Your Last Minute Shopping List: PRI’s 2018 Holiday Book Guide


It’s December 20 and many are scrambling trying to find last-minute gifts for their family and friends.  Heck, some folks won’t even begin their shopping until the afternoon of December 24th.

Back by popular demand for weary shoppers is PRI’s annual holiday book guide.  We asked our PRI colleagues to share their picks for 2018’s must-buy books.  Below is a list of their ideas for your last minute trip to the bookstore.

Happy last-minute shopping and season’s greetings from all of us at the Pacific Research Institute!

Sally Pipes

Entrepreneurial Life by Robert Luddy

I recommend Entrepreneurial Life by Robert Luddy.  His life truly has been an entrepreneurial one. He’s built multiple institutions that have created thousands of jobs— and prepared people for thousands more. His autobiography is a fitting summation of his remarkable career—and should inspire anyone interested in building an entrepreneurial life for themselves.

Tim Anaya

The Watergate:  Inside America’s Most Infamous Address by Joe Rodota

It’s rare when you read a book that you literally cannot put down because it’s so good.  That was the case with me when reading The Watergate.  Now, I’m not just saying this because Joe is a friend of mine and PRI!  The Watergate was a thoroughly entertaining read, full of drama, intrigue, and gossip.  The story of the construction of this famous hotel, apartment, and office complex is entertaining enough, but the stories of the rich, powerful, and notorious who have lived there over the years is a real-life soap opera.  As a bonus, you’ll get a recipe for a holiday dish you should try – the Watergate salad!

Dana Beigel

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

This is one of those “What would you do?” books, where the answer seems easy but in real life it may be more complicated. What I liked best about the book, besides the writing, was the tense relationship between the doctor and the Eritrean wife. 

Bartlett Cleland

Art of War by Sun Tzu

Given the increasing antics that make politics seem more like warfare and the ever increasing attention on China’s trade practices Art of War seems like a natural for the holiday reading list. Being relevant for 2500 years probably makes for a good reason to read the book, but really the reason to read it is to inspire thinking about tactics and strategy. Too often in public policy a routine is formed and ends up limiting brad thinking and constrains flexibility. The Art of War should inspire us to think deeply about the strengths, weaknesses, approach and positioning the arguments in support of a free market world view.

Laura Dannerbeck

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I loved this book. It’s an elegant story of a Russian aristocrat and his house arrest in the luxurious hotel for the next 30 years. Throughout the book, I lived and experienced Russian history and politics through the eyes of a contemplative, sentimental, courageous, kind and dignified gentleman stripped of his identity and imprisoned at the infamous Metropol hotel in Moscow. I admired the dignity and grace of this character, Count Alexander Ristov.

Damon Dunn

The Deluge by Adam Tooze

I’ve had a heavy reading bibliography as I build my understanding of world history, world economies and major era shaping events. I’ve been reading The Deluge by Adam Tooze.  It breaks down how the Wilson administration did not understand how to leverage our new position as the only Superpower to build institutions, alliances and shared values to keep the peace after WW1.

Rowena Itchon

Open by Andre Agassi

I heard from a friend that it was one of the best sports autobiographies he’s ever read.  I’m not big on sports, but I read it anyway.  It was truly gripping – his struggles as a teen working his way up the tennis circuit, the ups and downs of his injury-prone career, even a little romance when he meets his future wife Steffi Graff.  His story is a fascinating journey to find his true calling and life’s work: building his own charter school in Las Vegas and promoting the charter school movement.   

Lance Izumi

Standing Up to Goliath by Rebecca Friedrichs 

Rebecca Friedrichs, the courageous teacher whose lawsuit against forced union fees went to the Supreme Court, has written an eye-opening and jaw-dropping book detailing personal stories of teachers, parents, children, school board members, and local union leaders, who have who have fought against the iron-fisted tactics of state and national teacher unions to impose their politically-driven ideological agenda on America.  “If we want freedom for our kids, families, and teachers, we’re going to have to fight for it,” says Friedrichs.  Our country’s future is literally at stake, which is why Standing Up to Goliath is one of the most important books you will ever read.

Kerry Jackson

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

A lot of books inspire. But Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken also shows us how dark the human heart can sometimes be, before revealing how forgiveness, character, and decency can keep us from breaking even under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Read the book then watch the movie.

Ben Smithwick

Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder

PRI was delighted to host a luncheon and book signing with the great George Gilder shortly after the release of Life After Google earlier this year. The book challenges the technology industry, Internet insecurity, and explains why technological progress is not inevitable, but more often the result of human creativity and entrepreneurialism. Gilder appeared on PRI’s “Next Round” podcast in June to discuss these and other issues.

Wayne Winegarden

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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