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I love to read and with my discovery of audiobooks at the end of 2016, I’ve been able to read (or listen) to way more books than I was able to in the past. I tend to do audiobooks since I can listen while I get ready, cook, clean, commute to work, and work out. When I’m really into a book, it makes some of these tasks I don’t like (ahem, cleaning) go by way faster.
Regardless if you prefer to read or listen, these are 12 books I’ve read in 2017 that have changed my life.
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1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (link)
The Kite Runner is first novel written by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini and is a beautifully written story about these two young boys, Amir and Hassan, their relationship, and the rise of the Taliban. It paints a graphic depiction of modern day Afghanistan. There is one event that changes the lives of the two main characters drastically and the effect that event has on their lives and relationships just caused so many feelings
2. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance–What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (Link)
This book was recommended to me by a woman I know and respect in the real estate development industry. My self-confidence took a hit after being let go from my first job out of graduate school due to company restructuring, and I was struggling to get my mojo back even after I had found a new job. Not only does The Confidence Code discuss why men tend to be more confident than women, but it also investigates if confidence is something individuals are born with thanks to genetics, or something that can be developed (ultimately, it is a bit of both). This is a must read for anyone. It truly changed the way I looked at difficult situations, assessed my own confidence level, and interpreted criticism from superiors at work. It also talks a little about how parents can help build confidence in young girls and would be a good read for parents as well.
3. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt (Link)
To me, this book is all about cause and effect–if I do this, what will be the effect? Freakonomics essentially applies economic theories to various subjects. My favorite topics were the economics of drug dealing and the effect of legalized abortion on crime (the latter being an interesting view that often isn’t discussed).
4. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (Link)
This is such a beautiful collection of poems! There are four themes: 1) the hurting; 2) the loving; 3) the breaking; and 4) the healing. I think most women can relate to some, if not all, of the themes. Kaur does discuss sexual violence, which can be hard to read, but she balances that with writings about healing and love (self-love and love for others).
5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Link)
Another book by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner! While The Kite Runner is more about male relationships, A Thousand Splendid Suns is about female relationships and details how women’s lives changed with the rise of the Taliban. This is another book I found myself tearing up multiple times throughout the story.
6. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton (Link)
This book was recommended to me by my former boss I worked with at the law firm. Negotiating is something that argurably everyone does, and this book details principles behind the method of principle negotiation and gives examples of how the principles can be applied in real world situations. Since I’ve read this book, I’ve found myself applying these principles in conversations with others and have found it has improved my communication. Win!
7. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges By Amy Cuddy (Link)
Amy Cuddy is the psychologist who did this TED Talk about power posing and faking it until you make it. This book goes more into detail about how to increase presence and how our body language influences our mind. I’ve used the techniques Cuddy describes in this book many times before interviews and important meetings and it has helped me feel more confident.
8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Link)
This book is such a mind twist! It is narrated by Offred, who is a young woman that has had her life ripped from under her as the Republic of Gilead took over the United States of America. Her worth has been reduced to her fertility and she doesn’t have any rights and has been separated from her husband and daughter. It’s alarming to read about how a small group of people were able to overthrow the government and take control. Also, this is a great TV show and I highly recommend that as well!
9. The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works–and How It’s Transforming the American Economy by Charles Fishman (Link)
This is such an interesting read about how Wal-Mart has transformed the economy and how their need for low prices has effected essentially everyone, regardless if you shop or work at the store.
10. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay (Link)
This year was actually my second read of The Defining Decade. The first time I read it was the summer after I finished my undergrad degree. It is such a good read for any twenty-something that feels confused, lost, stuck, or not sure what to do to move forward. The biggest take away for me is that the person to have a bigger impact on your career development will likely be a stranger rather than a close friend because they have different experiences and social networks. This author has also done a TED talk about the subject!
11. The Constitution of the United States of America by the Founding Fathers (Link)
Am I the only one that didn’t read the Constitution anytime in school? With so much discussion this year about what are our rights as American citizens and working in a law firm, I kept wondering, “Well, what does the Constitution say?”. I read this over Fourth of July weekend–which felt like a very appropriate time to read the Constitution!
12. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Associates (Link)
This is an updated version of the incredibly amazing book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was originally published over 75 years ago by Dale Carnegie. As communication in the digital age has shifted from face-to-face interactions to less-personal interactions over email, phone, or social media this book discusses how you can connect with those you’re communicating with and make lasting impressions.
While these are not all the books I’ve read this past year, these are the ones that I’ve recommended to family and friends and that have made a lasting impression on me in one way or another!
What are some of your favorite books you read this year?
P.S. This blog post contains amazon affiliate links which means that I earn a commission if you make purchases through the links above. This is at no extra cost or work for you. I only recommend products I use and truly enjoy. Thank you for supporting India from Indiana!