This book discusses techniques for networking in the business world. I expected it to be filled with sweeping generalizations and business platitudes, and while there was a bit of that, I found it to be quite tactical. It discusses things like staying in touch, connecting people to each other, and being a source for good content. Nearly all the material is brought from personal experiences of the author, which made it read almost like a autobiography.
This book is all about how to make yourself into an indispensable employee, no matter what line of work you are in. I gotta tell you, I was so excited to read this book that perhaps I expected too much. Don't get me wrong, the book was a good read and it hammered home some solid principles (like the importance of being an artist, spending emotional energy, and overcoming the lizard brain) but it was hard to distill those principles down into concrete steps. Seth even mentions how abstract it is and then punts the responsibility, saying that only you can figure out how to apply the principles in your situation. The result was a good book that missed a good opportunity.
In this book, Seth Godin looks at how the current education system has failed to keep up with the transformational changes in our world. In the modern economy, any piece of information can be accessed in two clicks. Outsourcing is an easy and effective way of getting work done. Large, loosely organized networks of people are doing better work for free than armies of highly paid employees of structured businesses. With this in mind, Seth writes a series of insights and suggestions on how our education should be adapted to better prepare the youth of America for a very different job market than the one their grandparents went into.
I don't often do fiction but I listened to this Audiobook because I had to drive 13 hours straight in a car without dying of boredom or falling asleep. I was hoping I would be able to get lost in the story and the time would fly by and I was right. It was a good story in a great setting with a lot of action and cliffhangers. While I quickly got tired of the awkward romance that seemed to drag on and on, other parts of the storyline made up for the loss.
This is an excellent, data-driven book on what small things separate the great companies (consistent, high-growth, market leaders) from their mediocre competitors. Many of the concepts -- getting the right people on the bus, pushing the flywheel, level 5 leaders, etc. -- easily translate towards success in any team effort, whether it be in business or not. A lot of the winning formulas fly in the face of transitional management behavior, but at the same time, they simply make sense. With the conclusions clearly backed by evidence and concepts that are easy to grasp, the result is a solid and enjoyable book.
This book discusses the irrational things that humans do everyday. While the premise sounds great, the book failed to deliver. I loved the concept, and select parts of the book, (like how we are often lured by the concept of 'free', to make poor choices) but my expectations were high and the book failed to "WOW" me. The tie to behavioral economics was weak and the author used an appeal to shock value that was rather unpleasent. To the author's credit, I felt his assumptions (and conclusions) were interesting and backed by adequate research.
Everybody has something to say but saying it does nothing if your audience doesn't remember it. Made to Stick revolves around what makes an idea "sticky," or unforgettable. In this book, the authors spend time looking at the the stickiest messages: urban legends, radio jingles, unforgettable advertisements and more. Their question is, what separates the glut of forgettable messages with those that you can't get out of your head? Through their research, they find a set of principles that can make your message stick with the audience, whether you are a marketer, educator, manager, or parent. This book is stellar and using its principles to make my own messages sticky has been invaluable in my life.
This is a fun little book about separating out the things start-ups should focus on from the things they shouldn't bother with. With a premise like that, it's easy to see why this book would be invaluable to entrepreneurs with limited time. The book was good, with my only regret being that it zeroed in on business startups, leaving no room to extrapolate out principles for "anyone starting anything" (as the book's subtitle claimed to do).
Drive is an excellent book about how we can motivate ourselves and others. Through a series of examples and studies, Pink finds three high-level factors that are exceptionally motivational: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Is money a motivator? Yes, but not in the way you might think. Much like Malcolm Gladwell's books, this book uses interesting stories to explain key concepts. It also has a great workbook at the end which shows businessmen, teachers, and parents how to apply the principles in their lives. Watch this for a sample of the content.
This is a phenomenal book on how to choose a career. It is extremely detailed, giving you every step you need to take to find your passion, discover how to get paid to do it, qualify yourself for it, and then land a job. That being said, I am certain that this book is not for everyone. It's written as a workbook that explains clear principles and then loads you up with tons of exercises and homework. If you aren't willing to do the work on the side, don't even bother. If you are (and you ought to be, as you will likely be working for the rest of your life) then there is no better book for reaching that goal.
This is a short, casual book that questions the assumptions of the majority of people pursuing a career. It uses a fictional story to make an argument for going against the conventional money-earning process and building your own career as an entrepreneur. I thought it was decent. You can download it legally for free here (though I'd recommned using a disposible email address if you don't want spam).
When I moved across the country, I kept my most valuable possessions and sold everything else that wouldn't fit in my car. This is one of the few books I kept. Naked Economics is an attempt to teach a refresher on the basic principles of economics in the context of relevant examples and current events. It had an ambitious goal: to explain economics simply, without using a single diagram. It succeeded and I am a huge fan. If you are planning on living, working, and voting in the modern economy (which all of you are), then you owe it to yourself to read this book. Twice.
This book is a basically a parable -- a fictional story that teaches a message about the many ways that dysfunctional teams fail to succeed. The excellent thing about this book is that it hits the nail directly on the head. Everybody has been on a dysfunctional team before, so as you read, you clearly recognize the issues as they come up. The book adds value because as an observer, the reader can step outside of the situation and see how the issues can be corrected. It's the best book on teamwork I've ever read.
This is by far my favorite Malcolm Gladwell book. In it, he looks at what causes something to, for lack of a better phrase, "go viral." As a subtle distinction, he isn't just looking at the content… he's looking at the networks. He finds that the ability for an idea to "tip" and spread has a lot to do with the people who pass this idea around. For a fledgling idea, certain type of people -- connectors, mavens, and salesmen -- can have a huge influence on whether it takes off or languishes in irrelevance.
This book is pure sillyness, printed and bound. The author discusses how our brains get stuck in a rut, and how the only way to get out is to break free of the norms of thought. The book teaches the principle by explaining the concept, then sharing puzzles, ideas, exercies, jokes, and the most fantastic, shamelessly nonsensical illustrations you've ever seen. It really is a fun read. For a sneak preview of the content, check out this post I wrote a while back.
This book is the true story of Victor Frankel, a doctor, psychologist, and holocaust survivor. The story itself is good. Like other such books, it teaches the reader about conditions in concentration camps and about the will to survive. However, this book rises above the others because of the lessons he distills from the story on human nature. They are influenced by his experience, his education, his studies, and his attitude. The result is a eye-opening book that won't leave you feeling down when it's over. I think you'll like it.
This book is the ultimate classic and if you read it, you'll instantly know why. The advice makes a whole lot of sense. There are no shortcuts to building strong relationships. It boils down to having a good attitude, seeing the good in people, smiling, remembering others, learning names, actually listening, and in general, looking outside yourself. The tactical way that these concepts are taught makes this book THE go to reference for just being a better person. Highly recommended.
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell asks the question: what makes people successful? He then investigates the lives and backgrounds of winners in many fields like academics, sports, business, and entertainment. While his final conclusion was somewhat underwhelming (lots of things make people successful) I credit Gladwell with bringing forward some unexpected findings and turning them into a cohesive narrative. Definitely an entertaining and engaging read.
A short and famous book on entrepreneurship. The value in this book is that it effectively cuts to the heart of some subtle challenges in entrepreneurship: the myth of entrepreneurial grandeur, balancing of roles in a business, optimizing your workflows, and measuring what matters. While there are some gold nuggets of wisdom in the book, I found the narrative hopelessly cheesy, with more than a couple awkward moments. Still worth a read but not the "bible" of entrepreneurship I was expecting.
If you hate Mondays, then you probably aren't doing what you ought to be doing with your life. And you can fix that. This is the message of "No More Mondays." The book spends a lot of time encouraging unsatisfied readers to take control of their lives and do the work that they want to do. The message is one of empowerment: don't let fear of change, or doing something different prevent you from choosing a better course for your life. It was an enjoyable read.
This book takes a deep dive into the world of engineers who use nature as their inspiration for groundbreaking design. Even today, most manmade designs and materials are inferior to things that commonly occur in nature: spiders silk, chloroplasts, beetles wings, lotus leaves, and many others. The ability to replicate these natural designs could solve the world's energy problems, build optical computers, grow organs, create materials that heal themselves or surfaces that never get dirty, and launch satellites at a fraction of the current cost. The author goes straight to the scientists taking on these challenges, resulting in an substantial book that is both fascinating and rich in detail.
This book gives a nice grounded approach to investing. Coming from an author who's seen it all, the book is refreshing in that it rejects the get-rich-quick approach to investing and focuses on the simple aspects that matter over the long term. It's a good book for learning a bit about investing while keeping a conservative perspective about the whole thing. The author also has a sense of humor, which is always nice.
Dave Ramsey is the king of no-nonsense tough-love financial advice and in this book he zeros in on people who are in debt. The book charts a definitive course on getting out of debt… if you are man enough to take on the challenge. If this were a book on losing weight, it would be about eating less and exercising more and it would actually work. This ought to be required reading for anybody who takes out a loan of any sort.
One of my favorite books of all time. It looks at the wealthy in America and makes some startling conclusions. Most people who look wealthy, actually aren't (a trend they playfully call "big hat, no cattle"). Unlike these people with big houses, nice cars, expensive tastes, and no money (yes, you heard me right), the truly wealthy in America live rather inconspicuous lives. The book discusses how these people live, where they live, what they buy, what they don't buy, how they spend their time, and how they invest.
If you are the kind of person who finds math interesting and likes the experience of having your mind expanded and warped (I suspect there aren't too many of us out there), then you'll love this book. It's a short, playful, story of a world where the inhabitants are all shapes living on a two dimensional plane. Throughout the story, the 3D reader begins to effectively understand the perspective of a 2D shape. The experience of hopping through worlds of various dimensions actually teaches mathmatic principles leading up to extrapolating out concepts of higher dimensional planes. It's incredible that such concepts can be taught in such a short and simple book. Brilliant. By the way, the book is not a romance in the modern sense and it is in the public domain. Read it online here or download it for free here.
This short book (in the public domain -- download it for free) is a very readable parable about an underdog who demonstrates what it's like to be determined to succeed. It's an age-old story of how nothing is more powerful than a motivated person who is driven to keep their commitment, no matter what. If you want to be invaluable, read this book, and train yourself to be like that person. Period.