In our age of instant gratification, reading a book can seem like an old-fashioned exercise. Who has the attention span or the time to stay with a book for hours on end? Fortunately, we found enough PPBHers who still seem to read books, either of the digital or analog format. And that’s a good thing for our clients – it’s not like you pay us to be illiterate and ignorant, right?
Here’s what we read (and liked) in 2013:
David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell – Gladwell’s books are so popular because he spins an everyday situation and makes you look at it through a different lens. His findings can be applied to a variety of situations – this one’s no different as we are often tasked to take our Davidesque clients and outwit their Goliath competitors.
The Circle by Dave Eggers – The Wall Street Journal has called this novel “The Jungle for our own times”. As Upton Sinclair’s novel changed the way we saw industrialization’s effects on the meatpacking industry and its workers, Eggers explores the consequences of our society’s digital transformation.
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward – Not exactly the feel-good memoir of the year, Ward beautifully explores the death of five men close to her that occurred within four years and the statistical probability of impoverished men in the rural south succumbing to this fate.
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout – Two brothers return to their childhood home in Maine to help out a troubled nephew. Illuminating and heartfelt family entanglements ensue. If you loved Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, you’ll love this one even more.
The Elephant Keepers’ Children by Peter Hoeg – Fourteen year old Peter and his siblings try to track down the mystery of their eccentric parents who’ve disappeared from their eclectic island town, a sort of multi-religious commune. The novel ranges from the zany, non-requiter-type of writing that makes Slaughterhouse Five hilarious, yet still manages to be poignant in all the right places.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – It didn’t take long for J.K. Rowling to be outed as the true author of this crime novel. But this is much better than her first stab at adult writing, The Casual Vacancy.
Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath – The authors of the brilliant Switch take a stab at the how and why of our decision-making process. But the good thing about the Heaths is that they don’t just talk theoretically about the nature of decision-making, they offer specific, practical tools that can help us to think more clearly about our options.
The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker – We still can’t believe this is Wecker’s debut novel. She recounts the unlikely relationship between two supernatural beings in 1899 New York City with the effortlessly smooth and imaginative prose of a veteran author.
Contagious by Jonah Berger – Wharton marketing professor Berger explains why some ideas and products catch on and others do not. This was a must-read for us, since it’s kind of what we do.
To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink – One in nine Americans work in sales, but this book makes the case that we’re all in sales in today’s workplace. You won’t regret picking this one up.