I love reading interesting books. But it was’t always like that. It’s only a couple of years ago since I really began to take reading seriously.

In 2015, I set up a reading goal on Goodreads of reading 26 books. And just a few days before New Year’s Eve, I finished book number 26.

My goal is to read at least that many books in 2016, and I’m aiming for 30 books.

I read a lot of good books the past year, but here are 4 books that stood out for me:

The Obstacle Is The Way

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
This book by Ryan Holiday is based on the philosophy of stoicism, something I became interested in last year. The book is divided into many short chapters, and each chapter is about a specific idea relating to obstacles and how to overcome them.

Ryan doesn’t just write about how you can get through tough times and survive. He talks about how you can actually become a better person as a result of the problem you are facing. That you can use the obstacle standing in your way, to help you to grow as a person, and become better than you were before you encountered the problem.

I found encouragement and uplifting words in this book many times throughout the year, and it is a book that I come back to often.

If I’m faced with adversity, things aren’t working out they way I was hoping for or I’m worried about something, there’s a good chance that this is a book I will take down from the shelf.

The Obstacle Is The Way

This book is also divided into many short chapters, most of them are only one or two pages long. You will find so many good ideas in this book. The content is golden. Each and every chapter has great wisdom in it, often unconventional, and there was so many things in this book that resonated well with me.

It is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of Basecamp. The ideas in this book is coming from their own experience running this company, and what they have learned along the way, which turns out to be a great deal.

This is also a book I can come back to regularly. Since the chapters are so short, there’s always time to read something from this book. The book contains many great ideas about productivity, promotion, culture and business in general. Even though the book was published in 2010, it was only last year I got a chance to read it.

The Obstacle Is The Way

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
This book gets on the list not necessarily because of amazing writing, but because of the ideas in the book and the impact it has had on me. This is a book that will convince you of the benefits of a daily morning routine, and how it can have a significant impact on your life.

After reading the book I began doing my own morning routine, and did so for a while. Then life got busy and I didn’t do it for a few months. Now I’m trying to get back on track and doing my morning routine more consistently, because it really is a great way to begin my day.

The author Hal Elrod writes about a concept he calls Life S.A.V.E.R.S. The abbreviation stands for silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing. Scribing is just a synonym for writing, something Hal used to get the abbreviation right.

I will write about my own morning routine in a later post, so stay tuned for that!

In the book, you are encouraged to wake up early, really early. This is something that has been hard for me because I’ve usually been a night owl. With my freelancing schedule, I usually didn’t get up until 10 PM. But I’ve been convinced of the benefits of early rising, and my goal is now to be able to wake up at 6 AM. Many successful people are up early, and who knows, maybe early rising is one of the keys to their success.

The Obstacle Is The Way

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
This book was a great read. The book is about the science of willpower, how it works, what you can do to get more of it, and lots of useful practical advice for your own willpower challenges.

This is not just a book with tips from someone with a lot of willpower. This is actually based on scientific research and experiments, and the many years of experience that researchers has gathered over the years. But don’t worry, the book is written in a way that everyone can understand, this is not a scientific journal.

Highly recommended for everyone who wants to get more willpower (who doesn’t want that?) or is just curious about the science of willpower.