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Snap Poll: Readers share book recommendations

Summer is when many people finally find the time to read some good books—fiction, non-fiction or both. Some pick up a book they have been meaning to read for a long time; others turn to friends or people they respect for suggestions.

The majority of readers—56 percent— of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll prefer non-fiction for summer reading. Of those, 15 percent prefer to spend their time on business-related nonfiction. The remaining 44 percent of respondents would rather get lost in fiction.

When asked what topped their summer reading list, readers offered up a bounty of titles ranging from the Bible to “The Best Place to Work” by Ron Friedman to “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

There were some titles that seemed to be popular, as they were selected by several readers. The top vote-getters were:

  •  “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr;
  •  “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande;
  •  “Go Set a Watchman: A Novel” by Harper Lee;
  •  “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell;
  •  “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins;
  •  “The Martian” by Andy Weir; and
  •  “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough.

A reading list Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates recommended recently included “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks; “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism” by Doris Kearns Goodwin; and “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff and Irving Geis.

Or you can scan the best-seller lists. On the New York Times list, recent combined print and e-book leaders have included “Go Set a Watchman” (fiction) by Harper Lee and “Between the World and Me” (non-fiction) by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The Coates book was on President Barack Obama’s August vacation reading list, the White House said. He also planned to read “All That Is” by James Salter; “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr; “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert; “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri; and “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow.

More than 200 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Aug. 17 and 18.

What have you mainly been reading this summer?
Fiction: 44%
Other non-fiction: 41%
Business non-fiction : 15%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.

COMMENTS:
(“Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation” by Bill Nye is a) fascinating book and easy to read, considering it is a science book.
—Mary Spurrier, CFP, M Spurrier Financial Services LLC

“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson. This book provides great insights into systemic inequalities in the criminal justice system, through the sharing of stories about specific cases of injustice.
—James Norman

“The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country” by Gabriel Sherman. Incredible insight into what drives this man and how he has used his power to try to work the system. The manipulation is incredible.
—Andy Vaughan

“Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar, was there from the beginning. He helped to build a creative culture unlike any other. Its successes we all know from the silver screen. This book is an anecdote-driven, thoughtful exposition of Pixar’s methods, belief system and how they address their growing pains. Truly inspirational and a must-read for people who lead creative teams and organizations.
—Joshua C. Pies, Executive Producer, C47 Film Associates

“The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime” by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca. Interesting book about the unwritten rules of professional baseball. A lot goes on that nine out of 10 people don’t notice. The book has a lot of recent stories, mixed in with anecdotes from 100 years ago.
—Keith Newcomer

(“All the Light We Cannot See” is) an informative book about science, technology and the politics of dominance poetically written about the lives of a German orphan and French blind girl during the rise of National Socialism in Europe.
—Garry Geer, Geer Photography

“Queen of the Fall: A Memoir of Girls and Goddesses (American Lives)” by Sonja Livingston.
—Patricia Uttaro, Rochester Public Library & Monroe County Library System

“Outline: A Novel” by Rachel Cusk. Deceptively simple, beautifully written book.
—Charles Benoit, Dixon Schwabl

“The Best Place to Work” by Ron Friedman.
—James Barons, Brown & Brown

“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty. I enjoyed her other books, as well, including “Big Little Lies” and “What Alice Forgot.” Easy reading.
—Rich Mileo

“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” by Daniel James Brown. An incredible story of teamwork and perseverance.
—Robert Voelcker

I’ve read mostly fiction, but “Being Mortal” was the best and most interesting reading for me. I’ve read other books by Dr. Gawande and think they are all important and relevant.
—Emily Neece

Wish I had set aside a few good books the beginning of the summer. I will make a reading list and work through it. Many entrepreneurs use the list to get things done. I always recommend it to my colleagues. Practice what I preach.
—Kim Pandina, Panda Wear Lapidary and Designer

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.
—William Green

“The Mime Order (The Bone Season),” by Samantha Shannon.
—Mark Williams

Many times, “the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak” takes over. There are too many things to do. You do want to enjoy the limited summers in Upstate New York is willing!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

“33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask” by Thomas E. Woods. (It’s about) 33 topics we think we already know about, but we probably don’t. Very easy read by Tom Woods. Some topics include: Did the founding fathers support immigration? Was the Civil War all about slavery? Did the framers really look to the American Indians as the model for the U.S. political system? Was the U.S. Constitution meant to be a “living, breathing” document—and does it grant the federal government wide latitude to operate it pleases? Did Bill Clinton actually stop a genocide, as we’re told?
—Patrick Tobin

“Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court” by Damon Root. A very provocative book, given that three justices including Scalia, Ginsburg, and the “swing voter” will be 80 or older in 2016. Depending on the election, the next president could make three appointments and clearly establish liberalism or conservativism for decades.
—Hal Gaffin, Fairport

8/21/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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