I guess third time really is a charm.  This is the third year in a row that I have tried to read fifty-two books in fifty-two weeks.  The first year was no where close, last year somewhat closer, but this year, I finally hit fifty-two.

So, here is my final review.  If you haven’t already, check out the first thirteen, second thirteen, and third thirteen.  They include some of my highest “must-read” selections.


First, the ratings out of 10:

10:  These are books that I think everyone should read.  I take the 10/10 rating seriously.  These books transformed some aspect of my life.  I will tell you to read these books regardless of whether you ask for a suggestion or not.

7-9:  These are books I will recommend when asked.  I enjoyed them and think they are worthwhile.  I will bring these books up in conversation, refer to them, but they did not have the impact of those with a 10/10 rating.

4-6:  These books provided some value, but I wouldn’t recommend them.  Either I did not like the presentation of the book or I didn’t think the content was new or different.

Under 4:  I finished these only because I started them.


  1.  The Sports Gene by David Epstein

Rating: 9/10

Category: books for information

Review:  I was slightly resistant to The Sports Gene in the beginning because it discussed how genes and innate characteristics contribute to eliteness.  I was initially upset by the book because it reconfirmed that I will never be an Olympian.  After reading so many books that focused more on “nurture”, it was very interesting to learn about some of “nature’s” influence.  The book presents both nature and nurture and does it in a highly engaging way.  I found this book incredibly interesting and have brought up examples and stories from the book in so many conversations.

  1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things:  Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Rating: 9/10

Category: books for information

Review:  I’ve read many books about getting a business off the ground, but this book dives deeper.  It presents the intricacies of what it takes to run a business rather than just start one.  Many of the “hard things” were concepts and situations that I had never even considered.  I really appreciated his personal examples and how he presented the concepts.  I’d recommend this to anyone interested in business on any level.

  1.  Sum:  Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

Rating: 8/10

Category: books to unplug, books that make you think

Review:  I have my own personal and religious beliefs on the afterlife, but I was still able to enjoy Sum.  The author provides forty short stories as to what afterlife may be like.  I found a few of the stories somewhat redundant, but otherwise very entertaining.  It also had the added benefit of feeling gratitude for the present.

  1.   Lift: Fitness Culture, From Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors by Daniel Kunitz

Rating: 6/10

Category: books for information

Review:  I was excited about this book.  I wanted to see the history and the progression of exercise and physical activity.  I did get that, but I also got a heavily biased lens toward crossfit.  I have nothing against crossfit, but it seemed like a lot of the book judged previous exercise concepts in comparison to crossfit.  It was also confusing at times.  I wasn’t sure the overall timeline because he skipped around timeframes when he went from topic to topic…. Then again I felt very similar in history class, so maybe its me.

  1.   Pound the Stone: 7 Lessons To Develop Grit On The Path To Mastery by Joshua Medcalf

Rating: 9.8/10  (I sound like a patient’s pain rating)

Category: books for when you’re stuck, books that motivate

Review:  I felt like I couldn’t give it a ten because I don’t think you HAVE to read it, but I HIGHLY recommend it.  He also wrote Chop Wood, Carry Water and Pound the Stone delivers just as well.  I love the way he tells a simple (even often juvenile) story, but packs in such valuable lessons.  As an young professional, this book was a reminder of what it takes to achieve expertise.

  1.  Raving Fans:  A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service by Kenneth H. Blanchard

Rating: 8/10

Category: books for information

Review:  I’m a sucker for parables and analogies. This book provided both so that may explain why I rated it higher than others on Good Reads.  It was valuable and applicable to patient care (not just customers).  I find physical therapy to be a service and therefore my responsibility to make sure the patient has a positive experience.  This book had some reminders and some novel ideas.

  1.   The Present:  The Gift for Changing Times by Spencer Johnson

Rating: 6/10

Category: books for when you’re stuck

Review:  Okay, by the time I got to The Present, I was starting to get tired of parables (I didn’t know it possible). It was good, but I found it average in comparison to Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese.  It made me think, but it would not be one that I’d necessarily recommend.

  1.   Diary of An Oxygen Thief by Anonymous

Rating: 6/10

Category: books to unplug (I guess?)

Review:  This book was somewhat of a letdown.  The fact that it was by Anonymous peaked my interest enough to pick it up. On the back cover a review compared it to Catcher in The Rye.  Needless to say I had high hopes.  It wasn’t bad by any means, but after a comparison to Catcher in The Rye, it failed to deliver anything close.  It was also somewhat of a disturbing account of love and loss.

  1.   The Captain Class:  The Hidden Force that Creates the World’s Greatest Teams by Sam Walker

Rating: 9/10

Category: books that make you think

Review:  Once I got over the fact that the author called the Giant’s win over the Patriots and David Tyree’s helmet catch “lucky,” I really enjoyed the book.  He looked at what made great teams great and he did so in a very systematic way.  The way he presents each example is something special.  It is an enjoyable read and surprising at times.

  1.   The Obstacle Is The Way:  The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Rating: 7/10

Category: books that motivate, books for when you’re stuck

Review:  I like the title better than I liked the book itself.  I love the concepts presented (although not many novel ones), but I found it difficult to get through at times.  The book focuses on how obstacles are not the enemy and may actually contribute to success.  It was great in theory, but I think the execution is lacking.

  1.   The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Rating: 9/10

Category: books for information

Review:  If you only read one finance book, this is it.  I say that because this is the only finance book I’ve read.  Nonetheless, it was very informative, but even better, it was actionable.  I took a lot from this book.  It challenged some of my beliefs in a good way.  I would recommend giving it a chance and it did prove to be a great introduction into my financial reading (I’m sure more will follow in 2018).

  1.   The Lean Startup:  How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Rating: 9/10

Category: books for information, books that motivate (if into business)

Review:  I liked the way this book met me where I was.  I don’t have a strong business background, but was able to take a lot from the reading.  It presented a methodical approach to startups. It was an easy read and provided engaging examples along the way.

Bonus #53:  Because now that I am compiling the final list, I seem to have counted wrong.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Rating: 10/10

Category: books that motivate, books that make you think

Review: This book was awesome on many levels.  The content was quality, the stories provided were unparalleled, and the comparisons were on point. It is written similarly to Legacy where you’re given a story to then have a point made from the story.  The stories are riveting and the book was well written. I’d highly recommend this read.

Well, that’s a wrap… sort of.  I plan to continue the goal of 52 books in 52 weeks in 2018.  Most of the best books I read were recommendations, so please keep them coming.

Join and follow me on Good Reads if you enjoy reading or want to read more.  It is social media for reading and greatly improved my success in 2018.

What books have you read?

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