Books move us. They can be modes of escapism and fantasy; they can serve as therapy or education, catharsis or self-identification. They allow us to focus – they give permission to drift. Different and differing revelations can surge and mixed emotions can flood. That’s the magic of words. Here is the list of 14 BUCKET LIST BOOKS TO READ IN A LIFETIME — as curated by the best of the best. It was an exhilarating post to put together as some of our nation’s top cultural/pop cultural/historical icons and movers and shakers revealed what book has affected them the most in their lifetime. Nothing says more about a person – and nothing serves as better advice to us than reading the book that inspired them.
I hope you checked out the 2017 LA FESTIVAL OF BOOKS last weekend. It’s the Coachella for book nerds like me — a Utopian setting where our world’s best authors and all their disciples got to hang out.
And a huge thank you to all my incredible idols who contributed to this blog post. I have a lot of stuff on my to-do list now.
HERE WE GO!
+ THE FIRE NEXT TIME (James Baldwin) :: as suggested by KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR (author, activist, Washington Post columnist, Founder/Chairman of SKYHOOK FOUNDATION, all time NBA leader scorer and six time NBA champion)
+ He was the first articulate person I understood who could explain why America was so screwed up in real terms that I could understand.
++ this book must really be of superbly poignant words, as it’s also been suggested by his good friend and mentor (and my guiding force as well), Dr. Harry Edwards…
+ THE FIRE NEXT TIME (James Baldwin) :: as suggested by DR. HARRY EDWARDS (Black Panther, Spiritual Adviser to the SF 49ers and Golden State Warriors, UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus, activist, grandfather)
+ James Baldwin speaks powerfully, prophetically and with enduring relevance to both the folly and futility of crafting change strategies and proposed solutions to societal issues and problems that are not inclusive, that do not encompass the interests of all stakeholders – lest we risk yet again bringing to fruition that prophecy recreated from the Bible in a song by a slave: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”
+ MEDITATIONS (Marcus Aurelius) :: as suggested by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON (NYT bestselling author, columnist, entrepreneur, founder of The Huffington Post, Thrive Global and a leader in the Sleep Revolution)
+ FIND A WAY (Diana Nyad) :: as suggested by CINDY WHITEHEAD (Pro Skater immortalized at the Smithsonian and the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, TED TALK speaker, author)
+ At the age of 64, and on her 5th attempt, swimmer Diana Nyad finally completed her Cuba to Florida swim – it’s a story about never giving up and that you are never too old to chase your dreams.
+ I’VE GOT THE LIGHT OF FREEDOM (Charles Payne) :: as suggested by NICOLE ROCKLIN (Academy Award Winner for SPOTLIGHT (producer))
+ WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE (Julie Otsuka) :: as suggested by PRINCE JACKSON (Director, Producer, spokesperson/activist for HEAL LA)
+ It’s a first person narrative about the Japanese Americans in America after Pearl Harbor. It’s not horribly shocking but it is definitely eye opening to the various struggles that other minorities have to go through and not just the ones portrayed in the media.
+ THE GODFATHER (Mario Puzo) :: as suggested by MAZ JOBRANI (Actor, Comedian, Activist, Upcoming Commencement Keynote Speaker for UC Berkeley Spring 2017)
+ It is a great book about power and the immigrant experience in America. Even better than the films (which are my favorites).
+ MINDSET (Carol Dweck, Ph.D.) :: as suggested by DAVID BARAM (Founder of LBI Entertainment, Managing Director of VMG Partners, former President / COO of The Firm)
+ This is a compelling reminder that life is so full of opportunities for personal growth and to impact the world around us once we pursue a growth mindset; we are all works in progress that are have the extraordinary ability to escape the Matrix.
+ THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (Joan Didion) :: as suggested by SARA GILBERT (Emmy Award winning actress, Emmy Award winning TV host/Executive Producer, LGBT and vegan activist, author, Yale grad)
+ There’s a poignancy and profundity to all of her works – a rationale to why The Year of Magical Thinking is a must read book wouldn’t do it justice.
+ A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS (Khaled Hosseini) :: as suggested by BONNIE BRUCKHEIMER (Producer, Pioneer, Activist)
+ I read for pleasure, since so much of my career required constant reading of scripts. In order to do something totally for myself, I choose fiction. I consider A Thousand Splendid Suns as a ‘must read’ book. The strength of women is personified in this devastating story of a world so brutal that you and I could only ever imagine. I continue to count my blessings on being born a woman and books such as this one confirm my beliefs.
+ THE FEDERALIST PAPERS (Hamilton / Madison / Jay) :: as suggested by AMY TRASK (business executive, NFL Analyst and author of You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football League)
+ An understanding of the constitutional foundation of our republic is essential in order to engage in a meaningful, productive, civil discussion of many important issues.
+ A CITY OF THIEVES (David Benioff) :: as suggested by SEAN CONLON (real estate mogul and star of CNBC’s The Deed: Chicago)
+ A beautifully dark and sardonic take on life. And short enough for this day and age.
+ HOW TO BECOME A RAINMAKER (Jeffrey J. Fox) :: as suggested by TAMI HALTON PARDEE (Founder and CEO, Halton Pardee + Partners, Philanthropist of the Year nominee (Los Angeles Business Journal), a real estate record breaker and a mover of mountains despite Multiple Sclerosis)
+ It’s old school and sometimes going back to basics is important.
+ THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE (Thomas Friedman) :: as suggested by SHERYL O’LOUGHLIN (CEO OF REBBL, FORMER CEO OF CLIF BAR / PLUM ORGANICS, AUTHOR OF KILLING IT!, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ENTREPRENEURIAL STUDIES AT THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY)
+ This is an excellent book for thinking big picture about the impact of where our society and planet is and where it’s going. It will spur thinking on the implications for our businesses in terms of opportunities and risk areas.
+++ AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NEVER LEAST……THE INSURMOUNTABLE TONY ROBBINS!
+ MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING (Viktor E. Frankl) :: as suggested by TONY ROBBINS (entrepreneur, philanthropist, the nation’s #1 life and business strategist, our world’s life coach, author of innumerable internationally bestselling books — including the recently released #1 NYT bestseller (and the answer to everything) Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook.
++ AND THERE YOU GO. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND, EVERYONE! EMBRACE THE LEARNING JUNKIE INSIDE OF YOU AND READ UP!