Thursday, November 26, 2009

12 Books You May Enjoy

I offer here a dozen books I've read over the past year that you may enjoy. I list them in no particular order. I have included fiction and non-fiction, business books and books about books. I promise that each is well written and interesting.

1.) War Dance by Sherman Alexie. Alexie writes mainly from a Native American point of view and this collection of stories continues that theme. Regardless, he writes with passion and precision and makes us see the "Indian experience" from a whole new perspective. If you have no interest in Indians, you will nonetheless enjoy the flow of this great writing from a man who has won major writing awards, even for a children's book.

2.) The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Bartlett. If you love books, you will love this story of rare booksellers trying to catch a thief who specializes in rare books. They get him, he gets away, he never stops because of his obsession for books as he and his pursuers share much in common.

3.) Hunting Eichmann by Bascomb. Adolph Eichmann, Nazi war criminal and functionary responsible for "managing" the deaths of millions of Jews during the Second World War, eluded authorities for years, living in South America. Almost by accident his location is revealed and as we read along with this terrific story we wonder if he will be caught, even as we know he was!

4.) Sway by Branfman. Ever wonder how we influence each other? This book reveals how pilots, and many others, have learned to question authority so that they diminish errors based on appeals to authority. Anyone in sales or marketing should read this small, but, well written, book.

5.) Yes! 50 Scientifically proven ways to be persuasive by Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini. Anyone who sees the name Cialdini knows he or she is in for a useful and enjoyable reading experience. Robert Cialdini is, of course, the guru of influence and persuasion. As a co-author of this small book, he influences the fine writing and storytelling to deliver much useful information on persuasion. If you are in business, read this little book.

6.) Columbine by Cullen. Most Americans remember the tragedy of Columbine High School. Cullen, a Denver reporter, was there through the whole tragedy. In his book with the skill of a mystery writer, he takes us through the lives of the victims and perpetrators as we watch the whole ugly thing unfold.

7.) Zeitoun by Eggers. Dave Eggers is a well known and accomplished writer, editor and cultural phenomenon. In this fascinating book he follows the tribulations of a Muslim man, an immigrant to America who builds a business in New Orleans only to see it threatened by Hurricane Katrina. Zeitoun decides to stay in New Orleans, even after everyone is ordered out of the city. He is then arrested and the story becomes more intense and ultimately uplifting.

8.) Book of Genesis by R. Crumb. Need I say more? Whatever Crumb writes/draws demands attention. When the subject matter involves the first book of the Christian Bible, we must sit up and take notice. Crumb doesn't disappoint us as he draws a surprisingly sensitive rendering of the Christian notion of the world's origins.

9.) Buy-ology by Lindstrom. This researcher takes us inside the human mind to show why we buy things and why we may be at risk to the companies who also know why we buy things.

10.) Let the Great World Spin by McCann. This just won the National Book Award which tells you it's not too shabby. If deals with the aftermath of 911 and is a pleasure to read. It proves itself worthy of this country's big writing award.

11.) Tears in the Darkness by Norman. WWII had its share of atrocities and agonies but probably none greater than the Bataan Death March. Norman shows the horrors of that tragedy by following an American from the Mid-West as he is imprisoned and forced to be a slave laborer as thousands die around him.

12.) The Tyranny of E-Mail by Freeman. This delightful book traces the development of e-mail and our addiction to it. The book begins with the telegraph and brings us to our great dependence on electronic communication, the tool that some call indispensable while others call "e-vil mail"!


  1. Thanks for my book, Columbine, Edward.

  2. Dave - My pleasure. You created a model of clear and effective writing, managing to tell a horrifying story with sensitivity and objectivity. I intend to give it to some friends for Christmas and, of course, recommend it to all my writing classes at CMU. As a former marketing guy, I have interacted with many newswriters, including Pulitzer winners, and I have seen nothing better. I hope the book sells a million! - Ed