The 26 Most Important Books (out of 26) I Read in 2014

Most-Frequently-Challenged-Book-ftr

Try not to read fuzzy books. Go for the clear ones further down.

Circumstances found me with an abundance of free time in 2014, which I filled partly with books. Lots of books. In fact, I can safely say that I read more books this year (26 total) than since my senior year of college more than a decade ago.

Here are the books I read, more or less in the order I read them (with a few notes about a few titles at the end):

Books I read in 2014…

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson
When Will There Be a Good News? – Kate Atkinson
Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman
Which Lie Did I Tell? – William Goldman
The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway  – William Goldman
Save the Cat – Blake Snyder
Great Crash 1929 – John Kenneth Galbraith
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
Liars Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street – Michael Lewis
Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President – Ron Suskind
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris
Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
Zeitoun – Dave Eggers
Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
A Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers
Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism – Doris Kearnes Goodwin
The Circle – Dave Eggers
My Heart is an Idiot – Dave Rothbart
What is the What – Dave Eggers
The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas – Davy Rothbart
Look At Me – Jennifer Egan
Made To Stick – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Switch: Change is Hard – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert


Notes:

1. The most heartwrenching books I read were Look at Me (Egan), Life After Life (Atkinson), and the funeral scene from the third (and final) Theodore Roosevelt biography, Colonel Roosevelt (Morris).

2. Damn, McSweeney’s crafts the best looking books I’ve ever seen. All these years later and they’re still adhering to incredible standards. Each one is like a little artifact.

3. The two “business” books I read, Made to Stick and Switch, have significantly refined how I think about written communication and organizational change. Highly recommended for anyone who needs to improve what they do, how they do it, and how they talk about it.

4. The best book I’ve ever read on storytelling is William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade. It’s by the guy who wrote Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid aaaaaand The Princess Bride.

5. Davy Rothbart has written two books of stories. The most recent one, My Heart is an Idiot, is fantastic. The first, written about a decade ago, is aggressively mediocre.

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