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What Books Did You Read in 2013?
December 19, 2013 - 9:00pm

What are we?  We are a community of book lovers.  

We read books.  We buy books.  We assign books.  We review books.  We catalogue books.  We recommend books.  We talk about books.  Some of you even write books.

Someone should add up the size of the IHE book economy.  How many millions of dollars of book related commerce do we touch?  

Why Amazon and B&N and Audible and the big publishers are not buying up every available ad on IHE is puzzling.   

As 2013 comes to a close (well at least the academic year of 2013), I was hoping that we could share what we read this year.  

This exercise, at least for me, is made much easier by the fact that everything I read is digital.  Cutting and pasting from Audible and Amazon is relatively quick.   

Why nobody has invented an app or website to easily pull in everything on our digital reading platforms to create shareable lists is beyond me.   

What I read in 2013:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I’m reading this Dickensian novel now, (it is 784 pages, 32 hours and 30 minutes), and so far it is as good as the buzz.

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson.  I’ll read anything by Bill Bryson, and his latest book is as good as anything that he has done.   

Detroit: An American Autopsy  by Charlie LeDuff.  Righteous anger from this former NYTimes reporter and Detroit native.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  A novel about how friendships made early on can alter our life trajectory.  Terrific.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman.  If I could choose a place to live that place might just be in Brooklyn.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard.  Answers to the question as to why place remains so important in understanding the American experience.

Red Sparrow: A Novel by Jason Matthews.  Classy espionage storytelling from a retired CIA career officer. 

Back of the House by Scott Haas.  Perfect for those fascinated about how a good restaurant really works? 

The Circle Dave Eggers.  If Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook merge Eggers’ dystopian future may end up being prophetic.

Double Down: Game Change 2012 by  Mark Halperin, John Heilemann.  Deep inside the drama (and sometimes dysfunction) of the Obama and Romney campaigns.

The Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy by Daniel Alpert. Bottom line - the world is producing way too much stuff (enter China, India, and many many other countries on to the factory stage),  and the high wages and secure jobs of the rich world will increasingly be but a memory.  Convincing.  Worrying.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer.  What life has been like since the coming (and never really ending) of our Great Recession.

The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life by Uri Gneezy, John A. List.  Two economists argue that we should stop making decisions in the absence of experiments. 

Average is Over by Tyler Cowen.  What an increasingly stratified economic order will mean for our work, family, and social lives.  

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser.  The scariest book that you can read in 2013.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.  Why being the underdog may not be as bad as we might think.

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff.  Why and how our beliefs about the future have changed, and what this shift means for how we make sense of the world around us.

Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta.  Exceptionally constructed short stories from one of my favorite authors.

Full Upright and Locked Position: Not-So-Comfortable Truths About Air Travel Today by Mark Gerchick. Arguably the best book every published about the airline industry, and why flying has become simultaneously cheaper, safer, and worse.

Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections by Patrick Smith.  An airline pilot explains what the life of an airline pilot is really like (not as glamours as we may think), and what is really going on in the airplane during our journey.

The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley.  Why American kids score so low in international standardized tests as compared to their peers in Korea, Poland, and Norway.  Answers to these questions not always what we’d expect them to be.

The End of the Suburbs by Leigh Gallagher.  Why the suburbs are losing their appeal, and what this will mean for patterns of work, family, and leisure.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.  A quality novel slumming as a humorous family drama.

Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker.  You will never again look at being a tourist, and the tourism industry (arguably the world’s largest industry by employment), quite in the same way. 

What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend by John Homans.  Essential reading if you currently lived with, have ever lived with, or are thinking about living with a dog.

College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo.  Written for the non higher ed insider, a balanced and well-reported look into how postsecondary education is undergoing rapid change and what these changes will mean for the students of tomorrow.

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan.  The book that I wish I had had my first year of grad school.  

Mindset by Carol Dweck.  A book that has changed how we think about motivation and success.  The “growth mindset” is probably the idea that has had the most impact on how I think about learning, parenting, and the work that we do as educators.

Contagious by Jonah Berger.  A systematic and theoretically grounded analysis of why some things catch on.

Gulp by Mary Roach.  If we want to motivate more young people to choose careers in science the best course may be to hand out copies of books by Mary Roach.  Are you curious about what happens inside your body to that sandwich you had for lunch?  

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  You should not hesitate to buy, borrow, read, and lend this latest addition to understanding ourselves, our family members, and our colleagues from the Heath brothers.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.  My nomination for the best book of 2013. The power, influence and reach of the industrial food complex is truly one of the most important stories of our age.

Teaching Minds by Roger Schank.  A call to rethink how we organize our schools, from kindergarten to graduate school.

Against Security by Harvey Molotch.  What is really going on at that TSA checkpoint, and why we should be worried about how the world of security and surveillance has changed since 9/11.

On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz.  Walking around the streets of NYC (and some other places) with an eclectic set of experts.

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink.  Why we are all in the sales business now.  Convincing.

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll.  The definitive biography of one of the most important companies (and industries) of the modern age.

Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney.  A story of midlife questioning from within the profession of demand creation.

The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters.  How to investigate a murder when the end of the world is in sight.  Takes place in my home state of New Hampshire.

Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges, and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism by Robert Guest.  Good things happen when reporters from the Economist find time to write a book. 

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris.  Understanding the foundations of our modern economy, and the social order upon which it is built. 

What did you read in 2013?

What is your nomination for the best book(s) of 2013?

What are you reading now?

 

 

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