Top 10 Books of December 2017

#1

Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life

Author: Daymond John and Daniel Paisner

Daymond John knows what it means to push yourself hard–and he also knows how spectacularly a killer work ethic can pay off. As a young man, he founded a modest line of clothing on a $40 budget by hand-sewing hats between his shifts at Red Lobster. Today, his brand FUBU has over $6 billion in sales.

 

Convenient though it might be to believe that you can shortcut your way to the top, says John, the truth is that if you want to get and stay ahead, you need to put in the work. You need to out-think, out-hustle, and out-perform everyone around you. You’ve got to rise and grind every day.

 

In the anticipated follow-up to the bestselling The Power of Broke, Daymond takes an up close look at the hard-charging routines and winning secrets of individuals who have risen to the challenges in their lives and grinded their way to the very tops of their fields. Along the way, he also reveals how grit and persistence both helped him overcome the obstacles he has faced in life and ultimately fueled his success.

 

#2

How Democracies Die

Author: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.

 

Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.

 

#3

A Legacy of Spies: A Novel

Author: John le Carré

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.

 

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carré has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carré and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new.

 

#4

7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life

Author: Mary C. Neal M.D.

In this inspired follow-up to her million-copy bestseller, To Heaven and Back, Dr. Mary Neal shares untold stories about her encounters with Jesus and powerful insights about how the reality of heaven can make each day magnificent.

Dr. Mary Neal’s unforgettable account of a 1999 kayaking accident that took her life, and what happened next, has riveted more than a million readers. But something happened as she shared her story in the years since. Not only did Neal realize she had more to tell, she discovered she had yet to answer the biggest question of all: How does knowing heaven is real change our lives on Earth?

“I have never finished speaking at a venue, including corporate settings, without people wanting to know more,” says Dr. Neal. In 7 Lessons From Heaven, Neal takes readers deeper into her experience, which includes encounters with angels, a journey to a “city of light,” and what it was like to meet Jesus face-to-face. Even more, Neal shares how she was sent back with the absolute knowledge that the God we hope for—the one who knows us, loves each of us as though we are the only one, and wants us to experience joy in our daily life—is real and present. She offers practical insights and inspiration for how each of us can experience this God every day and begin living without regret, worry, anxiety, or fear.

 

#5

Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth

Author: Howard Kurtz

According to the media, Donald Trump could never become president. Now many are on a mission to prove he shouldn’t be president. The Trump administration and the press are at war―and as in any war, the first casualty has been truth. Bestselling author Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News’s Media Buzz and former Washington Post columnist, offers a stunning exposé of how supposedly objective journalists, alarmed by Trump’s success, have moved into the opposing camp.

 

Kurtz’s exclusive, in-depth, behind-the-scenes interviews with reporters, anchors, and insiders within the Trump White House reveal the unprecedented hostility between the media and the president they cover.

 

#6

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life

Author: Henry Cloud and John Townsend

If you’ve ever wondered: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Why do I feel guilty when I consider setting boundaries? Unpacking the 10 laws of boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend give you biblically based answers to these and other tough questions, and show you how to set healthy boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, coworkers, and even with yourself.

 

In Boundaries, Drs. Cloud and Townsend show you how to bring new health to your relationships. You’ll discover firsthand how to reclaim your freedom to walk as the loving, giving, fulfilled individual God created you to be.

 

#7

The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

 

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

 

#8

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

Author: Sam Quinones

From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma, an explosive and shocking account of addiction and black tar heroin in the heartland of America.

 

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America–addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

 

With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive–extremely addictive–miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin–cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel–assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

 

Introducing a memorable cast of characters–pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents–Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.

 

#9

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Author: Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

 

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

 

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

 

#10

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

Author: Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.

 

Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.


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