I’ve been much more methodological about my reading material this year as well as diligent about the consumption of it. I am now reading more than I ever have and since living in London it has helped me to avoid making eye contact with anyone on the tube (it’s a London thing).
So far this year I have powered through a number of books, some highly recommended, and some less so, albeit all recommended. Hopefully it gives a high-level on these reads and that you can give your own comments, but more importantly recommend similar or complimentary titles for my future tube journeys.
In no particular order:
Insanely Simple, Ken Segall
We’ve all been touched by Steve Jobs in some way, me, I currently have 3 Apple products on my desk right now, and looking around the office, countless more. Insanely Simple taps into Steve Jobs’ ethos of simplicity through the eyes of one of his closest confidants. Ken was the Creative Director of most of Apple’s success stories, to name a couple, the Think Different campaign and naming the iMac was part of his doing. Great read for anyone working in marketing or sales. Some really good management tips in there also around keeping things simple — Steve Jobs used to famously throw people out of meetings who were not adding value or fundamental to the task at hand*.
Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss
As a big fan of his podcast I knew I had to have this sitting on the shelf. The reason to have it on the shelf is that I have managed to pick it up countless times this year, not to read it in full but take it in, small bite size chunks at a time. I also believe that this book has something for everyone in it. There have been chapters that I have skipped in their entirety and others which I have read a few times. Chapters of relevance: Naval Ravikant, Cal Fussman, Jamie Foxx, Jack Dorsey, Laird Hamilton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari
Exploring what Yuval believes to be the biggest threat to mankind, Dataism, combining artificial intelligence and genetic engineering will humans finally be able to become “god-like”. Yuval sums it up well “more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined.” What do the next 100 years look like for mankind. Blew my mind and in my opinion should be read in reverse order, Sapiens then Homo Deus.
Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
The prequel to Sapiens gives us an understanding of where we’ve come from and why we are the way we are. Gives much context to Homo Deus and covers the cognitive, agricultural, and scientific revolutions to give an insight into success of Homo Sapiens above all other human species. Challenges much of the thought of why we are and act the way we do.
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
Been meaning to read this for some time. Some great insight into the nature vs nurture and how your environment plays a greater role in success. Some really fun examples around the success of Jewish lawyers in the 1970’s in NYC and why the Chinese and Japanese are better at math. A fun holiday read. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book faster in my entire life.
Seagull: A Story, Richard Bach
Was recommended this by a podcast I was listening to. The speaker was giving this book to every entrepreneur whom he encountered and believed to have passed over to “the other side” of entrepreneurship. A story about a seagull who breaks all the rules and how he is perceived by society. A nice spin on the traditional disruptor stories we hear over and over again.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
In short, a management text book — don’t let that detract from its importance though. I feel this one is going to stay close to me for the next few years. Gives you a rundown of how to hire, fire, and everything in between. Not a typical business book which tells of the #struggle but gives clear distinct precautionary measures of how to deal with various scenarios.
Shoe Dog, Phil Knight
Wasn’t overly excited to be honest due to the fact that I imagined it being another, “this is how I became successful” book. I was wrong.. Well sort of. I found the story to be pumping up Phil Knight’s tyres (deservedly), however, there were some golden nuggets of business and management. In short, keep the foot on the gas, and don’t ever stop.
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, Kamal Ravikant
Like many of the other books in this list, Kamal is not going to teach you anything you probably don’t already know. He does, however, have a knack for reiterating what many of us have forgotten. I like his work and his thoughts. Worth a read if you’re feeling like getting thoughts aligned or potentially going through some lower times. I ordered this book, like all of them, off Sunlight, which is a platform we use to give employees budget for learning and development. The lovely guys at Sunlight (we invested and know them well) felt the need to check in with me after seeing the title of the book. I will tell you, like them, I’m perfectly mentally happy and appreciate the thought. Thanks.
How To win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
The classic from Dale Carnegie has stood the test of time. Most of you I’m sure have read it, however, like Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, it makes you go back over and check the things that you learnt all those years ago and bring them back to the forefront. Anyone working in sales should make this the first book they read. Published in 1936, and many of the learnings are still relevant today.
The New Rulers of the World, John Pilger
‘Watch the documentary’ is on my to do list. John Pilger is an Australian investigative journalist who is this books dissects General Suharto’s regime, America’s war in Iraq, and Australia’s imperialism on its native people. Three brilliant chapters and ashamedly a lot of information I was unaware of. Really interesting insights. I did, however, discuss this with someone recently and the response I got was “John Pilger, left-wing loonie” so approach with caution if you have sensitive political views.
Tao Te Ching, Laozi
Some good 4th century BC Chinese philosophy right here. The title influenced Confucianism and Buddhism through its concepts. Some key takeaways for me was knowledge and humility — “Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment.”
Please feel free to comment below any future reading material for me.
*Steve Jobs’ management style is not one that is revered by most, however, this point around key individuals being involved I think helps our meetings run smoother and more importantly shorter.