When you’re in publishing, there are always a few books you’re looking for — ones from friends, others you had a hand in helping come to life, or notable titles you’ve read that have stayed with you. Here are a few titles I’ve read and enjoyed this summer and fall.
1. Working from Home: Making the New Normal Work for You (Wiley, August 2020) Salesforce VP, fellow leadership geek, and food lover Karen Mangia was already deep into a business book when this little gem came to life. With all of the Zoom calls, stress eating, and home-schooling in 2020, this book gives readers some practical tips on how to making working from home work for you. It even features a few tips we learned during our weekly happy hour calls in the spring and summer.
2. Sugarproof: The Hidden Dangers of Sugar That Are Putting Your Child’s Health at Risk and What You Can Do (Avery, Sept 2020): I’ve long kept up with health and nutrition titles, but this one really caught my attention. Do you really have any idea how much sugar is hidden in what we — and our children — eat every day? Worse, the impact of these sugars on children’s health is becoming a major health issue that will leave a lasting impact on their entire life. Based on research from groundbreaking pediatric sugar experts Drs. Michael Goran and Emily Ventura, SugarProof offers real information to parents about how to help teach kids to self-regulate.
3. How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life (Portfolio/Penguin, Oct 2015) In January (BC — Before Covid as we all think of it now), a friend at Adam Smith Works invited me to attend an online book group featuring Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion. One I already loved and the other I was ashamed to admit I’d never read. (I’ll leave it to you to guess.) The book group turned into a column for ASW on Smith and Austen which turned into a new regular column on Adam Smith and food of the enlightenment. Which is all a long way of saying that I’ve read a fair amount about Adam Smith this year. So it was a pleasure to read this fun little book by Russ Roberts on his own journey delving into Smith — and the parallels Smith’s writings have to daily modern life. Amazingly, this nearly 300-year-old scholar is still making us think.
4. Becoming, by Michelle Obama (Crown, Nov 2018) I feel like I’m the last person in the world to read this book, but with Libby from the Indianapolis Public Library system, I gave it a go on audio. And it’s delightful. Not only is it a candid picture of the former first lady’s personal journey, she offers frank advice about race, privilege, leadership, success, family, and failure. I’m glad I finally got to it — even late.
5. Middlemarch (a battered, used bookstore copy I’ve had for years): For many years, I’ve taken a long summer vacation and I’ve nearly always set a goal of reading a classic. Copies of Anna Karenina, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles have all returned from vacation waterlogged, sun faded and most importantly, finished. This year, in lieu of a vacation and a challenged by friends, I tackled the George Eliot classic Middlemarch. I won’t lie to you, it’s dense and long, but the details taken as a whole are what make it a masterpiece. While anyone can look at a few strokes from a painter and get a sense of style, they have to see thousands of them all together to get a sense of the entire work, and such is Middlemarch. Taken as a whole, you can see why it’s a classic. And the characters, their lives, their challenges, worries, and failures will stay with you long after vacation.