Best of 2011: Business, Society, Science & God

Today we delve into the important topics. Where are we going, why are we here and what do we do about it. In other words it is the best in Non-Fiction for 2011.

Self-Help and Social Topics

Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World, by Lisa Bloom  Women can break free of the dumbed-down culture of reality TV and celebrity obsession, and instead learn to think for themselves and live an intellectual life.

The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us about What It Means to Be Alive, by Brian Christian A provocative, exuberant, and profound exploration of the ways in which computers are reshaping our ideas of what it means to be human. Its starting point is the annual Turing Test, which pits artificial intelligence programs against people to determine if computers can “think.”

Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week, by Joel Osteen Pastor Osteen writes how we can generate the level of contentment and joy that most people feel on Fridays every day of the week.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck: Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, James Collins Enumerates the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times.

Religion and Spirituality

Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, by Rob Bell The bestselling author of “Velvet Elvis” reveals a secret deep in the heart of millions of Christians–they don’t believe what they have been taught are the essential truths of their faith. Bell squarely faces the questions on everyone’s mind.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem: how the ancient city ignited our modern world, by James Carroll Traces the evolution of the belief that Jerusalem is the center of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious worlds and argues that this fixation is a main cause of the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The God Upgrade: finding your 21st-century spirituality in Judaism’s 5,000-year-old tradition, by James Korngold  For people who don’t believe that God can intervene in our lives, and why Judaism is still important.

Between Heaven and Mirth: why joy, humor, and laughter are at the heart of the spiritual life, by James Martin Using relevant stories and characters from Scripture, insights and teachings from the lives of the saints, spiritual writings, and personal experiences, the author explores the place of joy, humor, and laughter in the spiritual life.

As Far as the Heart Can See: stories to illuminate the soul, by Mark Nepo Poet and philosopher Mark Nepo shares stories based on his life, dreams, and ancestral myths, and enriches them with questions and meditations meant to guide the reader to a fuller appreciation of life.

Flunking Sainthood: a year of breaking the Sabbath, forgetting to pray, and still loving my neighbor, by Jana Riess Riess begins this wry memoir with great plans to become more saintly by undertaking practices such as fasting, gratitude, Sabbath-keeping, and generosity. To her growing humiliation she finds she is failing-not just at some of the practices, but at every single one.


Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, by Tony Horwitz Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U. S. history. Horowitz portrays Brown’s uprising in vivid color, telling the story of the men and women who launched this desperate strike on the slaveholding South, and revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt At the dawn of the Renaissance an intrepid book lover rescued the Roman philosophical text On the Nature of Things from certain oblivion. This one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard A narrative account of the twentieth president’s political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell’s failed attempt to save him from an assassin’s bullet.

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, by David McCullough  McCullough mixes famous and obscure names and delivers a colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, by Erik Larson Scholarly William E. Dodd is appointed ambassador to Nazi Germany, and struggles to adapt to a hostile diplomatic corps and an increasingly violent country. Meanwhile his daughter enjoys Nazi social life, and pursues a relationship with Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels.

Business and Career

Undecided: How to Ditch the Endless Quest for Perfect and Find the Career –and Life That’s Right for You, by Barbara Kelley and Shannon Kelley Young Women graduate from college believing they have to find the perfect path, while their older sisters are longing for the path not taken. And everyone’s wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Undecided is an invaluable guide to this cultural epidemic of analysis paralysis.

The Web 2.0 Job Finder: Winning Social Media Strategies to Get the Job You Want, by Brenda Greene and Coleen Byrne Networking is an important job-hunting strategy; effective use of social media exponentially increases your networking reach.

The Essential Phone Interview Handbook, by Paul J. Bailo Phone interviews are fast becoming the standard for employers when narrowing the pool of applicants and determining who will be invited for in-person interviews. Learn how to prepare, what to say, and when to say it, how to establish your professional presence over the phone, and how to get to the next step.


Cascadia’s fault: the coming earthquake and tsunami that could devastate North America, by Jerry Thompson  A major earthquake and resulting tsunamis are likely to occur off the Pacific Northwest coast within the next two hundred years. When it happens, the effects of the disaster will be far worse than the damage from the 2004 Sumatran quake and tsunamis.

Good mushroom, bad mushroom: who’s who, where to find them, and how to enjoy them safely, by John Plischke Mushroom expert John Plischke considers 50 of the most interesting and noteworthy mushrooms out there, with full-color photos throughout and generous helpings of mushroom recipes.

The great sperm whale: a natural history of the ocean’s most magnificent and mysterious creature, by Richard Ellis  Ellis illuminates the iconic impact of Physeter macrocephalus (“big-headed blower”) on our history, environment, and culture, from its prehistoric past to its current endangered existence, with a substantial nod to Herman Melville and Moby-Dick.

Sex on six legs: lessons on life, love, and language from the insect world, by M. (Marlene) Zuk Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of incredibly complex behavior, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. Zuk explores how they accomplish feats that look like human activity– personality, language, childcare and also calls into question some of our own assumptions about learning, the nature of personality, and what our own large brains might be for.


American Diabetes Association complete guide to diabetes Topics include the latest on self-care for type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes; new types of insulin and medications; strategies for avoiding diabetes complications; expanded sections on meal planning and nutrition; and tips on working with the health care system and insurance providers.

Made in Hanford: the bomb that changed the world, by Hill Williams  Williams traces Hanford’s role in the story of the plutonium bomb, providing clear scientific explanation and personal reminiscences.

Original skin: exploring the marvels of the human hide, by Maryrose Cuskelly Original Skin is at times a scientific study, remarking on the biological magic behind the human body’s largest organ. At others it becomes an anthropological survey, dissecting attitudes towards bare bodies, and the motives behind cultural rituals such as tattoos.

Welcome to your child’s brain: how the mind grows from conception to college, by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang  The author’s separate fact from fiction about the inner workings of young minds, including results from new studies and classic research.

Incognito: the secret lives of brains, by David Eagleman Eagleman investigates brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, in this thrilling exploration of the mind.

Moonwalking with Einstein: the art and science of remembering everything, by Joshua Foer  An account of Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory, drawing on cutting-edge research, a cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade.

One thought on “Best of 2011: Business, Society, Science & God

  1. Pingback: Readers’ Choices – The Most Popular Books at EPL in 2011 |

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