Books to Get You Thinking - Special Holiday Edition

With the crisp November air around us and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it may be just the right time to start thinking about gifts for the Holidays. Books can make great gifts – they come in all flavors for every mood. There’s almost nothing better than to curl up with an engaging book on those cold days of January, long after the excitement of the Holiday season is over! This month I’ll highlight some nonfiction books that you could wrap up to give away.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
The book describes one man’s mission to help alleviate illiteracy and poverty through building schools in the isolated villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The author builds a compelling case for education as a means to counter terrorism and political instability.

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
Tracy Kidder the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Mountains Beyond Mountains presents another powerful narrative that follows the remarkable saga of a man, his struggles in New York after escaping the genocide in Burundi and his subsequent journey back to his homeland to a life dedicated to healing the sick.

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
A companion volume to the television documentary by Ken Burns, this richly illustrated book offers a glimpse into the fascinating history and evolution of America’s National Parks system from the earliest times when the concept of preserving areas of natural beauty as public parks was first conceived in the 1800s.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan
The book chronicles the devastating forest fire of 1910 that swept over three states destroying over three million acres of land. Out of the inferno there emerged Teddy Roosevelt’s great dream of conservation and preserving America’s forests as a national treasure for all citizens.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
An engaging book that highlights the transformation of women’s role in society from the sixties onwards. Personal interviews from women who lived through this era add to the book’s appeal.

The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
The author delves into the fascinating world of neuroscience and neuroplasticity. Using a number of interesting case studies, the author explains the power of positive thinking in changing the structure and functioning of the brain that can have far reaching implications for people suffering from brain damage or other conditions.

Vermeer’s Hat: The seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook In this engaging work about seventeenth-century economic history and the growth of commerce, the author uses the rich imagery from eight beautiful paintings by Vermeer to trace the beginnings of the global world, currency and trade.

Have A Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Albom
The author of the acclaimed Tuesdays with Morrie pens another masterpiece that offers a unique perspective on faith, service, love and tolerance. The chronicles of a Rabbi and a Pastor are skillfully interwoven into a truly inspirational narrative that points out the unity that exists between different faiths.

A Big Little Life: Memoir of a Joyous Dog by Dean Koontz
An enchanting memoir of the author’s golden retriever Trixie, who captivated the heart of her owner with her intelligence, innocence and joyful behavior, and helped renew in him a sense of wonder and trust.

True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy
A poignant memoir penned by the late Senator Edward Kennedy in the final months leading up to his death. The underlying theme of the book is that persistence, patience and perseverance in pursuing goals is the key to success. Keeping your “true compass” eventually leads you to your destination.

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
The Pulitzer Prize winning journalists draw the world’s attention to the atrocities and oppression of women in many developing countries of Asia and Africa. The premise of the book is that taking steps to address this problem is crucial not just for humanitarian reasons but also for economic development, as women can play a vital role in transforming economies.

Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi
An entertaining and inspiring autobiography that spans Patrick Swayze’s thirty years of career on stage, television and films and provides a glimpse of behind the scenes Hollywood. The story of his lifelong beautiful relationship with his wife Lisa is especially heartwarming.

Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy by Peter Goodman
From a leading economic correspondent comes this book that gives an authoritative account of the events leading up to the current economic crisis. An analysis of the events is juxtaposed against the personal stories of people who got caught up in the midst of the economic turmoil.

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Causes Great Firms To Fail by Clayten Christensen
The author, a Harvard Business School professor, introduces the concept of “disruptive technology” a widespread phenomenon today where companies focused on meeting the customer’s present needs fail to develop or adapt technology for tomorrow. The author discusses strategies that would help industries anticipate and successfully meet changes in market conditions.

For titles in fiction, food and entertaining that may make great gifts for people on your list, log back to the December edition of
Books to get you Thinking!
-Nita Mathur

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