Sam McNerney (250 Words) provides the list of nonfiction nominees for the National Book Award, which is given by The National Book Foundation. He notes that “there are only a few books on the list that would qualify as ‘business books’ but published the list for readers who ‘are intelligent business thinkers who are interested in smart non-fiction books in general.'” Here is the list:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, by Roz Chast

The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, by John Demos

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, by Anand Gopal

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942, by Nigel Hamilton

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, by Evan Osnos

When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944, by Ronald C. Rosbottom

Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, by Matthew Stewart

The Meaning of Human Existence, by Edward O. Wilson

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

It’s that time of year again to celebrate the freedom to read. According to the The American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week “highlights the value of free and open access to information.” ALA provides lists of books that have been challenged over the years.

Today is International Literacy Day! Kristin Shaw, Editor of Block Talk, presents an interesting infographic created by H&R Block. “In anticipation of International Literacy Day, we took a look at the important role libraries still play in our communities.” An interesting fact for business professionals: the top five nonfiction books checked out most often in 2013 from the New York Public Library included three business titles – Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell; Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson; and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.

“CheckingChecking Out America’s Libraries via H&R Block

Ryan Tate (Wired) writes about Caterina Fake, founder of the app Findery (and Flickr), who thinks short-lived content that is created quickly, like Snapchat, will be replaced with carefully written content. Findery allows “people to post substantive reflections about where they are—think: a few paragraphs or more—and it encourages them to read reflections posted by others. The idea is that you will show up in a particular place and read the ‘notes’ left by others.” There are other startups buying into the enduring content movement such as Medium, Atavist, and’s Automattic, all which allow content for more lengthy stories and articles. Findery users have ranged from Quito, Ecuador; Riga, Latvia; Paris, France; and various U.S. cities including San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.

According to Nielsen‘s latest Cross-Platform Report, “Americans spent more time than ever before looking at all kinds of screens.” Statista’s Felix Richter posted this interesting chart.

Infographic: People Spend More Time Looking at Screens Than Ever | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

The editors at Soundview Executive Book Summaries have a knack for identifying the latest business trends by the book topics that are being published. Lately, there has been an increase in books on the topic of Purpose. Soundview believes this interest is due to the following factors:

  • Younger generations, when considering the work world, are looking at “enjoying life along the way, and believing that what you do matters.”
  • Work needs to have a purpose and be “worth the sacrifice.”
  • Younger generations “want to know that the company they work for is focused on the health and safety of people, and on the preservation of the environment.”

Here are recent titles mentioned in the post about Purpose:

The Purpose Economy, by Aaron Hurst

Part of the Do Books series, Do/Purpose, written by David Hieatt

Black Hole Focus, by Isaiah Hankel

A Culture of Purpose, by Christoph Lueneburger

Valerie Strauss, writing for The Washington Post, lists various book titles that are being read by incoming college freshman that are either required, or suggested reading. Here are some of the titles.

Virginia Commonwealth – The Circle, by Dave Eggers

Seton Hall University – Radium Girls, by D.W. Gregory

Clemson University – Machine Man, by Max Barry

Princeton University – Meaning in Life and Why It Matters, by Susan Wolf

Middle Tennessee State University – This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman

University of Pennsylvania – The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman

New York University – Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Rollins College – My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student, by Rebekah Nathan

Millsaps College – Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn


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