Year end book roundup for 2011!


There is a great online challenge called the 100 book challenge with the goal being to read 100 or more books in a year. In 2011 I beat 2010’s record of 111 books with 131 books read. I think I read a lot more fun ones this year as when I got a pretty bad case of burn out I just read and ran a lot. Here is the big list of all the books I read and short little mini reviews!

And now for my big roundup, I try to feature the top 2 books in each category plus a runner up….

Best Business Books

1. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently – This was the most valuable book I read this year and I hope to read this every year. It basically explains what great managers do to keep their team happy and backs it up with as much data and examples as possible. And above all it makes the point I’ve come to believe that people don’t change. At best they can pivot 10% to 20% from where they are now, and it is more valuable to focus on their talents, and find ways to neutralize their weaknesses.

2. Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap… and others don’t. – Fantastic book by Jim Collins, this is a followup to his previous. This covers a lot of companies and what enabled them to become great companies.

Honorable mentions to The Six-Month Fix: Adventures in Rescuing Failing Companies, Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, and Business Model Generation.

Best True Books

1. Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie Chang -This book is a must read for those interested in China and how rapid industrialization is creating huge social changes for women. The story of the girls working in these factories is just amazing, an entire generation of hustlers who could become entrepreneurs is emerging. I can’t wait to see what they do next as more opportunities become available to them and what values they instill in their children.

2. The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean. This was an awesome awesome book and one of the best so far this year. This is about how waves are generated, the guys that ride them, and even some quantum mechanics.

3. Born To Run – The book that started the barefoot running movement, and just makes me want to run more and more! Even for non runners its a great book about what humans are capable of and how we might have run down our game by outrunning them. All in a well written book about a hidden tribe of super runners and a race against them by some American ultra runners (very short summary).

Honorable mentions to Brazil on the Rise and Out of Mao’s Shadow.

Best Travel Books

French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew – An awesome book about traveling around and living in France and going to all these different food festivals! I highly recommend it, covered things like eating truffles, cheeses, snails, a wine marathon, etc!

I read a lot of nice normal travel books too, but nothing that stood out as just amazing besides this one.

Best Thrillers

This was an easy choice this year, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the two sequels were mind glowingly awesome! It was if someone combined the best of Law and Order SVU with hacking and a great mystery. Just fantastic writing, great plot lines, and the best thrillers I’ve read in a really long time. Go buy them!

Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Books

1. Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered. Fun books I highly recommend! Basically imagine all the religions and gods of the world do exist, on multiple planes, with earth being a place they can all jump into. This follow a very cool 1000+ year old Druid character living in Arizona and having gods mess with him.

Just an ok year for finding new scifi/fantasy.

Best Books About History…

1. At Home: A Short History Of Private Life by Bill Bryson. This was an interesting funny book about how the modern house and all it’s parts came to be. Plus all the segways and humor that only Bryson can bring to the table.

2. The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope – What an amazing man with the luck of timing, this book was fantastic and I hope we get another FDR soon so we can rewrite the social contract a bit more.

Honorable mention to The Wall: Rome’s Greatest Frontier about Hadrian’s Wall which is a trip I want to do at some point.

Best Bibliographies

1. The Faraway Horses – The story of Buck Brannaman who is the “horse whisperer”, really amazing guy and great story about his life. Check out this documentary on him too, just an amazing person.

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).