1. “On Writing” by Stephen King. A must-read for all writers. King’s insights are primarily directed at fiction writers but benefit non-fiction writers as well. General tips for all writers: read and write at least four to six hours every day, don’t consciously improve your vocabulary, and don’t overuse adverbs. General tips for fiction writers: spend as little time plotting as possible, don’t worry about intentionally creating symbolism, and aim for honesty when writing dialogue. If you want more tips, go read the damn book.
2. “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. A lesson in using adversity to your advantage. Holiday, per usual, draws from Stoic thought and illustrates his points with tales of great historical figures. My favorite of Holiday’s books.
3. “Don’t Know Much About Mythology” by Kenneth C. Davis. Cracked this one open last night. I feel somewhat ashamed by my lack of mythological knowledge, so this book’s a good place to start. Davis writes in an engaging, entertaining style, which a mythological newbie like me appreciates.
4. “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” by Seth Godin. Today’s economy rewards creativity and emotional labor—in other words, art. Godin challenges the reader to see himself as an artist, his work as art. Although I enjoy Godin’s pithy writing style as well as his insights, the book didn’t need to be 240 pages long.
5. “Selected Speeches and Writings of Theodore Roosevelt” by Gordon Hutner. Bought this book during a recent episode of travel. TR was the most prolific writer the Oval Office has ever seen, publishing books and articles on everything under the sun. I’ve read a lot about TR, but aside from his autobiography, I had never read much by TR until now.