8 Books to Expand Your Thinking in 2017
When breath becomes air — Paul Kalanithia: Haunting, beautiful, moving and perfect. Life is surprising and we can’t legislate for the things that are thrust upon us. Having planned everything out the game changed; death called. Simultaneously heartbreaking and warming, you owe it to yourself to experience the human condition, the internal disarray brought forth by love knowing expiration is close. Biggest takeaway, we all live and all die we just don’t know when it will come. Even with cancer we still don’t know when, life doesn’t change when you get ill, the timescales may short but still you never know. So live life as if you are terminal always.
Sapiens — Yuval Harari: Where did we come from, why are we here, why do we believe the things we do. Sapiens is spellbinding, and unquestionably the most interesting book i have ever read. Try this on for size: The most important things in the world exist only in our imaginations. Profound and spell binding while challenging your pre-conceived notions of why man has succeeded where other variations of humans failed.
Grit — Angela Duckworth: Why do some people succeed and others don’t? Why did the child prodigy fail? Why do some people drop out of school and others thrive? Why can’t we predict who those people will be? Grit is a fascinating book that elaborates on the things that enable us to achieve; passion and perseverance. They are everything and nothing. Unless you have them the likelihood of you achieving significant success is reduced. But you can cultivate those things. Why it is a must read for me is because it allows you to understand that our perseverance can change. How much more succesful would you be if you persevered more. I think you owe it to yourself to find out.
Business For Punks — James Watt: Become the zeitgeist, business for punks is an education on business and life. Do things your way or fail trying to please other people. Business for punks is brash, unapologetic and sure of itself. It doesn’t make any excuses, instead it forces it down your throat. In the same way Brewdog is a business like no other so is this book. It’s irreverent and certain. It implores you to be the person you want to be instead of relenting and allowing yourself to be who everyone else expects. Our biggest successes come when we are bold, brave and ignorant of the noise other people are making. Be brave enough to pursue your own happiness and success.
Oh the Places You’ll go — Dr Seuss: “You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.” I still read this often. Brilliantly prescient and predictive of the struggle that life can be. Some people will say its a kids book, which it is, but you are missing the point. Few texts are more profound or cognisant of the struggles we all face.
Shoe dog — Phil Knight: Priceless. How a gang of misfits can change the world. We are sold the story of oddball entrepreneurs today but few would guess that the fortunes of nike were shaped by an encyclopedia salesman, a wheelchair bound ex-athlete, an obsessive social worker, a 340lb accountant and an untested lawyer and a mad scientist atheltics coach. Phil might have his detractors but as a business book it is stuffed with gems.
Zero to One — Peter Thiel: He’s taking a kick in, he might even have deserved it, but barking to the mantra of the book, what is the contrarian truth you know that nobody else does? He knows and he won. Thiel might be the most astute entrepreneurial mind of our generation, sure i’ll bite that he isn’t Elon Musk, but look at what he has done. Zero to one identifies the process for greatness. This might be the book with the most knowledge in the fewest pages on the list. He wastes no time, there is no bullshit, only thoughts and teachings. He leaves you to decide if and how to use them.
The Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams: My favourite book ever. Unless you’ve read it you won’t understand why. Just trust me, read this and you’ll fall in love. It expands your horizons and teaches the importance of asking the right questions.