11 Apr

D.E.A.R. Day – Drop Everything and Read

20 Page-Turners Hand-Picked by the Chambers Team

We hear today is National Drop Everything and Read Day—and this book-loving team will jump at any chance to spotlight our favorite novels. To celebrate, we created a list of must-reads that are worthy of a corner on everyone’s bookshelf. Inspiration, grit, wonder, amusement and even a few tears can be found throughout the pages on this list—whether you’re a fiction devotee, non-fiction collector or thrill-seeking mystery buff—we’ve got you covered. Pull up a seat, grab some coffee (maybe a few tissues, too)—and get ready for a list chock-full of best-sellers and page-turners that we can guarantee you won’t want to put down.


The Last Lecture book cover1. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

Suggested by Executive Vice President, Skip Avery

The Last Lecture is an inspiring and purposeful book, intertwined with humor and personal anecdotes, from a professor diagnosed with terminal cancer. And yet, considering the circumstances, this is a book about living rather than dying. Randy Pausch has artfully combined life lessons, honesty, wit and ingenuity—which catapulted his lecture to the top, earning his book the well-deserved title of National Best Seller. The Last Lecture is undoubtedly a book that will and should be shared for generations to come.


The Devil in the White City book coverThe Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Suggested by Project Manager, Bryan Perry

Erik’s gift of storytelling is effortlessly displayed in this historical non-fiction book based on real characters and real events in the Gilded Age. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty—illustrating the tale of two men, an architect and a serial killer, while interweaving his own sense of creativity and perspective into the story.



What Do You Do With a Chance book cover3. What Do You Do With a Chance – Kobi Yamada

Suggested by Project Manager, Greg Lines

In this comforting and beautifully illustrated book, What Do You Do With a Chance is meant to remind perfectionists and those with social anxiety that embarrassment is temporary and even the fearful can choose to take chances. Its goal is to inspire conversations and teach practical problem-solving (for children and adults)—and is one that will grow with its reader.

Tools of Titans book cover4. Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris

Suggested by Interior Designer, Leah Havens

Legendary entrepreneur and public speaker, Tim Ferris, interviewed more than 200 world-class performers, ranging from super stars and athletes to Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists, to create a book filled to the brim of insights from the best in the business. Tools of Titans contains the distilled tools, tips, life lessons and tactics you won’t find anywhere else.


 Outliers book cover5. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Suggested by Executive Vice President, Skip Avery

Pegged as the story of success—Outliers delves into the minds of the most successful people in the world by asking: what makes these high-achievers different—what makes them outliers? He explains that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the experiences of their upbringing.


 The Great Gatsby book cover6. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Suggested by Interior Designer, Marishka Bachman

The Great Gatsby—today acknowledged as a masterpiece—is a book that can be found on most bookshelves, public libraries, and is a staple on high school reading lists. Both a love story and an exploration of the American dream, The Great Gatsby needs little introduction. It’s a fairly common story brought to life by magic and mystery surrounding a man and his pursuit of love.


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book cover7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

Suggested by Architectural Intern, Destry Ure

This world-renowned book takes you on a journey through hardship, friendship defeat and persistence. It provides an innocent child’s perspective to the extreme tragedies of the Holocaust. But this isn’t merely just a book for teens, and within its pages provides the stimulating lessons that we often lose sight of with age.


Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future book cover8. 
Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance

Suggested by Chairman of the Board, Robert Hickman

In this novel, Ashlee Vance spotlights the full spectacle of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneur, Elon Musk, from highlighting his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.



Smart Money Smart Kids book cover9. Smart Money Smart Kids – Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruz

Suggested by Project Architect, Elenna Smith

In this how-to book, Rachel and Dave give parents a step-by-step approach to teaching their kids about working, spending, saving, giving, debt, and contentment. Parents will learn how to help their kids make wise money choices and build core values and character qualities that will help them win not only with money, but also in life.



The Gratitude Diaries book cover10. The Gratitude Diaries – Janice Kaplan

Suggested by Director of Accounting, Barbara List

In The Gratitude Diaries, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief, Janice Kaplan, explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including relationships, money, ambition, and health and fitness.  On New Year’s Eve, Janice makes a promise to be grateful and look on the Brightside for an entire year to see how these changes positively affect her life. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.


Love Does book cover11. Love Does – Bob Goff

Suggested by Interior Designer, Nicole Chaco

As a college student, Bob spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father, he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll. Each chapter of Love Does is a story that forms a book—a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss. Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude will surely inspire you to be bold, take risks and venture out into the great unknown.

The Warrior’s Apprentice book cover12. 
The Warrior’s Apprentice – Lois McMaster Bujold

Suggested by Project Architect, Kate Ashwill

This science fiction novel takes you on a journey of a boy and his seemingly impossible tasks of living up to his warrior-father’s legend. Handicapped at an early age from birth defects, Miles Vorkosigan faces some truly daunting challenges. But with wit and ingenuity, Miles sets out on a treacherous voyage creating a new identity of himself as the commander of his own mercenary fleet.  Through impressive storytelling and surprisingly touching details, Lois makes this tale both relatable and enjoyable.



The Nightingale book cover 13. The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

Suggested by Senior Interior Designer, Leslie Foster

As the Nazis invade France, Vianne Mauriac is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched and her life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, she is forced to make one terrible choice after another. The Nightingale is a historical fiction novel taking place during WWII surrounding Vianne, her sister who’s later introduced, and their struggle to survive and resist the German invasion.  


A History of God book cover 14. A History of God – Karen Armstrong

Suggested by Senior Interior Designer, Steven Sutor

Why does God exist? How have the three dominant religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? And how have they influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain’s foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God throughout history.


How Buildings Learn book cover 15. How Buildings Learn – Stewart Brand

Suggested by Managing Director, Patricia Sampson

How Buildings Learn shapes a new perspective surrounding the construction and evolution of buildings around the world—and how architects can master their craft by being artists of time rather than space. This book takes you on a journey through history, illustrating different building styles along the way. More than any other human artifact, buildings improve with time—if they’re allowed to. And How Buildings Learn shows you how to work with time rather than against it.


Beneath a Scarlett Sky book cover16. Beneath a Scarlett Sky – Mark Sullivan

Suggested by Executive Vice President, Skip Avery

Based on a true story, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours. When Pino Lella’s family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for a women named Anna—which is where this story of history, suspense, and love unravels.


The Lovely Bones book cover17. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

Suggested by Administrative/Design Assistant, Thalia Scagliola

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by the gruesome murder of their daughter, Susie. It follows Susie’s perspective as she watches over her family from the in-between, and is torn between seeking vengeance on her killer and allowing her family to heal.  Throughout the book she weaves back and forth in time from the date of her death, remembering her life, peering into the mind of her killer and watching the loved ones she left behind.


 Origin book cover18. Origin – Dan Brown

Suggested by Architect, Prachee Bihani

This mystery thriller is sure to keep your wheels spinning until the very last page. Set in Spain, Origin revolves around Landon, a professor of religious and symbology at Harvard, whose friend is assassinated whilst giving a talk in which he promises to reveal the secret to life, the universe and everything within it. In this book of “cat-and-mouse,” Landon goes on the run while taking on a battle between science and fiction.


The Alchemist book cover19. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Suggested by Administrative/Marketing Assistant, Karley Brown

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of a shepherd boy named Santiago, and his quest to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His journey leads him to riches far more satisfying than he ever imagined—but not without turmoil and disruption along the way. This magical tale of wisdom, wonder and self-discovery teaches its reader the importance of listening to our hearts, recognizing opportunity and most importantly, following our dreams.

Smarter Faster Better book cover20. Smarter Faster Better – Charles Duhigg

Suggested by Interior Designer, Leah Havens

This thought-provoking book explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think—rather than what you think—can transform your life.  Smarter Faster Better skillfully presents eight key concepts within its pages—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision-making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done.


 Recognize any books on this list? Are there any standouts that you’ll be adding to your reading list this year? Let us know your thoughts!


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