If you are looking for books to read this summer, my top non-fiction recommendation is “Upheaval: Turning points for Nations in crisis” by Jared Diamond. This book tops my list because of its topical relevance and deep insights. I have learned so many new things from the book about the seven nations: Finland, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, Australia, and the US. I want to visit Finland to experience her culture and history after reading the book.
The book starts strong, Jared articulates clearly why this book is a “comparative, narrative exploratory study of crisis.” You get a sense of seriousness and care right the way from his choice of words.
I wouldn’t have thought about linking the twelve success factors in dealing with a personal crisis to how nations handle their crises. But with some small tweaks, the twelve factors are surprisingly relevant, easy to follow, and understand. I can’t think of a better framework to analyze these case studies.
The book gives us both warnings and hopes about the future, especially in the context of rising polarization within the US, the UK, and many other countries in Europe. Jared says that he is cautiously optimistic and I am with him.
Bill Gates wrote an excellent review of the book here as well so you can check it out.
Now, if the above is not of interest to you, in a completely different topic, I strongly recommend “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.” by Steven Pinker if you are into writing and want to learn to write better. I have read a number of books about writing from “Elements of style” by William Strunk Jr., “On writing: a memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King, “Everybody writes: your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content” by Ann Handley, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott, etc. But this one is the best for me personally.
I love the overarching theme, the beautifully curated examples. It brings me so much joy reading it.