From an almost half a year-long (yay!) blogging experience, I see that you very much like posts with recommendations. Those about think-tanks and podcasts were very popular, as well as were reading selections. Well, let’s continue that.
I am a bookworm that cannot imagine life without stories. Today, I more and more often listen to books than read them. And if I read, I usually choose Kindle, not the traditional paper. The form may change, but the feelings don’t. I love it when books surprise, challenge or thrill me. I love it when I learn from them. I love when I disagree with their authors or heroes/heroines. I love it when they shock or frighten me.
Here, I want to share with you the titles of books I have recently read or listened to. None of them left me indifferent. Quite the contrary. I still think of them and analyse what I learned. Have a look at following reviews.
“Us vs. Them. The Failure of Globalism” by Ian Bremmer: I adore the author and want to be as shrewd and brief as him when I grow up. His enterprise – The Eurasia Group – and online platforms – GZero World and his fan pages on various social media – do what I think is priceless: explain international relations in a way that is interesting, understandable and entertaining (I leave his political sympathies aside). This is why I was very interested in reading his book. Ian Bremmer proved in it to be the master of joining the dots – or creating a puzzle. This book will make you unease due to a -no-mercy-like explanation of why the world is becoming more and more divided, polarized and why it is becoming even harder to find reach consensus on national, regional and global issues in all the areas: economic, political, cultural, societal, security, technological, etc. Focused on what brought us all here, the author will not give you answers to the questions about tomorrow. I am quite sure, however, that this book will give you both hope that we all may fix at least some elements of reality and motivation to do it, especially through the openness to others and readiness to listen to their views.
“Homo Deus” by Yuval Noah Harari: if Ian Bremmer doesn’t answer the what’s next question, Yuval Noah Harari does. And his answers will blow your mind. I read his “Sapiens” on the history of the humankind last year (more about my impressions here) and could not sleep for a week afterwards. It was the same with “Homo Deus”. Some experts name Yuval Noah Harari one of the most shrewd, inspirational and bold thinkers of our time. I concur. These experts also say that both of Mr Harari’s books are like an intellectual feast that makes your appetite for good, challenging and inspirational literature grow. I concur ago and say – these books set the bar for other future-oriented literature very high. Mr Harari’s visions will certainly not make you wait for tomorrow at ease. Will we build a paradise on Earth or quite the contrary – will our destructive powers prevail? Bioengineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning – this is just the beginning of things, they are already happening. What next? Expect the unexpected and fasten your seatbelts!
“A Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson: when I saw an ad of this book on Facebook, my first impression was “wow, what a clickbait title, I won’t get fooled about it”. Yet, as soon as I started listening to it, I knew this book was different than ordinary guides that will make you rich/happy/loved in a day. It is not easy to explain why this book is special and unique. But it is 🙂 It certainly proves that all this madness of self-development is destructive, overrated and, yes, stupid. It will not tell you, though, to give up on everything and sit on your couch forever. It will candidly explain that it is worth giving a f*** about certain things but not about the whole world and the things that others want you to give a f*** about. When I was listening to it, I got the impression that this book is like “Buddhism for Westerners”. Indeed, the author mentions Siddhartha Gautama in one of the chapters. What I mean here is the intention of the author to convince his readers that it is worth giving a f*** about searching for a balance, a calmness and the things/emotions/experiences that are truly worth it and are bringing you further and further from suffering. It will also explain that it is worth having doubts and not being strongly opinionated (so important if we want to fix the world through the openness to others!). Other opinions and experiences count just as much as yours. Read it and you will save money on a shrink in the future.
“Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek: I have a problem with these books. They seem to be perfect examples of revelation. After reading them everyone should shout out loud “Eureka!” and turn their businesses, workplaces upside down. But… for me, these books are like the Bible – you can agree that they are right, but it is easier said than done. Or rather: in theory/on paper everything is easy. In practice, to lead or run a business in the Simon Sinek mode is probably reserved for angels… And this makes me a little anxious. The author is passionate but also kind of principled. I get an impression that he does not forgive mistakes or searching for your own leadership style and making mistakes on the way. His way seems to be the only way (no doubt, he refers to hundreds of examples to prove it). Yet, I prefer to be doubtful and stick to the course of “A Subtle Art…”. But read these books anyway! They will make you feel challenged, they will make you consider whether you do enough in your business/school/hobby/private life-related bonds so that they thrive. I would advise, though one thing: do not be too harsh and critical to yourself. You know that you care about your relations, your people and your leadership when you reach for such books. The first step to excellence is made, well done! What will be the next one?
“Screw It, Let’s Do It” by Richard Branson: …but not so fast. The author, a brilliant entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Guinness-book-records breaker will convince you to try and take opportunities – but to prepare for them first. As soon as you are ready, do it! Go for it! Breathtaking examples of endeavours that have almost cost Richard Branson’s life will really make you feel like saying “screw it, let’s do it!”: let’s move abroad, let’s set up this startup, let’s open up a podcast, let’s buy tickets for a journey around the world. And so on and so forth. And if you are interested in foreign affairs and their toolbox, this book includes an example of celebrity diplomacy I didn’t know about, the one that explains it better than any definition. If not for stories on building up one of the biggest enterprises on Earth, read this book for the story on how a genuine and eccentric businessman saved British hostages from Saddam Hussein’s hands in 1990. What a story! Fragments are available here.
“The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson: does your blog excel when it comes to the quality of content but sucks when it comes to the range? Do you feel that you provide a unique, genuine value but can count your audience on fingers? Your online works are outstanding, but their popularity is not? Your online enterprise is, of course, awesome, but does not sell in millions? Well, here’s some good news from Chris Andreson: the future of the world and business lies in niches like yours. The author provides many examples of why not all of us have to produce Volkswagens and why it is worth creating unique products and content that will have a handful of fans in your circle, especially at the beginning. If you persevere, don’t care about geography and use the power of the internet smart, you will find many, many little audiences in many, many different corners of the world (like my blog – read already in 89 countries but not by millions). Read this book for some concrete advisory! BTW, this Chris Andreson is the CEO of 3DRobotics and the former editor of “Wired”, not the owner of TED 🙂
What are your reading discoveries of 2018? Share them here, please! I – and other bookworms who pop in here, too – would really love to get inspired by your choices!
What do you think of my reviews? Would you like to read any of these books after reading this article?
Interested in other books I recommend? Have a look at these posts:
All the book covers are taken from http://www.goodreads.com. No sponsored content, just personal impressions 🙂