26 books I’m planning to read in 2011

Each year my wife and I sit down and map out a plan for ourselves and our family. Corny, yes. But, effective in starting our year right and establishing family, personal and professional goals for the year ahead. We go out to breakfast and talk about our prior year and what we want to do in the year ahead.

In preparation for that meeting, I started thinking that I wanted to read more hardcover, bound books in 2011. Serendipitously, I came across a post from Dave Fleet that day that referenced a challenge I remember hearing about this time last year. The challenge to read 26 books in a year.

Seems daunting, right? For me, especially so since the demands on my time have never been greater. How could I fit 26 books into a year? Well, as Dave lays it out, you only need to read 20 pages a day, on average. Suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting does it? I can easily read a few pages before bed instead of watching mindless TV. I could easily bring my book to the gym and read while I bike. I can do this, right?

So, I’m doing this. And, I’m going to attempt to hold myself accountable by doing it with two friends–Josh Braaten and Patrick Garmoe. Care to join us? Send me a note or DM and we’ll do this together!

Here are the 26 books I tentatively plan to read in 2011. This list may change, but I wanted to get this out on “paper” as a way to track and refer back each month:

* The Facebook Effect–David Kirkpatrick (review here)

* The Cluetrain Manifesto (always wanted to read)

* American Assassin–Vince Flynn (I’ve read all of his books–this one’s a must-read for me; update: read in Feb 2011)

* Play Their Hearts Out–George Dohrrman (recommended by Jeff Shelman; update: read in March 2011)

* Trust Agents–Chris Brogan/Julien Smith (reading right now--review here)

* Back of the Napkin–Dan Roam (recommended by Lauren Fernandez)

* The Power of Less–Leo Babauta (recommended by Jason Falls)

* Mediactive–Dan Gillmore (recommended by Richard Bailey)

* Reality is Broken–Jane McGonigal (recommended by Mary Bjorneby)

* Band of Brothers–Stephen Ambrose (recommended by Ryan Mathre)

* Rework–Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

* Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard–Don & Chip Heath

* The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence–Tom Peters

* Four-Hour Body–Tim Ferriss (Loved Four-Hour Work Week, and really looking forward to Ferriss’ second outing)

* The Four Agreements–Don Miguel Ruiz (recommended by Meghan Wilker)

* An Object of Beauty–Steve Martin (recommended by Gini Dietrich)

* What would Google Do?–Jeff Jarvis (recommended by Gini Dietrich)

* The Medici Effect–Frans Johansson (recommended by Len Kendall)

* Cracking Creativity–Michael Michalko (recommended by Len Kendall)

* Makers–Cory Doctorow (recommended by Len Kendall)

* Exile–Richard North Patterson (recommended by Heather Whaling)

* Spend Shift–John Gerzema (recommended by Mark Jenson)

* I Love You Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagn to Nancy Reagan–Nancy Reagan (recommended by Kris Schindler)

* Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd–Youngme Moon (recommended by Beth Harte)

* The Micro-Script Rules–Bill Schley (recommended by Beth Harte)

* Now RevolutionJay Baer and Amber Naslund (review here)

What’s your list look like for 2011? Care to join me in this challenge?

Note: Photo courtesy of austinevan via FlickR Creative Commons.

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34 comments on “26 books I’m planning to read in 2011

  1. jlbraaten says:

    You’re much more organized than me, Arik. I’m starting off with Predictably Irrational, but unsure what will be right after that. I’ve been eying the Facebook Effect. Perhaps that will be #2. Ideally, I want to let you get a ways into your list in case you stumble upon some can’t-miss opportunities for my list. Looking forward to getting through 26 books this year!

  2. ryanstephens says:

    One of my goals for 2011 is less blogs, more books. I don’t have a specific list, but I’m aiming for 52 books in 2011. I probably read about 14-16 in 2010 so that’ll obviously be a huge challenge. I’ve read a few on your list, and I’m planning on reading a few more. I try to mix between non-fiction – business/marketing related, non-fiction – something I’m interested in (fitness, running), and fiction (classics).

    You can check out my Shelf here: http://www.shelfari.com/ryanstephens/shelf

  3. Anonymous says:

    Arik, looks like a great list and hope you can make it to 26. I read a ton and was on pace for it last year until I just needed a break, but will try again this year.

  4. They look like great books and I have read several of them myself but I don’t see any novels on the list.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love this! I’ve found that using iBooks on the iPad actually helps me read more. I’m trying to read one fiction/non-work-related book a month in 2010. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂 Good luck on your challenge! Can’t wait to see the reviews for some of these books!


  6. Love how you’ve broken it down by who recommended it. Can’t wait to see how you do!

  7. Arik Hanson says:

    Yeah, I can already tell the iPad will impact my reading habits. I probably won’t use it for books though. I’m old-school like that. Want that hard cover in my hand.

  8. Arik Hanson says:

    Wow–52! Very aggressive! I like a lot of what’s on your list–may swap a few out with my list. We’ll just see how the year goes. And, thanks for sharing the shelfari site–I may check that out a bit more.

  9. Arik Hanson says:

    I will say recommendations played a big part in what I choose to put on this list and what I didn’t. That’s one of my big struggles with books–what to read? Where do you start in identifying the best books to read? Every time I visit Barnes & Noble it seems like throwing darts at a wall.

  10. Bridget Forney says:

    That is a sincerely ambitious reading list! Thanks for some great ideas to add to my own.

  11. I like seeing Cracking Creativity on the list. We read it as part of The Creative Process class at UST. I have it at work to use as a reference for problem solving! Good luck with your challenge

  12. Jason Sprenger says:

    Love the idea and the dedication, but where are the classics? I personally don’t think any book reading list is complete without at least 1-5 of the staples of literature. The Inferno by Dante. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Moneyball. Anything Harry Potter. Green Eggs and Ham.

  13. Abbie S. Fink says:

    Love that the list includes other than business books. Good luck on your journey. We do a book club here at HMA Public Relations and will share this list with our team. Am also part of another book club and the non-business books will be offered up to them as well.

    Have read Trust Agents, Four Agreements and I Love You Ronnie. Am waiting (not so patiently) for Now Revolution to arrive.

    Happy New Year!

  14. Arik Hanson says:

    Good adds, Jason. I get a steady does of Dr. Seuss every evening though 😉 I stayed away from the classics on purpose. I wanted a mix of solid marketing/business books and non-fiction. Those are the categories I’m most interested in and the books I enjoy reading the most. There are a few fiction authors I follow, but by and large I usually stick with non-fiction.

  15. Arik Hanson says:

    What other non-business books would you recommend, Abbie? I’m excited to read the Reagan book, actually. I’ve heard good things. What did you think of Trust Agents?

  16. jaybaer says:

    Thanks very much for including The NOW Revolution on this awesome list. Are you going to review all of these? You should!

  17. jaybaer says:

    I’ll bring you one in Phoenix for SMAZ on 2/11!

  18. jaybaer says:

    Good call on Moneyball. Liar’s Poker, too.

  19. jaybaer says:

    For content creators, one of my all-time highest recommendations is Made to Stick. I refer to it all the time.

  20. jlbraaten says:

    I’ll have to check out Made to Stick. For me, finding new books is like pulling on a thread. While I’m reading one book, I’ll be tempted by all sorts of tangents to go off on. I’ll find books that cover those tangents and the process begins again.

  21. This is a great list, Arik! Good luck with the challenge.

    I read a few of these books and others in 2010, and my favorite was Switch. I mentioned this in your holiday gift for PR pros post, but I think Switch is an awesome book for PR pros to read. The concept of change is huge and daunting, but the Heath brothers really break down the steps it takes to create change.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Arik, love this idea and want to join the challenge. I have at least 10 books on the shelf I’ve been meaning to read and this would be a great motivation to get that done. I’ll need recommendations, but hope to post my list later this week.

  23. This was the whole purpose of my business book club last year. I needed to read more and I need a deadline to do it in. I applaud your ambition. I’m working on my book club roster for this year (and have a few of these in mind for adding to it). You’re welcome to join us anytime if you want to chat with some fellow readers.

  24. Arik Hanson says:

    I’d actually like that. I’ll follow along and when I see a book that I’ve either read or one I haven’t read, but want to, I’ll bop in. Thanks for suggesting that. And great idea on the business book club (I actually reference your club in a client conversation just recently).

  25. Arik Hanson says:

    You don’t actually need to read 26–that was just the number I came up with. Pick a number and go with it! Obviously, the larger idea is just to read more books. Would love to see your list, Lauren!

  26. Arik Hanson says:

    That’s where I got that book idea from! Care to join us in the challenge this year? Might be tough since I know this is a big year for you (getting married soon, right?). But, again, you don’t have to read 26 books, necessarily.

  27. Yup, August 27 is the big day! I can definitely join the challenge, but I think I’m going to go with 15 books this year. Adding that in Evernote right now. 🙂

  28. i appreciate your planning to read 26 books online in one of your list i likes power of less book most do read it .i hope really enjoy it much.