The Books that defined me in 2016.


*An old post that I left as a draft that I thought I should just publish it.

In 2016 I read 16 books, I’m already starting to read another one so probably will be 17 books in total for 2016. Reading for me is not about entertainment, but educating myself for a greater future.

At the beginning of the year when I wrote my OKRs (aka my late NYE Resolutions written in February btw.) I put myself the goal of reading 2 books per month, that was out of my league for 2016. I didn’t read as fast as I can today, I had to practice almost one year to read faster, but retain as much as I can.

So after 16.5 books here you have my top 5 books that define my 2016:

ELON MUSK by Ashlee Vance

This book challenges you; makes you feel small, lazy and doesn’t matter what you do, you can do more and be better.

Elon Musk Quest for a Fantastic Future is an open window to understand the mind, and life of the real Tony Stark. Musk’s mind works in a different way from politics and power to technology and product, and this books gives you a glimpse of that and more.

***Why should I read it? *** It doesn’t matter if you are not in technology, entrepreneurship or the Startup World. Reading this will give you an understanding of how the future will be defined thanks to Musk and it will give you an external framework of how Musk’s mindset works towards everything he do.

“My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.” — Sir Elon Musk


There are two behavioral psychologists I admire the most, and both of them are my namesakes; Daniel Kahneman Nobel price in Economic Science, and Daniel Ariely MIT professor with 20 years of researching behavioral economics.

2014–2015 I immersed myself in behavioral economics, until 2016 when I ran into Ariely’s work. Ariely has found that people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Basically, we suck at making decisions.

Even the most analytical thinkers are predictably irrational, and this book explains why, and how the brain tricks you to make stupid decisions.

Why should I read it? If you are a product manager, or work on sales or marketing, in fact any type of business, this book will help you to understand from how to do pricing, to how to frame things in a better way for your customers for better conversion rates.

Besides that, it will teach you to understand yourself better, why you do certain things at certain times, from being a father to purchasing something on amazon to procrastination.

We make decisions as a function of the environment that we’re in. Most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.

DISRUPTED My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble By Dany Lyons

Man this book is funn! And amazingly entertaining! In Spanish we have a expression that says “Cuando veas tu vecino las barbas cortar, pon las tuyas remojar” aka when you see your neighbor’s beard cut, put yours to soak.

At the beginning of the post, I stated I read for education, not entertainment, but Dan Lyons managed to accomplish both.

Why should I read it? If you work at different startups as I do; Disrupted will teach you what NOT to do, and also bring you back to reality, I mean how the startup life can stupidly irrationally compared to the way my parents used to work. It will also give a sense of how the system works between VCs, shitty product, with a high valuation.

“You don’t get rewarded for creating great technology, not anymore…It’s all about the business model. The market pays you to have a company that scales quickly. It’s all about getting big fast. Don’t be profitable, just get big.”

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success By Angela Duckworth

Angela gives you an outstanding framework for looking your life, business or any project in a different way. The book could have been shorter and it was a little bit repetitive, but worth the extraction//scanning reading.

Why should I read it? The never ending cliché, Talent vs HardWork, and every knows hard work always wins! But how do you establish a good process and framework to continue quality work? How do you keep yourself inspired? I think Angela gives you anecdotes, stories, for you to create your own inspiration, and own grit.

It soon became clear that doing one thing better and better might be more satisfying than staying an amateur at many different things

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail By Nate Silver

Before as PM, and now as Head of Product forecasting is tough, a mix between science and art. How do you manage incoming data, new variables and events, and keeping the roadmap clean and healthy? This is what inspired me to read this book.

Why should I read it? To be honest it is a thick, dense book, and it won’t teach you “how to predict”. Nate Silver focuses on giving the correct mindset towards forecasting and predictive analytics. It will help you to develop intuition for the kinds of predictions that are possible, that are not so possible, where they may go wrong, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.

“The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth”

Getting Things Done By David Allen

A classic.

Why should I read it? I recommend you to read this, not for following each of the steps because almost everything was written before the digital era, but it will help you to create your own sense of GTD technique that applies to your own needs.

Mine ended up being Toggle + Trello.

“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

The other books I read last year:

  • Naked Economics & Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan
  • The Design of Everyday Things — Norman Donald
  • Originals by Adam Grant
  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Sprint: How to solve big problems in just five days — Jake Knapp GV
  • Superforecasting — Philip E. Tetlock

And many more

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