It was hard to narrow the list down to 5 books this year. So, I thought I’d share my top 4 and a collection of books that share 5th place.
1) Debt by David Graeber (Amazon): An anthropological dive into 5,000 years of human history from the lens of debt. I wrote an ode to the book recently – so, I will minimize repetition. In sum, this is a special book thanks to the audacity of what it attempts and the elegance with which it delivers it.
2) Range by David Epstein (Amazon): An important read because it is an antidote to the “start early and specialize as quickly as possible” advice that is often peddled. While it might appear that David Epstein is against the notion of deliberate practice and specialization, I didn’t take it as such. Instead, his push is for us to appreciate breadth and the meandering path we might take to figure out what we want to specialize in. He makes the case (repeatedly – my only quibble with the book) that the meandering path gives us the range to make the specialization count.
3) The Socrates Express by Eric Weiner (Amazon): If you haven’t read much philosophy and are curious about great philosophers and their schools of thought, this is the book for you. Eric brings together a witty travelogue, stories about the lives of great philosophers, a summary of their work, and insights about his attempts at applying their lessons. It made philosophy accessible – thank you, Eric!
4) The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger (Amazon): This book is to corporate leaders what Shoe Dog is to sports entrepreneurs and The Hard Things About Hard Things is to tech entrepreneurs. Surprisingly candid, incisive, and insightful. A phenomenal read – the sort of book that should be mandatory reading in every graduate school of business.
I had a collection of books that all made it to 5th place.
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel (Amazon) was an insightful take on how to think about thinking about money.
Upstream by Dan Heath (Amazon) tackles an important subject – how to solve problems before they happen.
Reboot by Jerry Colonna (Amazon) is a book built on the idea that “better humans make better leaders.” Jerry notes on leadership, insecurities, and love make for a beautiful read.
Several short sentences about Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg (Amazon) is a masterpiece on writing. It also packs plenty of wisdom about skills, practice, and life.
Becoming by Michelle Obama (Amazon) – I was curious about Michelle Obama’s memoir thanks to her grace and charisma in her speeches and interviews. This was a fun narration of the Obama story from her perspective.
My reviews of these books (and more) are on RohanRajiv.blog