The books I read and highly recommend. There are dozens of books I read but left out of this list.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” I wanted the book to teach us the best methods for increasing and maintaining our own grit, and to show that those methods are proven through research. Unfortunately, that doesn't yet exist.
The Men on My Couch: True Stories of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy by Brandy Engler – The Men on My Couch is unlike books you’ve read before. There are no tired facile conclusions or pejorative generalizations. Here are fresh insights into modern sexual maladies, gleaned from real people having real struggles and experiencing real epiphanies—in the real world.
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder – A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought. I'd call this book a light version for children of A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.
We learn nothing by Tim Kreider – Essays of the book are brutally honest eye to the dark truths of the human condition, asking big questions about human-sized problems: What if you survive a brush with death and it doesn’t change you? Why do we fall in love with people we don’t even like? How do you react when someone you’ve known for years unexpectedly changes genders?
The dinner by Herman Koch – The darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal. Must read for parents.
You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom by Nick Cohen – Everywhere you turn you are told that we were living in an age of unparalleled freedom. But what if this view is dangerously naive? Religious fanaticism, plutocratic power and dictatorial states -- are thriving and in many respects finding the world a more comfortable place in the early 21st century.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson – A breathtaking tour de force Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web. Read 2 books in a week just because couldn't stop.
Submission by Michel Houellebecq – A darkly comic masterpiece about France where Islamic law is instituted, women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged. Controversial, intelligent, and mordantly funny.
The Evolution of God by Robert Wright – In this sweeping, dazzling journey through history, Robert Wright unveils a discovery of crucial importance to the present moment: there is a pattern in the evolution Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and a "hidden code" in their scriptures.
Neuromancer by William Gibson – Hotwired to the leading edges of art and technology, Neuromancer is a cyberpunk, science fiction masterpiece—a classic that ranks with 1984 and Brave New World as one of the twentieth century’s most potent visions of the future.
Time and Time Again by Ben Elton – Ben Elton sends Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer, back to the beginning of the 20th century to prevent a great and terrible war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. Astounding reading for evenings.
The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life by Tal Ben-Shahar – The pursuit of perfect may actually be the number-one internal obstacle to finding happiness. Tal Ben-Shahar shows us the freedom derived from not trying to do it all right all the time and the real lessons that failure and painful emotions can teach us.
How We Die: Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland – Drawing upon his own broad experience and the characteristics of the six most common death-causing diseases, Nuland examines what death means to the doctor, patient, nurse, administrator, and family. Thought provoking and humane, his is not the usual syrup-and-generality approach to this well-worn topic.
Getting Unstuck: Break Free of the Plateau Effect by Bob Sullivan – The book shows the different kinds of plateaus that can hold you back and how they can be overcome. If you’ve ever given more and more to a broken relationship, a weight-loss regimen, or a stalled career—only to get less and less in return—Getting Unstuck will change your life.
Writing Tools – 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark – Accessible, entertaining, inspiring, and above all, useful for every type of writer, from high school student to novelist, Writing Tools is essential reading.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott – I thought this book would be somewhat boring and pointless but I was wrong. A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps.
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan – Sex at Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way. By examining the prehistoric origins of human sexual behavior the authors are able to expose the fallacies and weaknesses of standard theories proposed by most experts.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? The book shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle.
Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon – This masterpiece features stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so — “a brave, beautiful book that will expand your humanity" (People).
The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage by Roland Smart – The marketer's guide to modernizing platforms and practices. The methods that enable marketers to meet this challenge are emerging from an unexpected place: the world of software development. The Agile methodologies that once revolutionized software development are now revolutionizing marketing.