The best book I read in 2007

I’m nuts about books. I finish a book a week, and abandon many more. Looking back on the year, picking a favorite, #1 book to recommend is easy – that’s how much I enjoyed this book. It’s Over the edge of the world, by Laurence Bergreen.

Over the edge of the world

The book tells the wild, nearly unbelievably difficult tale of Magellan’s expedition to circumnavigate the world. In short, everything goes wrong. Mutiny, starvation, politics, bad project management, and on it goes. There’s also what has to be one of the greatest idea pitches ever (“Yes, I will go all the way around the world, requiring several routes no one has discovered yet, and you will pay for it”). And it’s all told with the perfect balance of tight, thrilling storytelling and historic detail.

I love books like this for their power to humble: they put all of the challenges and complaints people have today in relief. Nothing any entrepreneur or middle manager faces today even approximates the risks, suffering, and significance of what these historic figures did. Finishing this book I felt inspired by the realities of what Magellan and his crew did, rather than the false, simple tale I’d learned as a kid.

It’s a great gift choice for anyone interested in innovation, how progress happens, how myths compare to realities, project management, people management of all kinds, and well told true adventure tales.

Over the edge of the world: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, by Laurence Bergreen.

6 Responses to “The best book I read in 2007”

  1. Tina

    I just looked back over your book review segment to see what other books you’d recommended. Several interesting ones to seek out. You say you read a book a week (and put down more)… ever thought of just keeping a running list, maybe with tags of what you thought was interesting/intriguing?

  2. Scott

    Hi Tina: I’ve thought about it, but this blog thing can easily get out of control, and I care a great deal about keeping the signal to noise ratio high. Writing a book review every time I read something seems silly – metacritic makes me mostly redundant.

    But if enough people wanted it, I’d do it. I just doubt thats what many folks want from me :)

  3. Chrissy

    Hi Scott, I’m a big fan of Over the Edge of the World as well. I’m wondering if you would be interested in a book i received today from a friend called The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann?
    Let me know what you think… I would love to hear your thoughts.

  4. Scott

    Hi Chrissy: Not familiar with the book, but a quick peek online suggests it’s a business parable book, and I’ve never made it past page 15 of one of those. At least not yet :)

  5. J Doss

    I am downloading off of iTunes as we speak. I’ll let you know how the audiobook is.



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