Top Books of 2016
This has been a very interesting year, when it comes to books. I've crossed paths with a handful of eye-opening books and gave in a bit more to fiction, which turned out to be an extremely powerful creative stimulus.
In light of having such a happy reading year, I want to share some of the books that had a greater impact on me. Not all of them are recent books, actually most of them have been sitting in my reading list for waaay too long, but I'm glad I took the time to read them, and absorb every single word.
You can also check my entire reading list in goodreads.
The Startup of You — Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha
What I liked the most about this book was that it puts into words an attitude towards life that, like me, many people share: seeing yourself has a startup, a constant beta, a work in progress or a work of art that is shaped, nurtured and improved every single day.
I had never had the ability to clearly define this attitude, even though I've always felt like the most important is to be able to learn with the people around you and make sure that both your personal and professional skills are constantly improving.
The Startup of You is very well structured, in a sense that its overarching message is clearly defined from the beginning, and you never diverge too much from that. It's also full of nuggets of wisdom, tips and action points that anyone can use to either align their objectives, or go deeper and search for you individual goals.
My Stroke of Insight — Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
I remember being astonished and equally amazed with Dr. Taylor's TED Talk back in 2008. And, even though it took me a good eight years to up pick up her book (to be honest I have no idea why), it is an incredibly detailed documentation of how complex, fragile, and yet powerful our brain is. And how we should respect it.
Above all, I admire Dr. Taylor's courage, strength and willingness to share her experience with the world. She achieves a perfect balance when detailing the neuroscience concepts and background that's necessary to understand the impact of each "step" of her stroke, as well as the human and vulnerable side of the entire process.
Creativity Inc .— Ed Catmull
Creativity and idea-creation are two of my favourite topics. However, this book goes brilliantly beyond these topics: it's an incredible lesson of leadership, dedication, company culture and humility.
I was extremely impressed with this book, because Pixar movies were part of my childhood and specially, because each movie carries a powerful message, usually delivered in a delicate and relatable way.
This book follows Ed Catmull's personal journey and Pixar's the ups and downs, the way Pixar's leadership approached and had to adapt to each new challenge and, specially, how they made culture a crucial part of their identity.
Now, every time I drive by Pixar, I think about this book, about the amazing lessons shared … and it makes me smile.
Dodgers — Bill Beverly
I actually listened to this book on Audible, and it was such a pleasant experience! The narrator was impeccable: giving the proper intensity to each word, to each different character…
To me, this story has many, intricate layers. It's not just the story of its main character East, or the story of group of young kids.
I felt like a distant, silent observer, looking at a very plausible description of day-to-day life of young gang kids, who are trying to figure out themselves, their environment, the realisation that they're a bi-product of their environment, and that the world is way bigger than their neighbourhood.
Even though intense at times, this adventure has gentle touches of humour and the lighthearted spirit of teenagers discovering the world.
Thinking with data — Max Shron
For someone, like me, works with data and data problems on a daily basis, this book is a must-have!
Max Shron describes a very concise and effective framework, giving us the tools that allow us to focus on what's important and to approach data problems in a more structured way.
In the sea of data that we live in nowadays, it's easy to get lost, anxious and wanting to tackle ideas or projects right away. This framework emphasizes that we should think about the problems/challenges at hand, what's their context, what's the intended outcome, and the fact that we should be in constant communication with the stakeholders — something that can be easily dismissed or not done regularly enough.
Delivering Happiness — Tony Hsieh
This book is, by far, one of the books that I've most enjoyed reading this year.
Tony Hsieh tells his personal story as well as Zappos' in such a humble and truthful way, that it's difficult to drop this book.
Very much like "Creativity Inc." it's amazing the emphasis that Tony and his team made on culture and structuring Zappos around such a down-to-earth, employee and customer-centric way.
Thanks for reading 🤓📚
You can always check my entire reading list in goodreads.