A Complete Book Recommendation List with book summaries

7 min readApr 19, 2023


Hello hello. As I am reorganizing book notes since mid-March, I thought why not give a review on the non-fiction books I read here?”

So here we are! This is a more completed review with book summaries, so only those with higher ratings ahhaa.

For a shorter review or at a glance, you can visit here (link)

1. Highly highly recommend⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

Author thinks digital technologies do us more harm than good and we should therefore re-evaluate our relationship with them

He suggested doing a digital declutter to

  1. identify which apps don’t give us any value and eliminate them
  2. discover what activities we tend to do when we have those extra time

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

This book focuses on 3 core logic on

  • “I choose to do certain things”
  • “Only a few things really matter”
  • “I can do anything but not everything”

It proposes 4Es to help you live a simpler life: exploring options, eliminating activities that distract you, editing your time with routines and executing with a system

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

This book argues that habit is a tool, before building habits, you have to know who do you want to become. Following what others are doing will not help you succeed, because those habits may not align with your goal.

Once you identify who you want to become, 4 rules are introduced to build habits based on the feedback loop: cue — craving — response — reward

Rules are as follows: make habits obvious to easily remember, attractive to motivate, easy to begin and satisfying to continue doing

The 80//20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

The writer argues most of us spent 80% of our time doing things that are not important. In fact, only 20% of the inputs or efforts yield 80% of the results. Therefore he suggests we can

  • exercise control of our life with the least possible effort
  • strive for excellence in few things rather than good performance in many
  • choose career carefully
  • work less and targeted a limited no of valuable goals and not pursue every available opportunity

The Better Period Food Solution by Beckerman, Tracy Lockwood

A book for women that emphasizes the use of food cycling to optimize each phase of the menstrual cycle and how to manage conditions like HA, PCOS, and eliminate cramps, bloating during the period

2. Highly recommend⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

The book explains the mismatch of the ability to concentrate deeply to produce great work in the present life. Deep work is important and valuable but at the same time very rare in Cal Newport's opinion. This books introduce a few ways to minimize shallow work and increase your deep work capacity.

The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After by Corey Mintz

This book discusses the food and dining culture in North America, which mentions common types of restaurants eg fast chain, IG-able shops and their issues.

Recommend to folks who are interested in food culture.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your Life Depends on it by Chris Voss

Author is a ex-FBI negotiator and has lots of experience in dealing with terrorists hahaha

People are more emotional than we think. We have to address them psychologically than rationally, author thinks BATNA is of no use. This book emphasizes the importance of active listening to build an empathetic relationship, understand underlying needs and uncover hidden information. Not only can you use these in negotiations, but also practice daily

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

Author classifies people as givers, takers and matchers. He argues that givers tend to succeed in the long run, especially those who care about others and their own interests as well, because some givers forget about themselves. This book gives suggestions on how to find a balance between giving and taking and also discussed why givers succeed in the long run

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

The book emphasizes that happiness comes from solving problems that matter to you. It encourages readers to

  • reorient their expectations for life
  • take actions to drive inspiration and motivation, and
  • accept failure and rejection as opportunities for growth.

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

A biography about the President of Disney.

3. Good for Leisure reading ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein

We encounter different forms of nudges every day, like social nudges, defaults etc. Nudges help us deal with bias like anchoring, availability bias, loss aversion etc and make better decisions that have delayed effects// infrequent and poor feedback// unfamiliar choice and experience

When: Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink

This book talks about how timing affects our productivity. You can leverage which tasks and when to do with your biological clock. Also, lunch is a good way to detach and recharge yourself from work. Having a midpoint review is important in projects.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H Pink

Author thinks the two basic drives — one for biological needs, another for avoiding punishment and seeking punishment are not enough to drive motivation. He proposed the real motivation that drives us — Type I which includes 3 components: autonomy, mastery and purpose

Too Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

This book argues that you don’t need a perfect job to find occupational happiness. In workplace, we should adopt a craft-man mindset — think what you can offer to the job (vs what they can give you). He used career capital to illustrate that skills are way more important than passion.

Creative Habit: Learn it and use it for life by Twyla Tharp

Creative people don’t create spontaneously, they also structure, habits and routines to develop skills. Author highlights the importance of planning to determine how much time u need and have actually, then prioritizing the time and task. Habits that devote time and skills and passion is what makes artist successful.

Outliers: Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

We pay too much attention to what successful people are like and too little to where they are from. More macro factors like culture, family, generation, and experiences are what contribute to people's success.

Factfulness: 10 Reasons We Are Wrong About the World and Why it Is Better than You Think by Hans Rosling

This book argues there are 10 instincts that stop us from viewing the world properly. 5 global issues including healthcare, climate change and poverty are actually improving, gradually, however our instincts make us feel like nothing improves at all.

The Happiness Advantage: 7 Principles of positive psychology by Shawn Achor

The thought to be happy limits our potential for success, acknowledging positive thinking can help us cultivate a positive brain that drives performance upwards. That is: know the advantage of being happy → practice it → drive performance.

Once we recognize the happiness advantages in the book, we can train ourselves to look for positives and reinterpret failures as opportunities to grow. Routines and social support can keep us accountable for practicing positive psychology

Grit: Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

This book argues that the gritter we are, the happier we are. Grit is related to intrapersonal (self-control, resume virtues), interpersonal (gratitude and EQ) and intellectual (curiosity mind). Grit is having a never give up attitude, putting in effort consistently, and upholding your goals.

We can grow grit from ourselves and outsiders such as family and work.

Invisible Influence: Hidden Force that Shapes Behavior by Jonah Berger

Conformity, the desire to be different and social comparison are the forces that shape our behavior

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

There is always a myth that we have to be bold and extroverted to succeed and happy, this makes everyone rush to become an extrovert when they aren’t. This book argues that being an introvert can also be success.

Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszio Bock

This book dives into Google’s business model and culture. It emphasizes the importance of staying true to your values, hiring the right people, setting clear objectives, and creating a learning environment.

Happy Reading!