Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best Non-Fiction Reading of 2012

It turns out I have two favorite books for five different categories...

Big Picture (Life and Death)

Winter Journal
By Paul Auster
I loved this book! I am four years older than the author so I understood all his ruminations, regrets and sorrows as he reviewed his life. I have not led half of an interesting life as Auster but I identified with so much of his childhood and adolescent experiences.

By Christopher Hitchens
An author describing the end of his life usually makes for a very depressing book. However Hitchens faced his death with courage and perspective. A book that very few, if any authors, could easily write.

Current Events
End This Depression Now
By Paul Krugman
Generally I find books about economics very daunting to read. However you won't need a MBA from Wharton to understand this book. Krugman explains, in plain language, what happened during the economic meltdown and his ideas on how to resolve unemployment and improve the U.S. economy.

Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent
By Edward Luce
Sobering view of the economic, education, government and culture status of the United States. In many ways, a depressing book as our leaders and ourselves have done a very poor job in addressing crushing problems now and more coming in the future.

Economic Meltdown
The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History
By Kirsten Grind
Excellent storytelling and research around the demise of Washington Mutual. The demise can be laid to the housing crisis, subprime lending, poor management and inadequate risk management. Maybe the best business book I read this year.

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers
By Lawrence McDonald
Excellent inside story of the fall of Lehman Brothers. Anyone who is involved in Risk Management should read this book as a cautionary tale.

Inferno The World War: 1939-1945
By Max Hastings
Best book about the events, people and horrors of World War II that I have read! Many fascinating personal stories!

500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars
By Kurt Eichenwald
Excellently researched and written. Gripping personal stories of people involved in national security events after 9-11. But a very depressing story about the missteps and failures of the Bush Administration after 9-11, particularly as it related to Iraq and our handling of potential terrorists.

One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game
By John Feinstein
Feinstein is a great storyteller. He describes his experiences and feelings about various sports luminaries like Bobby Knight, Dean Smith, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and more.

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever By Jack McCallum
Inside story about the selection and play of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team that is being called as the Greatest Basketball Team ever assembled. McCallum covered the team closely and saw its strengths and warts. He also provides details about the intrasquad game between the team headed by Michael Jordan vs. team headed by Magic Johnson

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