In The Way

Top Reads from 2012

This last year was one of my favorite years as far as reading books goes.
I read a lot. My goal is to read one book a week, typically outside of the books I am reading for my studies.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

I read this quote in Timothy Ferris’s 4-Hour Workweek, and it reminded me why I enjoy reading so much.

These are my top 10 books I read this last year, not in any particular order.

1. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel: This is an incredible story of God and an Indian boy travelling across the pacific ocean on a lifeboat. Ever since I read Robinson Crusoe like 12 years ago I love dystopic stories or anything based on the general idea of being stuck on a desert island somewhere. They also made a movie about this.

2.Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin: This story documents a man obsessed with developing the developing world, specifically in Pakistan, and fighting terrorism with education. This true story contains passion, corruption, and determination. The three cups of tea idea is that with the first cup of tea, you are strangers. The second cup you are friends. The third cup? Family.

3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: Wow. What an incredible book. This was the first e-book I ever bought, for about $3 when we were travelling in Guatemala. It has caused me to think about my entire life philosophy more intensely than I ever have before, and incorporates travelling into the story as well. It is an impressive philosophy book. 

4. Justice: What is the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel: This book uses philosophy to apply it to what I am most interested: justice, and our interactions with other people. He uses real life examples to prove how deep rooted philosophical arguments on society, morality, and how we interact with others is used today.

5. The Chosen by Chaim Potok: A novel of two brilliant Jewish boys with conflicting religious interests growing up in the 1940s. An interesting book analyzing Jewish thought and orthodoxy.


6. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: An American Olympic runner is captured in Japan during World War II and ends up shipwrecked, jailed, beaten, and broken. An amazingly TRUE life story of endurability, mindset, and gratitude. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Amazing.

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: A brutal story, but a beautiful story about pain, life in a corrupt world, and reconciliation. I will never look at kites the same way.


8. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:  I learned that our nations first brilliant entrepreneur was all for open-source patenting, unlike the secret-protecting companies we have today like Apple. He speaks of the importance of civil service and living for the common good of all of society, as well as encouraging others to practice personal disciplines on a daily basis. Any American interested in free-markets, socialism, or capitalism should read this book. If Franklin were alive today, I’m sure he would be blogging.

9. 127 Hours by Aron Ralston: This tells the story of a man who gets his arm stuck in a canyon while backpacking. He tries everything to get unstuck and leave, and does everything imaginable until the unthinkable: He cuts his arm off, leaving it between the rocks and stumbles away. Similar to Life of Pi, except this is a true story. It was fascinating entering Aron’s brain and how methodical he remembers himself being. A fascinating survival book even though the movie is kind of weird. I hope read Into Thin Air, another survival book next.

10. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris: I am currently reading this right now, but it is one of my favorite books arguing for working smarter, not harder, and living life now, not waiting until retirement to do what you want to do. An encouraging self-help book to encourage people to stop waiting and start doing. If you have any income at all you should read this book.

While I read many more books, these are the favorite I can remember off of the top of my head right now. I look forward to the books I will read in 2013. Valerie and I are also working on writing a book of our own as a synopsis to our bicycle trip, with some philosophical aspects intertwined as well. I’m planning to finish the rough draft in the next 6 months and I hope to have the final version #1 done by next December.

What about you? Do you have any favorite books that you read in 2012?

Do you have any books you are looking forward to reading this upcoming month or year?


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