What I read in 2021

What I read in 2021

4 mins

I’ve realized, from my time spent in college reading myself out of a bad pathway in life, that books really do a lot to shape us as human beings. Yet, I don’t really know a majority of the books the people around me have read, or are reading. So, in response to that issue, I decided I want to share what I read with others, year after year. If you want to know why I’ve changed this year, either for better, for worse, for weirder, or for cooler – just read these posts.

I’ve started with a list, and then picked a few books (by category) to reflect on.


Read by end 2021:
Title Author Format
The Pragramatic Programmer David Thomas, Andrew Hunt Kindle
The Calculating Stars Mary Robinette Kowal Kindle
Babywise Gary Ezzo; Robert Bucknam MD Book
The Expanse: Tiamat’s Wrath James S. Corey Kindle
The Prodigal God Timothy Keller Kindle
The Expanse: Auberon James S. Corey Kindle
12 Rules for Life Jordan B. Peterson Audible
The Expanse: Babylon’s Ashes James S. Corey Kindle
Atomic Habits James Clear Audible
Educated: A Memoir Tara Westover Audible
Extreme Ownership Jocko Willink, Leif Babin Audible
The Decision Kevin Hart Audible
Partially read by end 2021:
Title Author Format
Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts Les Parrott; Leslie Parrott Kindle
The Reason for God (Timothy Keller) Timothy Keller Kindle
Digital Minimalism Cal Newport Audible


Whether books help me to grow physically, logically, emotionally, creatively, there’s no question that they impact me fairly directly, and as we end 2021, I wanted to talk about some of these books.

Ethos (appealed most to Ethics)

In terms of the book that I think has reshaped my perspective the most this year, I’ll have to go with The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller. For a Christian book, it gives a perspective that a lot of non-christian folks would appreciate. It doesn’t focus on Jesus’ resurrection, nor whether the Bible is true, but it focuses on a parable shared by Jesus which taught us how to be authentic in all good we do. Often times, it’s the motive, not the action, that matters more. More bluntly, if you’re being a “good person” for appearances, you’re not a good person. Which is an interesting interpretation. Some Christians I know will ask if you accept Jesus as your savior, and if you say yes, in their mind you are going to heaven. This book challenges that notion.

Logos (appealed most to Logic)

In terms of the book that has helped me find balance this year, I’ll have to go with 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson. I listened to this book on audio, and it was generally just a fantastic listen that made great points on how to live a life well. Whether it was nudging me to only compare me to me (yesterday), to be precise in speech, to not lie or criticize, pursue meaning, or to be kind - all good advice. What was particularly impressive about this book was the reasoning behind it all, too. So, if you want to listen for 90 minutes as to why you should (metaphorically) pet a cat when you see one in the street, this book is a good one.

  • Runner up: Atomic Habits

Pathos (appealed most to Emotion)

As an emotional read, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover was fantastic. An absolute roller coaster, but in a good way. Hearing Tara Westover’s life growing up in an off-the-grid piece of in “Buck’s peak” of Idaho was quite the story, and I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this on my solo road trip down to Columbia, SC. As a Mormon, who’s parents used the Bible to manipulate and control, Tara had a life that was infinitely more complex than anything I could’ve ever imagined. The narration really encapsulated the fear and emotion, with great voice actors, and it really made me wonder whether life is more complex for us today than it was for people who “had it simpler” back in the day. In the end, it was a sad story, because of ignorance that is never resolved, but it was also inspiring in the sense that not all within the novel are/were ignorant of relative truths.

Written on December 31, 2021