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Best Books to Read While Traveling – Vol. 2

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We recently launched a new series featuring the best books to read while traveling. These lists offer a wide range of books that we enjoy reading while traveling. Some of them are about travel, some are historical, some are what one might call spiritual, some self-help/productivity, some were written by our friends, and one that I (Michael) wrote – which I’ll be releasing later this year.

We both read on a daily basis and very much enjoy a good book when we are laying on a remote island, out by the pool, on a long-haul flight, or simply laying around on a cold, lazy, rainy day (all 3 that we get each year in LA). Our queue always has a few books in it, and one of the books featured on this list was actually a recommendation we received from a friend after posting the inaugural volume of this blog last month. So, please comment below mentioning your favorite books (or awesome recent reeds) if you have recommendations. We are always keen to find new books and add them to our travel queue.

Best Books to Read While Traveling – Volume 2


The HoneySun: Why Every Couple Should Travel Together Before the Honeymoon

Michael Gallagher

Last year I began thinking about all the blog content we had produced that emphasized the importance of traveling with one’s partner prior to marriage. The benefits that Alex and I have seen from our global gallivanting are priceless. Travel prepared us for marriage in ways that nothing else could. The challenges we faced on the road, the incredible experiences we had, the memories we share, and the foundation we have built as a couple have enabled us to be a team and a resilient married couple that can handle any adversity.

The book explores each of these 10 reasons why every couple should travel before marriage and shares anecdotes from mine and Alex’s travels together. If you read this blog you’ll have a chance to read some excerpts directly from the book. In December 2017 I set a goal of finishing the book and having it published by December 2018. However, I’m way ahead of schedule. The first edit of the book is completed and I’m currently in the edits and revisions phase. I’ll update you guys more as we get closer to the release date so stay tuned!

A Gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow is one of the most exciting and captivating novels you’ll read this year. It will only take about 40 or 50 pages for you to get completely attached the the protagonist, The Count. If there is any book on this list (other than the HoneySun) that you read this year, be sure to grab a copy of A Gentleman in Moscow.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

Buy A Gentleman in Moscow on Amazon

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Phil Knight

Following the journey of any successful executive/business owner can be exciting, but following the story of Phil Knight as told by Phil Knight is absolutely enthralling. This memoir reads like a novel and captivates readers immediately. Phil Knight is the real deal, and the work that he put in to see his dream come to fruition is something that can inspire anyone who is trying to follow a dream. Whether you want to own a business or simply follow a dream or a passion, Shoe Dog is sure to provide an impetus.

Buy Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike on Amazon

The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance

Paul Strathern

Every since I studied abroad in Florence in 2011, I have had a fascination with the Medici, the Italian Renaissance, and Italian history overall. Over the last year I have read a number of books on the Renaissance (and Italy in general) including Brunelleschi’s Dome, Leonardo, Cosa Nostra, and now The Medici: Power, Money and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance.

This Medici book is without a doubt the most detailed account of the Renaissance that I have found. Its 400 pages follow the Medici family’s rise that ran parallel to the rise of humanism, the rise of Florence, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance. This book is obviously historical, but it reads similar to a novel. I may sound like a nerd, but reading books like this and being transported back to Florence during the Renaissance absolutely fascinates me.

A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage.

Strathern also follows the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello; as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola; and the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de’ Médicis, who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.

Buy The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance on Amazon

East of Eden

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was one of my favorite authors in jr. high school and high school. I read a number of his titles including Of Mice and men and The Pearl, but for some reason never picked up his crown jewel: East of Eden. Steinbeck claimed that everything he wrote prior to East of Eden was simply to prepare him for East of Eden.

I’m only a couple hundred pages into this 600 page novel, but Steinbeck has again lured me into his grasp. If you’ve never read a book by Steinbeck, perhaps do the opposite of what I did and start with East of Eden. Funny enough, my book looks tattered and worn. It might appear that I’m re-reading it….well, that’s because I bought it in college and somehow didn’t pick it up until last week. Big mistake. Go buy a copy.

Buy East of Eden on Amazon

Becoming Supernatural: How Common People are Doing the Uncommon

Joe Dispenza

Alex is currently reading this one and has had trouble putting it down. She has recounted a number of pieces of the story, making me very excited to read it.

The author of the New York Times bestseller You Are the Placebo, as well as Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and Evolve Your Brain, draws on research conducted at his advanced workshops since 2012 to explore how common people are doing the uncommon to transform themselves and their lives. Becoming Supernatural marries some of the most profound scientific information with ancient wisdom to show how people like you and me can experience a more mystical life.

Readers will learn that we are, quite literally supernatural by nature if given the proper knowledge and instruction, and when we learn how to apply that information through various meditations, we should experience a greater expression of our creative abilities; that we have the capacity to tune in to frequencies beyond our material world and receive more orderly coherent streams of consciousness and energy; that we can intentionally change our brain chemistry to initiate profoundly mystical transcendental experiences; and how, if we do this enough times, we can develop the skill of creating a more efficient, balanced, healthy body, a more unlimited mind, and greater access to the realms of spiritual truth. Topics include:

  • Demystifying the body’s 7 energy centers and how you can balance them to heal
  • How to free yourself from the past by reconditioning your body to a new mind
  • How you can create reality in the generous present moment by changing your energy
  • The difference between third-dimension creation and fifth-dimension creation
  • The secret science of the pineal gland and its role in accessing mystical realms of reality
  • The distinction between Space-Time vs. Time-Space realities
  • And much more

Using tools and disciplines ranging from cutting-edge physics to practical exercises such as a walking meditation, Dr. Joe offers nothing less than a program for stepping outside our physical reality and into the quantum field of infinite possibilities.

Buy Becoming Supernatural on Amazon

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

Howard Schultz

Pour Your Heart into it is the autobiographical account of how the world’s coffee powerhouse came to be. Howard Schultz, found and CEO of Starbucks recounts his experience building Starbucks and offers great insight for those who love coffee, have business aspirations, and/or have a dream they want to pursue.

Buy Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time on Amazon

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

This one is next up in my queue. After hearing rave reviews about this novel I grabbed a copy recently and added it to my queue. I’ve seen a number of my friends who love to travel sharing about this book, so I figured it would resonate with a travel audience. Alex and I will be traveling a lot between May and June so we are both sure to knock out a few books. I’ll report back once we read it!

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Buy All the Light We Cannot See on Amazon

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

Kevin Hart

This one is currently in the queue and we are excited to get some good laughs in on a long-haul flight. I’m sure people will stare at us and question our sanity.

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: theaforabove, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

Buy I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons on Amazon

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Walter Isaacson

In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America’s founders helped define our national character.

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.

Buy Benjamin Franklin: An American Life on Amazon

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Ashlee Vance

In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.

Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk–one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history–is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.

Buy Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future on Amazon

What are you reading? Any books you recommend we pick up? Let us know in the comments below.


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