I read 83 books in 2006. Below are the gold stars from the past year. As always, it’s an eclectic mix.
Ron Suskind: A Hope in the Unseen : An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League
A moving, inspiring (and depressing) story of a young man going from the ghetto to Brown University. See my post.
Steve Coll: Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
A detailed, rewarding read for anyone interested in what the CIA was up to pre 9/11. See my lengthy formal book review.
James Joyce: Dubliners : Text and Criticism
A classic. So many great short stories.
Benjamin M. Friedman: The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth
A powerful thesis: economic growth has good moral consequences. See my quick post here.
David Foster Wallace: Consider the Lobster : And Other Essays
As always, very excellent essays. See my formal book review.
Rough Guides: The Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World
Loaded with helpful travel tips and regional profiles. Good for world-wide travelers.
David Sedaris: Me Talk Pretty One Day
Always hilarious…though I think "Dress Your Family" was better than this one.
Fred Reichheld: The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth
A great book that got me thinking about customer satisfaction in a whole new light. See Chris Yeh’s notes.
Cliff Atkinson: Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire
An excellent intro to make compelling PPT’s — all presenters should read this or Cliff’s blog.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Fooled by Randomness : The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
One of the most important and best books I’ve read in years. See my post.
Tyler Cowen: Creative Destruction : How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures
Excellent thesis on how globalization is providing more and better cultural choice. See my somewhat lengthy review.
Lawrence Harrison and Sam Huntington: Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress
A good collection of essays on the role of culture in shaping societies. Conclusion: culture matters.
P. J. O’Rourke: Holidays in Hell
Hilarious; He travels to the world’s worst places and asks, "What’s funny about this?"
Francis Fukuyama: America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy
Awesome summary and analysis of neoconservatism as we used to know it and why it’s not compatible with the future.
Barbara Pease: The Definitive Book of Body Language
Some very useful tips for thinking about how our non-verbal cues influence people.
The Group of 33 / Seth Godin: The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable
Inspiring words of wisdom, tips, and stories. Good read for anyone in business.
Robert E. Rubin: In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington
Excellent memoir and insight into the worldview of the former treasury secretary. See my brief review.
Daniel Gilbert: Stumbling on Happiness
Chock full of nuggets. Required reading for people who pursue happiness with vigor!
Jack Goldsmith: Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World
A quick and provocative read about how national borders and laws are rejecting internet-utopians’ prediction of borderless world.
Patrick M. Lencioni: Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business
Another good Lencioni book. His big point is to infuse meetings with conflict and drama, and to run different kinds of meetings (the standing-only, the strategy monthly, etc).
Ariel Levy: Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture
Solid read on feminism and porn, but predictable. See my review.
Peter Hessler: River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
An outstanding recollection of two years in the Peace Corps in China. Awesome writing and great portrait of China.
Susan Orlean (Editor): The Best American Essays 2005
Awesome writing and essays. Good for any non fiction lover.
Howard Schultz: Pour Your Heart into It : How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
A nice read from the Starbucks founder on how he cultivated a luxury brand. See my review.
Joan Didion: The Year of Magical Thinking
A simply moving and inspiring account of Didion dealing with grief and the loss of her husband. A must-read.
Tim Sanders: Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends
Awesome book on how to bring compassion into the business world. See my notes.
Joseph J. Ellis: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
An awesome book. Highly recommended for a look at the men behind the Revolutionary Generation.