Today’s thoughts will be both brainy and snarky. I trust you, dear readers, to have the good sense to discern which is which.
I read a lot, and generally have more than one book going at any given time. What follows are the five best books I’ve read in a while, with no particular emphasis given to genre or subject.
1) Things You Wish You Knew Yesterday, and absolute must read. I’m telling you, there’s stuff in here you won’t believe. In fact, you’ll find yourself wishing you knew it yesterday. The author is a freakin’ genius.
2) Worth Every Penny, by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck. If you run a small business of any kind, or if you think you’d like to, this is essential reading. You’ll think the authors have somehow channeled all of your inner questions, and you’ll swear they’ve heard all of your self-doubts. This book is full of practical advice that will help give you the confidence to push forward with your work, value it appropriately, and create a business that makes you and your customer feel good about what you do.
3) Unbroken, By Laura Hillenbrand. I don’t often read books more than once, but this one twice, and will likely read again. Louis Zamperini lived several lifetimes in his early years, and each one would have made for fascinating reading. That he lived all of them stretches one’s ability to comprehend the human experience. In the end, Unbroken is a story of redemption and forgiveness, and you’ll be a different person as you turn the last page.
4) Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull. Working on a big creative project? Creating something big and new in your life? Chasing after a bold goal? As you share Ed Catmull’s insider view of the Pixar process, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Boy, if they can do that, I can do this thing.” There are “aha” moments in this book that will help you understand the complexity of the creativity process and the value of “intentional honesty”. When you see a Pixar movie, it’s easy to think, “Man, that must be nice. You have a great idea, you get a bunch of people together in a cool place like Pixar, and out pops Toy Story!!!”. When you know what the process is really like, you’ll feel much better about your day-to-day struggles and feel more confident that things will be fine in the end.
5) 11/22/63, by Stephen King. I’m not a fan of many of Stephen King’s books-too creepy. He is, however, one of my favorite writers. King has a way of choosing just the right word for just the right moment, and that held me spellbound as he unwound this tale of time travel and one man’s collision with history. Trust me, if you avoid Stephen King because you fear his books are too scary, take a flyer on this one. I’ve read it three times, and as I’ve mentioned, I don’t often read a book more than once. Meticulously researched, believably told, and featuring characters you’ll care about, 11/22/63 is a compelling read.
6) Things You Wish You Knew Yesterday. Don’t know if you’ve heard of this modest little volume, but it’s a page-turner. There are illustrations, too, so if reading isn’t your best thing, you can always use the pictures and just sound out enough words to understand the story. The author must be devilishly handsome, because anyone who writes this well is no doubt a bon vivant of the highest order.