One of my goals every year is to read 50 books. This year, I read 61: 44 audiobooks and 17 kindle books. I read some phenomenal fiction this year. With a new job that was mentally and physically draining, it was wonderful to have this escape. I note the best ones below, but I've never read so many simply great books in one year. The nonfiction was a little dry. I read a lot, but not many great books. I hope this will change with the lineup I have selected in 2018.
So, on to the best books I read in 2017, in no particular order.
Leilah Janah is inspiring, and this book chronicles her journey to find sustainable ways to give agency to the world's poorest. She provides a healthy, realistic perspective on poverty that avoids the twin dangers of solutionism and white-guilt.
I specialize in international supply chain management, and this book was invaluable in helping me focus on a strategy to revitalize the supply chain in the business unit in which I work. Gattorna's customer-centric approach is brilliant, and crystallized a lot of scattered ideas I'd had. I won't say more lest I bore everyone else to tears who just wants book recommendations!
How we know what we know and why we believe we know it are some of the most fundamental and critical questions of life. Kahneman's research delves deep into our decision-making and truth-gathering processes. He brilliantly details the most common pitfalls of our mind and the heuristics we unconsciously use to guide our decisions.
Unfortunately, the book is a bit of slog, and Kahneman delights in very detailed explanations of his experiments. Most are quite interesting, but it's easy to lose to the point of a chapter for all of the trees. Still, I highly recommend this for anyone who makes decisions on a regular basis, especially anyone in a management role. I have found the book incredibly helpful to give me more pause before I rush to conclusions and to help me continually question my "gut."
I loved this book. Holiday is good at waking us up to reality. Our illusions about ourselves and our ego are the roots of so many problems in our lives. He doesn't waste words and gets right to the point: we are our greatest enemy. Humility and perseverance are the pathways to true success.
In our increasingly distracted lives and world, it's hard to find time to dig deep into our work and accomplish the hard things. Newport provides some incredibly helpful suggestions and resources to help in this endeavor.
Excellent overview and history of existentialism.
A fabulous conclusion to Jemison's trilogy. My words won't come close to doing it justice, but the worldbuilding and social commentary is spectacular.
A beautiful and sad exploration of a boy's search for meaning in life. Maugham writes wonderfully, and it's a pleasure to read.
Bowles' masterful writing is clearly on display in this book. He uses the story of three travelers journeying through Morocco to explore themes of loneliness, meaning, happiness, and death. Highly recommended.
Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy by Cixin Liu
A surprisingly fantastic sci-fi trilogy. Liu imaginative literature is firmly grounded in scientific theory, and this believability stretches from the current age into the future ages he postulates.
Terra Ignota #1 & #2 by Ada Palmer
These are the first two books of a 4 book series, and they're unlike anything I've read. Palmer models her future society heavily on Roman and Greek history, not only in the worldbuilding, but also in the writing. These are difficult books and hard to get into, but very rewarding. Palmer manages to comment on a wide variety of subjects such as sociology and class, gender, the question of war's inevitability, if utopia is possible without bloodshed, etc.
Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
Brown does a phenomenal job of character building and plot development in this trilogy. It's a really enjoyable series with incredible plot twists.