With a lot of time on the road comes a lot of time for reading and people often ask for book recommendations, so here are 25 that I read in 2016 and am happy to vouch for. For almost all of these, I went with the audio version so I can keep my eyes on my surroundings – Audible is one of the most used apps on my phone.
Laugh a bit
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. HIGHLY recommend the audio version as she has several cameos in it and her voice makes it that much better.
Bossypants by Tina Fey. Another great, funny, insightful book with a look behind the scenes at SNL (aka a super stressful but amazing workplace).
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. Shorty and quippy, just as you’d expect from Mindy. Quick and funny read.
Brains and stuff
The Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons is interesting and detailed medical stuff hidden in interesting stories. You’ll learn about how the brain and body works without med school.
Who’s in Charge? is another interesting beginner-level brain book in which you learn a lot about neurology; coupled with the former, you’ll feel like a doctor in no time!
Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You is a great way to get horrified by how the natural world behaves. Incredibly detailed, yet well told, the author explores if we’re just meat robots listening to our DNA.
Break Through is a look at how we can change the way we look at environmentalism as a cause, and be better at it.
Technology and innovation
The Second Machine Age will help everyone struggling with what technology is doing to our jobs. Highly recommend, especially if you think that the problem with jobs in the US is an increased minimum wage.
Breakpoint pretty flawlessly goes between the technological, natural and neurological worlds, looking at the breakpoint of networks.
The Shallows is a Pulitzer finalist addressing what the internet is doing to our brains and how it’s changing how we consume and share information.
Here Comes Everybody is about how technology is enabling our society to work as groups rather than individuals. Another interesting look into how social tools are changing us.
Dispatches is a brutally honest look at the Vietnam War from a war correspondent. Incredibly written, but I could only take it in short doses because the subject matter is so intense. I think it should be required reading on the war.
Blood and Thunder is another rough read, but a thorough look at the southwestern United States as the US, Mexico and Native Americans struggled to find peace.
The Battle of Midway covers not just the battle and its importance in the war, but all of the events that lead up to it. I read it while at sea, which really enhanced the experience. So if you can get on a boat with no sight of land, even better for this one.
The Loudest Voice in the Room tells the story of Roger Ailes ascent into power on the political and television scenes and how Fox News became what it is today. Spoiler alert, you will not like this guy by the end (if you somehow do now).
Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone is more than a compilation of Hunter S. Thompson’s writings; it includes extra notes from and communication with his editor, adding context to the incredible writer’s life and words.
From Excuses to Excursions: How I Started Traveling the World is written by the indomitable Gloria Atanmo whose writing style is hilarious and informative. She could just as easily be in the comedy category.
198: How I Ran Out of Countries is a book full of traveler and world record holder Gunnar Garfor’s stories from visiting every country in the world. Warning: it will make you want to be in his friend group really bad.
Learn a language
Pimsleur audio books are designed scientifically to help you learn a language with 30 minutes a day. I’m doing the French lessons on Audible and am shocked at how easy it is (when I’m good and do my lessons every day).
Interesting facts and stuff
The Righteous Mind (Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion) is needed more than ever, helping us understand how our personal biases drive our opinions (and conflict).
Caffeinated takes us into the world of caffeine from the perspective of it as a drug (which it is) and will make you think twice about your daily habit.
Think Like a Freak (and Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics) are mind blowing and fun economics (yes, I called economics fun).
The Accidental Creative explores habits to facilitate creativity in everyone’s lives (not just those we think are born with it).
Creativity, Inc. is an insider look to Pixar (and Disney) and how being a master of workplace culture has lead to financial success.
The Hidden Agenda advises on how to identify people’s hidden agendas, and how to use that information to mutual benefit.
Haven’t found enough inspiration? Here’s another list of great books for the road.