5 books that made an impact – from 2014

I generally do a “Book of the year” feature at the end of the year and realized I didn’t do it during the holiday season.

So, here’s a belated version of the 5 books that made a huge impact on me in 2014.

1. Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Decisive has been the single biggest influence on my decision making. I was so inspired by the book that I created this learnographic with a talented friend, shared around 20 posts on decision making learnings from Decisive on this blog and even carry a small pocket card summarizing the framework.

It is an outstanding book and is one I’d recommend to every person interested in leading a better life. The quality of our decisions play a big role in the quality of our lives. This book helps improve the quality of those decisions.

2. The Hard thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. The Hard Thing about Hard Things isn’t for everyone. That said, if you have an interest in technology, start-ups, building companies or leading teams, it is the closest a book comes to an instruction manual. Ben’s thinking on the topic of building a company is profound. And, I expect to read this book many times over in the next few years.

3. How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes. One of my favorite parts about graduate school is learning how many of the building blocks of the world we live in actually work. And, this book provided me a great crash course in economics and the economy. It is a fun read. The book definitely has a political agenda and there are a few things about the theory espoused that aren’t perfect. However, it makes for a great read and is almost guaranteed to pique your interest in the working of the global economy.

4. The Everything Store by Brad Stone. I shared this book with a close friend who has been working in the tech industry for the past 3 years. He said he was so blown away by this book’s take on Amazon and Jeff Bezos that he’s started buying everything on Amazon.com. I wasn’t surprised.

For those interested in technology, entrepreneurship, retail, e-commerce, the phenomenon called Amazon.com or simply learning more about one of the greatest entrepreneur of this generation, this book is a must-read.

5. What To Do When It Is Your Turn by Seth Godin. Super biased recommendation here as I’ve shared before. But, hey, I’m talking about books that had an impact on me. :)

Other great books that almost made the list that I’d recommend in a heart beat – Give and Take by Adam Grant, In The Plex by Steven Levy (Google), The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt (Operations Management), and Flash Boys/Boomerang/Moneyball by Michael Lewis. As for 2015, I have many books queued on my Audible – some of these are How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, How Google Works by Eric Schmidt, How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson, The Art of Thinking Clealy by Rolf Dobelli among others. And, I’m reading Mastery by Robert Greene and The Innovators by Walter Isaacson now.

Thanks to tons of interesting reading in graduate school, I’ve been reading less than usual. I think I only read 19 books last year (I average 24 usually) and I expect a low yield year this year too (12 good books would be a big win). But, every few months, I share reviews on all books I’ve read on RohanRajiv.com and also share a summary of my notes on The BookBytes Project Tumblog – that will not change. Many of these make their way here. The tumblog is just the unedited version straight out of the Notes app on my phone.

Hope this helps. And, happy reading!