Most of you probably know by now that I read 150 books in 2014. Of those, here is a list of my 41 favorite non-fiction books and a short something about each of them. This list should give you some great reading ideas moving into the new year.
I read this book for my research. It’s a wonderful resource on burnout in the workplace and the secondary effects of trauma exposure. Probably not a favorite read for many, but a wonderful resource if you’re interested in trauma.
2. ATTITUDE 101
Your attitude determines how you approach situations and how you perceive them after the fact. This was one of many amazing John Maxwell books I read this year.
3. Do the Work
The title of this book says it all. If you want to be successful, you have to put your head down and actually do the work. Success doesn’t happen on accident.
Learning how the masters deliver the world’s most famous talks can only help the rest of us when giving presentations. I found this book helped me think about and alter the delivery of some of my course lectures.
This may have been my favorite book of the year. It’s the story of Susannah Cahalan who contracts a rare disease that makes her brain turn on her. Susannah also is a journalist, so the book is well written.
I love productivity tip. This book is full of them. You won’t regret reading it. I promise you’ll get some ideas on how to be more productive.
Men kill their wives, which is terrible. What’s even worse is when they kill their wives and their unborn children. That’s what this book is about.
This was the most painful book I read this year. It’s the story of Adam Lanza’s killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. While it was well written and made me think about all of the failures in our system, I couldn’t recommend it to anyone. It is tough to read.
10. Dead by Sunset
I love Ann Rule. She’s my favorite true crime writer. Oh, and it’s always the husband.
Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite writers I discovered this year. She writes about life in this book. It’s worth reading her perspectives.
Marina Keegan died too soon, but the aspiring writer left behind a wonderful group of stories that her faculty put together in this book. I loved this book because you get an understanding of Keegan, who could easily have been one of my students.
Regardless of what you think about The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington has done some things right. She shares her wisdom and what she learned from her mistakes in this book.
Another one that was difficult to read, this book is the story of Michelle Knight, one of three women kidnapped and held hostage for more than a year by Ariel Castro. It was terrifying and sad, but I couldn’t put it down.
Interestingly, I don’t remember much about this book, but I must have gotten a lot from it because I gave it a four-star rating.
I’ll give you a hint… it’s always the husband, or was it?
17. In Cold Blood
I had nightmares about Truman Capote’s classic book. The strange thing was that it’s not anymore frightening than what we see now on primetime television. There’s just something about his storytelling that gives you the creeps.
Creepy. Creepy. Creepy.
This book made me really think about gender roles, why we care about them and why we shouldn’t.
Relationships make the difference in life. Another great one full of advice from John Maxwell.
Jen Lancaster is amazing. She always makes me laugh.
A teenage girl with HIV makes you reconsider the disease and how it impacts those with no control of their situations.
24. How to Win Friends & Influence People (rereading for class)
Everyone should read this book. No, seriously, everyone. It teaches you how to use the manners your momma taught you to create a more positive workplace and society.
I got tons of great productivity tips from this book. They really do make a difference.
26. Lethal Intent
Aileen Wuornos was one of America’s few female serial killers. That alone makes this book about her worth reading.
27. On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft (rereading for class)
Stephen King’s book on a craft of writing is amazing. If you haven’t read it, you should.
28. Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know (rereading for class)
Jill Geisler’s book on workplace behavior and management is a must read for leaders, especially those in the newsroom, where Geisler got her start. I require this book in my news editing course.
Do you have three to-do lists? I do, but I didn’t know I was doing it right until I read this book. It’s a great read on productivity and organization, two of my favorite topics.
Another of Ann Rule’s amazing true crime novels about Harvey Louis Carignan, a serial killer of women.
This author has solid evidence that his biological father was the zodiac killer. Who wouldn’t read that?
We hope it doesn’t happen, but the truth is that people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. That’s exactly what happened to Michael Morton. In this case, the husband didn’t do it.
34. Lust Killer
Another great “whodunnit” from Ann Rule. I just can’t get enough of her books. Can you tell?
This is the best book on presentation design that I’ve ever read. My class presentations improved 100 percent after reading it. Anyone who ever presents or who has an interest in design should read it.
Dan Reimold’s book gave me more ideas than I know what to do with. I’m going to encourage my students media staff to read it. I’m excited to see what they’ll come up with afterward.
37. Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age (Que Biz-Tech) (reading with a class)
I read Gini Dietrich’s book with my principles of public relations class. We all loved the practical, modern approach to PR problems with great examples.
38. On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (reading with a class)
This is THE book on the craft of non-fiction writing. If you haven’t read it, you must. I required it in my media writing class this semester.
Getting in the mind of a serial killer makes for interesting reading. Hearing first-person from a man who spent most of his life profiling serial killers for the FBI is fascinating.
Another great leadership work by John Maxwell. I don’t love them all equally, but this was good. The way you think really can change your life.
An interesting take on why we procrastinate and what we can do about it.
These are my 41 favorite non-fiction books of 2014. This means I gave them four or five stars after having read them. I hope you’re able to find a few things here that interest you. Let me know what you think! I’d love to discuss them.
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