I’m an inveterate reader and intermittent list-maker. Once a year I combine these dissimilar habits into a Top Five Book List. My winners for 2017 are:
Shoe Dog, A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight – Not all autobiographies are created equal. This one tells a great story about a gutsy journey. I’m sure it’s bias because the only way to tell the unvarnished truth is anonymously or posthumously, but it’s candid and has the feel of a conversation over coffee or cognac—not that I can afford the latter.
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, Kevin Kelly – The “twelve technological forces” Kelly explores aren’t predictions, they’re already becoming an integral part of our world, including the Internet Of Things (IOT), total surveillance, and turning all surfaces into screens. These trends are shaping a future all around us we can’t even imagine.
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, Atul Gawande – A good companion to his book, Being Mortal. Some doctors have also been great writers: Arthur Conan Doyle, Viktor Frankl, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, but most don’t write about medicine. Dr. Gawande does so in a way that brings readers to the other side of the exam room and operating table.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – I read a fair number of novels but normally don’t do WWII books; too dark for my sensitive constitution. I listened to this one and the narrator made Doerr’s characters and settings come alive. He paints vivid pictures that aren’t quickly forgotten.
Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus, John Ortberg – A sweeping overview of the impact of Jesus of Nazareth on history, at least the western branch of it. While many of the facts Ortberg reviews are objective, how one connects the dots is subjective, which is why people can agree about what Jesus did but not about who he is.