Out of all our Reading List reviews over the past 12 months, we think these nine deserve another look. Pick one (or all) up if you haven’t yet—and if you’ve bought them already, remember that books you love make thoughtful gifts.
Inspirational and Motivational
1. In his endearing memoir, The Promise of a Pencil (Scribner), Adam Braun shares his story of personal transformation from money-obsessed Wall Streeter to the 20-something founder of a nonprofit that builds schools in developing countries.
2. Uncontainable by The Container Store founder Kip Tindell, with Paul Keegan and Casey Shilling (Grand Central Publishing), is a love story about a man, his passion for simple solutions and his unshakable belief that conscious capitalism can build a business where everyone thrives.
3. Talk Like TED by communications coach Carmine Gallo (St. Martin’s Press) is crammed with valuable insights culled from TED Talks, along with practical do’s and don’ts. It can help anyone learn to stand and deliver a compelling, convincing and memorable speech or presentation.
4. In Pitch Perfect, Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman (Harper Business) explain their Seven Principles of Persuasion and coach readers on how to express themselves more effectively when giving presentations or in everyday conversation.
5. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace (Random House) offers an inside look into the respective arts of animation and leadership and tells how both influenced the many successes and occasional missteps of Pixar Animation Studios.
6. More than a well-designed cheat sheet, The Business Book (DK Publishing) is a title that a young entrepreneur can dive into for valuable factoids to impress a potential investor, keeping the conversation going at a networking event or to simply fill in some knowledge gaps.
7. The Innovators (Simon & Schuster), Walter Isaacson’s richly detailed history of the evolution of the computer and Internet, pays homage to the dazzling minds and eccentric cast of characters—some famous and many little-known—whose stunning contributions led to the digital revolution.
8. Experience the fly-on-the-wall perspective inside a company where smart creatives, teamwork and innovation rule by reading How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, with Alan Eagle (Grand Central Publishing).
9. Why do coincidences and miracles happen every day? Author David J. Hand, emeritus professor of mathematics and senior research investigator at London’s Imperial College, reveals the odds behind these rare events in The Improbability Principle (Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux).