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The Best Books I Read in 2014

These are not the best books published in 2014, but the best I read.

Not in any particular order of preference, reading date, reading format (paper, e-book, audio), or literary category.

Adam Alter, Drunk Tank Pink. If anyone wants to know why social psychology is so cool, but doesn’t want to read a textbook, this book is for you.

Michael Lewis, Flash Boys. Fascinating and disturbing. I love everything by Michael Lewis.

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. An oldie but goodie. Been trying for years to get my kids to read this. There’s also a version for teen girls.

Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt, Think Like a Freak. My 12-year old son and I really enjoyed listening to this together on trips to and from his summer camp.

Judith Harris, The Nurture Assumption. Another oldie but goodie. I have re-read this several times and it has changed my entire approach to parenting (and life).

Randall Munroe, What If? Great, funky questions and serious answers.

Homer, The Iliad. Listened to the fantastic Dan Stevens narration. (He’s the actor who played Matthew on Downton Abbey.)

Bryan Caplan, Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids. I swear I did not read this to convince myself to have 4 kids. Read it because it was relevant to my research and loved it.

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? I don't usually read graphic novels, but this is one of the best. If you have aging parents, it may be too scary for you.

Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests. London in 1922.

J. K. Rowling, The Silkworm. I am still mourning P.D. James’ death, but J. K. Rowling totally channels PDJ in her new mystery books. Who knew?

John Lythgow, The Poet’s Corner. If you missed your chance to take a poetry class in college, this is a great little primer. I’d listen to it, not read it.

Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree. One of my favorite books of the last decade – about kids with a variety of conditions and disabilities and how their parents manage. Over 1200 pages and you don’t want it to end. A perfect balance of storytelling and hard facts (e.g., the genetics, the treatment, the politics, etc.).

Lionel Shriver, Big Brother. If reading about a morbidly obese brother was not on your to-do list, think again. Unusual, gripping, thoughtful.

Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys. One of my favorite novels of the last decade. Even better than Amy and Isabelle and Olive Kitteridge.

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