Wall Street ends higher despite government shutdown threat

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street rose on Friday, led by gains in consumer stocks, even as a possible government shutdown loomed.

The SP 500 and the Nasdaq hit record closing highs, while the Dow ended the day higher after trading in a narrow range.

Nike Inc (NKE.N), Philip Morris International Inc (PM.N) and Home Depot Inc (HD.N) rose between 1.5 percent and 4.8 percent on upbeat analyst expectations, helping to boost the SP 500. Conversely, losses in International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and American Express (AXP.N) capped gains on the Dow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 53.91 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 26,071.72, the SP 500 .SPX gained 12.27 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,810.3 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 40.33 points, or 0.55 percent, to 7,336.38.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.04 percent, the SP 500 added 0.86 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.04 percent.

Nine of the 11 major SP sectors were higher, led by a 1.1 percent gain in the consumer staples index .SPLRCS and a 0.9 percent rise in consumer discretionary stocks .SPLRCD.

A disappointing full-year profit forecast from IBM pushed its shares down 4.0 percent, the biggest single-day loss since July.

American Express slipped 1.8 percent after posting its first quarterly loss in 26 years and suspending share buybacks for the next six months.

“The market has a few jitters as the result of a potential shutdown,” said Kevin Miller, chief executive of E-Valuator Funds in Bloomington, Minnesota. “From a longer-term perspective, corporate earnings are still strong, and we’re about to engage in the benefits of tax reform.”

The U.S. Senate was racing to avert a shutdown ahead of a midnight deadline on the spending measure amid lingering disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. Negotiations continued on Friday after Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump at the White House to address the impasse.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.98-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.51-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The SP 500 posted 105 new 52-week highs and nine new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 171 new highs and 30 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.82 billion shares, compared to the 6.32 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish

Saudi minister previously held in purge to head Davos delegation

Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos next week will be led by state minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was released from detention related to an anti-corruption purge in November, Saudi sources said.

Assaf, who was also a former finance minister and a board member of national oil company Saudi Aramco, was among people detained and under investigation by a new anti-corruption body, a senior Saudi official had told Reuters.

After he was seen attending a cabinet meeting earlier this month, a Saudi source said he had been cleared of wrongdoing and retained his positions as minister of state and adviser to the king.

Saudi security forces have rounded up dozens of princes, ministers and business leaders and converted the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh into a luxurious prison in what the authorities said was a crackdown on corruption.

The move was also widely seen as helping Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidate his grip on power after he ousted his cousin as heir to the throne in the summer.

Some detainees have cut deals with the government, handing over cash or assets in exchange for their freedom.

Assaf’s restoration appears to suggest that influential figures might keep their positions if they cooperate with the investigations.

The government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

PCP Capital boss says Newcastle United deal still alive

Amanda Staveley hit back on Friday saying her bid to buy Premier League side Newcastle United remained live despite a source close to present owner Mike Ashley saying it was dead in the water.

Staveley, whose company PCP Capital Partners were instrumental in the deal that saw Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour buy Manchester City, told The Times she had been “hurt” by the remarks made by the source.

The source had told Sky Sports on Tuesday that dealing with Staveley had been “exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time”.

Staveley, who has previously failed with a bid to buy Liverpool, rejected this out of hand.

She says her third offer of £250 million ($348 million) is very much a real bid. 

The figure is below Ashley’s asking price but the bid would also see her invest an additional £100 million in players over the first two transfer windows.

“I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle,” said the 44-year-old English businesswoman.

“And our bid remains on the table.

“I’m very concerned, I’m very surprised and I’m disappointed about what’s been said this week.

“The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful.”

Staveley is adamant manager Rafael Benitez is integral to the future plans should they succeed in wresting the club from Ashley’s hands.

“Rafa is doing an incredible job,” said Staveley. “We want Rafa to be part of this project.”

Staveley says she has brought together potential investors from around the globe – believed to be from the Middle East, east Asia and the United States.

“This is something we’ve been working really hard on,” she said.

“It’s not something we’ve just thrown together. I’m putting a lot of my own capital into this and our investors, who come from around the world, include sovereign wealth funds.”

Staveley says there is an emotional element to her interest in buying the club as well.

“They’re such passionate fans and it’s a great club,” she said.

“I’m a northerner. My family home is an hour away from St James’ Park. I just love football and Newcastle has a proper history and a real magic.”

Sportswear magnate Ashley announced he wanted to sell the club last October after 10 years in charge, having paid £134.4 million to buy Newcastle in 2007.

The 53-year-old Londoner has proved a divisive figure during his tenure, which has seen Newcastle twice relegated from the Premier League and then immediately promoted back.

US set to overtake Saudi Arabia as global oil producer

The United States are set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s number two oil producer after Russia this year, as shale companies, attracted by rising prices, ramp up drilling, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

“This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US,” the IEA wrote in its monthly market report.

Crude production of 9.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in the US was now at the highest level in nearly 50 years, “putting it neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia, the world’s second largest crude producer after Russia,” the IEA said.

“Relentless growth should see the US hit historic highs above 10 million bpd, overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivalling Russia during the course of 2018 – provided OPEC/non-OPEC restraints remain in place,” it said.

A global supply glut pushed oil prices as low as $30 per barrel at the start of 2016.

But producing nations – both inside and outside the OPEC oil cartel – struck a deal at the end of 2016 to cut back production and drive prices higher.

Geopolitical tensions and a reduction in oil stocks have also contributed to the recovery.

Crude recently rose above $70 per barrel for the first time since 2014 after OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to extend their combined cutbacks until the end of this year.

Rising prices have, in turn, made it more attractive for shale companies to increase drilling.

And since the United States is not a party to the deal, its shale production can continue uninhibited.

“US growth in 2017 beat all expectations … as the shale industry bounced back, profiting from cost cuts, (and) stepped up drilling activity,” the IEA said.

“Explosive growth in the US and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico,” it said.

“The big 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas,” the IEA said.

Shale production is controversial, because in order to extract oil and gas, a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals is blasted deep underground to release hydrocarbons trapped between layers of rock.

And environmentalists argue that the process – known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing technology – may contaminate ground water and even cause small earthquakes.

Regarding OPEC output, the IEA said that there was “no clear sign yet of OPEC turning up the taps to cool down oil’s rally”.

In its own monthly market report published on Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had said that the global oil market was moving closer to reaching a healthy balance between supply and demand.

The IEA, which advises advanced market economies on energy policy, said that there was 95-percent compliance by OPEC countries with the agreed cuts.

In the first annual decline since 2013, total oil production from the group’s 14 members fell from 39.6 million bpd to 39.2 million bpd, it said.

And while “supply discipline from the non-OPEC camp has been less rigorous, 82 percent for 2017,” it was “nonetheless strong,” the agency said.

At the same time, the increase in US production offset roughly 60 percent of the realised cuts, the IEA said.

The impact of the reduction was further blunted by a rebound in output from Libya and Nigeria, excluded from the cuts.

The IEA calculated that the global oil supply eased by 405,000 bpd to 97.7 million bpd in December, but this was due mostly to unplanned outages in the North Sea and lower Venezuelan output, the IEA said.

That compares with estimated overall global demand for oil of 97.8 million bpd.

The IEA said that if both OPEC and non-OPEC countries maintained compliance, “then the market is likely to balance for the year as a whole.”

For producers, there was a silver lining to taking part in the supply cuts, since “they earned more in 2017 while pumping less,” it said.

Among OPEC producers, Saudi Arabia saw the biggest reward, making nearly $100 million a day in additional revenue. Beleaguered Venezuela, on the other hand, only earned an extra $9 million.

As a whole, OPEC producers netted an extra $362 million a day.

Russia, not a member of the cartel, earned the most of all, pocketing an additional $117 million a day, the IEA calculated.

Etihad exec embarks on round the world record attempt

Senior Etihad Airways executive, Andrew Fisher, will embark on a journey of a lifetime on Sunday when he attempts to break the world record by flying around the globe in the shortest time frame on scheduled flights, and with the fewest number of sectors.

Fisher, who works as the airline’s vice president fleet planning, hopes to shave three hours off the current record of over 55 hours by completing the journey in only four sectors. 

His flight path begins in the early hours of Sunday morning in Shanghai, taking him to Auckland, Buenos Aires and Amsterdam before returning to the Chinese city in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“It’s about time the job was done,” he said. “The planning has taken a long time, essentially to ensure the flight timings, routings and transits are kept as tight as possible and there is only a short window of opportunity for this to happen.”

The progress of Andrew’s record-breaking attempt can be followed on Twitter at @AndrewFisherNZ

Is BA to follow Emirates with new order for A380s?

Airbus is in talks to sell new A380 superjumbo planes to British Airways this year after securing a program-saving deal from Gulf operator Emirates, according to people familiar with the matter.

The UK carrier, which currently has 12 A380s in its fleet, had said in the past that it was looking for six to seven second-hand A380s. Now it’s considering taking a larger number of new ones, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Airbus’s outgoing head of sales,  John Leahy, said on Bloomberg Television Friday he was confident the European planemaker would secure one more A380 order this year. That customer is British Airways, the people said. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, and BA parent IAG declined to comment.

British Airways is interested in the superjumbo because of the jet’s ability to maximize the number of passengers per flight at its London Heathrow hub, which is running close to capacity limits. The carrier’s main focus is on North Atlantic routes that are among the world’s busiest long-haul services, and it ranks as the No. 1 operator of Boeing’s 747 jumbo, the second-biggest passenger plane after the A380.

BA is examining a deal for new planes after concluding that refurbishing used examples of the Airbus behemoth for its own needs would be too expensive, one of the people said. The carrier’s superjumbos are fitted out in a four-class configuration featuring 469 seats, according to its website.
Order Drought

IAG CEO Willie Walsh has been mulling the business case for second-hand A380s for as least two years, with planes becoming available as the oldest ones come off lease from Singapore Airlines after a decade of service. Walsh also ran the rule over six younger aircraft deemed surplus to requirements at Malaysia Airlines Bhd.

An order for new double-deckers from IAG would help vindicate Airbus’s efforts to save the A380, which Leahy said Monday might be scrapped after failing to attract a buyer for more than two years. That was before Dubai-based Emirates announced its deal for as many as 36 planes worth $16 billion.

While Airbus says that order will keep the A380 production line going for more than a decade, it’s still looking at slashing build rates to just six annually from 12 this year. Follow-on orders from carriers such as British Airways are therefore still vital in lifting the annual tally to a level where the manufacturer can break even on each plane.

20 Businesses You Can Start for Less Than $20

Whoever coined the phrase “You have to spend money to make money,” probably had more than $20 in mind. Yet in today’s business landscape, it’s entirely possible to start your own company with a little help from President Andrew Jackson–and succeed!

You can start the following 25 businesses for less than $20. So empty your piggy bank, open your mind, and dive into entrepreneurship without drowning in debt.

1. Pet Sitting

Become a paid pet sitter with an investment of $0 thanks to one of many dog sitting services out there. It’s usually free to join and create a profile. Rover.com and dogvacay.com are popular services. 

2. House Sitting

Most people need a reliable, trustworthy house sitter at one point or another. Start offering your services to stay in peoples’ homes and care for pets, plants, and the property right in your neighborhood.

3. Babysitting

Advertise your childcare services for free on Craigslist, Care.com and other services, then start watching other people’s kids for no investment (other than the gas to get there).

4. Blogging and Promoting It

Set up your own website using a free service like Wix or WordPress and start creating original content for the world to see.

Then, utilize online services that can help you promote your blog through social media and other avenues. ClickBank.com is an example. Once you gain traction, some of these services will even let you use the money you make on commissions to help promote other people.

5. Direct Sales

Trying the direct sales route can cost as low as $10 depending on the company. Avon and Mary Kay are some of the more famous companies in this space. The initial fee usually covers membership, training, marketing tools, and samples. 

6. Selling Used Books

Sell books that are sitting around your house for a profit on one of several online sites like BookScouter.com. Once you start making money, you can buy more expensive used books and sell them for even more. 

7. Cleaning

Clean houses, windows, or cars for less than $20 by purchasing basic cleaning supplies and marketing yourself to friends and family members.

8. Driving for Uber or Lyft

It’s free to sign up to drive for Uber and Lyft. If your vehicle doesn’t meet the required standards, try a rental solution from either of the two.

9. Consulting

If there’s something you know quite a bit about (website design, health and beauty, knitting, etc.) consider becoming a consultant.

This is of course easier said than done and can take a while. You’ll want to obtain any licenses that are necessary, research and choose which customers to target, all the while building your network so you can get to know the right people.

10. Tutoring

Market tutoring skills for free with people you know and online platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Many of the online services even help tutors find tutors themselves so they can expand what they teach.

11. Professional Organizing

Become a professional organizer with help from social media. A locally targeted Facebook ad for example costs $20 or less.

12. Tour Guiding

Offer tour guides by signing up for free with a one of the sites or apps out there. One called Vayable.com will find your tourists for you in exchange for a percentage of what you earn.

13. Tax Preparing

With tax season on the way, this is a promising option. Search “tax preparation no experience” online. Plenty of companies are willing to train you in time for tax season.

14. Flea Market Vending

Have old stuff you want to sell lying around your house? Become a flea market vendor for less than $20 per day.

15. Selling on Etsy or Ebay

It’s free to sign up on Etsy and start selling your handmade goods there. Your products can be virtually anything you make yourself.

Ebay is an enticing option (as is Craigslist, OfferUp, and other such resale sites) if you want to make money selling old stuff lying around your house or resell cheap thrift store finds for a profit.

16. Running Errands

Professional errand running is a popular niche if you have spare time and (preferably) a vehicle. Join TaskRabbit for an immediate customer base.

17. Delivering Food

Become an independently contracted delivery partner with one of many food apps. Some include Caviar, Doordash or Postmates. They allow you to make your own hours, be your own boss, and get paid–all for less than $20. It’s usually free to sign up.

18. Freelance Bartending

Start out with freelance bartending by volunteering to tend bar at charity events to get experience. Work with clients who already have the necessary equipment to keep it cheap.

19. Training Dogs

Try your hand at dog training. You might already have experience with your own pets or take to Google for some excellent tips and tricks. Start with friends and family and expand.

20. Managing Social Media

Many millennials have an advanced understanding of social media platforms. Turn your knowledge into cash by offering social media management services. You might be surprised what local businesses will pay. 

If you want to follow your entrepreneurial spirit but you’re low on cash, don’t give up – use these ideas to get you started without breaking the bank.

You can launch a business for little initial investment and with a bit of luck have it take off. If Amazon.com can start in a garage, so can your next big idea.


Which Design Style Is Best for Your Explainer Video?

According to researchers in Canada, the average attention span has dropped to eight seconds over the last decade. That means you have a shorter window than ever to capture your  customers’ attention and “sell” your product. Simple  animation videos, when done correctly, can provide this hook. Studies show they can engage your prospects and provide as much as an 80% boost in conversion rates, according to video marketing expert Rohan Kale, founder of rkale.com. But how do you choose between a 2D explainer video and whiteboard animation video? And what’s the difference between these two formats anyway? Kale walks through the options and when to use each format for optimal results.

2D Explainer Videos:

2D motion graphic promotional videos could be motion graphics and/or cartoon animationw,” Kale notes. “These videos are being used by a majority of the businesses on their websites, landing pages, social media, advertising, etc. They generally appeal most to the crucial 25-45 age demographic. Motion graphics are often used by B2B businesses such as financial services, software, health industry, e-learning companies, accounting firms, legal services and web technology.”

If you want to make a 2D video for your business, the best practices include keeping them short — under 2 minutes — and quickly highlighting the benefits of your product or services. “These videos should be colorful, dynamic and represent a brand very professionally,” Kale says. They should also “create an ‘aha’ moment in your prospect’s mind.”

Motion graphics can also be helpful for explaining a process, how a product works or why a service matters. For example, this video for Blue Triangle Tech explains how their platform works — quickly and in terms anyone can understand.

Cartoons are another option in this category. “Cartoon videos are mostly used by B2C businesses that have a light-hearted and fun brand. Some of these businesses are App providers and Software-as-Service (SaaS) companies,” Kale says. “Cartoon videos, like this one for Energizer, are loved by consumers. Clients can relate to the character in the video, which makes them more appealing.”

2D explainer videos are not simply good for online sales. They can also create an impact during conferences, investor pitches, trade shows, events and anywhere else the company meets the public. Kale says you can’t go wrong as long as “the graphics used for 2D videos depict the things that your prospect sees/feels/hears and does on a daily business basis,”

Whiteboard videos:

Whiteboard videos have been pretty popular since the early 2000s. Kale notes that “due to the nature of video, where a hand does the concept explanation, these videos are mostly popular with the 40+ age demographics.”

Whiteboard videos are mainly used on websites to explain detailed offerings. As a result, they tend to be slower and longer than 2D explainer videos, generally running from 3-5 minutes or more). “The best use of whiteboard video is to break down a complex concept into a step-by-step procedure or process,” explains Kale.

These videos can be used in both B2B and B2C spaces. “Businesses like the educational training industry, insurance business, or dating industry benefit a lot from them,” Kale adds. Because you watch as the pictures are being “drawn,” they can make even relatively flat content (like the contents of this Water Allocation Plan) visually interesting. “The graphics used for whiteboard videos should depict a detailed story about how the customer goes from point A to point B,” Kale says. Because they are easier to make than 2D explainer videos, they tend to be cheaper, which is an added attraction for users.

“Both 2D explainer videos and whiteboard videos can work for your business. Which is best depends on your industry, your demographic, and your budget,” Kale notes. He adds that these videos can always be used in combination as well. “The most important thing is to take that first step towards video marketing,” Kale counsels. “The goal of both is to make video more engaging, so that the user takes the necessary call to action.” The above advice can help you pick the right style for your audience. If you have not considered a video as part of your 2018 marketing plan, now is the time.



Adidas Just Released Smart Sneakers That Go Where No Sneaker Has Gone Before

It’s no surprise that all 500 pairs of the limited edition sneakers flew off the shelves. People lined up days in advance to secure a chance at buying a pair, à la Ikea.

The shoes? Adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin.

The allure? These sneakers have a fabric Berlin transit card stitched into the tongues. It’s valid for an annual pass across the A and B zones on Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin’s public transportation company.

The equivalent annual pass costs about $931. The sneakers — free annual pass included — cost just €180, or $220. If you got your hands on a pair and use Berlin’s trains, buses and trams to get around, these were a steal.

Public transportation riders don’t need to scan their feet to enter the subway or hop on a bus. Berlin has controller who check riders’ validated tickets. If you’re sporting a pair of the Adidas EQT Support 93/Berlins, all you have to do is point to your feet. For your “ticket” to be valid, you must be wearing both shoes.

But now for the bigger question: Why exactly did Adidas make these sneakers? It’s part of a collaboration with BVG. BVG wants to communicate the message that riding public transportation is cool, according to a piece in The Guardian. They’re hoping this move boosts ridership among younger people.

Bitte nicht nachmachen!⠀ ⠀ Der @adidas_de EQT Support 93/BERLIN ist am 16.01. (11 Uhr instore) bei uns erhältlich.⠀ ⠀ www.overkillshop.com⠀ ⠀ @bvg_weilwirdichlieben ⠀ #weilwirdichlieben #adidaseqt #adidasoriginals #adidas #bvg #teamoverkill #overkillshop #overkillshop #teameqt

A post shared by OVERKILL® (@overkillshop) on Jan 15, 2018 at 6:38am PST

The sewn-in BVG transit card is just one design element of these sneakers. They also feature the black, blue and red camouflage pattern from BVG’s train seats. A small yellow heart stitched onto the side represents BVG logo.

The translated tweet reads: “Yes, these are sneakers in the BVG design. Yes, they are valid as an annual ticket. No, you can’t put them on the seat.” (Even though one picture features someone putting their feet on the seat.)

“The motivation behind the collaboration is really to get young people on to public transport,” BVG spokesperson Petra Reetz told The Guardian, “We wanted to tell young people public transport is cool – you don’t need to buy a car.”

Simple 5 Step Plan to Improve Your Company and Yourself in 2018

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to better yourself —and your company. And the road to improvement is easier than you think.

As the year goes on, and you start to get bogged down by seemingly endless new projects, it’s easy to sacrifice your long-term betterment for short-term wins for both you and your team.

But not this year.

While you’re still in New Year’s resolution mode, here are five habits to think about as you enter 2018.

Lead by listening.

Office environments where things are questioned and challenged tend to produce better results–sometimes slower results, but better ones nonetheless. A diversity of opinions and viewpoints makes for better products, and the best way to foster that is simple: just listen.

Resist the urge to give snap judgments toward anybody’s input–even if you don’t initially agree. It only takes one quick rejection for an employee to fear that they aren’t being heard.

The best office dynamics are ones where employees don’t just feel compelled to offer opinions, they know that management is listening. And creating that atmosphere isn’t as difficult as you may believe.

Know the weight of your words.

Google’s Eric Schmidt has sound advice for CEOs and other influential executives: Choose your comments wisely.

In a meeting environment, if you comment on each and every topic mentioned, your employees won’t be able to tell what’s most important to you. Likewise, while meeting with your employees, avoid coming to the table with an overload of ideas. If you mention five different objectives, you risk employees taking on too much in an effort to complete them all.

Instead, think of the most important thing–and just say that. Understand that you have an obligation to be clear, and you’ll be rewarded with productivity.

Schedule a lunch with all your employees.

Depending on your company’s size, it may be easy for your employees to feel overlooked by management. To begin the year, take time to ensure that doesn’t happen.

If possible, schedule a lunch meeting with each of your employees. If that’s not feasible, go for groups of five or 10. A little facetime can go a long way, and you might be surprised at the conversations that sprout from a simple lunch.

Each time I visit my company’s office in Russia, I have a sign-up sheet sent to all our employees for a one-hour small group lunch each day.

I request that each person come with three questions and two pieces of feedback for me. These lunches have sparked great ideas and conversation, and also present an opportunity to be transparent about recent management decisions.

While you’re at it, schedule a few meetings with yourself. It may sound crazy, but as I’ve written in the past, scheduling a pair of 90-minute “meetings” every week are a great opportunity to organize and prioritize your goals.

Give yourself permission to value you.

Nine out of 10 people would probably tell you they prioritize their family first. But how many of those are consistently home in time for dinner with their spouse and kids?

This year, get in the habit of disconnecting and leaving the office when your business day is over.

Similarly, dedicate time to your personal health. Start with just one sixty-minute time block each week for a workout, a meditation session or anything that can improve your physical or mental health.

Things like proper nutrition, exercise and getting enough sleep may seem elusive, but granting yourself enough time to satisfy your wellness will pay long-term dividends–both in and out of the office.

Read a new book every month.

There’s one thread that almost all great leaders and executives have in common: They’re all voracious readers.

Growing and diversifying your bookshelf will help you think about innovative approaches and could open your eyes to viewpoints or strategies you hadn’t ever considered.

I’m constantly putting my own twist on ideas I read when applying them to my company, Arkadium. A book that I recently read, called Learn or Die by Ed Hess, gave me some great ideas on how to revamp our learning and development program.

Don’t limit yourself to how-to guides or philosophy reads, either. Elon Musk credits a science-fiction novel as one of the books that helped shape his outlook. Oprah Winfrey calls Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird one of her favorites.

Open 12 new books in 2018, and this year might be your most eye-opening one yet.