Best Books of 2016
2016 was another year of wonderful reading for me. I was able to somehow find time to read over 30 books this year and I have a few more I plan to finish before the end of the year.
Here are 7 books from my list that are my favorites.
When I saw this book had come out I was interested before I read a single review. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike and this book is his account of Nike from its founding to its IPO in the early 1980's. My biggest take away from the book is the drive and passion it takes for someone to create a great business. The bulk on this book took place in the 1970's which was a tough business environment with high inflation and low growth. Knight did not complain once about the difficult macro environment. Nike did benefit from a lot of luck along and some lenient creditors. No great business is every built without a lot of hard work and some luck.
I am way too cheap to buy Hamilton musical tickets so I did the next best thing and read the biography that started it all. I have enjoyed other Ron Chernow’s biography’s and his book on Alexander Hamilton did not disappoint. This was the first book that I bought the Kindle edition and the Audible audiobook. It was great to read and then sync up with the audio book where I left off from my Kindle. It something that I have done for a few other long books. If you enjoy early American history, I highly recommend this book.
Baseball + Analytics = heart shaped emoji. Big Data Baseball takes you through how the Pittsburgh Pirates used their own twist on data analytics to end the Pirates 20 year playoff drought. I heard this book described as Money Ball 2.0. It is not quite at the same level as Michael Lewis’ book, but it is one of the better baseball books I have read recently. It is interesting to see how big data and analytics have evolved from the early work the A’s did in the 2000's. If you liked Moneyball pick this one up, you’ll enjoy it as well.
Dan Lyons may best be known as “Fake Steve Jobs”. He left the world of journalism and went to work for an online marketing firm called HubSpot. This is a very funny (to a point) look at how someone from a different generation tries to work with Millennials in the current unicorn era startup environment. The book is a light read if you want a little business humor and to see how the whole story plays out. A buddy recommended this book to me at our annual fishing trip and I have mentioned it to everyone who is a HubSpot user. This book does not paint the business or the author in the best light.
I don’t read science fiction books all too often. Bill McNabb mention this book on the Masters in Business Podcast and thought I would give it a shot. I picked this book up and could not put it down. It is a story of a world in the not too distant future where the world kind of goes to hell and everyone spends their time in a virtual reality environment called OASIS. The creator of the OASIS software is a billionaire who leaves his fortune to a person who can solve a series of tests. This sets off a race to solve the puzzles and the book takes off from there.
The book is a narrative history of a late 1870’s polar exploration looking for an Open Polar Sea. The crew sailed from California to the Arctic. The story takes you through their trials and tribulations as their boat gets stuck for years and their journey back home. The perseverance from the crew to survive the conditions they had to endure was amazing.
We have all felt overwhelmed and stretched too thin at work and home. Learning to focus on just the important items in your life is easier said than done. This books helps lays out a strategy to help reduce some unnecessary items and actions that will ultimately allow you to be more productive. I initially say this book was recommended by Michael Kitces. It has been recommended by many others since. It is not a long read, but you’ll be able to take away several actionable things to help focus on more essential items in your life.
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