10 Great Books to Read this Summer
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and it offers a great opportunity to relax and learn at the same time. I have shared below the 10 books I liked reading in 2016. I have also reviewed some of them so if you are interested you can check it out by clicking the related links.
Deep Work by Cal Newport – This was a good read. The main thesis is to not get distracted and have distraction free zones to produce your best work. So switch off social media, take time for solitude and that’s when the best work shows up. The author defines deep work as “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” There are also references to Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis' and their absence from Twitter as evidence that social media usage is unnecessary for writers though this may not be applicable to everyone.
Contagious Culture by Anese Cavanaugh - It is a wonderful take on how to lead and thrive both in business and life. What I really liked are the questions that are asked of you. Ultimately determining your true values will help you personally and then by determining the organization values you make the organization better. Here is the link to the review Contagious Culture.
Presence by Amy Cuddy -This is an expansion of her TED talk. The main thesis is by adopting certain postures you can improve your confidence. It has some good examples as well. Fake it before you make it. She says ““The research I’ve been doing for years now joins a large body of inquiry into a quality I call presence. Presence stems from believing in and trusting yourself—your real, honest feelings, values, and abilities. That’s important, because if you don’t trust yourself, how can others trust you? Whether we are talking in front of two people or five thousand, interviewing for a job, negotiating for a raise, or pitching a business idea to potential investors, speaking up for ourselves or speaking up for someone else, we all face daunting moments that must be met with poise if we want to feel good about ourselves and make progress in our lives. Presence gives us the power to rise to these moments."
The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly – This is a good book on the latest trends in technology. It is well written and easy to understand. There is in-depth analysis on artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality. This quote is really interesting “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
Originals by Adam Grant – This is by far one of the best books I have read on innovation. It was a riveting read with a lot of actionable insights. Adam Grant has done an excellent job in communicating succinctly that creativity is something which is within the grasp of all of us. Yes there are some deja vu moments but as Adam Grant suggests we should look for vu jade moments as well. Originality is an act of creative destruction. You can check out my lessons learned here Originals - 11 Lessons Learned.
Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool – Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool is an absolute gem on how we can all become exceptional performers. If you have read Outliers or Talent is Overrated you know the 10000 hour rule. Well this is based on the research Anders Ericsson did in 1993. His basic argument is 10000 hours was only an average and it was based on his study of great violinists. The point he makes is this was the amount of hours the best violinists in his study put by the time they reached age 20. However he cautions that this was only an average which means there were people below and above that number. He says that Gladwell mentioned that all of them in his study put in 10000 hours which is not correct. He also says this doesn’t mean they were experts based on his observations. In fact he said they still had scope for improvement. Here is my review What it takes to be the best
Grit by Angela Duckworth – This is a wonderful book which gives in-depth insight into what it really takes to succeed. It is not talent but grit that is more important. She starts the book by saying that during her childhood she was told by her dad that she was not a genius. After winning the award she thought what her dad said about her was true but you can achieve a lot through sheer grit. Some examples are drawn from West Point and the spelling bee contests. The main thread of all this research is the winners are the ones who stay till the end and they don’t have higher SAT scores or IQ but they have enormous resilience and perseverance. An example provided is Chia-Jung Tsay whose musical accomplishments are plenty and she said “I loved music so much that I used to practice four to six hours per day.” Please check out my review here.Grit Review
Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg- It is an engaging read and goes into the habits of productive people and organizations. Nothing revolutionary but it is very well written with a lot of great stories. Please check out my review here. Smarter Faster Better review.
Eisenhower in War and Peace – Of course this book was not written in 2016 but it was a great read. It goes into depth on what made Eisenhower great and it was a very engaging read. He loved playing golf and was a master delegator who took ultimate responsibility for all his decisions. The author says “Like a true professional Eisenhower made things look easy. He was a master of the essentials. He appeared to performing less work than he did because he knew instinctively which matters required his attention and which could be delegated to his subordinates.”
The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross– The Industries of the future is an important book as it talks about where our future generations can spend their time to make a living. The author Alec Ross is one of the leading experts on innovation. He served 4 years under Hillary Clinton so he has firsthand knowledge on what is happening around the world. In the introduction he says that the last wave of innovation and globalization produced winners and losers. The losers were people who lived in high cost labor markets like the US and Europe whose skills were not able to keep up with the pace of change. Here is my review here of The Industries of the Future.
There you have it the 10 books I really enjoyed reading in 2016. Please share your favorite books below. Thanks for reading this post.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.