactics. After this he describes situations where unconventional tactics have helped underdogs succeed over and over in history.

These situations include unconventional tactics used by Martin Luther King Jr. in his civil rights campaign, as well as kids that learned to succeed despite struggling in school due to dyslexia. Among many other scenarios throughout the book.

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

I just finished Ego is the Enemy for my second time. This book has become one of my favorites from Ryan Holiday, along with The Obstacle is the Way. 

 Ego is something that we here a lot about, so I want you to know that Holiday defines ego as “ an unhealthy belief in our own importance” and this is what the whole book is centered around.

 Holiday breaks down the three stages where our ego will be the most dangerous; aspiration, success, and failure. What I love so much about Holiday and his books is that he finds a way to incorporate highly successful and renown figures into his lessons within his books. Which is exactly what he did with each of the three stages.

 Throughout the book Holiday gives multiple examples of historical figures on both ends of the spectrum; those that had their ego under control, and those who did not. 

Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more. By David Hieatt

Just finished my second reading of this book. I stumbled across this book on Instagram and bought it based off of the title. I ended up really enjoying it, so much so that I find myself flipping through it on a regular basis.

As you can tell from the title the main premise is how brands with a core purpose can outperform bigger and more popular brands that may lack that purpose. The book discusses topics like how to find a niche for your brand, creating a good business plan, and creating a good culture within the business.

I think this is a must read for anyone looking to create a business or brand that will find a way to differentiate itself from competitors.