The Top 10 Books I Read (2018)

The Top 10 Books I Read (2018)

In this article, you will find my top 10 books ranked from 2018 for you. You may also find the link to purchase them for your reference, if you prefer physical text to PDFs - like me.

The Scale
To help us organize and rank effectively, we will be using a simple five star scale for three important categories:

1. Enjoyability
2. Applicability
3. Literary Value

Each category offers up to five stars, leading us to a raw score of 15.
Tiebreakers will be decided by personal preference. I hope you find pleasure in this article as it will offer you a few options for additional learning.

(Honorable Mention) My Inventions, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
8 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (2 stars)

  3. Literary Value (2 stars)

Had I understood the finer details of his scientific works, this reading might rank higher. You will be pleasantly surprised to find this book stands at a short 90 pages. If I were actively practicing science or engineering, the applicability of this book would rank higher as well.

There is a man who spent time at my apartment recently to record his new mixtape. After seeing me and observing my continued methods and approach, he assuredly labeled me “Genius.”

If I absorbed anything from this reading, it is that true Genius does exist - and I do not possess it.

There is not much to offer here in a literary sense - although Nikola is a poetry fanatic himself. His writing is straight forward and literal, as he recalls the shaping and storming of his old life.

Below, is one quote from his book which brought me to tears. You’ve got to read it real slow to appreciate it:

“The images I saw were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal and stone, so much so that I told him, ‘See my motor here; watch me reverse it.’ I cannot begin to describe my emotions. Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life could not have been more deeply moved. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally, I would have given for that one which I had wrested from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.”

It is interesting to note that Nikola also believed in the power of communication. He believed that if man were able to communicate with one another across the globe, instantaneously, we would see a war-less period of peace.

…I guess it’s the thought that counts?

Great read for those interested.


#10) Believe It
Nick Foles
9 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (4 stars)

  3. Literary Value (1 star)

Oh boy, you better be ready for sports metaphors…this book is chalk full of them!

Like Nikola, Nick does not offer us much in a literary sense here. His writing is more focused on fact and perspective rather than storytelling scheme.

I am surely biased in the Enjoyability ranking of this book, but you will find little difficulty sifting through the pages.

I do say, though, the Applicability ranks at a high 4 stars for two reasons. 1) Nick’s humble point of view offers us all something to follow, 2) Nick’s focus on spirituality is inspiring.

Spirituality seems to be a theme among successful people, and Nick is certainly a believer.
Nice and motivating read that won’t require your old dictionary.


#9 One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Dr. Seuss
10 stars

  1. Enjoyability (5 stars)

  2. Applicability (2 stars)

  3. Literary Value (3 stars)

Must I say more? Out of fairness to the reader, I will keep my Applicability rating at 2 stars. But if you are a writer, rapper, or poet, the Applicability rating jumps to 5 stars.

Yes, this book is a gold mine. As somebody who struggles with simplicity, I find ease in knowing that Theodor Geisel spent hours upon hours editing and perfecting the scansion of each line so that the stressed and unstressed syllables may dance together with harmony on our tongues.

Brilliant man, and most of his work is highly suggested to the reader.

You are a sphynx if you believe you are above this book!


#8) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
11 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (2 stars)

  3. Literary Value (5 stars)

For the longest time, I remained unsure of how to be funny without “Fuck.”

This book is actually funny. Like, laugh out loud funny - you know, the original LOL!

Great piece of storytelling that is pretty simple to read. It comes with the usual ups and downs like most fictions do, but this truly offers you bang for your buck.


#7) Steal Like An Artist
Austin Kleon
11 stars

  1. Enjoyability (5 stars)

  2. Applicability (5 stars)

  3. Literary Value (1 stars)

Super fun! Super fun!

Picture book! Picture book!

Must read for all creationists!

Hey…what’s original, anyway?


#6) Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson
11 stars

  1. Enjoyability (5 stars)

  2. Applicability (4 stars)

  3. Literary Value (2 stars)

I have a friend named Ope, and I think that alone is pretty awesome. Ope is a smart girl, so when Ope told me to read this I trusted her…

There is a lot going on in our world that is just easier to ignore - plain and simple.

This book is the reason I begin regular volunteer service in 2019.


#5) Caruso’s Method of Voice Production
P.M. Marafioti
11 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (5 stars)

  3. Literary Value (2 stars)

When I stumbled into the Julliard Bookstore up by Lincoln Square several months ago, I had no idea I would be changing the entire direction of my life.

A staff member suggested this to me and I will hug him fiercely if I ever see him again.

This book is extremely unenjoyable for the average musician.

The actual title is Caruso’s Method of Voice Production: The Scientific Culture of the Voice.

And perhaps “Anatomy” is a better word to paint the picture for us. This is not a find-tricks-quick scheme, but rather a long drawn out scientific examination of the human anatomy to find the most proper method of singing.

Caruso himself fully endorses the principles of this book, (as the author based them on Caruso’s methods), and writes several letters displayed in his actual handwriting on the precise techniques and approach to the vocal apparatus.

Today is my first day of training in the Caruso style, with these first four to six months focused solely on staccato Italian vowel pronunciation without any sustained tones.

We will see if this book works or not. It is highly counter-culture to every single thing you have ever heard, (and ever will hear), about singing. Consider this the epitome of anti-establishment musical literature.

Let me be your guinea pig here.

If you know me, you know that I have the vocal skills equivalent to that of a dying cat.

So if I can fulfill my desire of becoming a standout singer, then you too will have all the knowledge you need in this book.

P.S. This book is not for the faint of heart! It is 281 pages long.
Guess which page the author starts describing the techniques for you to practice?

Page 231…ha!


#4) A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess
12 stars

  1. Enjoyability (5 stars)

  2. Applicability (2 stars)

  3. Literary Value (5 stars)

I recall being stunned by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for its ability to genuinely make me laugh out loud - reading a book!

The plot of this book is solid, but nothing that will shake the foundation of your life.

Rather, I find the true value of this literary classic to be Anthony Burgess’ ability to create his own language.


The book begins with so much made-up vernacular that I felt like tossing it in the trash. I actually thought it was written in Old English and I did not feel like revisiting my terrible childhood Robin Hood experience.

But, I gave it a chance - and it did not take long to blow me away.

Before long, I glossed through these words as if I have lived with them for a lifetime.

Brilliant, brilliant, piece of storytelling.

Not for its ability to pull you into a world, or even a plot line.

Brilliant, for its ability to pull you into a culture.


#3) Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (*2nd Run Through)
Dr. Paul Ekman
12 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (5 stars)

  3. Literary Value (3 stars)

Please, please be careful with this book. You may do yourself more harm than good.

Remember the popular show, “Lie to Me” ? Yes - that is the show based off Dr. Paul Ekman’s work.

Much of his work has been twisted into basic buzzwords that are now embedded in our culture.

Tired of hearing about “micro expressions” and “body language” ?

Yup. Me too.

Especially considering most people get their information from bullet-point internet articles.

Again, I ask that you please be careful reading this book.

If for some reason you wish to seek out the knowledge in this book, I ask that you remain non-conclusive on your findings, as that of a true scientist.

This is my second run through, and it will absolutely morph your world.

It will be all you see.

It will be all you think about.

It will be all you notice.

Why? Because you will probably end up jumping the gun, as I have too often, with your judgments and assumptions.

Please be careful and do not weaponize this book for your personal schemes, as I have.
Always ask yourself when reading someone: “How am I wrong?”

“How am I wrong?”

“How am I wrong?”

Treat your findings as no more than a hypothesis, and you will be okay.
Treat your findings as facts, and you will do more harm to yourself than to any one of your victims.

Three crucial things to note here:

1) There is no defense against a perfect liar
2) There are no signs of lying, itself - there are only signs of disharmony
3) Micro expressions are overrated

With great power, comes…


#2) Writing Better Lyrics
Pat Pattison
12 stars

  1. Enjoyability (4 stars)

  2. Applicability (5 stars)

  3. Literary Value (3 stars)

Shortly after reading this, I reached out to Pat Pattison for more helpful writing materials and some additional clarification. This man is a writer’s encyclopedia, and thankfully he put his thoughts into organized structure for us to study.

This book is an incredible tool for any writer - whether it be song, speech, or poetry.

Easy to hop around from chapter to chapter to take what you need.
Must own for all of you writers!


#1) Plato: Five Dialogues
13 stars

  1. Enjoyability (3 stars)

  2. Applicability (5 stars)

  3. Literary Value (5 stars)

And here we are…I knew it would come to this.

For those of you who saw my Instagram story, this book is no joke. I legitimately averaged 5.5 pages/hour reading this book.

I would honestly rate Plato’s Enjoyability 0 stars, but somewhere between the middle and end of this book I became a masochist.

I took a Philosophy and Death class in college, something in which I greatly struggled.

I recall my teacher being upset with me that I read through the entire night’s homework without qualm or complaint.

Because that’s how you read philosophy.

You should never read to agree, but rather to disagree.

If you read these books to agree, you are seeking plot or perspective - which is not a bad thing.

But philosophy books are meant to teach you how to think. Not what to think.

I must say, though.

Despite the long-winded pain and suffering you will endure throughout this book, you will be incredibly thankful if you find some way to finish.

This book is directly responsible for several core-foundation changes in my life. One of which I hope to share with you soon.

Most of this book will sit as a quagmire to you. It’s okay.

If you don’t understand something, do not skip it for you then will be missing the point of these books.

Slow down, and read it again (and again) until it makes sense.

Make it make sense.

If you are the average non-philosopher like me and you tough it out with this book, your life will significantly change.

Also, every book becomes easier after Plato! Ha.

(P.S. I could do without Phaedo…still upsets me)


Thanks for reading! What do you think?

Any suggestions to add for my 2019 list?

I aim to read one book / week this year!

That is a tall task but I know it can be done with grit and determination!

January 1st, 2019
Louis J. DiPaolo Jr.

Love you (:

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