Recommended Reading List: Top 3 Nonfiction Books of All-Time
The article is a reading list sharing the best books to read in various categories based on many hours of reading and research. You'll find many good books to read, organized by category.
This is a reading list for people who don't have time for unimportant books. We only list the best books to read in each category. You can be sure that each one is fantastic and will be worth your time.
Want to keep things simple? Check out the “Top 3” lists in this article to get some great book recommendations without feeling overwhelmed by all the options.
Every day, we will roll out 6 books in different categories to cater to different interests and needs of our readers.
The Stranger as My Guest
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Paperback / softback by Michel Agier, Helen Morrison
Michel Agier has created a sensitive and innovative anthropology which does not describe social types: rather, it analyses relations, through participation in the migrant’s trials and solidarity with their efforts to overcome a condition of fear and hostility, often death. Delineating the multiple figures of the stranger that we are all, he paves the way for a cosmopolitanism of the wandering humanity, our coming humanity.”
The migration crisis of recent years has elicited a double response: on the one hand, many states have responded by tightening border controls, in an attempt to restrict population movements, while on the other hand many citizens have responded by welcoming new arrivals, offering them shelter, food and whatever help they could provide. By so doing, they have re-awakened an old form of anthropology that was long-considered to be dead – that of hospitality.
In this book, Agier develops an original anthropology of hospitality that starts from the reality of hospitality as a social relationship, albeit an asymmetrical one, in which each party has rights and duties. He argues that, with the decline of state and religious support, hospitality is now making a comeback at individual and municipal levels but these local initiatives, while important, are insufficient to respond to the scale of migration in the world today.
We need a new hospitality policy for the modern era, one that will regard hospitality as a right rather than a favour and will treat the stranger as a guest rather than as an alien or an enemy.
This timely and original book will be of great interest to students and scholars in anthropology, sociology and the social sciences generally, and to anyone concerned with migration and refugees in the world today.
China CEO II
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Paperback / softback by Juan Antonio Fernandez, Laurie Underwood
This was one of the most interesting and most positive changes between China CEO (published in 2006) and China CEO II (2020). There are three big differences. First, the original book featured 20 China CEOs who were all men. The new book features 25 China CEOs and four are women. We have to say that the four women are definitely among the most outstanding interviewees in the new book – both in terms of their bold insights and their impressive professional stories.
In general, the women we interviewed simply overcame more challenging obstacles, fought harder, and rose faster into their positions – and had a lot to say because of that. Secondly, none of the original 20 China CEOs were Chinese nationals. Only one was born in China and had changed citizenship to the US. In the new book, five are Chinese nationals (including those from Hong Kong) and three others were born in China but later changed citizenship. This leads to the third change: more China expertise.
Overall, we saw far greater time spent in China as well as Chinese language ability among our interviewees – not only those who are Chinese but also among the non-Chinese CEOs.
We were thrilled to include Kenneth Yu in both books as our returning China CEO. We asked him exactly that question and his answers created the basis for the first chapter called Why China CEO II. He said that Chinese business leaders, consumers and employees are getting much more sophisticated. The rapid rise of domestic competitors has removed many of the advantages MNCs once had, and also that the rise of China’s technology companies has completely changed the game in China.
The fact that China is now leading the world in consumer technologies is the single biggest change between 2006 and 2020. One of the book’s most articulate insights into this shift came from Microsoft’s Greater China CEO, Alain Crozier, who explained that the mindset he asks his headquarters to adopt toward China has changed from accepting that “China is different” (which requires operating differently from the rest of the world) to “China is first” meaning that innovations are taking place in China now which can – and should – be brought to the rest of the world.
Many MNCs were following similar shifts in which the China market is becoming a testing ground for cutting edge innovations and technology usage which are later brought to other markets.
China CEO II was researched in the ‘old normal’ before Covid-19 existed.
However, we would say that the advice in the book – which focuses on overcoming cultural differences in order to successfully lead teams, negotiate deals, and win consumers – are very relevant in the post-Covid-19 scenario.
Our book offers insights, strategies and best practices both for foreign executives advancing their careers in or with China, and Chinese nationals building their careers within MNCs. At this tricky moment, words of wisdom on facilitating collaboration, inclusivity and creativity – and which help bridge the divide between China and the rest of the world – take on a new relevance given the negative impact of Covid-19.
How the Immune System Works
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Paperback / softback by Lauren M. Sompayrac
We think students that have already taken, or are currently taking, an immune course would get the most out of this book. It is written in casual prose, with high-yield points highlighted throughout the text and summarized nicely at the end of each chapter. The first 10 "lectures" are about the fundamentals, and lectures 11-15 are more application-based (e.g. vaccines, immune deficiency, cancers, etc.).
The interactions between the innate and adaptive immune system, between T cells and B cells, between the different receptors and co-receptors can all be very confusing, but we think the author did a fine job laying it all out for us. The chapters seem to add on top of each other organically.
We learned some interesting facts that weren't mentioned in my immunology course, such as why mothers kiss their babies. Apparently, the mother is sampling the types of pathogens the baby is exposed to, and creating specific-IgA antibodies in her milk (p.81). She might also love the baby too, of course. We also thought the chapter on the gut immunology was interesting (chapter 11).
We just finished another book on cancer immunotherapy, and I think the author in this book lays out the reasons why it isn't as effective as people had hoped. Solid tumors outside of the lymphatic system are not likely going to be targeted by T-cells, which have a set traffic-pattern, and moreover they will energize if not exposed to co-stimulatory signals from APCs (p.134).
We recommend this book as a review for students, or members of the general public who have a deep interest in immunology.