The 26 Books Challenge

One of my personal resolutions for 2011 is to read more books. At first, I was just going to keep a list of about 20 books, which are subject to change, in a Google Document. But then, I stumbled across a post by Blogger Arik Hansen. He published a list of the 26 books he plans to read on his blog, Communications Conversations.

I thought what a great way to hold yourself accountable and follow through with a resolution. So, I’m going to take Arik’s lead and publish my 2011 reading list here, so that I can be held accountable throughout the year. I’ll also periodically post mini-book reviews (both written and video) on my blog.

Follow my progress throughout the year at the 26 books tab on my blog. Happy Reading!

1. Unmarketing– Scott Stratten (Finished. With 26 books in less than 365 days, I figure I can have a bit of a head start. Right?)
2. The Art of Non-Conformity– by Chris Guillebeau (2/3 of the way through)
3. Trust Agents– Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
4. The Now Revolution– Jay Baer and Amber Naslund
5. Linchpin– Seth Godin
6. Crush It!– Gary Vaynerchuk
7. Back of The Napkin– Dan Roam
8. The Accidental Billionaires– Ben Mezrich
9. Cracking Creativity– Michael Michalko
10. The Audacity of Hope– Barack Obama
11. The Four Hour Workweek– Timothy Ferriss
12. The 80/20 Principle- Richard Koch
13. Putting The Public Back In Public Relations- Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
14. Gamestorming- Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo
15. The Pursuit of Happyness– Chris Gardner
16. WikiBrands– Sean Moffitt, Mike Dover and Don Tapscott
17. Delivering Happiness– Tony Hsieh
18. The Referral Engine– John Jantsch
More Reads:
19. Eat, Pray, Love– Elizabeth Gilbert
20. S*it My Dad Says– Justin Halpern
21. The Book of Awesome– Neil Pasricha
22. The Last Song- Nicholas Spark
23. The Nanny Diaries- Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus
24. Lipstick Jungle- Candace Bushnell
25. Marley and Me- John Grogan
26. My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult

*This list is subject to change.

Do you have any books that you think I have to read this year? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section.


  1. Jamie Favreau January 4, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Great book list I have some of those books I just haven’t read them. I need to start reading.


    • Anonymous January 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      That’s great, Jamie! Which books are you planning on reading? Let’s make it happen!


  2. jaybaer January 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Thanks Jessica! Delighted to have The NOW Revolution on your list. Are you going to review these books here? Or via video? You should!

    Incidentally, you might need to move our book down a couple slots, as you won’t be able to get a copy until about Feb 1. I don’t want our release date to throw off your progress! A few others I’ll recommend if you end up finishing early: Content Rules; Thank You Economy (Gary Vee’s new one); MicroMarketing; and Flip the Funnel.


    • Anonymous January 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Thanks for the great book recommendations, Jay! My list isn’t set in stone, so I will definitely consider reading some, if not all, the books you mentioned.

      I’m definitely planning on reviewing at least half of the books from my 2011 book challenge. A combination of text and video reviews. The NOW Revolution is definitely on my list.


  3. Regina Twine January 5, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    Awesome list Jessica. I’ve been looking for a good list to start before SXSW. This is a great start. Once my life calms down, I’ll publish my list. I’m currently reading Linchpin, Strengthfinder 2.0 and Our Kind of People. Hospitals do give me nice quiet time to catch up!


    • Anonymous January 5, 2011 at 5:42 am #

      I’m glad you found this list helpful, Regina! But, in sorry you now have time to read for that reason. My prayers go out to you and your family!

      Lastly, I look forward to finally meeting you at SXSW.


      • Carlee Mallard January 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

        Oh hey — Regina’s reading my copy of Linchpin 🙂

        Look forward to meeting you at SXSW too, Jessica!!


        • Anonymous January 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

          I can’t wait to meet you and Regina at SXSW. It’s going to be a great time in Austin!


  4. Kirk Baumann January 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Oooooh, some good ones there! Check out my book list for job seekers: On the list are Made to Stick, Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh’s book from Zappos) and more. I’m also reading the autobiography of Mark Twain at the moment. Very interesting!

    Have a great weekend!

    Kirk Baumann


    • Anonymous January 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Great List, Kirk! There are so many great books out there.


  5. Carlee Mallard January 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    I’ve already read 3 of those (Linchpin, 4-hr workweek & My Sister’s Keeper and recommend all of them, but I would probably read Linchpin first).

    On my list I’ve got: Switch (Chip & Dan Heath), The 7 habits of highly effective people (Stephen Covey), How to Win Friends & Influence People, & The Mesh (Lisa Gansky).

    Good luck! I’ve only resolved to read at least 10 books this year… haha.


    • Anonymous January 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

      Thanks for the awesome suggestions, Carlee! I’m reading my book list (which may change a bit this year) in no particular order. Linchpin is definitely one of my next few books.

      There is no quota to how many books you need to read this year. All that matters is that you are reading and absorbing the information. I’m a fast reader and 25-30 books just seemed like the most realistic number. Something, that’s attainable, but it will be a challenge. Plus, I get so many great ideas and new things to try from reading books.


      • Carlee Mallard January 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

        Yea — I’m a really *slow* reader. Sometimes takes me like 2 months to read 1 book… so 10 seemed like a realistic number to me 🙂


        • Anonymous January 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

          There’s nothing wrong with that. Go ahead and read at your own pace. It’s not a race.


  6. Tracy Brisson January 10, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    Great list and very inspiring. I need to put my own list together! The Back of the Napkin is on my unofficial list.

    I read and recommend Linchpin and Eat, Pray, Love on my website. I read The Four Hour Website and got a lot out of it, but don’t have it listed as a formal recommendation on my website because I think it appeals to a narrow base. Based on your other books listed, I think it will be a fit for you. Accidental Billionaires and My Sister’s Keeper are also great, and very short reads.

    It looks like you have enough books, but here are my official recommendations for 2011 based on what I’ve read.: At the bottom is a link to more fun, books, too. Cheers!


    • Anonymous January 10, 2011 at 2:20 am #

      Thank you for the great suggestions. I can’t wait to see the book list that you put together. Cheers!


  7. Vanessa January 10, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Hi Jessica – first time here! I may do a similar list for accountability. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to read great material out there!
    If you read one book for pleasure this year, I recommend ONE DAY by David Nichols. It is simply the most amazing book I’ve ever read – laughed and cried. Interesting structures and amazing characters. It comforts you and makes you want more out of life.

    Also almost done Never Eat Alone – good book on relationship building. Came across the Rules of Work which had interesting contents but Cover looks menacing. Plan to read non conformity also.


    • Anonymous January 10, 2011 at 4:40 am #

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog, Vanessa. I’m so glad that you are thinking about doing a book list too. If you decide to do one, please tweet me the link on Twitter (@jessicamalnik). I would love to see which books you are reading. Happy Reading!


    • Tracy Brisson January 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      I loved One Day- big thumbs up!


  8. mmbizon January 11, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    Great list, Jessica! How was “Unmarketing”? I’ve been meaning to read it! Perhaps I’ll have to make a list of my own. Posting it is such a great idea! I just had “Content Rules” recommended to me, so I’m happy to see Jay had good things to say about it in his comment. So … “Unmarketing,” “Content Rules” and “The NOW Revolution” are my big three for the year so far. I frequented a few books sales last semester, so I’ll have to see what I got from those that should be on my list as well.



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