My year in books (2021)
4 min read

My year in books (2021)

In the order I completed them during the year, these are the books I read in 2021, along with some brief notes about them.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I read this with some scepticism since I was expecting some kind of sleazy manipulating techniques, but it turns out that it just contains common sense principles — be genuinely kind to, helpful to, and interested in people and it will go a long way. It could be a little bit shorter since it's filled with examples which feel repetitive in some cases.

4/5 stars


Hell Yeah or No: what's worth doing

I really love Derek Sivers' stories and style of writing and therefore I found this book both great and inspirational.

5/5 stars


Sid Meier's Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games

Civilization is one of my favourite game series and I have played a lot of the games that Sid Meier has designed, so I was very excited when I got this book in my hands. Thankfully, it delivered! A very enjoyable book, providing a nice story and insight in the thoughts and process of one of the greatest game designers of all times.

5/5 stars


Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

A fictional business-related story that delivers good and actionable advice. Short and very easy to read; I completed it over a weekend. It reminded me of the Phoenix Project which I read last year.

5/5 stars


Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

I rarely abandon books, but this was one of them. In hindsight, I should have tried to read The Black Swan or Fooled by Randomness as a first experience with the author (which I might still do at some point), but this one felt like completely unstructured thoughts, which I found boring.


To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History

I didn't know much about the story of Pixar and this book provided a version of it, from the perspective of the Lawrence Levy who was brought in the company to essentially bridge the gap between art and business.

5/5 stars


Life Profitability: The New Measure of Entrepreneurial Success

This is a case of it's not you, it's me. There were some good takeaways, a great concept (work-life balance), but it just didn't do it for me. I found it a bit long and couldn't focus on it. I didn't want to abandon it, but I found myself skimming through some of the pages. Maybe the timing wasn't right.

3/5 stars


Project Hail Mary

The book of the year for me; I devoured it! If you liked The Martian, you will love this one. I hate spoilers, so I won't go into more detail, but if you want to learn more, you can read Bill Gates' recommendation about it.

5/5 stars


Ο φόνος είναι χρήμα

It's been a while since I read anything from Greek writers, so taking advantage of my summer vacation I decided to dive into a few. This one is the 13th book of a series about a police officer written by Petros Markaris — some of the previous ones have been translated in English and other languages. Nothing remarkable, but still an enjoyable read.

4/5 stars


Animal Farm

While looking at my bookcase in Greece to pick my next read, I noticed a nice small-sized version of the Animal Farm (in English) which I'm sure I bought about 15 years ago but for some reason never read before. I have heard so many things about this book over the years and it thankfully delivered. A beautiful allegory by George Orwell, which — unfortunately — is still relevant today.

5/5 stars


Η αλογόμυγα

Another Greek novel, this time a dystopian (almost) cyberpunk story. Very short (I read it in a couple of hours) with some interesting ideas, but it wasn't delivered very well and I felt that it had too much violence and sex without any justifiable reason.

3/5 stars


Σχέδιο φράκταλ

The last Greek one for this year was a hidden gem. Great story, beautifully delivered. As I mentioned above, I hate spoilers so I won't go into detail about what it is about, but if you can read in Greek and you like sci-fi-ish mystery stories, then I highly recommend to read it.

5/5 stars


The Rest of the Robots

What's not to love about Asimov's robot stories?

5/5 stars


A Maze of Death

A dark, cynical, metaphysical sci-fi murder-mystery by Philip K. Dick, who is still one of my favourite writers.

5/5 stars


Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

A book by Adam Savage (from Mythbusters) about his story as a maker, explaining his thought process, tools, etc. Although Mythbusters are mentioned, this is not a book about that show. A found it a bit long in a few cases, but I generally enjoyed it. Lists and checkboxes for the win!

4/5 stars


Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

A quite famous book in the marketing space by Seth Godin which also I realised I had in my bookcase for a lot of years, but never read. It doesn't contain much actionable advise, some examples are dated, and some ideas are probably considered common sense at this point, but it was still a worthwhile short read which can motivate you.

4/5 stars


Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling

A guide of how to discover stories from your life and deliver them in a compelling way. It taught me the elements that good stories consist of, how books and movies work in terms of storytelling, while at the same time entertained me with some interesting stories of the author.

5/5 stars


The Brand Gap

A very short book on branding, which sparked a lot of thought and I thoroughly enjoyed.

5/5 stars