End-of-Year Must-Reads Can Be Reflective, Rewarding and Relaxing

As the year winds down, there’s no better time to take a time-out and crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read. Whether it’s to unwind and escape or prepare for a fruitful new year, exploring a good book is the ideal tool to accomplish either.
If readying for 2015 is your primary reading goal, check out the top business and investing books on Amazon.com for 2014. Topping the list is Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side. The book is about a small group of Wall Streeters who discover that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders (High Frequency Traders). The “boys” work at different firms and discover this separately but gather together and set out to reform the financial markets. Described as an “uplifting read,” Flash Boys is the story of people who have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.
Other top books in that category for 2014 include Leaders Eat Last Deluxe: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sirek, and Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animated. Catmull’s book has been described as a “book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality …”
At GreenEfficient, our senior managers have read more dozens of helpful, motivating and instructive books. We’ve compiled our favorites, beginning with three we think are particularly good reads for welcoming in the New Year:
Attitude 101 – John Maxwell. This book is a concise, reader-friendly guide to mastering attitude issues.
Goals: Setting and Achieving – Zig Ziglar. Available in audio format, this book offers a motivational prospective from the international author and speaker known for delivering messages of humor, hope and encouragement.
How Successful People Think – John Maxwell. This book can help readers change their thinking, thus change their lives. It teaches how to be more creative and to question popular thinking.
Other titles our senior management team consider top picks are:
Good to Great – Jim Collins
Getting Things Done – David Allen
The Art of Public Speaking – Dale Carnegie
The Carrot Principal – Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
Delivering Happiness at Zappos – Tony Hsieh.
The Dip – Seth Godin
Falling Forward – John Maxwell
Managing Oneself – Peter F. Drucker
Mentoring 101 – John Maxwell
If your end-of-year book tastes gravitate toward titles geared more toward relaxation than self-reflection, consider reading – or watching on the big screen or on DVD – one of the many captivating books that were turned into movies this year. From family-friendly-fare to romance, to suspense and true stories, there’s no shortage. Here are a few:
Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand. This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner-turned army pilot and World War II prisoner of war.
The Monuments Men – Robert M. Edsel. Also set during World War II, this is the story of U.S. and British museum directors, curators and art historians who risked their lives to save European art.
The Giver – Lois Lowry. The book, a Newbery Medal Award winner in 1994 and perennial assignment for student reading every year since, is the story of a young boy given the task of “receiver of memory,” the keeper of a futuristic society’s past memories.
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins. This is third and final book in the dystopian Hunger Games Trilogy.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed. This memoir details the physical and emotional journey along the Pacific Coast Trail the author embarks upon after the loss of her mother.
The Hobbitt – J.R.R. Tolkien. Another classic, this is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings and details Bilbo Baggin’s journey through Middle Earth.
The Fault in Our Stars – John Breen. A young-adult story that captivated both youngsters and adults alike, this novel is the story of a teenage girl battling cancer who falls for a boy also stricken with cancer.
Divergent – Veronica Roth. This is the first installment in a debut trilogy set in dystopian Chicago during a post-apocalyptic society.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst. A cherished children’s book parents have read over-and-over again to their children for more than 40 years, it shares the travails of an 11-year-old boy during his worst-day-ever.
Happy reading (or viewing) for a Happy New Year!

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