Some of the best advice I ever received in school was, ‘Always keep a good book near you.” I enjoy books and read from nearly every genre. I don’t judge a book as being above or below me. With fiction, my goal is simple: I wish to enjoy a good story. My nonfiction selections are focused primarily on helping me live a better life. I would like to share a few of the books I read in 2010 that best meet these standards.
1. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk – I enjoyed this in-depth look at using social media to make a difference and chase dreams. Vaynerchuk shares great insight and his personal climb to success through the use of social media. If you have a dream and want to make it happen, this is required reading. This book is full of tips that you can actually accomplish and that really make a difference.
2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. – I’m always a sucker for Dan Brown’s novels. He creates memorable characters and twists an amazing plot. The influx of historical information is astounding. I find myself cross-referencing his historical references with Wikipedia and I’m always amazed. Fortunately Brown’s novels are not sold by the pound. This one’s a whopper! A good story. (Relax. It’s fiction everybody.)
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -by Stieg Larsson. This book has been immensely popular, and for good reason; it’s a great story. I love Larsson’s dual protagonists, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. I love the unique setting. (I have not yet traveled to Sweden.) Two signs of a good book: hard to put down, and you are always thinking about it. I experienced both. Be prepared for mature subject matter and language. I immediately finished the trilogy which includes The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.
4. The Noticer by Andy Andrews. I have recommended this inspirational story to so many friends! The Noticer is an incredibly quick read but is packed with memorable lines and characters. All of us need an encourager in our life, and we also need to be one to others. I think this book can provide both. A great book to pass among friends and gift. Andy Andrews inspires me personally and professionally.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. A post-apocolymptic dystopia called Panem is the perfect setting for this young adult page turner where a young boy and girl are selected from each District annually to compete to the death on a televised program. I enjoyed every aspect of Collins’s novel and I went on to finish this trilogy as well. (Catching Fire and Mockingjay.) The book itself is just a great read and will surely climb in popularity to the likes of perhaps Stephanie Meyer, and dare I say, J.K. Rowling. This book opens up a lot of great topics for discussion for youth, and I am excited to teach this in my classroom in February.
6. Rework by Jason Fried. Should be read by every employer twice. This book directly challenges every ‘rule’ of work and offers an authentic solution to business problems while focusing on creativity and production in modern day workforce. I love this book. Get it. Best business book I have ever read.
7. War by Sebastian Junger. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I am so glad I read it. Shame on me for actually having the arrogance to formulate any opinion of the war in Afghanistan, or anywhere for that matter, without actually trying to understand what those involved are actually facing. Here I sit comfortably behind my computer screen, safe and spoiled, formulating opinions and conjecture, based on television news stories and magazine articles. Junger, best known for The Perfect Storm, embeds himself with the second of Battle Company, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. All he is attempting to do is offer a glimpse of what these brave men face. He does it well. Some of my students have fought in Afghanistan, one died there.
8. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. How many times does a book need to be recommended to you before you read it? This book was recommended to me many times. I kept wondering of what use it could possibly be, after all, this book has literally been around for centuries? After a chance meeting with David Blaine, and the extraordinary opportunity to ask him one question, I began reading this book. My question for David Blaine was: What single book has been most influential to you in your life? I was expecting a biography of an illusionist, or some philosopher. His answer was indeed The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Want to know why? Read it.
9. So Shelly by Ty Roth. I am actually cheating on this one. You can’t read it yet. I am one of the lucky few that was able to receive an advanced reader’s copy of the book. It’s available to the public February 8, 2011. Ty is my friend, and I am incredibly proud of his two-book publishing deal with Random House. Friendship aside, this is indeed one of the best books I read of 2010. While placed in the Young Adult genre, So Shelly is for mature readers, and like its author, So Shelly doesn’t hold back any punches; the work addresses, and without apology, very real and dark issues facing today’s teenagers. So looking forward to seeing So Shelly hit the bestseller’s list. Here is an early I told you so.
10. Linchpin by Seth Godin. I felt so guilty receiving his incredible free emails every day that I thought I would do him a favor and buy his book. Ha! Linchpin should be read by every parent, teacher, student, business owner, employee… and well… everyone! Linchpin addresses the problems of our broken work system and provides the solution: be unique, be an artist, become a Linchpin. Because of this book, I am now buying and reading all of Godin’s work. He is incredibly engaging and original.
Honorable Mention: The Four-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I just received this book a few days ago. It’s huge. It’s packed with tons of useful information to get you in shape quickly. Ferriss introduced me to Twitter and introduced me to several techniques I employ with my business. His best-selling The Four-Hour Work Week was an entrepreneur’s treasure trove. The Four-Hour Body is proving to be the same for my health. Tim did a lot of research for this book and it’s all documented.
I read other great books in 2010 but these are my favorites and most notable. Any and all of these will get you off to a great start in 2011.
Kelly Croy is an inspirational speaker and artist. Please visit www.kellycroy.com or call 1-800-831-4825 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to book Kelly for your event. • Kelly’s presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation, anywhere people come together to be entertained and inspired. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event. email@example.com