It has been nearly one year since we launched Smartest Person in the Room, and regular listeners know that on every episode, I ask the person I’m talking with to share a book that has had a significant impact on their life. This is, of course, not by accident. As a life-long passionate reader, I know that the books we read have the power to shape the people we become, and I find it fascinating to discover which books have influenced the smartest people in whatever room I find myself.

And so this episode is different from the previous episodes we’ve released so far. Today, I’ve asked my friend Stephanie Newman-Smith from my real life book club to sit down and talk exclusively about books with me. We’re going to share the best things we’ve read so far this year and what is on our summer reading lists. We’re talking novels, non-fiction, light & fluffy, dark and deep. We hope our conversation today will help you discover the best book you haven’t read yet as well as inspire some meaningful book talk with the readers in your life.

Here's a list of all the books we discuss on this episode:

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (Book Three of the Neapolitan Novels)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson 

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan 

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

IT by Stephen King

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Stephanie's picks for books that have made a great impact on her:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling


We also mention:

What Should I Read Next? podcast episode #68 where Laura was a guest

Laura's Secret Post emails. (Click to sign up!)

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