Here are my favorite author-specific books from 2011, as part of my series, “The Year of Books.” The books with extended reviews are the ones that I rated as “5”; the ones without reviews, I rated as “4”. The reviews themselves are what I wrote at the time I read them (edited slightly for the blog).
The Alternate Title:
I Read It Because of the Author and Not Because of the Subject Matter
1. The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen by Michael Ruhlman
I really enjoyed this book. It’s about celebrity chefs, which I really don’t care about at all. But his writing is so compelling that I’m giving it 5 stars. I can’t wait to read his other books. And I’d love to eat at Thomas Keller’s restaurants!
2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
This was by far the best of the three Gladwell books that I’ve read. Nik and I have had some good conversations coming out of this book – primarily, “What does Ellie need to practice for 10,000 hours in order to become excellent at it?” (And I know, we’re going to sound like the “Tiger Mother” soon!) The book is sobering on many levels though because he clearly shows that success depends on so much more than personal determination and hard work and smarts. Most people must think that if a person is smart enough and tries hard enough, they are bound to succeed. Sadly, this is not the case.
3. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
I love all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. I think we should just put him in charge of the world and let him solve the world’s problems. This book makes a good stab at them.
In addition, I also enjoyed the following books by these authors in 2011:
Walk on Water by Michael Ruhlman (about pediatric open heart surgery)
Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell