New year, new readings | Way of life

If you’re one of more than 5.5 million passionate readers who pledged to read an average of 53 books in the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge last year, have you reached your reading goal? No judgment if you haven’t. Fortunately, a New Year means a clean slate and a chance to set a lofty goal that you can totally crush. Here are some great reads to help you on your way to victory.

The Numbers Don’t Lie: 71 Stories to Help Us Understand the Modern World

In his personal blog, Gates Notes, Microsoft founder Bill Gates proclaims Vaclav Smil to be his favorite author, although he rarely recommends the author’s dense books to others due to the complex jargon. However, Gates claims that Smil’s latest book, The Numbers Don’t Lie: 71 Stories to Help Us Understand the Modern World, is the “most accessible book to date”. Inside, readers will find short, digestible chapters on each of the 71 titular stories on topics as diverse as French wine-drinking habits, why electric vehicles aren’t as green as you might think, and whether the 1880s were the best decade for technological innovation in human history.

Penguin | $ 18


My Pursuit of Beauty: Cosmetic Chemist Reveals Glitz, Glam & Batsh * t Crazy

At 20, Vince Spinnato had already faced a myriad of challenges including bullying, coming out, dyslexia, body dysmorphia, trichotillomania, a devastating breakup, and more. Not to be put off, the New Jersey resident hopped in his car to Hollywood and never looked back. My Pursuit of Beauty documents Spinnato’s career as a serial entrepreneur and cosmetic chemist and details his partnerships with several celebrities – like Jessica Simpson and Michael Jordan – to develop and market their signature scents.

Booklogix | $ 16.99


Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty is the epitome of rags to wealth history and back to rags if there ever was one. Told from the perspective of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s great-great-great-grandson, journalist Anderson Cooper, as well as historian Katherine Howe, this recent publication chronicles the series of happy and unhappy events that shaped the The Vanderbilt Empire in Manhattan during the last decades of the 19th century and – over a century later – saw his heirs squander everything with lavish events and decadent excesses.

Harpist | $ 30

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