Being Mortal is written by a physician and gifted medical writer who takes us through the aging process to our last days and what it means for care givers, young and old. This is relevant for yourself, or if you have elderly parents, or if you want to give this to your children to read. Gawande is a great storyteller who can make you laugh at times or move you to tears. I have used Gawande’s earlier articles in the past for summarizing strategy sessions at Babson executive education programs.
Tamim Ansary is originally from Afghanistan but living and writing for some time in the United States. He also has authored many chapters used in U.S. textbooks that deal with Islam. This is the best book I have ever read on the history of Islam from the perspective of a Muslim, and its relevance for the world we are living in today. It is captivating, and I read it twice on a flight to China, once on each leg of the trip. The content of this book helps me understand events happening today, every day.
Plague & Cholera is a book that received many prizes since its publication. Deville describes the life of a Swiss-born scientist, Alexandre Yersin, who joined the Pasteur Institute in France, became a navy physician in the French overseas maritime service, and discovered the vaccination for the bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894. Yersin chose to live in Vietnam for most of his life and became a scientist, botanist, and rubber plantation owner, and remains revered in Vietnam beyond all the changes and wars. The book is based upon painstaking research of Yersin’s letters to his mother and sister. Great read with many implications for our business lives today. I am using this book’s organization as the model for my next book on the history of a business organization.
Thomas Friedman, longtime journalist for The New York Times, describes his book as a “guide to thriving in the age of acceleration” and is a superb book on the technological developments that shape our age, as well as globalization. Full of examples, this book is relevant to the debate in many countries about if and how globalization can be made to work for everyone. This was my daughter’s Christmas gift to me, and I found it to be a must-read book for today.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Moby Dick is a classic if you can tackle a 1,000-page book. I read it last year, together with my wife, and found so many situations that are of value even in today’s business and management life. The language is phenomenal, and the story keeps you engaged. If the book is too long for you, consider getting on the website of the Nobel Prize Committee in Sweden and hear the audio of the acceptance speech delivered by Bob Dylan. He made an extensive reference to this book, which he named one of the three most important books influencing his work.