There’s no shortage of great books right now – here’s what the VIBE staff has been enjoying for the past few months.
The Air You Breathe – Frances de Pontes Peebles
We previously mentioned Peebles’ first novel, The Seamstress in a previous reading list. The follow-up novel is equally enchanting and draws you deep into the relationship of a pair of life-long best friends growing up in 1930s and 1940s-era Brazil, right around the surge of samba and Latin jazz. Determined to make it as big stars, the story reveals how fame demands sacrifices in terms of self, pride, family, and relationships.
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Even though it was first written in 1985, this award-winning classic came back into the spotlight in 2020 while people were pondering how love could work in a pandemic landscape. Florentino, the main character, falls in love with Fermina when he is just a young teenager, but her heart remained elusive to him for decades. And yet, she somehow is always a present figure throughout his life, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, and often surprisingly and unexpectedly.
The Devil’s Playbook – Lauren Etter
When vaping first broke into the market, the concept was to be a disrupter in the tobacco industry – like rideshare and taxis, or AirBnB and traditional hotels. This non-fiction account show just how quickly the new segment started following the tactics of the big tobacco trade, fueled largely by the tremendous power that comes with peddling an addictive substance.
Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire – Brad Stone
If you’ve ever wondered how Amazon went from a simple internet bookseller to one of the most undeniable commercial and retail forces on Earth, this non-fiction story is a great place to start. Stone explains the paradigm-shifting approach of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, who realized in e-commerce’s earliest days that what the company sold wasn’t nearly as important as HOW it was sold. The idea of consumer confidence, adaptability, and solutions-based thinking gave Amazon an amazing head start (and longevity) over its competitors… but it wasn’t all about altruism.
Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life – Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas
No! We do not have to be serious all the time in the corporate world to be taken seriously; humor can actually be one of the most powerful tools we have for accomplishing serious things. The authors of the book both teach the popular course Humor: Serious Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where they help some of the world’s most hard-driving, blazer-wearing business minds build levity into their organizations and lives. In Humor, Seriously, they draw on findings by behavioral scientists, world-class comedians, and inspiring business leaders to reveal how humor works and—more important—how you can use more of it, better.
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