17 Books I’ve read this past year and would recommend

Whilst I can’t guarantee you’ll like all or even any of these books, as these are only my personal picks and hence very subjective, they all struck a chord with me.

Whether it’s a bit of luck that a book meets your needs at a certain time of life or is simply the escapism that you’re seeking, I’ve found that the following books have interested me, educated me and/or inspired me to add to my business life or life in general.

In no particular order, happy reading (or listening on Audible if you’re like me).

1. Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh (2010)
A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

A really honest account from Tony Hsieh on his vision, creation, building of and exiting from Zappos.  Despite the book being almost a decade old, it’s absolutely relevant to any lover of business. 

2. The 5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins (2017)
Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

This one could be hit or miss and to be honest is a little repetitive, however meets a need and might just be the difference between action and the alternative, when you really know that you need action.

3. The Everything Store – Brad Stone (2013)
Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon

Another very honest account, however this time ‘of’ an entrepreneur.  Well researched and cleverly written, it’s interesting from start to finish.  I’m not aware of Brad Stone writing any follow up book on this, however the last 6 years would be fascinating to read about! 

4. The Upstarts – Brad Stone (2017)
How Uber, Airbnb and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World

This is a goody!  Covering so many phenomenally & highly valued entities, that ‘own nothing’, Brad Stone does a great job weaving the rise of these businesses across a recent timeline, it made me feel like you are part the story in my view, particularly as we had our own start-up during this period of time. 

5. Zero to One – Peter Thiel, Blake Masters (2015)
Notes on Start-Ups or How to build the future

Regardless of your thoughts on Facebook or Peter Thiel, I enjoyed this book as again, I could relate having experienced a start-up.  It’s a fairly quick read this one.

6. Building a Storybrand – Donald Miller (2017)
Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

If you can get away from some self-promotion of his business, Donald Miller offers some useful information, with useful examples throughout.

7. The Inevitable – Kevin Kelly (2016)
Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

I really enjoyed this one and it can’t help but get you thinking or maybe confirm some of your thinking, in terms of how technology and intersecting technologies will shape our not too distant reality.

8. Quiet – Susan Cain (2013)
The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Whether you think you’re an introvert or an extrovert, don’t let that determine whether you read this book.  I found it to be insightful and very honest.  I often found myself shaking my head in agreement in regard to situations.  A highlight for me was around ensuring you are yourself, all the time.  I’m in total agreement on that one!

9. Be more Pirate – Sam Conniff Allende (2019)
Or how to take on the world and win

This one was recommended by an old school mate and it didn’t disappoint for the most part.  It has a really interesting take on various parts of branding and business, taking its lead from, you guessed it, the pirate days.  I felt that it was useful, fun and also educational!

10. The Lean Start Up – Eric Ries (2011)
How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

An oldy but a good go-to book for any aspiring entrepreneur, particularly in the tech space.  I enjoyed it, although not everyone seems to have the same view.  It might depend on what stage you’re at and what industry, I suspect.  

11. Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund (2011)
Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Amazing. It’s very sad that Hans Rosling is no longer alive, however he has certainly put a number of things into perspective and provided clarity on reality.

12. Bad Blood – John Carreyrou (2018)
Secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley StartUp

Crazy!  So crazy that as you’re reading/listening, you simply can’t comprehend that the story behind Theranos is true.  An absolute must-read/listen.  The narrator for the Audible book is great.

13. Grit – Angela Duckworth (2016)
The Power of Passion and Perseverance

A good one for anyone even contemplating throwing in the towel on business and indeed on giving up on other activities. Very honest.  It’s a confidence booster.

14. Enlightenment Now – Steven Pinker (2018)
The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

A biiiiiiig book or a biiiiiiig listen (although I’d suggest you listen on 2x).  Similar to factfulness however much more in-depth.  It’s well set out and allows you to pick your way through those areas that interest you. I found it a little long towards the end and was glad to finish, however it’s worth the effort. With thanks to a friend who suggested this one to me. I hope that you like it.

15. Make Time – Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky (2018)
How to focus on what matters every day

This book probably could have been produced as a fairly simple checklist, however these guys tell a reasonable story as to why they think the way they do.  I found some useful tips in here.

16. Your second life begins when you realize you only have one – Raphaelle Giordano (2018)
Discover what a routinologist is.

A good yarn from start to almostfinish.  I found that it’s a hurried ending, all of sudden it’s as if the author also wanted to finish it.  Having said that, it’s a quick book and makes you think and hopefully change the way you approach life, in a good way.

17. The Million-Dollar One Person Business – Elaine Pofeldt (2018)
Make Great Money. Work the Way You Like. Have the Life You Want.

I really enjoyed this practical book.  Great cases studies and well laid out in terms of the business ideas or channels that Elaine has happened upon from years of study.  Whilst I usually like these sorts of books to be written by people who have been there and done that, it’s fair to say that she has done a great job of story-telling here and pinpointing some opportunities and also pitfalls to avoid. Again, a fairly quick book.

Happy reading and please feel free to let me know any good books that you’ve read that you feel might be enjoyable, inspiring or thought provoking.  Cheers.

Since writing this article, I’ve read a few more books which I’ve listed and made comment about here. I hope that you enjoy one or two.

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