Critique: The Classic Business Book is the New Memoir

Over the summer, one of the executives at my company wrote a blog post on our internal site about her summer reading and podcasts. Now, this is a woman I truly respect and sort of want to be (read: 100% envy). But her post made me unbelievably sad.

Apparently she only reads work/business/management books (and Educated, which I fully approve). You know the kind: the ones that tell you how to be a better leader, how to build character, why lean is the new black, blah … blah … blah.

The post got even sadder when employees started responding about how inspirational her summer reading list was and sharing their own boring-book faves. If these are their inspiration and summer reading, we have some problems.

Work Books

Spotted outside my CTO’s office.

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A Lot of Fight Left in Me

  • What: Educated
  • Who: Tara Westover
  • Pages: 334, hard cover
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Published: 2018
  • The lit: 1463390917-2400px1463390917-2400px1463390917-2400px1463390917-2400px1463390917-2400px of 5 flame

Educated was one of those books that I was a wee bit hesitant to read. Since it was released in February 2018, I’ve seen it everywhere: in the windows of bookstores, every time I log into Amazon, on all of the lists, and even on Ellen.

Could a book really be this good? You know I’m a skeptic! Furthermore, could a memoir be this good? Then, I wondered if I’d had a change of heart about the genre. Before Educated, I had read three memoirs in a little over a year; that totaled the amount I had read in the previous 10 years. With Michelle Obama’s, Tiffany Haddish’s, and The Glass Castle now in my repertoire, did I want more, or did I prefer to not take the risk (I had been choosing the best of the best in the genre after all)?

I’m thrilled to say that Tara Westover’s devastating yet uplifting book about her unorthodox upbringing and her even more unorthodox rise to success and happiness fell right into line with the above-mentioned books. I’m also happy — yet still slightly weary — to report that Educated has shifted my opinion of its genre. My negative feelings toward memoirs are a thing of the past, and I think I’m onboard — or at least in line to board. Let’s be honest: I’ve always been a little late to the party.

Educated

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