The Gift (2023 Edition)

Empirical loves the holidays!

At the end of each year, we turn to our team to compile a list of great book recommendations which then becomes our “gift”.

On our 2023 edition, you will find some titles of both fiction and non-fiction works. You’ll recognize some classics, and many new titles as well (plus there are two surprise bonus titles at the end of our list). We are sure you will find some gift ideas from this year’s offerings, whether for yourself or others.

Without further ado, we present our latest edition of The Gift, one of our team’s favorite traditions. Happy holidays from the Empirical team!

Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through the bond trading floors of Salomon Brothers in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  It’s a fascinating read that offers insight and lessons about the nature of markets, ambition, and human behavior.  Learn how the root of the 2008 financial crisis came from and how greed drove the world to the brink of collapse.
– Bill Morrow, Managing Partner

My favorite book this year (and in my top 10 of all time) was Horse by Geraldine Brooks. This book details the true story of Lexington, one of the greatest racehorses of all time, and his black groom. Set during the 1850s, the book covers race, slavery, art, life, a little mystery and humanity.  Truly a beautiful story and a book not to be missed!
– Penni Barton, Marketing

My favorite books from the year was a thriller series: The Fifth Avenue Series. These are by Christoper Smith, a best-selling international author. I was reading it initially over a man’s shoulder on a plane so had to start from the beginning. The six books are: Fifth Avenue, Running of the Bulls, From Manhattan with Love, From Manhattan with Revenge, A Rush to Violence, and Park Avenue.
– Traci Imel, Opearations

My favorite book for the year was Your Next Five Moves – Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet David. I really like that the author walks through the importance and how to sequence strategy, a step that is often forgotten when building strategy.
– Chris Lee, Managing Partner

This year, I reread the Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a short book and a very easy read. The Four Agreements gets at the heart of self-limiting beliefs that hold us back and offers a powerful code of conduct that has personally changed the way I “show up” in the world.
– Michelle Cheney, Marketing

I love James Patterson (OK, I am slightly obsessed with all of his books) and recently I read a book he co-authored entitled Things I Wish I Told My Mother. It is an emotional and heartfelt journey between a mother and a daughter. This book will make you feel all sorts of emotions while also causing you to think about your relationship with your mom and our incredible gift of life.  I highly recommend this to all, but particularly all women. In typical James Patterson fashion, he leaves you speechless.
– Laurie Beasley, HR

My book club focused on debut novels by aspiring young authors this year.  We’ve read some great ones, but my favorite was The Family by Naomi Krupitsky. It’s a fabulous look into the Italian mafia in Brooklyn in the 1950s and the women who stood by their men. I loved the in-depth look at motherhood and female friendships during that era and environment.
– Karen Butz, HR

I tend to read thrillers or horror novels as a bit of escape. One of the most memorable books I’ve read recently is I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid.
– Greg Mays

I’ve got three top picks for the year: Summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear, which delves into building better habits; Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, a game-changer for personal growth; and Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, which offers fascinating insights into human interaction.
– Nilay Patel, Marketing

Reimaging India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation by Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys. The book outlines the vision for a future India with specific actions to take for the various public and private segments of the nation. One outcome of this is the establishment and functioning of a unique individual ID database linking each person to financial institutions, tax authorities, businesses, and others. As a result, even the poorest rural farmer with a mobile phone can make/receive electronic payments and micro-loans; there is a global demand for this from developed and developing countries.
– Shubho Chatterjee, Digital Transformation & Supply Chain

A book that caught me recently is Bob Dylan’s The Philosophy of Modern Song. The cultural depth this book presents is profound. Bob Dylan fan or not, this book will open your eyes (and ears) to music from many traditions, that you might have missed. I highly recommend the audio version, read by a range of well-known voices. (Tip: have music sources at hand to listen to each song before Dylan’s discussion of that tune.)
– Lorraine Ortner-Blake, Marketing

I’ve enjoyed The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These are still great stories, and it has been interesting to read some of the author’s lesser-known tales.
– Simon Dukes, Marketing

My favorite book from the year was The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. I’ve been looking to learn more about the history of my adopted state, Pennsylvania, and this story about the demise of a town due to the break of a dam on the playground of industrial tycoons. This is a truly fascinating and tragic tale (and powerful history lesson) of what is today remembered as a national scandal. And yes, I do love the writing of David McCullough.
– Laurel Cavalluzzo, Marketing

How Big Things Get Done by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner is a book about planning and running mega projects, with data backed insights and illustrative examples on what differentiates the rare successful ones from the rest.
– Ajay Joshi, RevOps

My recommendation is The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle, who is the father of low-cost index investing.
– Howard Seibel, Marketing

Harlan Coben’s The Stranger is suspenseful with tons of twists! It’s not my typical genre, but I will definitely be reading more Coben books.
– Meredith Inman, Marketing

My favorite book from the year was Start-up Nation – The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle Dan Senor and Saul Singer. I read the book earlier this summer before the current events and realize the sensitivity to that issue. The book was signed and given to me by Dan Senor after meeting him at his speaking engagement. The book details several examples as to how Israel has an entrepreneurial spirit (state of mind) and chutzpah out of necessity versus America’s decorum and exhaustive preparation supported by a few key statistics: the country had a population of only 7.1M (at the time the book was written); it is a new country (only 70 years old); there are no natural resources; the country is surrounded by enemies and is in constant war.
YET: Israel produces more start-up companies than stable nations including Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom; it has more companies on the NASDAQ than those from all of Europe, Korea, Japan, Singapore, China, and India combined.
There are great lessons to be learned and parallels that can be taken from the book that can be used by business leaders to create thriving organizations and create sustainable growth.
– Jonathan Peters, Senior Partner

I recommend Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. The latest edition of this best-seller is a gold mine of tips on how to write content that really resonates. Chapters like Show, Don’t Tell and Sweat the Smallest Stuff are true gems. And the last section, 20 Things Marketers Write is bible for B2B and B2C writers. Also, it’s hilarious and reads more “fun” than “professional development!”
Erin Dalton, Marketing

And as a bonus, we offer two additional inspiring titles:

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is not only one of the all-time best-selling children’s books, it is a story of perseverance and certainly offers many sales lessons.

Before You Leap: A Frog’s-Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons by Jim Lewis (Kermit the Frog), is a book full of humor. It starts with Kermit’s biographical story, and continues on to ‘life lessons’ and common sense tips that are much more fun when coming from a frog.

Happy reading as we continue to the end of the year and get ready for a fantastic 2024!