A Year in Books — 2021

42 books and quotes that shaped and inspired me in 2021

Max Frenzel, PhD
7 min readJan 5, 2022


Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

Charles W. Eliot

The transition from the old year to the new is, for many, a time for review and reflection. Personally, a big part of this is looking back through the year’s notebooks, and particularly the copious notes I take while reading books.

While doing this review, it has become a bit of a tradition to pick one quote from each book and post the collection here on Medium.

So without further ado, below are the 42 books I read in 2021, along with one quote that, for one reason or another, resonated with me.


The Drama of Being a Child: The Search for the True Self (Alice Miller)

“The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality — the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings.”

Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business (Chris Ducker)

“The biggest mistake I see people make is they don’t value their experience, the content they provide, and what they can do for people. […] Charge what you’re worth and don’t ever say you are sorry for it.”

Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters (Ryan Singer)

“In software, everything is possible but nothing is free.”

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work (Seth Godin)

“If you want to complain that you don’t have any good ideas, please show me all your bad ideas first.”

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (James Nestor)



Max Frenzel, PhD

AI Researcher, Writer, Digital Creative. Passionate about helping you build your rest ethic. Author of the international bestseller Time Off. www.maxfrenzel.com