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I can very well remember how I quietly bade goodbye to 2017—finishing the last few chapters of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History written by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger in between sips of my peppermint tea.

After all the noise of new year’s parties have died down, I decided to deepen my love affair with books and thus, embarked on #SmartReads2018 not to pressure myself to hastily devour pages and beat a personal record, but to entertain, educate, and enrich myself with an element of giving back through #SmartReadsGiveaways, which allowed me to share the gift of knowledge with educator-friends and friends and their children, as well as generated book donations for schools in Mindoro and those supported by Cibo and Adarna House, which both accept book donations.

As a year-ended, allow me to share my #SmartReads2018, in no particular order, with their Amazon, Book Depository, or author’s links.


1. Becoming by Michelle Obama - This also comes in an audiobook format in the author’s voice, which is perfect for nursing moms and those who spend more time sitting through traffic than they could with a good book. (Purchased from Fully Booked for PHP 1,535 with 10% discount for Fully Booked Discount or Ateneo Alumni cardholders)

2. The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward - If you have been hooked on The Crown and left wanting after season two, this light reading comes with photos of Queen Elizabeth II from childhood until briefly before the publication in 2016. (Purchased from Powerbooks for PHP 655 with 10% discount for Powercard holders)

Psychology & Personal Development

3. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin - I picked up this book at a time when my short-term memory loss or forgetfulness has been really getting me upset. This book is highly recommended for those who feel so trapped in the physical and mental clutter of their everyday lives. (PHP 782 at Fully Booked)

4. Clearing Emotional Clutter: Mindfulness Practices for Letting Go of What’s Blocking Your Fulfillment and Transformation by Donald Atlman - This is a very practical book that comes with Lifestyle Tools that you can practice everyday. This is best for those who would like to get into deep work after a good de-cluttering of their physical and mental spaces. (PHP 766 at Fully Booked)

5. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin - After a tedious task of total personal spring cleaning, this book helps you finally get rid of bad habits that are preventing you from moving forward. I describe this book as the pill you need without the sugar coating. (Given as a gift; available in Fully Booked for PHP 645)

6. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington - I bought this book back in 2015 upon the recommendation of my good friend, Rachelle. It is worth reading and re-reading until you master the meaning of true personal success. (PHP 759 at National Book Store)

7. Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity: How to manage intense emotions as a highly sensitive person by Imi Lo - If you think that you tend to feel too much, then this is the book that will help you realize your emotional giftedness and actualize your creative potential while managing and regulating your energies. It also comes with practical exercises. (PHP 779 at Fully Booked)

8. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. - I learned about this book from a speaker during the Ateneo Mental Health Awareness Week Forum. The tips that you will pick up from this book are useful for parenting, business, school, and relationships. (PHP 535 at Fully Booked)

Business, Management, and Leadership

9. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant - This has got to be on my Top 5, with its brilliantly-researched tidbits that will surely change the way you look at the world—beginning with that seemingly rebellious child of yours. This book is an original on its own; a fitting read in the Age of Disruption. (PHP 552 at Fully Booked)

10. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss - While not everyone can literally escape the 9 to 5, this book differentiates “working smart” from “working hard,” a key to keeping one’s sanity in this age. (PHP 1,150 at Fully Booked)

11. Digital Marketing in a Week: Brilliant online marketing in seven simple steps by Nick Smith - This is useful and handy when you suffer from information overload on the Internet. (PHP 479 at Fully Booked)

Geo/Politics and Related Essays

12. Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific by Robert Kaplan - Robert Kaplan, one of the world’s Top 100 Thinkers according to Foreign Policy gives a different perspective on the geopolitical issues involving the South China Sea. (PHP 782 at Fully Booked)

13. Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide their Money by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer - Read this if you want to satisfy your curiosity about the hidden lives of the ultra-wealthy and powerful. (Copy sold in support of #SmartReadsGiveaway)

14. Dispatches from Crame I by Leila M. de Lima - Get a glimpse of the mind of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinker Awardee, Senator Leila de Lima as she talks about life in (unjust) detention and personal reflections, governance and social justice, democracy and sovereignty, innocence and political persecution, human rights and extra judicial killings, among others. (Given as a gift)

15. Fight for Freedom and Other Writings by Leila M. de Lima - This is a more recent compilation of writings by 2018 Prize for Freedom Awardee, Senator Leila de Lima. Personally, I was deeply impressed by the the strength of Senator Leila’s character and the depth of her thoughts and her deep love for the virtues and ideals that make us all truly human.

There were other books that I purchased and received this year, but have not gotten the chance to read and finish. I hope to include some classics that are worth reconnecting with, along with some new fiction books, for #SmartReads2019.

For now, I wish you all a happy new year!


Other book lists I follow:

  1. Bill Gates’ 5 Books I Loves in 2018

  2. Barack Obama’s Best of 2018 List, which includes an updated list of songs and movies

  3. The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018