If you read a lot, you may find that choosing a “best book” is like selecting a favorite child. Well I asked the Intentional Reading Panel for “your pick for “best book you read in 2017,’ along with a brief description of why you chose it.” Here are the responses.
The book is A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston (yes, the guy from Breaking Bad). It’s an autobiography. I chose it because I love his work on Breaking Bad and I knew he had a broad range of life experiences. It was fun and interesting to see how his life’s path was never a straight line yet all the detours along the way made him the successful man he is. It’s funny, thought provoking, and thoroughly entertaining. It reminds me that, while my path hasn’t been straight, it’s all happened for a reason to put me where I am today.
The book that had the most profound impact on me in 2017 was Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferriss. To be honest, I read Tim’s book The 4 Hour Work Week when it came out in 2009 and was underwhelmed. I could not understand what the hype was all about, and pretty much ignored him since then.
However, I was persuaded to give this book a chance, and I am pleased I did. The book is broken into three sections, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise, and features excerpts of podcast interviews conducted with well-known experts in each subject.
From entrepreneurship and investing, to military leadership, to cutting-edge medicine and nutrition, to mind-altering psychedelics, it’s a messy read, but there are plenty of gold nuggets to be found.
I read the book while on holiday in Jamaica, and it inspired me to rework my personal and business goals for 2018 and aim higher. It was worth it for that alone.
Yoram Hazony’s The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture was 2017’s best read for me. Hazony presented a Jewish world view which confidently tells why he thinks gentiles have, well, hi-jacked his people’s book. He articulates why Jews are completely comfortable engaging / debating with the Creator, in ways that Christians consider presumptuous. He explains why he thinks that gentile scholars have mis-translated “lev” as “heart,” when Jewish understanding would now call it “mind” and he makes a fascinating case for truth to mean reliable and doing what it is supposed to do. The implication of those thoughts and others are provocative and helpful. One of my mentors believed that you have not changed a man unless you have changed his thinking. Hazony has improved my thinking.
Wally Bock (that’s me!)
I read several great books in 2017. It was hard to pick my top five, but it was easy to pick the one best book for me. It’s The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals, by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.
Picking 4 Disciplines was easy because it made a profound difference in the way I work every day and the way I track my performance. As I said my review, applying the concepts wasn’t easy, but it did make a dramatic difference in my performance and the quality of my work life.
One proven way to find great books is to pay attention to the recommendations of others. Here are four recommendations. Now, it’s your turn. What was the best book you read in 2017 and why?