There are times when I think the best part of stepping into a new year is not making resolutions about where you are going but reflecting on where you have been. In 2014, one of the most enjoyable and personally meaningful things I did was read. So I thought I’d share my favorite books from the year here. I hope you find at least a few interesting book recommendations on this list that will entertain and enlighten you in 2015!
MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2014
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
I know, I know I’m several decades late to jumping on the ZAMM bandwagon. And I know I’m probably the millionth person to say, “Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? It’s amazing!” But it is a testament to the book’s status as a cultural icon that 40 years after its publication it still draws new fans with its compelling storytelling and an even more compelling approach to philosophy. The central narrative of the book is a motorcycle trip across the United States interspersed with mysterious flashbacks and rambles into questions about knowing, meaning, and reason. Among other things, Pirsig wonders if there is anything beyond the objective world we see and the subjective world of our mind. And if there is something else, what is it? I found this book while I was asking similar questions and it was a great catalyst for my own thinking. Though the paths Pirsig and I took may not have been the same or led to the same end, I’m deeply grateful for his guidebook to the “high country of the mind.” It would be easy to keep writing about this book and the ways it influenced my thinking over the last year but I’ll end here by simply saying that I’d encourage you to read it.
10 OTHER GREAT READS
A Beautiful Anarchy, by David duChemin
This is a powerful manifesto on art and creativity from my favorite photography author. There are no photos in this book, just page after page of reminders to go out there and create. As duChemin puts it, “The magic rarely happens within our comfort zone, but outside it, on the ragged scary edge, where we have to fight like hell to keep from drowning in the unknown. This is where most of us create our best stuff…” If you’re feeling stuck in your creative work, this book can help. Continue reading