New Yorker contributor Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point and Blink. His newest work is the current best-seller Outliers: The Story of Success.
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (Norton, $14). Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation, and this is his best book. Supposedly about football (the title refers to the side of the field a quarterback is blind to), it’s actually an extraordinary story about love and redemption.
Should I Be Tested for Cancer? by H. Gilbert Welch (Univ. of Calif., $15). One of those gems to come out of the academic press failing to get the attention it deserves. It asks a seemingly nonsensical question: Are there situations when you shouldn’t be tested for cancer? And the answer is yes. If you’re worried about cancer, this lucidly argued book will be a godsend.
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $28). I don’t need to say much here. This book invented an entire genre. Economics was never supposed to be this entertaining.
Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt (Knopf, $25). One of the heirs to the Freakonomics legacy. A very clever young writer tells us all sorts of things about what driving says about us. I kept waiting for the moment when my interest in congestion and roads would run its course. It never did.
Nixon Agonistes by Garry Wills (Mariner, $15). A classic from the early ’70s by one of the great political writers of his time. Written just before Richard Nixon resigned, it’s as devastating a portrait of him as has ever been written.
The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin (Harvard Business School Press, $27). Explores what makes great CEOs stand out from their peers. I realize that there are thousands of business books on the subject, but, trust me, this is the first to really answer the question.