2018 Year in Review – So Many Good Books! – Special attention to Factfulness and The Color of Law

FactfulnessThere have been years when I have been able to identify a “best book of the year.”  I’m not sure I can pull that off this year.

During the 12 months of 2018, I presented synopses of 23 books at the First Friday Book Synopsis, our book event focusing on Business Books.  (Ed Savage was a guest presenter for one book back in February – thanks, Ed).

And, I presented synopses of another 12 books at the Urban Engagement Book Club, the “Social Justice” book club sponsored by CitySquare.

Willful BlindnessIn earlier years, I have been able to identify a one best book that I presented.  One year, I selected Willful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan.  I may still think that that is the most important book I have presented in the last decade or so.

This year, let me say that I presented synopses of no bad books; and I am reluctant to even attempt to single out any of them as the “best.”  I did present my synopsis of Factfulness, which Bill Gates called the most important book he’s read in recent years.  (He gave a free copy to all 2018 college graduates).  And I think The Captain Class took a unique look at making teams more successful. Terrific book!

And there was also Great at Work, and The Culture Code, and When, and The Excellence Dividend, and How Women Rise, and…. well, you get the picture.  So many good and useful books.

And maybe this is a good reminder that there is no “one book.”  Learning is an accumulation of what you gain from reading and listening and observing over the the long haul..

color-of-law-bookBut I may be able to select a single Social Justice book as the best of the year. Though there were other good books, I think the most important book from this list is  The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America.  This is an exceptional, necessary book!  (Published in 2017 – this post is about books I presented this year; some of them were published in earlier years).

For the business books, my synopses are available at the buy synopses tab at the top of this page. (You get my synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentation).  Click here for our newest additions.

And for most of these books, if you go to the search box on this page and enter the phrase “lessons and takeaways,” you will find my blog post with my lessons and takeaways for nearly all of these books.

In 2019, I plan to present another new round of synopses each month, at each of the two events.  So, stay tuned.

And, keep reading, keep learning – there is always the next new thing to learn!


Here is the complete list of books I presented at these two events this year. (Weird formatting in places below – sorry about that.  Chalk it up to it my technical inability).

The First Friday Book Synopsis
Park City Club
Dallas, Texas
The first Friday of each month, 7:00 am

January, 2018 – – both book presented by Randy Mayeux

1. Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella (Author), Greg Shaw  (Author), Jill Tracie Nichols  (Author), Bill Gates (Foreword).HarperBusiness (September 26, 2017)

2. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss (Author). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (November 21, 2017)

February, 2018

  1. The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage by Daniel Burris. Greenleaf Book Group Press (October 10, 2017) – Guest Presenter Ed Savage
  2.  When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink. Riverhead Books (January 9, 2018)

March, 2018

  1. Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More by Morten Hanson – Simon & Schuster (January 30, 2018)

2. Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers (Collins Business Essentials) by Geoffrey A, Moore. HarperBusiness; 3 edition (January 28, 2014)

April, 2018

1. Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Random House (February 27, 2018)

  1. Mindset by Carol Dweck Ballantine Books; Updated edition (December 26, 2007).

May, 2018

1. The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last by Tom Peters.Vintage (April 3, 2018).

2. How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith. Hachette Books (April 10, 2018).

June, 2018

1. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling, and Ola Rosling. Flatiron Books (April 3, 2018)

  1. The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teamsby Sam Walker. Random House; (May 16, 2017).

July, 2018

1.Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr; Larry Page, (Foreword). Portfolio (April 24, 2018).

2. Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity by Condoleezza Rice and Amy B. Zegart. Twelve (May 1, 2018).

August, 2018

  1. The Culture Codeby Daniel Coyle. Bantam (January 30, 2018).

2. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Simon & Schuster.  (2017)

September, 2018

  1. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson. Harvard Business Review Press (March 20, 2018).
  2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries. Currency; 1 edition (September 13, 2011).

October, 2018

  1. House Rules by Larry James. (2018). Abilene Christian University Press (June 20, 2018)

2. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Asand Giridharadas. Knopf (August 28, 2018).

November, 2018

  1. The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Winby Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. St. Martin’s Press (September 25, 2018)

2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. BenBella Books. (April 3, 2012)

December, 2018

  1. 21 Lessons for the 21st Centuryby Yuval Noah Harari. Spiegel & Grau; 1st Edition edition (September 4, 2018).
  2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Onesby James Clear. Avery (October 16, 2018)


Urban Engagement Book Club
Every Third Thursday at Noon
Opportunity Center
1610 S. Malcolm X Blvd, Dallas Texas 75226

January 18 We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy– Ta-Nehisi Coates

February 15  — Stakes is High: Race, Faith and Hope for America– Michael Waters

March 15  — Hate Crime: The Story of a Dragging in Jasper, Texas– Joyce King

April 19  — The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America– Richard Rothstein

May 17  — From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America– Elizabeth Hinton

June 21  — Reinventing America’s Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System– David Osborne

July 19  — The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy (Cambridge Studies in Stratification Economics: Economics and Social Identity)– Andrea Flynn, Susan R. Holmberg , Dorian T. Warren, Felicia J. Wong

August 16  — I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street– Matt Taibbi

September 20  — Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America– Michael Eric Dyson

October 18  — Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, and Threatens Our Future– Thomas M. Shapiro

November 15  — Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class– Devon Fergus

December 20  — Housing First: Ending Homelessness, Transforming Systems, and Changing Lives– Deborah Padgett, Benjamin Henwood, Sam Tsemberis


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