You Are What You Read: 14 Thought Leaders Share Their Bookshelves

Photo: Ozyman

The following is a guest post by Shane Snow, a frequent contributor to Wired and Fast Company. It includes photographs of some fun bookshelves, including yours truly (Tim Ferriss). CLICK ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

Enter Shane

They say a person’s eyes are “the window to the soul.”

I am not very good at pupil-based soul-reading, but I’ve found that I can learn a lot about a person by the books on his or her shelf. When I go to someone’s house or office for the first time, my favorite thing to do is check out the bookshelf.

Here’s what’s on mine:

(click to enlarge any and all photos in this post)

Storytelling is a powerful force, as I’m a fan of reminding people. Stories—fiction and non—make ideas stick; they change minds and shape us in often subconscious ways. I believe the mind of a well-read person is heavily influenced by the books of her past.

A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct a little experiment.

I emailed a few friends and people I admired and asked them if I could see photographs of their bookshelves (or book stacks or Kindle screens). Just about everybody said, “yes.” The experiment soon metastasized, and I started pestering thought leaders in spaces I followed–tech, advertising, philanthropy–to see what books the innovators cared enough about to allot real estate.

Soon, I had more photos than I knew what to do with. Here are some of my favorites:


Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at and one of the smartest women in American tech


Fred Wilson, Partner at Union Square Ventures and the man responsible for investments in Tumblr, Etsy, CodeAcademy, KickStarter, Meetup, Soundcloud, Twitter, Behance, and StackExchange…

He sent me this one:

But I actually found this closeup in his Flickr photostream, too:


Guy Kawasaki, Bestselling Author of Enchantment, A.P.E., and a dozen other terrific books


Mike Lazerow, Founder of Buddy Media (sold to Salesforce last year for $700 million)


Mitch Kanner, Owner of 2Degrees and one of Ad Age’s “hottest rolodexes” in advertising (this guy hooks people like Jay-Z up with deals like Samsung’s million-album download)


Jonah Berger, Bestselling Author of Contagious and “virality” guru


Claire Ortiz-Diaz, head of Social Innovation at Twitter and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People In Business


Dharmesh Shah, CTO of Hubspot and founder of OnStartups, and one of the most humble leaders you’ll ever meet


Dave Kerpen, Bestselling Author of Likeable Business and founder of Likeable Media (also the highest-trafficked LinkedIn Influencer in the world)


Cindy Gallop, renowned advertising executive and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn


Adam Grant, Bestselling Author of Give And Take and purveyor of revolutionary ideas about work and success


Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social and board member of Starbucks (elected at age 29)


Jeffrey Walker, philanthropist and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase Foundation and author of the forthcoming book The Generosity Network


And I certainly couldn’t leave out Tim Ferriss, whose penchant for anime happens to be his secret weapon for language-mastery:


Interestingly enough, the book I referenced in the beginning about stories making ideas stick (Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath) shows up several times in this gallery. There are a few other repeats if you look carefully!

Of course, there were a number of well-read people whose bookshelves I’d love to get a peek at (but unfortunately couldn’t get a hold of). In particular, I wish I could check out the shelves belonging to the following five:

Arianna Huffington

Elon Musk

Martha Stewart

Joss Whedon

Cory Booker (and not just because of the name!)

We’re all a product to some degree of the books we read, the programs we watch, and the people we meet. In the comments, I’d love to discuss: What books from this gallery jumped out at you? Whose bookshelves above do you identify with in particular?

And, perhaps most importantly, what are the most important 2-3 books on your bookshelf?

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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235 Replies to “You Are What You Read: 14 Thought Leaders Share Their Bookshelves”

  1. It’s also interesting to see that most entrepreneurial minded mavericks stick to non-fiction. Is it the endless thirst for knowledge or the lack of good stories that speak to them ?

    1. I believe the fiction selection is important for entrepreneurs. I know a guy like Fred Wilson has read his share of sci-fi. Having that fiction stimulation is important for creativity!

      1. Yes Ben creativity deals with other possible worlds. Fiction can help your create your own.

      2. I agree. I believe that the creativity minds have been pressed by our day-to-day obligation. Reading fiction allows us to free our minds. Ideas often come from being stuck by reality.

    2. Perhaps television and movies is enough for most people, it certainly is for me. Ranging from 30min-3hours invested in something well put together, I can spend the rest of the time learning from a non-fiction book.

      But that’s just my two cents. 🙂

      1. Ah, that’s not even comparable… The world in books is wider and engages your imagination. I hardly ever watch TV…

      2. The beauty of books for me Anna is I can instantly pause, reflect and make a note. And if I want to refer to it again it is right on the shelf, I don’t know how to do this with TV and don’t mind that I don’t, cheers, David

    1. Tim, noting what Jeff just said. If you or Shane had put links to Amazon below the images, I sense there would be a lot of instant purchases, cheers, David

      P.S. I just thought these instant sales could go towards one of your great philanthropic projects : )

      P.P.S. Great idea for an article Shane, books show what is influencing other people and photos of a person’s bookshelf is like seeing into their mind.

  2. I loved seeing seth godin and the power of habit books.

    My top 2-3 books are Switch by chip and Dan health.

    The now habit by Niel Fiore

    Models by Mark Manson

    I also go on and check out the ones that are above 7/10. I am waiting for Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

      1. 3 replies to 3 varied requests. “Unable to participate” …no big…was worth a shot 🙂

  3. Great post! I love checking out bookshelves. It’s one of the first things I do when I’m in a new place (if there’s one there, of course). I also love reading lists. What a great idea to showcase these from some well-known people.

    My personal “standard works” include these wonderful allegories:

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull (seeking perfection)

    The Little Prince (love and so much more)

    Flatland (open-mindedness)

    The Alchemist (travel, adventure, doing what you are driven to do)

    The Greatest Salesman in the World (crafting yourself into the person you want to be)

    Siddhartha (reading this one now; it’s about listening to your soul, life journeys and cycles, and more)

    I really like these allegorical stories. If anyone has other suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

    1. You have a nice list. You might also like to read biographies of Richard Francis Burton and T.E. Lawrence. Also, Herman Hesse’s “Glass Bead Game”, “The Abolition of Man” by C.S. Lewis and any of Alan Watt’s books.

  4. I always love finding out what is on people’s reading lists as I am a huge book reader. Some of my favorites on my shelf include besides the 4-hour work week, The Indian Slow Cooker (who knew making Indian food could be so easy), 48 Laws of Power and Mastery both by Robert Greene, The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, and Gettng Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham. My library is really huge, but those are some of my top ones right now.

    1. Yes, I am presently reading Mastery by Robert Greene, and like it a lot, one of the most powerful books for understanding patterns of characters is the Enneagramm by Richard Rohr, then there is The power of habit by Charles Duhigg.

      Very important for inspiration is The Pythons autobiography of The Pythons, but I am reading novels like Pratchett and Game of Thrones (yes, it was a book before it became the TV series) with much delight.

  5. Important books on my bookshelf:

    1. How to win friends and influence People.

    2. The Power of Habit.

    3. Give and Take.

    4. How an economy grows and why it crashes.

    5. Free: The future of a radical price.

    6. The Millionaire Fastlane, Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime.

    Thanks for giving such wonderful book collections and links 🙂

    1. No books by Eben except hi original ebook “Double Your Dating” :), but Eben does have a HUGE library of books that should be shown here though.

  6. Books that jumped: The Power of Half on Adam Grant’s bookshelf and all the books in Mike Lazerow’, so curious about their titles! “The Secrets of Happy Families” and “How” – totally judging by the cover/titles here btw.

    I identify myself with books by Seth Godin, Cal Newport and Malcolm Gladwell and specially The Element by Sir Ken Robins. They defend me, put me in place, encourage me and push me forward. Hey Tim, 4HWW too! half way through the book today. (*brownie points*)

    Bookshelves a graphic designer like myself identifies with: Shane Snow’s- Scott Pilgrim and Tim Ferris’ 4HB, what!

  7. Fascinated to see all the non-fiction. I wonder if these book shelves were prepped before they were photographed? I can’t imagine that’s ALL the books on their shelves.

    Couple that have really influenced me:

    1- Ram Dass – Be Here Now

    2- Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram

    3 – Herman Hesse – Siddhartha

  8. I see “Lean In” makes a few appearance. Sheryl seems like a really interesting lady, read a cool article on her in Fortune Magazine.

  9. The 4-Hour Trilogy, of course. I thought I was joking at first, but now that I’ve thought about it, these books have been teaching me pretty much everything I need to know or want to know in life (including hunting and gathering).

    Thank you, Mr. Ferriss!

  10. This is an amazing list Tim.

    I do have a few books by Seth Godin and many books by other authors.

    I’ll get these ones ASAP.


    In the words of Seth Godin, “It’s not an accident that successful people read more books”.

  11. The Alchemist ~ Paulo Coelho

    4HWW ~ Tim Ferris ( not just ki$$ing a$$ but for reals : )

    Rapid Video Blogging ~ Gideon Shalwick

    It would be awesome to see Elon Musk’s bookcollection

  12. Thank you for this great post / idea. I love to read and love the fact I have some of the books in the pictures . One missing is the 7 habits of highly. Effective people !

  13. Noticed Lean In appearing several times and had never heard of it. Also saw Devil In the White City on Adam Grant’s bookshself, which is EXCELLENT!

    All three of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s larger books were highly influential in my life, as well a somewhat obscure title called The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe.

    For Whom the Bell Tolls is probably my favorite fiction novel of all time.

    Cool post. Love discussing books and getting recommendations from other readers.

  14. I was expecting a Cindy Gallop size collection for everyone. I also found it surprising not to see the popular titles that are recommended to most entrepreneurs: Think and Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Rich Dad Poor Dad, 4HWW etc.

    Off to start my Seth Godin collection. 🙂

  15. Yo Shane,

    I really see some patterns emerging here. There are few titles that keep repeating in these lists. Names like Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell seem to be trend setters.

    Also, a simple analysis of the lists show that these successful individuals like to read practical, productivity, and personal development books. As well as comic books 🙂

    A wise guy has a lot to learn from this post!

  16. Surprised I didn’t see “Atlas Shrugged” anywhere. Cal newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” is a must-read. Most of “Work the System” by Sam Carpenter too (esp. the second half). And where’s Dan Kennedy?

  17. 1. Farenheight 451 – More relevant than ever as internet censorship continues to rise. No need to burn books when you can simply block them with a firewall.

    2. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice – the absolute best book out there on understanding modern conflicts, and why we keep losing.

    3. The Zombie Shooting Guide: Survival Training for the Worst Case Scenario – pretty important to me because I wrote it 😉

    And of course, the 4 Hour Workweek, which changed my entire perspective on what it means to be successful, and inspired me to become a writer.

    1. Mark, reread Farenheight 451. It’s about much more than banning books. As you read it, step back and look at the big picture. I have to speak up because it always bothers me that the book is portrayed as being about banning books and so few mention the larger picture painted. Especially since school instructors ignored (or never even saw) the bigger story that is happening.

  18. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson

    The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

    The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss

    Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

    The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

    Design Your Self: Rethinking the Way You Live, Love, Work, and Play by Karim Rashid

    Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose by Ayala Malach Pines

    I love a good mix of non fiction and fiction, sometimes I just need to let my mind run wild. Glad to see some of my favourite books in the pictures and definitely found some interesting new titles. Great post!

  19. These photos make me yearn for this kind of personal mind-display. I have a practice of giving most all of my hard cover books away and Kindles do not make interesting photography.

  20. What surprises me is that these people usually read books about topics they aren’t known for and have a strong variety in their books.

    I identify with Hilary Mason what surprises me, although I’m not fully into tech but respect it, though.

    One of the most inspiring books I’ve read till now:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger – Total Recall

    -> A biography on a man who excelled at bodybuilding, business, movies and politics.

  21. It really stuck out that a lot of people had read the Heath brothers’ books, Switch and Made to Stick. These are people interested in changing the status quo and they’re really unafraid to do it (Seth Godin books are the same category). Fred Wilson’s bookshelf was awesome and I love how Guy Kawasaki’s turned out.

    My favorite books are normally fiction, but I’d say that the top three books I’d have people read would be:

    -The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which is my all-time favorite nonfiction book

    -Predictably Irrational or The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely

    -Ender’s Game – aside from the movie version coming out in the next month or so, that book has ridiculous amounts of insight into human nature.

  22. It really stuck out that a lot of people had read the Heath brothers’ books, Switch and Made to Stick. These are people interested in changing the status quo and they’re really unafraid to do it (Seth Godin books are the same category). Fred Wilson’s bookshelf was awesome and I love how Guy Kawasaki’s turned out.

    It’s so cool that Clara Shih responded to this. I learned about her when I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. When the Dick Costolo/Vivek Wadhwa Twitter conversation went on about including more women in Twitter, people were making retarded recommendations like asking Anne-Marie Slaughter to join Twitter’s board. She’s an extremely cool person – and one definitely sensitive to gender equality – but she’s not a strong/good candidate to be on the Twitter board. Clara Shih would be a MUCH better candidate. The reason that she got on the Starbucks board so young was because she was a social media expert (author of The Facebook Era on top of being the CEO of Hearsay, as mentioned above) and Sandberg thought that Shih would be a good replacement for Sandberg. Clara Shih is such a fantastic person and I’m really glad that her bookshelf was included here.

    My favorite books are normally fiction, but I’d say that the top three books I’d have people read would be:

    -The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which is my all-time favorite nonfiction book

    -Predictably Irrational or The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely

    -Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow – aside from the movie version coming out in the next month or so, OS Card includes ridiculous amounts of insight into human nature, despite his unfortunate modern views on several topics.

  23. We all know we do it, but it’s still great reading an article that says that states the first thing they do when they enter a new place is look at the books on their bookshelf. It’s amazing know that thousands of people are reading this and smiling to themselves.

    It’s extremely hard for me to choose just three books that I love but I’ll give it a go.

    1) ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss

    Never has a book managed to change my mindset so much and make me view the world in a different way. I had always known there was a different world out there and reading this book opened the floodgates to my true passion of marketing, business and travel.

    2) ‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis

    A fantastic book that leaves you salivating for more and makes you question everything that happens in the workplace. Obviously, I’m assuming we all don’t work with serial killers but certain traits you can attach to people and figure out what kind of person they are.

    3) ‘The 13 and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear’ by Walter Moers

    This book I hold dearly because it was the first book that I read that really changed my reading patterns. Before this it had been Harry Potter and things, but at the age of 15, I picked this book up and marvelled and what I was reading. An intricate, fanatasy world full of unforgettable characters and a plethora of imagination that expanded my own mind.

    If there’s anything I could say that this books leaves with you, it’s an old cliché. Never judge a book by its cover.

  24. Delighted to see Alexander McCall Smith up there. And the Cooking for Geeks book .. which I should get too.

    The books I re-read the most are from

    – Al-Ghazali (currently Deliverance from Error)

    – P.G.Wodehouse

    Also Agatha Christie books, because I have a bad memory and can enjoy the same book over and over again.

  25. Nice Post, well if I have a look at my library I should have more muscles and should work less, I guess 😉 Maybe I should reread your books, till then I will keep trying and pivot based on testing and hopfully I will finally find my personal growth hack 😉

    Greetz from Germany


  26. Love this post. I wholeheartedly agree with the premise.

    I love especially that most people appear to be sticking with “real books” rather than having kindle or iPad libraries. I know that it’s considered by many to be largely irrelevant at this point, but I still believe that one gets more out of a paper book than an e-book.

    Hegarty on Advertising is brilliant and I’m happy to see it up there. My key books are:

    Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel (not just for account planners but for everyone interested in marketing, in my opinion)

    A collection of Oscar Wilde works (you’ve gotta laugh)

    A collection of T.S. Eliot poems (for getting lost in words)

  27. This is great ! I love looking at other people’s bookshelves.

    My favorite books from my bookshelf:

    The Rivers Ran East by Leonard Clark

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

    South by Sir Earnest Shackleton

  28. How cool would it be if a service such as GoodReads would get/pay thought-leaders to publish and maintain their bookshelves on there!

  29. i was surprised to see the book 1421. i highly suggest that book. one of the most interesting historical books that i have read.

  30. What key skills should one learn to realize entrepreneurial dream?

    What job experiences or other experiences are efficiently to prepare for starting a business?

  31. The books that jumped out to me were about happiness, generosity, habit change, and consciousness. Adam and Dave’s shelves were the ones I resonated with most probably, but I got a kick out of your anime collection.

    I find the relationship between what we feed our minds, bodies, and spirits and what emerges as our lives to be endlessly fascinating and dynamic.

    If this truly is a “Holographic Universe”, (one of my favorite reads by Michael Talbot), then what we are conjuring via our vibrational frequency or resonance is simultaneously coming forth FROM us and then TO us in a play of the highest magic.

    The work of Matt Kahn, (www.truedivinenature- not in book form, but his articles and videos are powerfully profound), also sheds some light on this incredible movie we are both watching and participating in on some mysterious, awesome, miraculous level.

    Lastly, “Happy Yoga” by Steve Ross greatly illuminated some less than accessible esoteric ideas for me. Thanks so much for this article and for asking! Your work has been some of the most nourishing soul food I’ve ever found and I’m eternally grateful.

  32. Tim, are you writing on your blog anymore?? Don’t get me wrong, I love the guest posts, but we need more of your stuff man!

  33. My issue is not having other well-read people to recommend books.

    Books that I would not have thought to read. I’m still a student so money’s a stretch, but I have a whole laundry list of books to read, mostly recommended by people online, like this post in particular.

    The big names catch my eye, but what about the others? This is a good place to start, and I’ve hit the top one on several “famous” people’s lists, such as Stumbling on Happiness, Predictably Irrational, Art of War, 4HWW, etc.

    I’d like to know which books people read that they would refer to as the one that changed their lives.

    1. For me, these are the two books that have changed my life: Shadows of the Mind by Tom Johnson (which is out of print, but you can find used copies on the internet), and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

  34. becoming batman: the possibilities of a super hero

    man’s search for meaning – victor frankl

    how to win friends and influence people – dale Carnegie

  35. I got such a kick out of this post, especially from seeing Cowboy Bebop and One Piece on Tim’s shelf! I was just wondering earlier this week why my own shelves are filled with mostly “how-to” and “why” nonfiction, but almost no fiction outside of several comic books (all my fiction MUST have illustrations) and the tiny handful of classics I am obligated to read in my 90’s. I still feel like a kid in a candy store every time I open up any new book that promises within its pages to teach me about absolutely anything I didn’t know before, from how to knit and survive in the wild, to why e-myths should be revisited and what happens when our brains betray us. Yet, I have no patience for a novel when I know there’s a movie for it. 🙂 I can’t pick out my most important 3, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi’s Flow

    1. …4 Hour Chef, and the children’s book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark are currently bedside, so not sure what that all says about me. 😉

  36. Cool post. With all the hype around digital publishing, it’s interesting to see so many people still reading paper books. I like paper for business books myself, as it’s easier to take notes and refer to things later.

  37. Some books I highly highly recommend to any entrepreneur/story-teller.

    1. How To Win Friends And Influence People (Dale Carnegie)

    2. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Al Ries & Jack Trout)

    3. When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead (Jerry Weintraub)

    4. Save The Cat (Blake Snyder)

    5. Good In A Room (Stephanie Palmer)

    6. Unleashing The Idea Virus (Seth Godin)

    1. Great recom man! love both of them!

      1. How To Win Friends And Influence People (Dale Carnegie)

      2. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Al Ries & Jack Trout)



  38. Tim and blog readers,

    What are your thoughts on audio books? I don’t have much time to read, but have 1 – 1.5 hours of work commute a day. I’ve been downing audio books like my sanity depends on it (and it does). Do you think that a person gains as much insight from listening to a book vs reading it? Having done both, I’d say that there are certain books you just have to read, such as tutorials, or how-to books. Your books for example, I’ve read, and could not imagine getting the same benefit from them if I’d just listened. On the other hand I’ve listened to Paul Noble’s “Learn Spanish” series, and I picked up quite a bit. So far I’ve found that Fiction stories, or non-fiction biographies work best for audio format.



    1. speaking as someone who commutes 4 hours a day, i inhale audio books, i own almost 400 audible titles and i have only not finished a handful because they where awful. I find to absorb info, i need to get the kindle version to read carefully, but listening to it 4-5 times gives you a real good idea of the subject matter. also, i love that you can double the book speed in the audible app. makes the books listenable, as most narrators talk so slow.

      I listen tot mostly nonfiction with a few fiction breaks in there. biographies are great in audible format, but the nonfiction can get a bit repetitive if its full of lists and facts. Its better than wasting time listening to jack and jerry on the radio in the morning though.


      Jordan Hackney

  39. Hey Tim. We chopped it up some time ago here on your blog and I’m back. I know you’ll be crystal clear with an answer. Tim I get LOADS of business cards from every kind of individual. I’d like to know what you do with your business cards! (If you even accept them at all)


    Ive been spreading you like a virus. Even had a weightlifting-chic curse me out in the jacuzzi over your books. lol (She was in denial/whatever)

  40. Some fantastic books in those collections! Seth Godin’s books are always great, and some of my other favorites like Made to Stick and The Power of Habit are in there as well!

  41. I always like to see someone else’s bookshelves, it can give you a good idea about that person’s interests.

    Seth Godin seemed to pop up alot in these books. Going to have to buy a few new books and make a visit to the library soon. My favorite 3 books on my bookshelf now are:

    Rainbox Six by Tom Clancy

    Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson

    and of course…

    The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss!

  42. The most important books on my bookshelf are Andy Warhol A to B and Back Again, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Very funny and actually a good business book. Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire- A few words simply stated can take you into another world.

  43. There is no way these people read all those books on their shelves. I think they just bought them because everybody else in their circle has them on their shelves too.

    Remember, It’s not very trendy if you don’t have books by Seth Godin or Malcolm Gladwell on your bookshelves! The only shelve that looks genuine is Hilary Mason’s.

    I was expecting to see more classics like Moby Dick or Atlas a Shrugged.

    So let’s not run out and get all those books to read so we can try be or think like these people.

  44. 1. The Art of Non-conformity by Chris Guillebeau

    2. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

    3. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

  45. 1. Super Brain-Rudy Tanzi and Deeprak Chopra

    2.Buddha walks into a bar- Lodro Rinzler

    3.Gang Leader for a day-Sudhir Venkatesh (EXCELLENT sociology book)

    4. 4 HWW-The Man Timmy F!

    5. Just finished the Dip…Seth Godin….

    6. Big project is…Underworld.. Don DeLillo…715 pages of wish me luck and a brand new vocabulary awaits me on the other side!!

    GREAT thread

  46. Great idea for a post!

    I looked pretty carefully and only saw one copy of 50 Shades…someone must be hiding some “skeletons” in their closet! Just kidding!

    Looks like Seth Godin might be the most popular author in the bunch. I’ve read several of his books and highly recommend them all.

    My other most inspirational books are: 4-Hour Work Week, REWORK, Do The Work!, and Anything You Want.

  47. Booooooooks! I LOVE books, my library grows everyday and my wife fears more and more that I’ll turn into a book hoarder every time there is a library book sale. I was super excited the day I cracked opened Tim’s 4HWW and saw his sliver on speed reading. It has been the only speed reading technique I’ve been able to get to work flawlessly for me. My reading rate has tripled (20 pages an hour of non-fiction to 60 pages), and although I’m not one of those speed reading gurus who can burn through hundreds of pages in an hour, I have still managed to understand Plato, Tacitus, and Bertrand Russell at triple the speed (to name a few).

    Book reading has changed my life, Shane Snow knows what he’s talking about when he carefully selected his title “You Are What You Read.” This is why I am working hard to get through many of the greatest classics. I’m kind of surprised that there aren’t more novels, classic or otherwise, among the pictures here, you’re doing yourself a disservice by neglecting novels. I always keep a non-fiction and a novel going at the same time. When I get sick of facts and figures and logical arguments I turn to the stories, vivid imaginations, and insights into the complexity of human nature.

  48. Makers: the New Industrial Revolution,

    If you want a peak around the corner into what the enabling technologies are today and how they are going to change the world, see this book, and maybe get on board the next industrial revolution that’s driven by 3d printers and kickstarter.

    50th law by Robert Greene and 50 cent

    a practical application with case study of Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power. great book.

    Blade of tyshalle by Matthew Woodring Stover,

    a dark book of fiction that is beyond awesome. I’ve never read a book of fiction that so well delves into names and who we think we are. ” there are only two things i need to know about a man, what he wants, and what he will do to get it” its awesome.

  49. haha, it’s awesome, that Tim Ferriss is also a massive manga geek. Makes him seem a lot more human that he doesn’t spend all day reading about stoic philosophy hehe. Maybe now I don’t have to hide my death note collection :D.

  50. Always good to see some Orson Scott Card & Malcolm Gladwell.

    This months reads:

    How to Shit Around the World by Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth

    A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

  51. Very interesting and motivating to see what others are reading. I am a non-fiction guy myself. And I think it is important for entrepreneurs to include non-fiction. Learning from others is a good thing and can spark creativity.

  52. Mostly read non-fiction The Tools, Vigorous Mind, Sway- interesting to see Palmistry among the books. Motivating post

  53. Just discovered Walden. Am only half way through, but what a book. He even roots for the 4 Week Work Year 🙂 Might have to re-read parts of it .. especially the parts about philanthropy

    1. Congrats on discovering Walden!

      The CONCLUSION is so optimistic and powerful.

      Truly, some of the best American writing.

      …………the sun is but a morning star.


  54. Tim!!

    Found a copy of your 4 hour workweek audiobook on YouTube, you might want to take that down somehow

    Best of luck.

  55. I read Made To Stick in a business class. Definitely great book on doing things different and presenting the unexpected to make people pay attention. It sort of reminds to the proper way of getting the attention of a girl. I love this post man.

    They say your body is what you eat. Well your mind is what you read as well.

  56. Where’s the fiction. I don’t disagree that non fiction is interesting but don’t any of these people read for fun? Fiction is as great a source of inspiration as non-fiction.

  57. I have a VERY CHALLENGING idea. Life hacking while hacking (riding horses) such as being able to do a jumping course…international height and/or steer wrestling or riding a complete reining pattern. I would love to be involved as I coach both disciplines (English and Western) and believe it can be done. Dressage would be the toughest at an international level to complete a full pattern at a pass.

    🙂 You are the one person I truly believe could pull this off!

  58. What would be the best book to prepare and live the 4HWW?

    The ones i like are of course 4HWW, The Lean Startup, Trust me I’m Lying, 4HC, The Thank You Economy.

    What else?

  59. I really enjoyed this. It would be great to see periodic updates along the same lines – monthly peeks into the bookshelves of thought leaders/politicians/authors/CEOs/creatives. I’m always looking for new reading and the clout generated from these posts help people pick their next book confidently.

  60. Tim,

    Just wanted to thank you for posting this. Your books have helped to change my life for the better. In turn, I’ve been able to help others.


    Phil Kuhlenbeck

  61. Tim,

    I can’t believe you don’t have The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi on your shelf!

    So disappointed.. j/k!

    Although it’s fiction, the intro to that novel was hauntingly similar to the Four Hour Work Week.. living an extraordinary, unique, and different life is worth fighting for!

  62. All the photographs are interesting but the one from Fred, the investor (Tumblr, Etsy, etc) Is the one that I find the most interesting. Maybe because I would have thought his office to have a “high tech/luxury” look.

  63. I enjoy reading good thrillers and enjoy reading LOA books. Currently working through “The Magic” with my kids. My wife is also reading this book.

  64. Hi Everyone,

    As a man thinketh by James Allen is a timeless book I believe everyone needs to read and apply, it is right beside me as I write this,



  65. Three most important books:

    -EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey (inspired me to be an entrepreneur)

    -4HWW by Tim(made me an entrepreneur)

    -Bible (All obvious reasons and because Proverbs is filled with sound business wisdom!)

  66. I like seeing that some of these successful, inspirational people are reading books that have caught my interest as well as of late. I JUST finished reading “The Power of Habit” by Duhigg, and it was a marvelous book! In addition to that and Ferriss’ books, I admittedly haven’t read a lot of nonfiction–at least, not in book form. I’ve been reading more blogs lately, though, which have been equally as helpful.

    I do have a bunch of fiction sitting on my shelf, though–in particular, high fantasy books like The Wheel of Time series and the works of Tolkien.

  67. Al Gore “The Future” – You must like science fiction based on zero facts.

    This guy has no credibility after “An Inconvenient Truth”