Previous Great Books

“If a story touches you, it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.” – Neil Gaiman

the firm cover small

Title: The Firm

Author: John Grisham

Year Published: 1991

Named the No. 1 novel of 1991 after a 47-week run on The New York Times Best Sellers list, this genre-defining legal thriller put author John Grisham on the map in what was only his second literary effort.

Grisham, who was at the time a criminal defense attorney, tells the story of Mitch McDeere. A recent graduate of Harvard Law School and budding CPA, McDeere finds himself at the center of a mystery involving the suspicious deaths of former attorneys at the small tax firm that gave McDeere his first gig out of college. Enjoy this tale of organized crime and ethical dilemmas — and then check out the film adaptation with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman!

48 laws of power

Title: The 48 Laws of Power

Author: Robert Greene, with producer Joost Elffers

Year Published: 2000

A national bestseller that has captivated readers for more than two decades, Robert Greene and Joost Elffers craft a no-nonsense list of 48 laws on the concept of power: how to see it, how to get it and how to defend against it.

Using 3,000 years of history on the subject and drawing from everyone in the power game from Sun Tzu to P.T. Barnum, this book is a bold read for those truly seeking the top.

creature from jekyll island

Title: The Creature from Jekyll Island

Author: G. Edward Griffin

Year Published: 1994

Inflation. Boom-bust cycles. War. What do they have in common? Money. But where does money come from? Who makes it and where does it go? In his bestselling expose of the Federal Reserve, author G. Edward Griffin pulls back the curtain on the mystery of money and its history of influence — and corruption. According to one review, this book reads like

“…a murder mystery about the financial ‘murder’ of the middle class.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

Griffin’s book provides a close look at the mirrors and smoke machines, the pulleys, cogs and wheels that create the grand illusion called money.


Title: Coma

Author: Robin Cook

Year Published: 1977

You may remember watching Geneviève Bujold and Michael Douglas in this selection’s successful film adaptation, but if you haven’t read the novel, you’re missing out.

Follow third-year medical student Susan Wheeler as she investigates a bizarre (and improbable) phenomenon of patients falling into comas immediately after what should’ve been routine surgeries. Uncover the wicked truth behind this sprawling conspiracy for yourself in a book that helped define the mystery-thriller genre in the ’70s!


Title: Economics In One Lesson

Author: Henry Hazlitt

Year Published: 1946

Lately there’s been a lot of misinformation on television, in newspapers, and on the Internet about economics. I can’t decide if the so-called experts are saying what they say because of having a political agenda or if they really are just ignorant of some of the basic truths of life. So, this month’s AWM Great Book selection is going to take us back to basics and teach economics as it actually is. Today we debut “Economics In One Lesson” by the great teacher Henry Hazlitt.

There are no shortages of economics textbooks out there. I’ve read my share, and typically have been bored silly. Hazlitt’s masterpiece is different. In simple language that stands the test of time, he teaches us how economics actually is. As we talk with you about long-term investing, being able to understand the causes and effects of our actions is a tremendous benefit.


Title: Fahrenheit 451

Author: Ray Bradbury

Year Published: 1953

It is with great pleasure that we are announcing AWM’s next Great Book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Although first published nearly seventy years ago, much of what is going on in contemporary society seems like it could have been taken from Bradbury’s tale. Big-tech censorship, algorithms that determine what we are allowed to see, and outright lies by the mainstream media are, sadly, part of the world we live in now. It’s as though some of the dystopian works of decades past, including Fahrenheit 451, have come to life.


Title: Wise Money: Building an Income for Life

Author: Michael R. Andersen

Year Published: 2022

What does retirement mean to you? How will you approach this next phase of your life? With confidence or trepidation?

Regardless of the whens and whys of your retirement, the universal fact is this: When you are no longer working, you will be responsible for building your own income for the rest of your life. It’s a huge responsibility and, for some, results in their pulling away from the things they love out of fear. For others, it represents the freedom to live life on their terms. Michael’s book can help you take steps to ensure your retirement years are spent free from financial worry.

Title: The Hobbit or There and Back Again

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Year Published: 1973

You’ve likely seen the movies, but have you ever taken time to read the book that started it all? Nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction, J. R. R. Tolkien's children’s book is a masterpiece of fantasy, adventure, suspense, humor and friendship. Get swept away with Bilbo Baggins as he joins a company of dwarves on their epic quest to retake their homeland from Smaug the Magnificent – a dragon as scintillating as he is dangerous. Revisit the magic, wonder and excitement in the beloved prelude to Lord of the Rings.

the odessa file book

Title: The Odessa Files
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Year Published: 1972

About: Enter a world of espionage, international intrigue, and a thrilling cat-and-mouse game that is downright chilling at times from New York Times bestselling author Frederick Forsyth.

Set in 1963, shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, The Odessa Files follows freelance crime reporter Peter Miller. The journal of a holocaust survivor puts him on the trail of a former SS concentration-camp commander known as the “Butcher of Riga.” In his pursuit of the Butcher, Miller becomes entangled in the dangerous world of ODESSA – a mafia-like organization dedicated to helping former Nazis evade justice and ultimately carry out Hitler’s chilling “Final Solution.”

the millionaire next door1

Title: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
Author: Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Year Published: 1996


What does a millionaire look like? According to pop culture, millionaires drive flashy cars, wear expensive clothing, live almost exclusively in places like Beverly Hills or Manhattan and have abundant material possessions. According to respected researcher, advisor and author Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, most of America’s real-life millionaires live in modest houses, work ordinary/dull jobs and many are first-generation affluent. In other words, they’re your next-door neighbors – and they could be you.

In their bestselling book, The Millionaire Next Door, Stanley and co-author William D. Danko, Professor of Marketing at the University of Albany, identify seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth.



Title: Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Year Published: 1951


When we rolled out the AWM Great Books program last summer, I thought it would exclusively be academic tomes. Then we started to alternate between those and fun, fiction titles. As the Books program continues to evolve, this month we’re going to introduce a quintessentially American novel as our book of the month: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Catcher is one of those books you are made to read in high school and for many people (including me) it was a bore at the time and just something to get through to satisfy the English teacher. But it’s also one of those books that when you go back to it later in life, with real life experiences tucked under your belt, you can see Salinger’s mastery in crafting a tale that touches so many topics.


murder on the orient express

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Year Published: 1934


You might have seen one of the movie versions, but have you ever taken time to read the original? One of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels, “Murder on the Orient Express” is the 10th book to feature the iconic detective Hercule Poirot. When a snowstorm traps a group of passengers on the Orient Express train and the body of an American businessman is discovered, everyone is a suspect. It’s up to Poirot to solve the mystery and catch the killer — before he or she strikes again. Inspired by the abduction of Charles Lindbergh’s son — a real-life mystery and tragedy involving extortion and murder — as well as Christie’s love of the Orient Express itself, this novel is the ultimate for mystery lovers and anyone who just loves a good story well-told.

atlas srhugged book stack

Title: Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Year Published: 1957


Now that it is December, I am very pleased to release this month’s AWM great book. It’s the epic novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This is a powerful book and one that completely changed my life. I first read it when I was a freshman in high school. I’ll never forget the many hours I sat in a chair in my parents music room intensely focused on this gripping story of government versus individualism, of tyranny versus freedom. In some ways, my own life becoming an adult has been philosophically rooted in trying to create my own version of Galt’s Gulch. Given the destruction of liberty over the last two decades and overreach of people who tell us they’re the smartest folks in the room, this seems like a great pick to pore over this month while sipping a glass of wine (or two).

fourth estate cover

Title: The 4th Estate
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Year Published: 1996

In a stunning display of the art of storytelling, reminiscent of his blockbuster novel Kane and Able, Jeffrey Archer creates two extraordinary protagonists, whose life stories could have been taken from today's headlines, and pits them against each other as each strives to be the first to establish a global media empire. Archer plots with skill and keeps you turning the pages.--Boston Globe.


Title: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
Author: Milton Friedman
Year Published: 1980
About: One of the most influential Americans in modern times was an economist named Milton Friedman. Many AWM clients will likely remember him and his commitment to teaching people about capitalism and wealth creation. Nowadays, there is a lot of misinformation in the press about the topic, that is for sure.

Arguably his most famous book, “Free to Choose: A Personal Statement,” is our October selection for the AWM Great Books program. During his years in the public eye, and certainly since, there have been many accusations that capitalism only benefits the rich. However, Professor Friedman argues that free capitalism benefits everyone as it is a system of voluntary exchange where wealth is only created when all parties feel they are made better off by the transaction.



Title: Red Storm Rising
Author: Tom Clancy
Year Published: 1986
About: Tom Clancy was one of the most masterful storytellers of all time. His ability to bring multiple storylines together into a crescendo was the hallmark of his writing style. While primarily known for his Jack Ryan series, “Red Storm Rising” stands apart as the penultimate “book for guys” and is this month’s end-of-summer Great Books selection.

Michael first read “Red Storm Rising” decades ago as the Cold War was winding down. As unthinkable as it might be today of a conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, it was a genuine possibility back then. “Red Storm Rising” tells the story of how this might have played out in a macro sense and the individual stories of key characters in the tale.


animal farm03

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Year Published: 1945
About: A scathing, darkly comic fairytale, George Orwell’s masterpiece of an idealist utopia’s descent into totalitarianism is as riveting today as when it was first published.

When a group of overworked and mistreated farm animals join together to rebel against their human owner, they set out to turn their once miserable farm into a paradise where all animals are equal, happy and free from the humans who would oppress and control them. However, it quickly becomes apparent that paradise is not so easily found or maintained. Equal parts illuminating and devastating, “Animal Farm” has as much to offer today as it did in 1945.

book cover comc

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Year Published: 1844
About: Betrayal. Romance. Revenge. One of the most widely read novels of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo offers intrigue for all readers.

Betrayed by his friends and enemies, falsely accused of treason, dashing young hero Edmond Dantès has been doomed to spend his life in a secret dungeon deep in the Chateau d'If. What follows is the story of his long imprisonment, dramatic escape and carefully wrought revenge. Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, Dumas' weaves a grand tale of mystery and intrigue, painting a vision of France that has become immortal.

1984 book cover

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Year Published: 1949
About: Science fiction, Political fiction, Social science fiction, Dystopian Fiction that offers intrigue for all readers.

In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother. Defying a ban on individuality, Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship with Julia.

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