The past few years I have embarked on a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” to read 52 books in 52 weeks. The cool thing about big goals like that is that you can succeed even if you don’t hit the target!

Why did I do it? Before I started this project I was reading maybe 5 books a year. I felt like my attention span was shorter than ever. A big part of that was because of social media and 140 character conversations but I was allowing that to cross over into other parts of my life from having deep and focused conversations to being able to read for extended periods of time. By challenging myself to a book a week, I realize now I was challenging myself to be present long enough to dive in and absorb new information for significant chunks of time.

Below are the books I read, some reviews can be found by searching the hashtag I created on Instagram #52books52weeks.

Editor’s Note. I chose all of the books below, some based on my long-standing bucket list of things I wanted to read, some as recommendations from friends and family. I have tried increasingly over the years to diversify my book list to include more nonfiction and more political biographies. Where I have written a book review or included a book in a roundup there is a link to that blog post.


  1. Houses of the Presidents: Childhood Homes, Family Dwellings, Private Escapes, and Grand Estates by Hugh Howard
  2. The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
  3. The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things edited by Anna Holmes
  4. Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson
  5. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
  6. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  7. The Tao of Bow Wow: Understanding and Training Your Dog the Taoist Way by Deborah Wood
  8. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  9. The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
  10. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  11. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
  12. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  13. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  14. The Bolter by Frances Osborne
  15. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  16. My Name Is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry
  17. Personal History by Katharine Graham
  18. Venice (Step By Step) by Lisa Gerard-Sharp
  19. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
  20. Shoemaker of Dreams by Salvatore Ferragamo
  21. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  22. Fodor’s Essential Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice & the Top Spots in Between by Fodor’s
  23. Rome (Select) by Erica Firpo
  24. The Richest Woman In America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age by Janet Wallach
  25. Room by Emma Donoghue
  26. Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  27. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
  28. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  29. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  30. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  31. Quiet by Susan Cain
  32. Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  33. The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot
  34. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
  35. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
  36. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  37. Learning To Love You More by Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July
  38. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  39. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  40. The Berlin Wall Story: Biography of a Monument by Hans-Hermann Hertle
  41. Australia Exposed by Jason Kimberley
  42. My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
  43. Walking Paris: Thirty Original Walks In and Around Paris by Gilles Desmons
  44. Clotilde’s Edible Adventures In Paris by Clotilde Dusoulier
  45. Top 10 Paris (Eyewitness Guide) by Mike Gerrard et al.
  46.  Knopf MapGuide: Paris by Knopf Guides
  47. Fox In Socks By Dr. Deuss
  48. The Satorialist: Closer by Scott Schuman
  49. V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone by Seth Godin
  50. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
  51. United States of Pie by Adrienne Kane
  52. Poke The Box by Seth Godin