Sometimes it feels like every week is busier than the last. Finding the time to catch up with friends, see the latest movie, and much less read a book can feel like impossible tasks amidst a week filled with appointments, meetings, and phone calls. If you can manage to find the time to read, however, it can be well worth your time. Whether in the morning with your coffee, on your commute, or before you go to bed, reading can be a great way to unwind and think about something other than your day-to-day tasks. For me, books have been so much more than just a way to pass the time. A good book should make you think and reevaluate your current behaviors. A book should enable you to learn something new about yourself and about the world around you. Books have enabled me to develop and refine my skills, broaden my thinking, and to relax. Because of this, reading has become an important part of my every day life, and is something I recommend for everyone. Here are the five books that I recommend for everyone to read this year.
- A Cloud in the Sky
This is a book that will really make you think. In his first work of non-fiction, Jake Newfield creates a moving, sincere illustration of his relationship with his grandfather, which forces you to open up to yourself and evaluate your own decisions. Reminiscent of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, A Cloud in the Sky is the heartfelt, shockingly real story of a man who visited his grandfather each week for almost three years, and uncovers a wealth of insight from his grandfather’s life. Newfield creates a touching collaboration of stories and philosophies, holding nothing back from the true dialogue and emotions of the characters. The book’s central motif is based around a metaphor regarding the passing of time and life’s meaning. The dialogue is what stood out to me most; it is a refreshing mixture of thoughtfulness with a hint of comedy.
2. The Lean Startup
Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup is in the bookshelf of practically every successful entrepreneur. The book provides entrepreneurs with a wealth of insight on how to ignite their startup, how to iterate their product, and how to accumulate traction in an efficient and “lean” manner. Whether you’re in business or are merely interested in the topic, this is a fast-paced, educational, interesting read. Understanding the major setbacks that many startups face, Ries elucidates clear, actionable sets of guidelines and advice that are applicable and helpful for any startup or new business endeavor.
- Fates and Furies
Amazon’s 2015 Best Book of the Year and New York Times Bestseller is a must-read for lovers of fiction. Lauren Groff’s most recent work is quickly getting attention across the globe, and has been named best book of the year by a plethora of different outlets including NPR and The Washington Post. The book puts an interesting spin on what we’ve been taught our whole lives–that transparency and honesty are essential for holding relationships together. This concept is turned inside in Groff’s work, illustrating that sometimes it’s important to keep secrets in order to keep relationships and reputations strong. Narrated through various perspectives and personas, this fast-paced story of a marriage is captivating from cover to cover. Unlike typical love stories, Fates and Furies takes many unexpected twists and uncovers hidden truths the reader has no anticipation of.
This is a personal favorite. Written by Robert Greene over a period of years, Mastery combines research and reflection into a beautifully written, consistently insightful book that I recommend for anyone willing to judge or better themselves. It’s Robert’s fifth book, and possibly his best one so far. The book digs into the lives historical people, including Henry Ford, Charles Darwin, and Mozart, and also contemporary heroes like Freddie Roach and Paul Graham. Through his studies and analysis, Robert elucidates traits and characteristics consistent throughout these leaders, providing the reader with a wealth of insightful lessons.
- Memory Man
With over 110 million copies sold of his printed books, David Baldacci is one of the most celebrated novelists in the world. In his newest book, Baldacci utilizes impeccable use of language, relentless pace, and vivid characters to pull together an unprecedented story that will captivate anyone. Baldacci’s star in this book, Amos Decker, is not your average protagonist. The story grabs the reader in from page one, with Decker entering a scene where he finds members of his own family murdered. Whether you’re waiting for a bus or at home relaxing–this book belongs on your coffee table.