My Favorite Things of 2017

It’s that time of the year again to look back on the year that has past, and to all of the cultural influences that I have enjoyed this year, or the ones that made the most impact on me. These choices represent my tastes only and do not represent any objective “best” list (though I humbly think I have good tastes). Being the single guy who travels for work and who lives in a big city, I may have a bit more time and opportunity to access cultural artifacts than others, so this annual list is my attempt to be generous with recommendations for those who need them or enjoy them. Happy New Year to you all and may 2018 bring us more cultural, art and nourishment that can bring us together in our many diversities and politics around common loves like song, food and stories.

BOOKS

My book choices this year fell into three themes that I intentionally chose to make my focus this year: California, Coaching and Leadership, tech culture,and the year and figures surrounding the turning point year 1967.

Atlas: The California Field Atlas (an incredible book that is a must own for all Californians)

Biography / HistoricalLeonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson; The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daughtery; Robert Kennedy by Chris Mathews; Season of the Witch by David Talbot; Priestdaddy, by Patricia Lockwood; Just Kids, by Patti Smith; The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt.

Business and LeadershipRadical Candor: How to be a Kickass Boss, by Kim Scott; Culture Hacker, by Shane Green; The Coaching Habit, by Michael Stanier; Energy Leadership, by Bruce Schneider; Principles, by Ray Dalio; The Upstarts, by Brad Stone; Entering Start-Up Land, by Jeff Bussgang.

Fiction: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders

Non-fiction: Option B by Sheryl Sandberg; American Hookup, by Lisa Wade; The Art of Possibility, by Rosalind Zander and Zander; Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth; Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown.

MUSIC

Despacito, by Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Bieber; Thunder, by Imagine Dragons (my theme song for the year); Perfect, by Ed Sheeran; Million Reasons, Lady Gaga; I Feel It Coming, by The Weekend; I’m Shipping Up to Boston, by Dropkick Murphys; Ready for It?, by Taylor Swift; Mystery of Love, by Sufjan Stevens; Too Good at Goodbyes, by Sam Smith; Hills and Valleys, by Tauren Wells.

FILM

I love independent and art films, so apologies for so few blockbusters and super hero films here. I did see Wonder Woman, and I was proud to see a powerful female figure on screen but disappointed with the film itself. My favorites:

Call Me By Your Name, Ladybird, Beauty and the Beast, Get Out, Noviate, The Dark Hour, The Florida ProjectDunkirkOkjaWonderThe Untold Tales of Armistad Maupin, Loving Vincent, Jane, The Big Sick, God’s Own Country, I Am Not Your Negro, Mudbound, Hero. Not Seen Yet, but I expect to love: Phantom Thread, Star Wars: Molly’s Game, The Last Jedi, The Post.

TV

The Crown, Season 2; Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday; This Is Us; Big Little Lies. Docs and News: Morning Joe, Meet the Press; The Late Show With Stephen Colbert; The Long Road Home, The Vietnam War. P!nk on the American Music Awards and Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl were so magnificent and so rich with excellence that they they are the moments on TV that I will never forget from 2017.

PODCASTS

The Daily by NYT; Commonwealth of CaliforniaTribe of MentorsThe Moment by Eric Heisserer; The Axe Files by David AxelrodMasters of Scale.

APPS

FaceappZoomFeedly; Walgreens; Lyft; Hitlist; The NYT; Nuzzel; Slack.

RESTAURANTS

Here’s To You, Los Angeles; Daughter Thai, Oakland; Chez Panisse, Berkeley; Tasty n Alder, Portland; Rue Saint Marc, Jacksonville, FL; Mader’s, Milwaukee; Butcher and the Boar, Minneapolis; Miss Ollie’s, Oakland; Craigie On Main, Cambridge, MA; Kitchen 404, Nashville; Maple Street Biscuit Company, Jacksonville, FL; The Floridian, Saint Augustine; Everett and Jones BBQ, Berkeley; Trejo’s Tacos, Los Angeles; Destroyer, Los Angeles, South, Sacramento; Zombie Burger, Des Moines; Res Ipsa, Philadelphia; Sabor Unida, Newark, NJ; Burma Love, San Francisco; Black’s BBQ, Lockhart, Texas.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
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