What Did You Read In 2021? Here’s My List

For the last 3 years, I’ve challenged myself to read 1 book per month. This year I surpassed my goal by a handful of titles - reading a total of 15 books (avg 1.25 books per month).

I know a lot of people who read for pleasure. My wife, for instance, reads constantly. But her book shelf looks very different from mine.

My wife reads a variety of fiction (fantasy, young adult) and nonfiction (biographies, history). Usually thick, physical books stacked on her nightstand.

On the other side of the bed, my Kindle app is stocked to the brim with business, marketing, and finance titles. During the holidays, I usually allow myself 1 fiction book.

What can I say? I’m boring.

Anyways… here are my 2021 reads:

  • How To Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards
  • Business Made Simple by Donald Miller
  • Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
  • Hollywood by Charles Bukowski
  • Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  • $100M Offers by Alex Hormozi
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
  • Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  • Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman
  • The Ultimate Marketing Plan by Dan Kennedy
  • The 7-Fig Agency Roadmap by Josh Nelson
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
  • The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
  • YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell & Benji Travis
I enjoyed all of these books and learned a lot. But what stood out?

“Ogilvy on Advertising” was the biggest surprise of the year for me. While I’ve been in marketing for 15+ years, I am not a particular follower of David Ogilvy. I grew up on Dan Kennedy and some others. But Ogilvy’s book was one of my favorite reads of the year. In a way, it reminded me of Guy Kawasaki’s “Reality Check” (or perhaps I should say, Kawasaki’s book is reminiscent of Ogilvy’s) in that it felt like each chapter was an entry in Ogilvy’s journal, diary, blog, or whatever comes next. Each chapter can stand on its own. A self contained lesson. I loved it. I plan to revisit some of those chapters for years to come, just like I do with “Reality Check.”

Russell Brunson’s new book is a banger. So is Alex Hormozi’s “$100M Offers.” Josh Nelson’s “7-Fig Agency Roadmap” is the perfect starting point for anybody who wants to go into the agency biz (like me). I’d recommend all 3 of those titles to my digital marketing friends.

A couple of re-reads rounded out my year. (Should you re-read books? Absolutely. 100%. Many business books are meant to be read over and over. Or workshopped. Read the book and workshop your idea. Rinse and repeat as many times as you want):
- The Ultimate Sales Letter
- The Richest Man in Babylon (highly recommend as a “first” personal finance book. Makes a great graduation gift)
- Building a Story Brand

That’s it!

What did you read this year? I’m always looking for suggestions.

Let me know in the comments.

Reuben D. Rock

P.S. - I’m writing to you from Cookeville, TN today. I hope you were able to spend some time with your family this holiday season. I know Delta, Omicron, etc have dampened a lot of folks’ plans. Here’s hoping 2022 feels more like “normal” (whatever that is).


Reuben D. Rock said…
I had a long flight on New Year's Eve and couldn't resist...

My 16th book of the year: How To Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This is staying near my desk from now on.

Reuben D. Rock

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