Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you want to let all your brains dribble out your ears. These books will make you feel a little smarter without putting you to sleep in your beach chair.
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
We read this for our couple’s book club a few months ago, and had the most fantastic discussion about it. Everyone wants to pretend the doctor is infallible and also that whoever is operating or treating us (or our loved one) is a seasoned professional, but new doctors have to learn somewhere. The uncomfortable balance between excellent medical care and training new doctors is endless fascinating. Also, it makes me never want to get sick and need any kind of medical care. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone
I just raved about this book a few weeks ago, so maybe it’s on your radar, but if it’s not, it should be. Some people just lead very interesting life, and not only is Biz one of those people, but he’s also brilliant at imparting his experiences working at Google, turning down ridiculous sums of cash from Facebook, and watching Twitter grow from the inside. Plus, he’s just ridiculously likable. You’ll be inspired and you might sign up for Twitter too.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
Read this one toward the end of summer and be ready to jump back into the school year. This book really opened my eyes to how many ways there are to better use your time (not just avoiding time wasters, but also building your life to accommodate the things you want to accomplish). I should just buy my own copy so I can refer to it whenever I want.
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
What I knew about the atomic bomb could have fit on a penny before I read this book, and afterward I was regaling all my neighbors with the amazing stories I learned. Sheinkin does an unbelievable job of putting in fascinating details that really flesh out the characters and timeline without bloating the book (it’s about 200 pages long). This reads like a thriller – even when you know how things are going to end up, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford
For more than sixty years, Brenda Ashford worked as a nanny in England. Now as Great Britain’s oldest living nanny, she shares her wisdom about how to properly care for a child. Although she never married or had children of her own, over the course of her life, she was responsible for largely raising more than 100 children. It’s really interesting to see how child-rearing changed over the course of that time, plus it’s set against the background of lots of world change, from WWII to the information age. It’s a delightful, fun read (and it also makes me insanely jealous of people with a night nanny. . . .).