Ernie Chen's Favorite Non-Fiction

shelved under Personal Favorites

The books I've included are ones that I couldn't put down. For me each and every one of these titles was a total page-turner, one that kept me up well into the night with the bedside light turned on, glasses perched on the bridge of my nose and no need for a cup of coffee to keep myself awake.


The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life

by Richard Florida

I've always wondered why I was willing to move to Seattle, San Francisco or Chicago, but not Indianapolis, Dallas or New Orleans. This book explains why and thereby provides a "prescription" for struggling metropolitan areas to become more attractive to those in the "Creative Class."


A Prayer for the City

by Buzz Bissinger

What was the reason for Philadelphia's comeback in the 1990s? Ed Rendell. This book tells us why and how Rendell, now governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, toed the line and brought the City of Brotherly Love back from the brink.


Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer details the harrowing climb of a number of mountaineers who attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. The narration is fantastic, but Krakauer does a masterful job of describing the science as well as the logic behind all that goes into trying to reach the highest places on Earth. Lastly, Krakauer also delves as best he can into the psychology of those who dream of climbing the world's highest peaks, as well as discussing the political ramifications and spiritual consequences of alpine ascents.


All the President's Men

by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward

A real life page-turner. Follow how Woodward and Bernstein take investigative journalism to it's ultimate objective: public service. From the first story to the Nixon's resignation, we learn how the inner-circle of the President's men operate. Lastly, the book is timely as "Deep Throat" was revealed a few years ago.


Young Men and Fire

by Norman MacLean

This meticulously researched and beautifully written account of the tragedy at Mann Gulch near Helena, MT. The lives of these men (boys really) were not in vein as many fire safety policies and increased fire research were direct outcomes of this fire.


The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball

by John Feinstein

Follow the teams of the Patriot League battle it out for the one berth to the NCAA Tournament (aka The Big Dance). Like all of Feinstein's books, he is able to simultaneously juggle the many names and locations without ever confusing the reader. A true talent.


Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

by Robert A. Caro

In this day and age where it seems as if NOTHING gets done by our Congressmen and Senators, this book treats us to a time in which one man, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, used everything in his power to move the U.S. Senate to enact legislation bringing us closer to the United States we know today. Each and every anecdote and serves as fodder for legislative finagling and success later in the book. By the end, Johnson is clearly the "puppetmaster" as he pulls the strings to pass Civil Rights legislation and election to the Vice-Presidency of the United States.

This book also appears on Facing Unpleasant Facts (And Fictions)