The Best Non-Fiction Books of 2021, Google's Year In Search and a Disastrous Michelin-Starred Meal | Non-Obvious Insights #299

Dear Newsletterest,

The Non-Obvious Book Awards have been announced! In case you missed it, be sure to check out our Longlist selections for this year and join me on Wednesday, December 15th at 12 noon EST for a LIVE awards show where I will reveal the Shortlist and winners of our annual awards program as well as share my favorite book titles and cover designs of the year. 

Apart from being surrounded by books this week, there were also plenty of stories that captured my attention, including fascinating insights about humanity from Google's annual Year in Search report, a clock that really puts life into perspective, the quest for the perfect tomato and how we wrongly (and sometimes rightly) judge people for their parenting. Read on for the stories and be sure to bookmark noon EST next Wednesday on your calendar so you can join the live virtual streaming show and book awards announcement!

Insights from Google's 2021 Year In Search Retrospective Report 

Google released their traditional Year In Search report and it is filled with the usual cherry-picked data points such as "generation z was searched more than millennials" or "searches for how to be kind were two times more than how to be popular." In truth, reading a report filled with top-level soundbites like these might make you question whether the "insight" you are clearly meant to take away is actually one supported by real data. Are people really more interested in Gen Z or trying to be kinder to one another? Still, there are plenty of directional trends that do seem like they reveal a global zeitgeist worth paying attention to.

People are clearly searching healing related topics much more after a hard year. Searches for climate change related topics are clearly increasing. And their series of interviews in the "We Are Fortunate To Be Over 70" series is also a great read. Altogether, the report from Google does offer a unique perspective on how humans thought and related to one another across a difficult. After all, as they are fond of reminding us, we are what we search. 

Why Do We Judge Parents Harshly ... And Is It Right To Do So?

Perhaps the easiest way to make someone angry is to criticize their parenting. Despite this truth, most parents feel criticized all the time. There was an interview I read this week with author Priya Fielding-Singh about food inequality that asked an interesting question: "why is there so much judgement about how we feed our kids?" She explored how she came to understand that how people perceived her daughter’s body, "was feedback about [her] parenting." The article was a reminder that society can be harsh and unfair when judging parents.

Just a day later, though, I was conflicted as a read the disturbing story of the 15-year-old school shooter who killed three students even after exhibiting troubling warning signs. In that case, the parents bought the shooter a gun and seem (based on current evidence) to have enabled the violence by failing to get him help and minimizing the danger. Now, for the first time, parents are being charged for the deaths alongside the shooter -- and are being vilified in the media. And I think they deserve it. I hope they do go to jail and that it sends a message to all other parents to take violent thoughts more seriously and keep guns away from children. Is it wrong to judge parents so harshly? Perhaps not in some cases. 


Infographic Image Source: Zero To Three

The Shortlife Clock: A Brilliantly Morbid Holiday Gift

The Shortlife clock is simple. It shows what percentage of your life you have lived and displays it. Simple ... but also devastating. Most of us probably wouldn't want to wake up to a depressing reminder of our own mortality. It is, of course, not meant to depress but rather to remind you to use your limited days on this planet well. In short, it's a potentially life-changing holiday gift to consider giving the person in your life who could use a nudge to spend more time being happy ... by reminding them they are going to die. Perfect for the morbid holiday gift-giver in need of ideas. You know who you are.

The Best Non-Fiction Books of 2021

After another year of reviewing hundreds of potential winners, we shared our Longlist announcement yesterday with the top 75 books published in the past year. There's a huge variety of books on our list and you can see the full list of titles also in our bookstore on Bookshop.org. A big thank you to all of you for your recommendations of books for us to consider - we had to make some really hard choices on these books to decide which ones to include. Next Wednesday at noon EST, I will be doing a LIVE announcement show and I hope you can join me either on YouTubeLive or LinkedInLive. Until then, reply to this email and let me know how you think we did with our full Longlist

A Play-by-Play Recap of the World's Worst Michelin-Starred Meal

The thing I love about travel writing is the honesty you can get from someone experiencing a culture through foreign eyes. It can be beautiful ... but sometimes it can be a train wreck. That's what this post was, and it's a delight to read. Travel blogger Geraldine DeRuiter had a 27 course meal at a restaurant called Bros' - and described it as "the sort of meal that make you feel as though the fabric of reality is unraveling," and recalling that it "amounted to a meal the same way amassing two-dozen toddlers together amounts to one middle-aged adult." The rest of the article is similarly entertaining and might make you simultaneously miss traveling and be thankful you weren't there at the same time. 

Even More Non-Obvious Stories ... 

Every week I always curate more stories than I'm able to explore in detail. In case you're looking for some more reading this week, here are a few other stories that captured my attention ...
How are these stories curated?
Every week I spend hours going through hundreds of stories in order to curate this email. Want to discuss how I could bring this thinking to your next event as a keynote speaker in person or virtual? Watch my new 2021 speaking reel on YouTube >>
Beyond Diversity Just $0.99 This Week!

My latest book is now available and explores what it takes to create a more diverse and inclusive world. The book features the voices of more than 200 amazing people and is co-authored by inclusion expert Jennifer Brown. Get your copy of the book today!

Get a FREE Excerpt >> 
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