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  • Writer's picturePhillip Andrew Barbb

Reflecting on a Year of Diverse Reading: My Bookshelf of 2023

As we get ready to close on Q1 of 2024, I am finally getting around to posting my books read from 2023, despite my reading list not being as extensive as in years past. Here, I'll share a recap of the books that accompanied me through the year, the guides in my literary journey.

A Year in Review: The Books That Shaped My 2023


Book #1 of 2023. “A Better Life for Half the Price” by Tim Leffel. Grade: B

“A Better Life for Half the Price” by Tim Leffel is for those dreaming of expatriation, offering a comprehensive guide to affordable living overseas. Leffel delves into the logistics of international relocation, from cost-saving strategies to cultural nuances across hundreds of countries.

Book #2 of 2023. “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Alan Singer. Grade: A-

“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Alan Singer comes as a beacon of self-help and personal growth, recommended by friends within the sobriety community. Singer's words remind us that we are observers of our thoughts, an empowering mantra for mindfulness enthusiasts. This book was a recommendation from a buddy of mine in the sobriety community. I really enjoyed it. It has a lot of general self-help information which was a great refresher for me, however, if you are looking for new books in this space it is a popular one with lots of great info.

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it.”

Book #3 of 2023: Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Grade: A

Lansing's recount of an Antarctic expedition in 1914 is a testament to human resilience. Described by the @wsj as facing "grit in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversities," it's a stirring narrative of survival against all odds. Page after page, I kept thinking “no way it can get worse” and yet it kept getting worse and more dire and more desperate. Yet the persistence and perseverance of these men is truly inspiring and a reminder to never give up, and that hope can be found in the worst of situation. This book is highly recommended for the adventure…and it’s also a great book about pushing through life’s challenges. 

Book #4 of 2023: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson. Grade: A

A surprise gift, this book compiles the philosophical insights of entrepreneur and investor @naval Naval Ravikant. It’s a treasure trove of quotable wisdom on life, success, and the societal constructs that shape us.


Book #5 of 2023: The Simple Science of Muscle Growth and Hypotrophy by Andy Xiong. Grade: B-

While promising, Xiong’s work proved to be an elementary primer on fitness and muscle development rather than a deep dive into the science of bodybuilding.


Book #6 of 2023: Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli @carlitorovelli. Grade: B

Rovelli takes readers through the evolution of scientific thought, from ancient philosophy to quantum gravity. It’s a journey through the cosmos for those fascinated by the mysteries of physics and the universe.


Book #7 of 2023: The Wayfinders by Wade Davis.

Gifted by @damondamore, Davis’s work explores anthropology and cultural diversity, examining the multitude of ways humanity answers the question of what it means to be alive.

Book #8 of 2023: “Buddha in the Trenches” by @drstevesworld.

Dr. Steven Taubman's book is a pragmatic approach to mindfulness and Buddhist principles, providing concise insights and actionable advice for those seeking a mental recalibration.

Book #9 of 2023: “Moguls, Monsters, and Madmen” by @barryavrich22.

A foray into the entertainment industry's past, this read offers a look into the often unsustainable and egotistical lifestyles behind the curtain of success in showbiz.

Final Thoughts

Although my reading list was shorter this year, the quality and diversity of content provided me with a wealth of knowledge and entertainment. From self-improvement to history, each book offered its unique perspective, challenging me to grow and think differently.


For readers of this blog who value lifelong learning, I hope my brief reviews ignite your curiosity to explore these titles yourself. Each book has left its mark on my year, and I am grateful for the wisdom imparted through their pages.


Here's to another year of reading, growth, and the endless pursuit of knowledge. May your bookshelves be ever full, and your minds ever open.

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