Book Reviews

Shane Parrish, has a fairly simple objective for his life:

I want to go to bed each night smarter than when I woke up. I also want to live a meaningful life and become a better person.

And how do you do that? Read. A lot.

Charlie Munger, *billionaire* business partner of Warren Buffett and the Vice Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway, weighs in:

In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.

Buffett estimates that he spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking.

You could hardly find a partnership in which two people settle on reading more hours of the day than in ours.” – Charlie Munger

When asked how to get smarter, Buffett once held up stacks of paper and said “read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”

All of this knowledge provides dots to connect.

In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new ideas. — Maria Popova

Photo Credit: Michael D Beckwith

 


Business:

Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Businessman” – Robert Updegraff

First published as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post in April, 1916 (Free PDF here). A great reminder that, in business, we too often make things much harder than necessary.

The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business” – Peter Coughter

Author Peter Coughter presents the tools he designed to help advertising and marketing professionals develop persuasive presentations that deliver business. Readers will learn how to develop skills to create the perfect presentation.

Creativity:

A Whole New Mind” – Daniel Pink
Arguing that business and everyday life will soon be dominated by right-brain thinkers. He identifies the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment.

Ignore Everybody” – Hugh MacLeod
Provides a mindset and a mental framework for ignoring other people’s (and society’s) expectations of you to be creative and to tackle new ideas in a risk-averse world.

Evil Plans” – Hugh MacLeod
A road map, or rather an evil plan, for unifying what you do for living with what you truly love.

Steal Like an Artist” – Austin Kleon

“These are things I’ve learned over almost a decade of trying to figure out how to make art, but a funny thing happened when I started sharing them with others — I realized that they aren’t just for artists. They’re for everyone.” — Austin Kleon

Decision-Making:

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” – Chip and Dan Heath
The Heath brothers introduce a four-step process designed to counteract the array of biases and irrationality that disrupt our decisions.

Education:

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower” – Professor X
What’s the ROI on our college degree? Professor X makes the case that the college system as a business is bent on its own financial targets rather than the well-being of its students. Is a college education still worth it (for most people)?

The Education of Millionaires” – Michael Ellsberg
Ellsberg argues that education is not the same thing as academic excellence and highlights 7 success skills that people can leverage (outside of school) to become financially successful in their own careers.

Stop Stealing Dreams” – Seth Godin
The economy has changed and yet school’s haven’t. They still insist on rote memorization, crushing dreams, amplifying fear and churning out obedient factory workers that adhere to the status quo and fit into “the system.”

Entrepreneurship:

Rework” – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Most business books give you the same old advice. Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business (i.e. stop talking and start working). I love the counter-intuitive way they’ve re-written business rules to achieve success.

Built To Sell” – John Warrillow
The book talks about the three key criteria to transforming your business into one you can sell, but it really teaches you how to create real business value.

Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain Book Review” – Ryan Blair
One-part memoir and one-part business blueprint that offers a kick in the pants

Health and Wellness:

Mindless Eating” – Brian Wansink

Marketing:

The Cluetrain Manifesto” – Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger
Markets are conversations made of human beings. The world, thanks to the Internet, has changed forever and brands must learn to adapt to these changes or risk becoming obsolete.

The Impact Equation” – Chris Brogan & Julien Smith
The book provides a formula to get your ideas heard and to ensure you’re taking action to increase the influence of your presence, your work and your relationships. More actionable than Trust Agents.

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer of the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising” – Ryan Holiday

Ryan showcases how the marketing game has changed forever and how marketers must learn a new mindset or risk becoming obsolete. He explains the new rules and provides valuable examples and case studies for aspiring growth hackers.

Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products” – Nir Eyal

A how-to guide for building better products written for anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

Meditation:

Sit Like a Buddha” – Lodro Rinzler

A concise, pocket-size guide that tells you everything you need to know about how to meditate.

Motivation:

The Dip” – Seth Godin
What sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts. This book will help you figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents.

The Icarus Deception” – Seth Godin
Obedience and conformity are no longer the keys to success. Learn how to thrive in an economy that rewards art, not compliance.

Narrative Non-Fiction:

Shadow Divers” – Robert Kurson

Neuroscience:

Incognito” – David Eagleman
At first glance this book doesn’t have much to do with business or marketing, but what better way to tap into the mind of your customer than to look under the hood of the conscious mind and learn more about the circuitry of their brain?

Play:

Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety” – Charlie Hoehn

Philosophy:

The Obstacle is the Way” – Ryan Holiday

Psychology:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” – Robert Cialdini
This book explains the psychology of why people mindlessly say yes, including 6 universal principles and how to use them to become a skilled persuader.

Relationship Building:

Who’s Got Your Back?” – Keith Ferrazzi
You can’t get to the top, or anywhere for that matter, relying solely on yourself. The key to achieving your dreams comes from having “lifeline relationships.”

Self-Help:

A Complain Free World” – Will Bowen

The Gifts of Imperfection” – Brené Brown

Social Media:

Trust Agents” – Chris Brogan & Julien Smith
How to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and, of course, profits. Rooted in the theoretical, but also offers actionable steps and case studies.

Success:

Deep Work” – Cal Newport

How Will You Measure Your Life?” – Clayton Christensen

Linchpin” – Seth Godin
How to become indispensable in the workplace. The most important career book you will ever read.

Luck By Design” – Richard Goldman
Luck is something you create for yourself, with hard work, determination, good timing, and trust in yourself and your inner voice.

Life After College” – Jenny Blake
Featuring 10 keys areas of life (i.e. work, money, friends, health) Jenny’s book is a great resource for graduating students and young professionals trying to navigate life in their 20s.