The Six Books You Should Read in the Second Half of 2024

5 minute read article Leadership   Technology   Wisdom   Books Comments

I love to read and always have a book with me, whether it’s on my desk, in my bag, or on my phone. I just finished my 32nd book of the year today (The Body by Stephen King) and will most likely finish at least one more this weekend.

The six titles below are books I believe everyone should read, and with six months left in 2024, why not tackle them?

Note: All links are affiliate links, so if you click and buy, I’ll get a small amount of money. Purchasing from is also a way to support your local book sellers.

The Books

How to Win Friends and Influence People : The Gratitude Diaries : Deep Work : Essentialism : Stolen Focus : The Dip

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie


First published in 1936, this is one of the best selling and most influential books of all time. It has been revised and updated over the years, and there are now editions for kids, teens, and one for the digital age.

When I was a young, cocky developer back in the late 90s, my manager recommended this book to me. That conversation along with reading this book changed the trajectory of my career. This is the book I have recommended the most over the years, for good reason. I first read this book in 1998 and have revisited it a few times since. I find new lessons each time I read it.

While some of the references feel dated, the advice remains solid.

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

I recommend following his instructions and reading each chapter twice, underlining or highlighting as you go.


The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life, Janice Kaplan


This is a great book that follows Kaplan during a year of living gratefully. She describes efforts to be more grateful in her marriage, her work, and with her health.

Researchers have found that people who write down three things they’re grateful for every night (or even a few times a week) improve their well-being and lower their risk of depression.

I journal every day, and of the four pages I write, one of them is always gratitude. If I miss a day, I can feel it.


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport


Cal Newport is a great writer, and I always learn from his books. This was no exception!

What is Deep Work?

Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

As a long-time software developer, I found this book to be pretty depressing because getting to do any true “deep work” these days is challenging. I have many friends who agree with me. The idea of getting into any kind of flow state and doing deep work seems like a pipe dream.

The expectation of being “always available” in chat, whether it’s Teams, Slack, or something else. It gets worse when you have to juggle those chats for your employer AND your client(s). Unless I get up at the crack of dawn, before anyone else is around, I have no chance of getting deep work done because of all the dings and interruptions when people see I’m “available.” Hell, they interrupt even when I’ve set my status to “busy!”

Since reading this book, I have made a concerted effort to spend periods of time doing deep work, but it’s never during the work day, and that sucks. Stay with me while I have an old man moment: I miss the old days before we were always connected.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown


This book can best be summarized by this line:

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

I was talking to some coworkers recently about the idea of taking on too much work. Sometimes it’s actual work, but other times, it’s extra things like running conferences or meetups or volunteering. When I was asked how I handle it, I said,

I’ve gotten good at saying no.

We only have so much to give, and I’d rather give my time and energy to those few things I find most important. If I say yes to something that means I’m saying no to something else, something that may actually be more important to me.


Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again, Johann Hari


Ever wonder why you struggle to focus for more than a few minutes before something pulls your attention away from what you’re working on? This book by Johann Hari attempts to answer that question. You may not agree with everything in this book, but it will get you to think about distractions in your life differently.

In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes.

That’s depressing. I have made several positive changes to help with focus based on this book.


The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), Seth Godin


Weighing in at just 80 pages, this is by far the shortest book on my list, but it packs a lot into a small package. This book was recommended to me many years ago by a friend who saw me juggling a lot of things, not being successful with more than one or two of them.

We’ve all heard the “never quit” refrain through our lives, but that’s painting with a broad brush because there are times when quitting makes sense. This is a book about strategic quitting. It’s about knowing when to push through when the going gets tough, or when to quit.

I talked about it a recent post.


I hope you check these books out and enjoy them as much as I did.

A seal indicating this page was written by a human