With Dad's Day coming up quick, I've rounded up a handful of great books that are not only father-friendly but are also great reads.
by Joel Stein
I've been a fan of Joel Stein's humor column in TIME magazine for a while... he reminds me of a modern-day Dave Barry, but with a little more edge (and lots more pop-culture and celebrity references). His new book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, is all about what happens when his wife is pregnant and he learns he's about to be a father to a boy... and he realizes he better learn how to do all those father-son things like "having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing."
by David Baldacci
Does Dad like mystery-action thrillers? This book, called "a tour de force of storytelling power and grace," tells the story of Will Robie, a hitman called upon by the U.S. Government. It starts with a hit gone wrong: Robie takes on a mission but doesn't seem quite right, so he refuses to kill. Now he's a target himself and must escape from his own people. Along the way, he crosses paths with a 14-year-old runaway girl, who he comes to believe is at the center of a vast cover-up. The blisteringly-fast plot is fantastically detailed, with layers of complexity that all come together beautifully in the final chapters.
by A. J. Jacobs
A.J. Jacobs invented the "experimental self" genre of non-fiction (his previous book, The Know-It-All, was all about his goal to read every page of the encyclopedia). This new title is all about his goal to get himself in perfect shape... it's a sprint through anything and everything you can imagine that is health-related, from caveman workouts to improving his hearing to changing how he uses the toilet (really) to laughter therapy. The book is breezy and light and because the chapters are short and mostly stand alone, I've found to to be one of those books that are easy to read a little bit, put it away, and pick it back up later without feeling like you're lost.
by Bruce Feiler
When the author was diagnosed with cancer, his daughter was just 3, and he suddenly faced his own mortality, recognizing the possibility that he wouldn't be around to celebrate all the milestones in her life (ballet recitals, soccer practice, walking down the aisle). He comes up with a plan to create a "Council of Dads," a group of six men from different areas and stages of his life, who "know his voice" and can be there for his daughter in case he wasn't able to. The book is heartwarming and touching (he also writes about his fight against the cancer), but also inspiring— any father who reads this will be deeply moved.
by Chris Guillebeau
I've long been a fan of Chris Guillebeau's books and with this title, he sketches a solid roadmap (with tons of good examples) about how to get a business going for very, very little investment. There is plenty of practical, step-by-step info about coming up with an idea, determining if it has value and if it's the right fit for you, and then how to produce your idea (product, book, talk, store, guide, service, whatever). The book is not full of "go for it!" empty calories... there's solid meat and potatoes and I found it highly inspirational. If Dad has a hankering to start his own business, this is the book that can help make it happen.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Eric Mueller
I live in Los Angeles, where it's not really about reading, it's about movies -- yet given the choice, I usually prefer to curl up with a good book. Most of my reading gets done on airplanes or laying in bed in that quiet hour right before lights-out. I'm also known to collect pretty much every book having anything to do with Disney's theme parks.
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