Weekly readings #1

I am reading a lot. Books, articles, interviews. Long, short, some resonate, some I forget. But somehow they are part of who I am - and more important- helping me to become the person I want to be. Helping me to understand. To reflect. To sort through things I see, experience. Help me to put things into perspective. Ultimately, I hope they help me to become a better person. Word by word. Story by story. Book by book.

I have been thinking about collecting the links and thoughts somewhere for some time. To help me to connect the dots. To help me to remember what moved me, made me thinking. This is a try to collect what I have been reading the past week. One week after each other. Each Friday. 52 times in a row.

I wanna start week #1 with a quote I stumbled over in facebook and that made me thinking. And reading.

I find the great in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,-but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

This quote lead to the an article by Anderson Cooper about why “Not having a Plan B” is the best plan. At least for him. About how having a backup leads to not fully jumping into things. By coincidence I just started reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull who founded Pixar the company that pioneered computer-animated movies. And guess what. He made it there by not having a Plan B. I am in the middle of reading it but — until now- it is a great story about detrmination, passion, leadership and staying true to yourself.

By accident I stumbled over two articles from people who lost family members to cancer- Emil died from brain cancer as a little child. The other story is about a woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 80 Her family did not tell her.

I finished a book by Jenny Nordberg this week. It is called “The underground girls of Kabul”, telling the stories of various girls that — for various reasons- have been raised as boys in Afghanistan. While telling the stories of those girls it is also telling the story of women and men in Afghanistan, focussing on the past decade. About failed “female empowerment projects”, politics, power and feminism.

I am a startup girl so I was particulary interested in a talk by Rocket Internet’s CTO on building companies in “emerging markets”. It was great to see that he was mentioning a lot of issues you have, setting up a company in a country that is not maybe not yet perfectly ready. Where Internet is slow, logistics companies unreliable, working culture different.

Other startup articles on my list were “7 african entrepreneurs to watch out for”, “Jack Dorsey is giving up at least 50% of his stake in Square to help underserved communities”, Paul Grahams “Default alive or default dead”, Seth Godins take on the importance of Infrastructure and “The tech sector’s best innovations for solving the Syrian refugee crisis” that highlighted the efforts of the Tech-Scene but also stated:

“What’s needed is some kind of truly disruptive idea for solving the Syrian refugee crisis that goes way beyond the traditional tactics. Raising money from charitable donors, using hashtags to raise social awareness, and turning to celebrities to give funding campaigns an extra boost are all helpful, but are really just extensions of what’s done to solve just about any humanitarian crisis.”

Leadership seems to be a topic for me those days. This interview with Lego’s CEO of ten years is a wonderful example of how true leaders can shape companies. My favourite quote:

For me the motivation most days is that I’m thinking: “I should pay to be in this job.”

The next article is more about pictures and the question: “What Happens When Men are Photoshopped Out of Important Moments” Quite depressing. But instead of complaining I guess it is time for us to stand up and simply take the seats we want. Nobody told that it is easy. But I think, it is absolutely worth it.

Other readings this week. The learnings of a guy who spent 10 nights on an deserted island, “Mean people fail”, Startup News from Africa, Ehssan Dariani and a TESLA, an article about the chess world championchips in Berlin, “Philosophers can’t agree on how much we should help refugees — or even whether we should”, ….

I guess there were way more things I read but till now I did not really track them. I will do from now. Looking back, the last week was filled with thinking about leadership, not getting stuck with to much reflection, taking first steps, finding your passion and the refugee crisis that is not stopping anywhere anymore but is part of the daily life in Germany, the country I call home, even so I am not currently living there.

I gonna end this first entry with a quote I stumbled over in an article about one of the Al Jazeera journalists that got released from prison in egypt.

“The chance to stand for something bigger comes once in a lifetime. I’m proud of this experience, and if time went back again, I would choose the same path.”