To help with your gift list, here are my top ten books of 2017:
The “I need something fun to create bar arguments” goes to Tim Harford for his book Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy. Barbed wire? The gramophone? Passports? Curious insights like these fill the book and will create conversation, controversy, and interest.
The “historical fiction that has fascinating characters and everybody is reading these days” award goes to Amor Towles for A Gentleman in Moscow. Set in the first half of the 20th Century, the story of a Russian man of noble birth confined to a hotel for life is a little slow moving at times but is brilliantly written.
The “I need a book for a sports lover” award goes to Marty Appel for the biography Casey Stengel. Stengel was such a character, and the book brings all that out in a fun but informative way.
The “give me something simple that involves an adorable dog and car racing” award goes to Garth Stein for his book The Art of Racing in the Rain. Loved this sappy book. Perfect for anybody who loves dogs and/or cars.
The “need a gift for a wine lover” award goes to Bianca Bosker for her book Cork Dork. Big burst of delicious fruit in the first few chapters, then it settles down in the middle, and goes a little flat at the end, but still fun for wine lovers.
The “throwback classic you might’ve read in high school but should probably read again so you’ll actually appreciate it” award goes to J.M. Barrie for Peter Pan. Yes, it’s a kids book. Sorta. But you’ll enjoy it all the same.
The “what about a business book, maybe something on marketing” award goes to …. well, it’s a tie. Chip and Dan Heath win for The Power of Moments, about how to create special moments for your customer. And Donald Miller (yes, that Donald Miller) wins for Building a StoryBrand, which looks at how all businesses or nonprofits can tell their story in a more compelling way.
The “wow this world is moving way too fast for me to keep up” award goes to Thomas Friedman for his book Thank You For Being Late. Thoughtful, sometimes fun, and very practical for those of us trying to keep up with all the change in our world.
The “teach me how people going through the most difficult things imaginable have been shaped into better leaders” book goes to Nancy Koehn for her book Forged in Crisis. Tracking the lives of five great leaders, Koehn pulls out the leadership lessons we can all use.
The “help me understand what the hell is happening in the world” award goes to Richard Haas for his book A World in Disarray. Oh that we would actually take his advice! Sadly, the world has become even more in disarray since this book was released.
So those are my top ten. And I didn’t even include such good books as Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, Resilience by Eric Greitens, The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma, Dethroning Mammon by Archbishop Justin Welby, Democracy by Condoleezza Rice, Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, and The American Spirit by David McCullough.
A great list for the year! If you want to see my entire reading list, check it out here.