Our CEO Rich Cavagnaro is an avid reader. Below he shares the list of his favorite books of 2020 and why he recommends each selection.
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is always such a fun read and has fascinating explorations in his books on human behaviors and achievements. This book is no different, even though he embarks upon a more disturbing topic on what forces people to judge others with bias and some of the terrible tragedies that can unfold as a result. If you have ambitions of becoming a better person, parent, citizen, or leader in your company or community start reading this tonight.
Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Ph.D.
Similar at times to Talking to Strangers, it explores pertinent examples of biases against African Americans. 2020 was a year for the US and places around the world to raise awareness of biases that can create horrible outcomes. All of us are aware of the phrase “walk a mile in another person’s shoes” to understand the challenges that person faces. Well, I picked this book up to try to raise my awareness of any hidden biases I may have from growing up as a New Jersey Irish Italian American, and what a teaching lesson I got! Whether you interact with a diverse staff, clients, or community this book will result in you becoming a more enlightened person.
Together by Vivek H. Murthy, MD
This book came out at the start of the year and then COVID-19 was thrust upon us. The uncanny timing of this book always seemed to help me stay a few steps ahead of the many challenging issues we faced as a society and individually. It certainly helped me connect with my staff on very different levels to make sure we could handle the wave upon wave of challenges we faced from working remotely for the first time in our careers to not being able to meet with family and grieve in person with each other during the loss of life of loved ones. People need people to find ways to connect and keep social interactions whether in person, on the phone, or with Zoom and other video chatting programs.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova
Sure, it is a book about learning to play poker. If that is all you take away from this book, you will have missed the lessons. I can best describe this book as putting on a pair of sound-reducing headphones and noticing for the first time all the instruments in a song more acutely and learning how to enjoy the music more. Those types of details exist in our lives all day. Learn to pay attention to them, avoid the distractions, and turn all the noise into a weapon to succeed.
Successful Aging by Dan Levitin
I recently celebrated my 60th birthday, and as Lou Gehrig said, “I’ve got an awful lot to live for.” This book is an encyclopedia (I am dating myself) of knowledge of how to enjoy life by putting a well-rounded plan in place to live life. Yes, you can skip over some of the scientific evidence he uses to validate his suggestions, but the recommendations are insightful. This is a great read for any age!