new music books

The Books I Read in 2021

In 2021 I tried to make a more concerted effort to read – both for education and for pleasure.

I read 26 books in 2021, across a wide range of topics – productivity, health, computer security, stoicism, and more. For a complete list, you can see my GoodReads list of completed books in 2021 here.

If you’re looking for something to jump-start your 2022 reading, here are some of my favorite books that I read in 2021. If you’re reading this blog, likely at least one or two may interest you:


  • Atomic Habits – A book about the power of habits – both positive and negative – and ways to manipulate your systems and environment to encourage good habits and get rid of bad ones.
  • Digital Minimalism – A book by computer scientist and productivity author Cal Newport (who also wrote Deep Work). This book is about controlling your use of technology to support a lifestyle you want, rather than having the beeps and badges of constant notifications control you.
  • A World Without Email – Another Cal Newport book. While the title is a bit sensational, this book gives a look at just how dramatically back-and-forth communication mediums (like email, Slack, Messenger, etc.) have reduced our ability to concentrate, and how we can take back the mental bandwidth that we have lost.


  • Why We Sleep – Sleep is important, but I may not have realized just how important until I read this book. This book gives scientific reasons for the importance of sleep as well as practical ways to improve your sleep (without drugs).
  • The Hungry Brain – Going along with the health/wellness trend, this book discusses just how much our internal, instictive drive to eat can be co-opted by food scientists to who manufacture hyper-palatable foods.


  • Antifragile – A very interesting book about how some things – jobs, people, ideas, economies – can not only be strengthened against disorder, they can actually get stronger from it.
  • How to Take Smart Notes – The idea of a “zettelkasten” has recently become very popular. This book takes a look at how this kind of system can help anyone who needs to write about, think about, or understand complex and connected ideas.
  • We Have Root – A collection of essays by computer security guru Bruce Schneier. While this is definitely for the computer nerd, digital security is becoming more important every day, and these short essays provide an easy way to digest these important concepts.

If you want more book recommendations, my French Horn Music and Book page has a section devoted to books – both music and non-music related.

Happy Reading!