Reading has always been a big part of my bicycle touring adventures.
One of the many benefits of bicycle touring is that it provides you with the time to do so many of the things you are too busy to do in your everyday life… and for me, this means reading more books!
During my latest 14-month-long bicycle tour through 24 countries in Europe and Africa, I read more than 60 different books. Some were inspiring, while others were upsetting. Some were fictitious, and others were based on real-life events. Some of the texts were downright boring and others I was unable to put down until I had reached the final page.
Below is a list of most of (but not all of) the 60+ books I read last year. Many of the titles you will recognize – many of them you wont. However, I’ve bolded the books I recommend you read… and my three favorite books are detailed below at the bottom of this article.
- Are You Lonesome Tonight?
- August: A True Story About Love, Sex, and Entrepreneurship
- Born To Run
- Bowling Alone
- Dr. Homebrew
- Flying Soup
- Gary, the Four-Eyed Fairy
- God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
- Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
- How Did You End Up Here?
- How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish without a Trace
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- Lady of Devices
- Last Words
- Lonely Planet Iceland
- Memoirs of a Gas Station: A Delightfully Awkward Journey Across the Alaskan Tundra
- Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
- My Seinfeld Year
- Napalm & Silly Putty
- Ready Player One
- The 4-Hour Chef
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- The Book of Mormon
- The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
- The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
- The Flinch
- The Game
- The Hunger Games Trilogy
- The Long Fall
- The Memory Palace
- The Third Generation
- The Wisdom of Psychopaths
- Three Cups Of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
- Oracle – Fire Island
- Oracle – Sunken Earth
- We Are All Weird
- We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency
- What Every Body Is Saying
- When Will Jesus Bring The Porkchops?
- Winning The Story Wars
- Zorba The Greek
I read quite a few books this past year, but there were three books that really stood out… and I recommend you give them a read. These three books are…
Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art & Science Of Remembering Everything
Moonwalking with Einstein follows Joshua Foer’s compelling journey as a participant in the U.S. Memory Championship. As a science journalist covering the competition, Foer became captivated by the secrets of the competitors, like how the current world memory champion, Ben Pridmore, could memorize the exact order of 1,528 digits in an hour. He met with individuals whose memories are truly unique—from one man whose memory only extends back to his most recent thought, to another who can memorize complex mathematical formulas without knowing any math. Brains remember visual imagery but have a harder time with other information, like lists, and so with the help of experts, Foer learned how to transform the kinds of memories he forgot into the kind his brain remembered naturally. The techniques he mastered made it easier to remember information, and Foer’s story demonstrates that the tricks of the masters are accessible to anyone.
An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.” He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author’s own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies–and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn’t just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.
Driven by a powerful urge to accomplish the impossible, Mitnick bypassed security systems and blazed into major organizations including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. But as the FBI’s net began to tighten, Kevin went on the run, engaging in an increasingly sophisticated cat and mouse game that led through false identities, a host of cities, plenty of close shaves, and an ultimate showdown with the Feds, who would stop at nothing to bring him down.
Ghost in the Wires is a thrilling true story of intrigue, suspense, and unbelievable escape, and a portrait of a visionary whose creativity, skills, and persistence forced the authorities to rethink the way they pursued him, inspiring ripples that brought permanent changes in the way people and companies protect their most sensitive information.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? And what books do you recommend I read in the future?