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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ten Best Books I Read in 2012

In 2012 I read 43 books, 50% more than in each of the previous 3 years.  Why did my reading increase so dramatically?  One word:  Kindle.  I read 27 of these books on a newly acquired Kindle.  Some of these books were much shorter than the normal paperback or hardback, e.g., The Heart of Haiku, A Christmas Carol, and the Playground.  Here is the list of the Ten Best Books I Read in 2012.

Here's Johnny [With CDROM]10.  Here's Johnny by Ed McMahon.  I was never a Johnny Carson fan and I never stayed up late to watch his show, but I found this memoir very funny.  The book is read by McMahon and I recommend that you listen to the audio version rather than read the book.  I am afraid that much of the humor is lost on the written page.  The humor is in the voice of Ed.

Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and Home9.  Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and Home by R.B. Mitchell.  This is a memoir of growing up in an orphanage and how one man came to understand and accept the abandonment by his mother.  A heart-warming story.

Composed: A Memoir8.  Composed: A Memoir by Rosanne Cash.  This is actually the first book I read on the Kindle.  I heard an interview with Rosanne Cash on the program, On Being With Krista Tippett.  Now, I have long enjoyed the music of her father, Johnny Cash, but have never listened to her music.  In the book she discusses her father's death.  As a result of reading the book, I bought an album, Black Cadillac, about her father's death.

Rashomon Gate (Sugawara Akitada, #2)7.  Rashomon Gate by I. J. Parker.  Those who know me well know that I will cry at movies, but that I will rarely cry while reading books. Rashomon Gate was that rare book that succeeded to bringing me to tears. It is a murder mystery set in the eleventh century Japan. If you love historical Japan, you will enjoy this book.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)6.  The Hunger Games #1 by Suzanne Collins.  I read all three of the Hunger Game books but I have only put the first one in my top ten.  I felt the other two did not live up to the promise of the first book.

The Heart of Haiku (Kindle Single)

5.  The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirschfield.  This is short, brilliant introduction to haiku poetry.  I encourage anyone who wants a better understanding of haiku to read this book.

Imagine: How Creativity Works4:  Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer.  You will no longer find this book in bookstores since it was taken off the market because the author allegedly manufactured quotes by Bob Dylan.  I still think it was a great read and that all creative leaders should read it.  

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery3.  Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds.  If you ever make presentations using PowerPoint, then you need to read this book.  Most people use PowerPoint inappropriately.  They make PowerPoint the center of their presentation when it should only have a supporting role.  The speaker is the presentation.  

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo2.  Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera.  I love and appreciate the art of the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.  If you like her art or love art in general, you need to read this biography.

Steve Jobs1.  Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  This is the best book that I read in 2012 and it is a must read for all creative leaders.  You learn the good, the bad and the ugly.  Jobs was human like the rest of us with both strengths and weaknesses.  I don't think I could have ever worked for him, but I can learn from what he accomplished.  If you only read one book out of my list, this is the book to read.

To see a list of all 43 books I read in 2012 visit Goodreads.