This may sound a little daunting, but this time last week I was nine books behind. How have I been catching up? By reading good, but short books that I can knock out in a day. They've actually been pretty easy to find too, as a quick Internet search of "Good, short books" will bring up a variety of lists from different sources.
One of the more interesting books I read is the focus of this post - Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick. If you only know of Tesla as the name of the high-end electric car, then you need to read this book. This guy was brilliant and responsible for inventing many of the things we use today including alternating current electricity, fluorescent bulbs, neon lights and x-rays. Oh yeah, he also invented a little thing called the radio.
What? You thought that Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi were responsible for electricity, light bulbs (Edison) and the radio (Marconi)? Nope. It was Tesla. Edison and Marconi were just better connected politically and financially, and were able to be awarded credit. What's even more amazing is that, with the exception of Edison (who totally screwed Tesla out of a ton of money while Tesla was working for him and THEN tried to destroy Tesla professionally), Tesla didn't really seem to mind that he wasn't getting credit for his work. He wanted to advance science, not get rich and famous.
I could go on and on about everything that Tesla did, but then you wouldn't have to read the book. Seriously - it's that short. I think I read it on a lunch hour. It's an easy read and very interesting. But if you don't have that much time and want to know more about Nikola Tesla, check out The Oatmeal's comic on him. This is how I first heard of him.