A tradition at this point, here are the twenty books that I read last year. I’ve included short commentaries, thoughts, and opinions on each one. If you’re looking for a reading list inspiration, I do hope this helps you out!


The Water Will Come, by Jeff Goodell.

There was a certain tone of inevitable gloom and doom to the book; Goodell argues that the sinking of coastal cities are inevitable. It’s not the most insightful or ‘new’ pro-environment book, but still a good one if you’re looking to learn of ways to minimize your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017, by Harvard Business Review.

Ten varied articles, curated by the editors of the Harvard Business Review. I personally found that the ones that leaned towards marketing, technology, and clever use of data more useful. The individual articles were structured like blog posts, and made for easy reading. It’s a great series, and value for money.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Inside Knowledge, by Alison Temperley.

The kind of book that only a woman can (and should) write, being full of “should do’s” that no male author can honestly state or claim. A revealing read on the struggles and challenges that women face in the workplace. It challenged me to be more aware of and conscious to certain behaviours, and I hope to be a more sensitive, understanding, and fair colleague to my female peers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Future Politics, by Jamie Susskind.

A powerful read on how technology is irreversibly changing the way concepts such as democracy work. Susskind challenges us to see how deep we already are in a Big Brother society, and how through our own willing participation we’ve arrived here. Positively Orwellian, it’s sobering how much corporations (and governments) know about us.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward.

Regardless of your American political leanings, one fact is clear: Trump in power is dangerous for many of us. While Trump is undoubtedly charismatic and oddly charming, he is also petulant, impulsive, and – in numerous instances proven in the book – a habitual and professional liar. Woodward is a talented journalist, and the book reads like a gripping Hollywood thriller. Maybe it is, but in real life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Calm Technology, by Amber Case.

An eye-opening read on how great (unintrusive) design in technology could apply to various aspects of businesses, such as marketing, communications, and even hiring. Featuring a succinct list of eight ‘calm technology principles’, Case writes a brilliant and practical set of principles that anyone can apply in day-to-day work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.

I think the reason that this book has stood the test of time is the fact that Dr. Fiore didn’t simply give task-based solutions. Rather, he gave mindset-changing ones. I particularly liked his recommendations on concentrating with positive words, as well as planning out scheduled breaks. Useful, if you’re looking for ways to be more productive or efficient.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The Master Switch, by Tim Wu.

Not a lot of tech-centric books are written in the style of an historical commentary, but this is the genius of Wu’s work. He explores ‘tech eras’, and made me realise just how interconnected tech progression was. If you love history, the book has trivia and insights that will keep you wide-eyed with wonder, page after page.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Introverted Leader, by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D.

“Introversion is not the same as being shy”, is perhaps my favourite soundbite in this book. Introversion, from my experiences, is not always painted in a positive light, but Dr. Kahnweiler challenges us to reframe how we see the situation. The book is great for both introverts and those working with introverts, as it teaches useful relationship approaches for both sides.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Transforming Nokia, by Risto Siilasmaa.

This was a fascinating read on one of my generation’s favourite tech companies: Nokia. I like how it was written by someone from the inside, and who had to make (hard) decisions for the company, its people, and the brand. Some concepts were fluff, but it was nonetheless an entertaining peek into how a giant could almost-fall and be saved through reinvention.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Next ten on the following page.

Published by jsncruz

I write about and work on social marketing. I also teach, climb high places, and lift heavy things. Follow me (@jsncruz) on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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