By MARK GRAY
Nolan Bushnell is one of Davis County’s claims to fame when it comes to business success. The former Clearfield resident (and Lagoon employee) is the father of video games, the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, a friend and early employer of Steve Jobs, and a current pioneer in robotics. In his new book “Finding the next Steve Jobs,” Bushnell writes that in recruiting and hiring employees he asks, “Give me the list of your favorite 10 books.”
“I’ve never met a creative person that didn’t respond with enthusiasm to a question about their reading habit,” write Bushnell. “People who are curious and passionate read. People who are apathetic and indifferent don’t.”
I encourage readers to think about their list. “If all you read is Game of Thrones or the Twilight series, there’s not much thinking going on.”
If Mr. Bushnell interviewed me, this would be my response:
“All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren Р the best book ever written about politics, ambition, and the corruption of worthy goals. No wonder Warrant won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald Р a perfectly written novel on two levels: the Daisy, Tom and Gatsby plotline and the philosophical education of the narrator, Nick Carraway.
“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger Р more than 50 years later, the book still holds up as a sly, witty, and engaging adolescent journey.
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith Р the description of a young girl’s path to adulthood amid the culture of poverty and death is both heartbreaking and joyful.
And for my fifth choice, your selection of “A Beginner’s Goodbye” by Anne Tyler, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, “Benediction” by Kent Haruf, “Hart’s War” by John Katzenbach, or “And Then There were None” by Agatha Christie.
By DAWN BRANDVOLD-GRAY
First off, I would like to apologize to all Game of Thrones and Twilight fans for my husband’s scorn. While these books might not be my cup of tea, I salute anyone who reads anything more challenging than a stop sign! However, if I were interviewing someone for a job, the books they read could tell a lot about them. I hope my choices provide a peek into my psyche.
“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck Р the story of the Joad family during the Great Depression, interspersed with Steinbeck’s description of the landscape, teaches so much about personal integrity and our responsibility to each other.
“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut Р the horrors of war will keep you up at night, but the author’s ability to fuse the story with his famous gallows humor and sarcasm is masterful.
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith Р I second everything my husband says, but add that Francie’s devotion to her brother, her determination for an education, and her love of place continues to resonate even though it was written in 1943.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Р the most readable treatise on race, justice, and family ever written. Mention the names Scout, Jem, and Atticus to someone and common ground can be established.
Lastly, I have to dig way back to the books the inspired me as a youngster. Both Scott O’Dell’s “Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg gave me female role models who were empowered, adventurous, and resourceful. Traits I continue to value and strive for.
The books we read tell a lot about us, but the fact that we are readers tells the most of all.