I love to read, so for my last post in 2015, I would like to share my top 5 favorite books of the year!
1. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (Must Read!)
This book details the author, Joshua Foer’s journey from being a journalist with average memory to a participant in the U.S. Memory Championship. Joshua Foer was skeptical that memory can be improved or that you can train anyone to memorize thousands of random numbers and have them be able to recite them back forbadom. The book discusses the evolution of memory usage, the anatomy of the brain and tricks to improve our memory. The most fascinating for me was memory palaces. Memory palaces are physical places where you know inside and out, in most cases, your home. Then you associate random words or numbers with vivid images as you walk through the house. Later, you are able to recall these random words when you mentally walk through your house.
My Opinion: I am absolutely stunned by this book because I tried one of the short mental practices and it actually works! An example string of words in the book is: “bear”, “truck”, “college”, “shoe”, “drama”, “garbage”, and “watermelon”. By using images, I was able to remember this random string of words for around 5 hours! Normally these words would be gone within a minute.
2. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Must Read!)
Elon Musk is the CEO and Chairman of leading companies today including Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. This book begins with his childhood in South Africa and details his journey to Canada, U.S., then starting Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity. His goal in life is to make humans a multi-planetary species. Ashlee Vance spent over 40 hours talking to Musk and interviewed over 300 people. The result: a phenomenal book on how Elon started and ran his companies and glimpses of who he is and how he thinks.
My Opinion: For disclosure I have always been a long time admirer of Elon Musk so I loved reading this book and think it’s a must read for everyone!
I really enjoyed the background story about Elon’s family and childhood; especially about Elon’s maternal grandfather, Joshua Norman Halderman, who picked up flying and moved the family to South Africa.
Then the chapters about Elon starting and running Zip 2, PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla were truly fascinating. The book went in depth on each company, how it was started, the challenges each company faced and how Elon ran each company. What you come away with is how hard Elon works for his ultimate goal of settlement on Mars, making humans a multi-planetary species. Elon is just different, this guy is giving away all of Tesla’s patents because he wants all automotive companies to make electrical cars because he believes electrical cars is the better path for human kinds.
This book inspires me to work harder. It challenges your thinking; if you want a 9-5 job then you simple don’t invest in yourself enough to achieve anything great.
I love the fast pace of this book with its ability to combine technical explanations of what’s going on with Tesla and SpaceX. If you loved reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson then you are guaranteed to love this book!
3. The Nightingale
The Nightingale is a story about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during Nazi’s invasion of France during World War II. Vianne is more reserved and cautious while Isabelle is more outspoken and audacious. The story starts with Vianne and Isabelle trying to survive under the Nazi rule and transforms into them running secret missions to help as many people as they could.
My Opinion: I purchased the book simply because I have never seen another book with such high ratings on Amazon. I loved this book and both storylines about these two sisters with different personalities. This book “action-packed” and is definitely is a page-turner.
4. What She Left Behind
This book tells two parallel stories of Clara and Izzy. Clara’s story is set in 1929 as a daughter of a wealthy family. She fell in love with an immigrant so her family sent her to a genteel home. Then when her family lost its fortune in the stock market crash, she was sent to a public asylum. The reader will follow her through the conditions and treatments of patients in public asylums during that era. Izzy’s story takes place in modern day, where she moves from foster home to foster home. Izzy’s mother is in jail for shooting her father when Izzy was young.
My Opinion: This book stirred my emotions more than any book this year and the most prominent emotion is anger. How the mentally unstable patients were treated in the 30s blows my mind. I loved Clara’s Story, which has many twists and turns. Izzy’s story is okay and is more suited for young adults, but the ending to her story definitely surprised me and made me appreciate her storyline much more.
5. China Rich Girlfriend
This book is the sequel to Kevin Kwan’s first book, Crazy Rich Asians. These books offer a glimpse into the lives of the ultra rich Asians. This sequel continues the story of the main characters from the first book, Rachel Chu, Nicolas Young and Astrid Leong. It talks about billion dollar homes, private jets, jewelries from 600 B.C., owning properties the size of central park in Singapore, old money vs. new money divides, how money changes people, crazy shopping trips in Europe and much more.
My Opinion: This book is purely for entertainment; it definitely brought a few good laughs out of me. If you like love stories, funny drama and fashion and are curious about how ultra rich people live then you will like this book!
Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any book suggestions for me!