Best Books I Read in 2021

I keep track of my book ratings and reviews on Goodreads. Here’s a list of the best books I read in 2021 (my 4 and 5 star Goodreads reviews). You can follow me there and see the complete list (including books I didn’t like) and new ratings. Reviews are posted on Twitter too.

Beyond the Basics book signing
Covid-era Beyond the Basics signing

The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

The first two books in Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom Series chronicling the making of England starting in the 800’s were good, and I look forward to the rest of this historical fiction series. Netflix fans can watch The Last Kingdom, which is based on the series.

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

My favorite crime writer’s latest thriller.

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell

I was a young expat living in Kuwait before and after the Gulf War and Colin Powell helped liberate the country. I read his excellent book on leadership shortly after he passed away this year.

It’s Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness by Seth Wickersham

Probably the best book about the greatest football dynasty of all time.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari

Very well-written and presented study of human evolution.

Troubled Blood (A Cormoran Strike Novel, 5) by Robert Galbraith

Another series. This one about a pair of London detectives from JK Rowling, aka Galbraith.

Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson by Kent Babb

Enjoyed this one as an NBA junkie and Iverson fan.

Built to Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever by Jake Fischer

Probably only 4 stars to those really interested in the NBA.

Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost by Michael Bender

The more balanced of the election and early Covid books that I read. Full review here in Closing the Book(s) on President Trump – Double Book Review

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone

Second book by the author on Amazon.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Very good novel that takes place in India. Netflix turned it into a movie.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

I tried to reread all of Hemingway’s novels given the Ken Burns documentary that came out about him this year, but I couldn’t get past To Have and Have Not and decided life is too short for rereading stuff that isn’t great.

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick

The title is self-explanatory. The author did a good job with the subject.

Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey

See above.

Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel and The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel

Two books that I added to my Personal Finance Toolkit – resources to help you learn about wealth.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

New novel by one of my favorite authors.

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne

I think this is the best Malcolm X biography.

America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation by Michael MacCambridge

Sports, business, and Americana wrapped into one good book.

There were also a few Presidential biographies, but more on that in a separate post.

Looking for recommendations from prior years? Check out:

8 Best Books I Read in 2020

7 Best Books I Read in 2019

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