What I've Been Reading Lately

My personal leading source of new information and ways of thinking is books. Why books? I’m not quite sure. I’ve been asked recently by a friend how I became a frequent reader, and how I find time to read. To which I answer: I’m not sure. I wish I could break down the process of how you can become a reader, because I know many of us want to. When I was in college (only 5 years ago), I rarely read. So it’s not like I had the habit since I was young. I didn’t. The habit slowly developed after graduating.

I found a subject I was thoroughly interested in, and I made a promise to myself to outwork and outlearn everyone. Reading books became the way I’d accomplish that goal. Should you read? Not necessarily. The whole point of reading is to learn (at least for non-fiction). You can learn new subjects and skills in many ways nowadays (webinars, blogs, this newsletter, podcasts, Youtube, etc.). The reason I personally fell back to reading books is because it’s as distraction-free as it can get. For example, I’m easily distracted by Youtube’s side panel showing other amazing related videos. I end up having 11 tabs open, and lose focus easily.

The point is to learn. The mode of learning is irrelevant. If you’re into cooking for example, Youtube is arguably a better medium (video). So it’s also highly dependent on what you’re trying to master.

Make sure you balance your learning with doing. Sirdab Lab’s newsletter explained it beautifully: learning maximizes your potential, but you only make progress by putting your learning into action.

The books I’ve read this quarter (April, May, June)

Play Bigger by Al Ramadan

This is a book that builds up the hype on what it calls ‘Category Design’ but eventually doesn’t deliver. The basic message of this book is that you should design the product, the company and the category in which you want to be crowned king. What they’re preaching is on point and crucial for the success of products and businesses. However, their message is nothing but ‘innovate and position your innovation.’ They’ve just decided to brand their message by giving it a name: Category Design. Still a solid read if you’re interested in positioning differentiated products and businesses, and haven’t read much on the topic.

The Million Dollar One Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt

Being a one-person business doesn’t mean working in isolation. In fact, it means a lot of collaborating the teaming up with other individuals around solving problems you care about. This book resonates a lot with the way I’m approaching and building my own one-person (hopefully someday, million-dollar) business.

I highly recommend this book for entrepreneurs that don’t feel like growing a billion dollar app or running a mega organization. There’s a new movement – a movement run by curious and aspiring individuals that have something valuable to share with the world. Read this if you’re on of them.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

One of the most important books I’ve ever read. Factfulness advocates for adopting a fact-based worldview as opposed to one controlled by human biases and manipulated by the media. The book proves, through data and facts, that the world is actually getting better. This is not to make us feel good about ourselves, but rather epose our innate inability to view the world without stereotypes, biases, and preconceived notions of what we think is true.

Translating this to the world of business and innovation is seamless. Time and time again we, as entrepreneurs and innovators, fall into the traps of solution bias, confirmation bias, and falling in love with our first idea.

Reach Out by Molly Beck

Reach Out is a book about reaching out and contacting your ‘weak ties.’ Weak ties are friends of friends. In her book, Molly Beck explains the value of connecting with them through four different types of Reach Outs. The book is very well written, and narrated in a guide format. You will not find an Earth-shattering idea here, but will walk away with a concise understanding and a step-by-step approach to unlocking the full potential of your weak ties. Will definitely start practicing Reach Outs myself.

The 100-Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

The 100-Year Life isn’t about the future. It’s about the present. This thick book is thorough, and, admittedly, sometimes exhaustive. The basic premise of the book is that we humans are leading longer lives. Along with declining morbidity, the structure of our lives needs to be reconsidered.

The book introduces the 3-stage life (education, work, retirement) that has served us handsomely over the decades. However, due to our increasing lifespans, the 3-stage life needs to be reconsidered. The 100-Year Life presents the 3.5, 4, and 5 stage lives that some have already implemented. Again, this is not a prediction of the future, but rather an account of the present.

Along with longer lives, lower morbidity, and a revamping of the stages we go through are implications surrounding work, relationships, and money. One of my favorite sections is the trend of people utilizing their recreational time to recreate their identities and personal brands.

Authority by Nathan Barry

What a resource! Nathan Barry lays down the why, how and what in a flawlessly written and perfectly structured guide. If you want to write an ebook, this is the book that will teach you how. I initially read this as an ebook on Gumroad, but then had to buy a physical copy. It’s that good. Plus, it should come in handy very soon.

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