The Quest for 52 Books: The Final Countdown

It’s time. I’ve promised Fuller for years now that I’d read it, and I can no longer justify avoiding my destiny. Let it be known: Moby Dick, you are the book that will bring my epic Quest to an end.*

First, let me share with you my September work, which covered books 47-51:

  • David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart
  • Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (re-read)
  • David McRaney’s Your Are Now Less Dumb
  • Debby Irving’s Waking Up White
  • Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith


And now, the list in its entirety:


  1. Jonathan Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See
  2. Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up
  3. James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time
  4. Mary Roach’s Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
  5. Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
  6. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History
  7. Will Hines’ How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth
  8. Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric
  9. Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic
  10. Parvati Markus’ Love Everyone
  11. Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart
  12. Jesmyn Ward’s The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race
  13. Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
  14. J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  15. Rob Bell’s What We Talk About When We Talk About God
  16. Thich Nhat Hanh’s How To Eat
  17. Thich Nhat Hanh’s How To Love


  1. Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings
  2. Eknath Easwaran’s (trans.) The Bhagavad Gita
  3. Andre Aciman’s Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere
  4. Mary Oliver’s Upstream: Selected Essays
  5. Charlotte J. Beck’s Nothing Special
  6. Octavia Butler’s Kindred
  7. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States [Infinite Winter selection]
  8. Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
  9. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States


  1. Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story
  2. Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
  3. Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings: Poems


  1. Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness
  2. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow
  3. Peter Hershock’s Liberating Intimacy
  4. Anthony de Mello’s The Song of the Bird
  5. Thomas Armstrong’s Awakening Genius in the Classroom
  6. Thich Naht Hanh’s Fear
  7. David R. Loy’s The World is Made of Stories
  8. Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity
  9. Sharon Salzberg’s Faith
  10. The Dhammapada, trans. Gil Fronsdal
  11. James Ishmael Ford’s If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break


  1. Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist


  1. Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace
  2. Charlotte Joko Beck’s Now Zen



  1. Peter C. Brown’s Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
  2. Sebastian Junger’s Tribe
  3. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life


  1. David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart
  2. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (re-read)
  3. David McRaney’s Your Are Now Less Dumb
  4. Debby Irving’s Waking Up White
  5. Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith


*Let’s be real. It’s likely that I’ll read at least 5 more books either before or during my attempt with Moby Dick.

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