Books of the year 2013

Books of the year 2013

It’s Christmas shopping time, so time to share my 13 books of 2013. I’m going to use the same categories I did in the same blog last year, and I’ve linked to my individual blogs to help with those Christmas shopping decisions. My new category for 2013 is most likely to change the world.

Most likely to change the worldLean in by Sheryl Sandberg. Whatever your view on this book it’s got people talking and it contributed to what feels like the best year for Feminism we’ve had in a while.

Learned most fromFat Chance by Robert Lustig. I learned a lot from this book and it should change our understanding of the obesity crisis and how to respond to it.

Most captivatingThe immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This was such a captivating story of how one woman’s life and sad death made life better for us all. I’m glad her role is belatedly being recognised.

Most changed my everyday lifeFlow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. As with other happiness books this has changed the way I live my life and has helped me make some good decisions this year.

Most enjoyment from – One summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson. I feel slightly guilty that this is the book I’ve enjoyed the most. I’m just finishing it now and I have to say that I enjoy reading Bill Bryson above almost everything else. I just love his writing style and he’s just so engaging.

Most able to make a complex subject easy to understand – The Entrepreneurial State by Marianna Mazzucatto. Great book. It’s short, clear, to the point, and makes a much necessary defense of the role of the state.

Most un-put-downableA fierce radiance by Lauren Belfer. I loved this. It’s the kind of book you really want one sitting for. Once I started I found it hard to stop.

Least enjoyment from – Extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer. This is probably a great book. A subject that very much needs writing about, fantastic characterisation, a clever idea, but I just didn’t like it. At all.

Most surprised by, in a good wayMay we be forgiven by A M Homes. I nearly gave up on this book but I’m so glad I didn’t, as I ended up really enjoying it.

Most surprised by, in a bad wayFlight behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver. I was so looking forward to easing into this, but unlike almost everything else I’ve read by her, I just didn’t care about these characters.

Would most recommend for holidaysThe Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier. A really enjoyable read and perfect for a day by the pool or for a long flight.

Talked most obsessively aboutQuiet by Susan Cain. I bored everyone to tears at work talking about this book. I think all managers should read it, in fact everyone should read it. It’s eye-opening.

Most intellectually stretching – The self awakened: pragmatism unbound by Roberto Unger. I confess I just didn’t understand the vast majority of this. I really tried, but it stretched my brain beyond its capacity. He gave the most fantastically powerful political speech at our recent social innovation conference, but I just failed to get anything from this book.