My favorite books from 2016


“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” ~ Carl Sagan

With that, here are my top-four reads from 2016:

1) The Road to Character, by David Brooks

Sport builds character. We intuitively feel the truth in that statement, but we can’t articulate how or why.

David Brooks, a wise and centering voice during this year’s political cycle, uses biographical sketches to demonstrate what character is and how it’s cultivated.

2) The End of College, by Kevin Carey

You can’t coach college student-athletes without knowing what college is for in the first place.

Kevin Carey takes on the 1,000-year narrative of where college came from, why the modern university functions the way it does, and what it might look like in 100 years.

I rarely say this anymore, but I couldn’t put this book down.

3) What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind?, by Seth Godin

I love Seth Godin. He’s become my favorite author over the last two years, and I read his blog every day.

This giant is his collection of written works over the last five years. It costs $189, so unless you already love Seth, it’s not a sensible place to start.

Start here.

4) Wooden: A Coach’s Life, by Seth Davis

A well-written biography helps you see a person from multiple perspectives. In turn, you start seeing the people in your own life from multiple perspectives.

That’s what Seth Davis does in his thorough look at UCLA men’s basketball coach, John Wooden. Given his ten NCAA national championships and austere set of values, Wooden cultivated a dignified public perception.

Davis paints a different, more complete picture of the man.

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