I’ve shared my favorite books in 3 of the last 4 years. I generally manage to read ~25 books per year. This number has effectively halved while at school given all the reading I get through for coursework. So, I’d predicted I’d read 12 books this year during my end of year review of books that made an impact last year. I managed 14 (woohoo!) and I thought I’d pick out 4 fantastic books.
1. Mastery by Robert Greene. I read half this book in 2014 and half in 2015. Many of the lessons from this stuck resonated deeply. While I didn’t necessarily find many of the topics around deliberate practice and effort new, I thought Greene’s take on emotional intelligence and managing mentorship enlightening. The most powerful lesson for me was – “Don’t listen to what people say, pay careful attention to what people do.” This sounds pretty obvious. But, it came to me at a time when I really needed this advice.
Great book. A must read.
2. How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. Another book that receives my highest recommendation. Scott Adams is smart, savvy and lives his life as an experimenter. I love and relate to his approach to life and I think he’s gotten the skill of living well down pat. He has plenty of practical advice about success and day-to-day living. There are many favorite lessons from the book. However, his theory on collecting many mediocre skills versus mastery in just one and his insistence of designing systems versus setting goals are my favorites.
3. The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. This book is a history of technology from the times of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. I found this book both interesting and inspiring. It definitely helped solidify some of my thinking around the power of teams while also helping me understand the nature of innovation.
4. High Output Management by Andy Grove. I’ve written about this book in the past few weeks. A good part of this book wasn’t completely new to me as the wonderful Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” was clearly inspired by Andy’s style. But, Andy’s “tell-it-as-it-is” style combined with his piercing insight on the science of management make this a management classic.
As always, book reviews from all books this year and before are on my book reviews blog. The books are categorized into 4 priorities based on the strength of their impact in my life.
Here’s to more reading in 2015. And, just for fun, I’ll continue the trend of making predictions and predict 18 books read next year as I expect the number to go up once I’m out of school.