People who know me know that I LOVE books. I collect books, I cherish books. Books have been my best teachers and best friends.

Last year I did not finish (only 32) as many books as I normally do (around 78). Though I did get my head into dozens more, reading selected chapters and sections as research for my current writing project. Despite my shortfall, I thought I would offer you, my reader, my favorite books of 2018. Here in order are the books that most impacted me last year:

Professional, Non-Fiction

  1. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink – Daniel Pink, like Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Coyle, ranks among my favorite business book authors. I find it immensely helpful when a great writer takes first-order academic research and makes it accessible. It sure beats spending countless hours in the library stacks reading musty journal articles! Here Pink offers some of the most helpful insights about the field of chronobiology I have ever read. Chronobiology is the science of our human biological clocks. I took my first degree in Biology so this topic fascinated me. More than that, this book taught me some things about myself I had never learned in my more than five decades of life. Read this one!
  2. The Culture Code: the Secrets of Highly Successful Groups – like Daniel Pink, Coyle did all the hard work of scouring the academic literature. His excellent storytelling style also made it an accessible read. Wow, did I ever learn about human dynamics from this worthy read. Make sure you don’t miss this one!
  3. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham – I have been searching for years for a great book on the art of managing others. I finally turned to this classic, newly updated by the Gallup organization. It’s backed by the largest scientific study of superior managers ever conducted. What I love most about this book is the skeletal framework it offers, in the form of the metaphor of mountain climbing, to create great managers.
  4. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport – I read everything that Cal Newport writes. His often contrarian wisdom is spot on. In this book, he nails to the wall the pernicious fallacy of the advice, “Follow your passion.” Backed by research and superior observation, Newport slays that terrible advice. He offers in its place a time-honored pathway to success: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Likely I will reread this book in 2019.

Fiction

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – I love books that take me somewhere. The kind of book where I find myself, for a few days at least, mentally living in some far away setting thinking about what living another life might be like. Kristin Hannah’s book took me into a frequent daydream of escaping the world by moving into the wild frontier a million miles from my electronic tethers and relentless demands.
I expect to be back on track to read at my preferred pace of 1 and ½ books a week in 2019. I can’t wait to find out what I will learn in doing so.

 

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