Books that Stand the Test of Time, My All Time Favorites

The Books That Stand the Test of Time


The Rum Diary

I’ve read a lot of Hunter S. Thompson, but something about this short novel has always really appealed to me. There isn’t much of a purpose but it’s a well written story. Maybe it’s the lack of direction that I have always identified with, or maybe it’s just the allure of “old San Juan.” Regardless, this book has been on my shelf for probably 20 years now. Also…the movie was fucking terrible.

The Gold Coast

Nelson Demille created one of the most amazing characters I’ve ever read when he came up with John Sutter. His snark and quick wit are enthralling. Someday this book will be on school’s required reading lists as it truly captures the haughty high society of the East Coast. Whenever I think of Frank Bellarosa the image that comes to mind is Tony Soprano.

Chocolate Lizards

I have put this book on almost every one of my reading lists so far and cannot recommend it enough. This is fiction but it’s very focused on the oil industry with the big characters to match. I have loved this book so much that I sent some LandmanLife swag to the author Cole Thompson. This book has been made into a movie, but it has not been released yet. According to Mr. Thompson it should release nationwide early next year. If you’re in the mood for a well written quick read, this should definitely be on your list.

The Foundation Series

Sci-fi is and always has been one of the mainstays on my Kindle. I’ve read a lot of novels and series, and it’s getting harder and harder to find solid recommendations for things that I haven’t read. The Foundation Series was something that’s always been on my radar, but hearing that Apple was going to turn it into a tv series got me to give the first book a try. I was hooked. Thinking that these books were written back in the 1950s is pretty amazing. The Intard just finished these and loved them.

The Palladium Wars

Another great sci-fi series! This one I discovered kind of by accident, I initially started reading Marko Kloos’ “Frontlines” series. It’s got a great universe but the writing is aimed more towards younger adults. I enjoyed it, but the real gem was finding the Palladium Wars Series in the Kindle recommendations. The attention to detail and interplanetary politics put this series on a different level. It’s sophisticated but still approachable. The fourth book is still being written so you have time to get through the first 3.


Kitchen Confidential

If you aren’t a fan of Anthony Bourdain I’m not sure we should be friends. Watching No Reservations is what really got me into his history and life, but what interested me the most was his unique views on life and food. He was cynical, hilarious, depressed, and elated depending largely upon what substance he happened to be abusing at that moment. The behind the scenes expose aspect of this book gave me some inspiration for a lot of LandmanLife future posts.

Losing the Signal

I was a Blackberry guy. Loved those phones. If they made a functional updated version of the Bold 9900 today, I’d probably have one. The most amazing thing about Blackberry is how they completely and utterly disappeared from market dominance to irrelevance and near bankruptcy in the matter of a few years. The story of how that happened is fascinating. Reading about the “dirty tricks” they would play with other phone manufacturers was eye opening. Of course, the most amazing part is their complete disregard for the iPhone…which ushered. in the end of Blackberry.

The Kings of Texas

Every Texan knows or SHOULD know about the King Ranch. What most people don’t know is the story of how that iconic brand and ranch began. I was not aware what an important port city Brownsville used to be in the early frontier days. The impact that the King Ranch and the family running it have had on Texas history cannot be overstated.

Oil Industry


This is another book that’s shown up on my previous reading lists and there’s a damn good reason for that. Armand Hammer was a Soviet agent and used Occidental Petroleum to advance the Soviet cause across the world. How more people don’t know this story blows my mind. With the recent series and news about Armie Hammer I hope more people will start to read the history of that family. My fascination with all of this might be in part influenced by the fact that my father and grandfather both worked for Occidental…but it’s still a great read even if you don’t have that familial association.

The Frackers

Another constant on my reading lists, I think the way that this book covers multiple stories with a common theme is masterfully executed. The parts about Aubrey and George Mitchell were really interesting.

Oilfield Trash

Moving from the board room and private jet world into the actual oilfield, this book is an excellent collection of wild, amazing, and hilarious stories. Hearing some of these stories you might be tempted to call bullshit, but…it’s still a fun read.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Not giving a fuck might be my superpower…that and packing coolers. The idea that you only have so many fucks to give each day, each week, month, year, and over your lifetime was a perspective that seems totally logical but have you ever really thought about it? Why would I waste a fuck to give on something dumb on Instagram, or if that meathead SacFlap says something stupid about how tough I am on Twitter? I don’t. My life is immensely better for it. Nobody cares so why should you.

Never Split the Difference

I’ve read a lot of books about negotiations and most of them take the standpoint of…splitting the difference. This is a rare exception that offers a completely different perspective on negotiations, because it’s a system developed by a hostage negotiator. When lives are on the line, you can’t give any ground, so how do you get someone to come around to your point of view? I strongly recommend this book if you have any interest in being a better negotiator.

Atomic Habits

I’ve written about this a few times and it has been on so many reading lists already, there isn’t much new I can say. Little small 1% changes that lead up to an inflection point where big change occurs are the premise of this book. Learning how to break bad habits and form good ones by attaching them to other unrelated tasks you perform every day was some great advice. If you haven’t read this one, what the fuck are you doing still reading here, go get a copy!

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