Our Favorite Books of 2017


Our Favorite Books Of 2017

At the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership, we are always on the lookout for the best new books that bridge the worlds of business and academia. We look in particular for books that provide practical insights on how to live and work more ethically. 2017 has been a turbulent year in many ways, filled with both trials and triumphs for business and society. Here are the books that motivated and inspired us—some through their cutting-edge research, others through their timeless wisdom—to live and lead with courage, honesty, and compassion.


Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times by Nancy Koehn

Do we live in a world without heroes? It’s no secret that fewer and fewer people trust leaders in business, government, and the media to do the right thing. That’s why Forged in Crisis provides relief as well as inspiration. Nancy Koehn, a historian at Harvard Business School, tells of the crises faced by five leaders—Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Shackleton, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson—and the courage that helped them forge ahead and make the world a better place.


Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky

Stanford neuroendocrinologist and MacArthur fellow Robert Sapolsky explained the science of stress in his bestselling book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. In his new book, Sapolsky turns to the biology of human behavior. With powerful storytelling and lucid explanations, Sapolsky takes us on a journey inside our brains, hormones, and nerves as they work together to create kindness and charity on the one hand and violence and hate on the other. By offering a rich narrative of "why we do what we do," Behave teaches us to have compassion for behavior gone wrong, and it offers fresh ideas for getting the best out of ourselves and others.


The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others by Tali Sharon

Everyday at both home and work we attempt to change ourselves and others - but do we really know what works to effectively influence another? Neuroscientist Tali Sharot translates the latest brain science into accessible, engaging, practical insights that will change how you lead others, and how you overcome the shortcomings in your own decision-making.


The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Great leaders create moments of inspiration and transformation for others. In their latest book, the Heath brothers (authors of NY Times best-sellers Made to Stick and Switch) weave together research with stories from business and family life to describe how you can create such moments for your colleagues, customers, and your loved ones. This book will make you better at work and at home!


The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis has a gift for turning mind-numbingly complex subjects into page turners. He did with sports analytics in Moneyball and again with credit default swaps in The Big Short. In The Undoing Project Lewis turns his attention to psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Taversky, who together created the field of study known as behavioral economics. Through the lens of the friendship between the two men, Lewis explains their counterintuitive findings about the ways our everyday decisions go haywire.


A World of Three Zeros Muhammad Yunus

Poverty, environmental degradation, unemployment. Problems as large as these lead some to denial and others to despair. But they lead Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus to a vision for a kinder, gentler, and cleaner planet. Yunus draws upon his work in microfinance to help create a blueprint for “social businesses” that address humanity's most pressing concerns.


Principles: Work and Life by Ray Dalio

After starting out investing in the stock market at the age of twelve, Ray Dalio went on to found Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. "Principles" are what Dalio calls the little pieces of wisdom he has gleaned along the way, both from his successes and—more often—from his failures (including almost going broke eight years after founding Bridgewater). Principles is part autobiography, part guidebook for all of the most important decisions you will make in work and in life.