My 10 Book Recommendations From 2015
If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?” -Jerry Seinfeld
Last year, as 2014 was coming to an end, I felt under accomplished with the quantity of books I had read cover to cover. It was my goal entering 2015 to read two books a month to make certain I was continuing in my pursuit of life-long learning.
Earlier this year our team memorialized what we believe to be our core values. At the top of this list was the consensus to be ‘Voracious Learners’. Many of the books below were discovered and shared by members of the team in our informal book club.
So without any further ado…
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength — Roy F. Baumeister
Who doesn’t need more discipline in their life? Willpower walks you through the psychology behind the muscle we call self-control and explains very clearly the principles that help improve it. Not in a self-help sort of way, but a scientific approach.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days — Jessica Livingston
This made the list because I enjoy reading about companies we all know and love, whose products we use everyday. It’s broken up into short sections, which make only having 15 minutes to read completely satisfying.
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose — Tony Hsieh
From the king of culture himself, in a very story-driven format, Tony explains how Zappos grew into a billion dollar co. and continued to maintain loyal culture at a scale. In my opinion, it’s a great balance of story and principles that provoke ideas for individual application.
The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined — Salman Khan
Like mentioned above, our team has a culture centered on learning. Which is why this book found a place in my heart. Khan challenges the status quo of education and can cause anyone, in support of formal education or not, to imagine how things will evolve in the next decade.
Rework — Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
My favorite read in 2015. This is an illustrated walk through of how they think over at Basecamp. They throw out the traditional notions of what it takes to run a business and inspire change and simplicity. If you don’t read anything else from this post, read Rework.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers — Ben Horowitz
Have I mentioned I love war stories? It’s the emotional support pet for an entrepreneur. Horowitz’s candor is an entertaining read for anyone involved in entrepreneurship. It’s a window into the early days of silicon valley and was for me, a humbling reminder that things could be worse.
Elon Musk: Inventing the Future — Ashlee Vance
(In case you haven’t heard enough of this book in 2015) Vance reminds us to pull our heads out of the sand and look around at real world problems that impact mankind. If that’s not your style… sit back, relax, and enjoy The Elon Musk Show.
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age — Paul Graham
Many of you reading this will have likely already read some of Paul Graham’s essays. However, I strongly recommend going through them in book format, to study and properly digest his wisdom.
The New Economics: For Industry, Government, Education — W. Edwards Deming
An oldie but goodie. The psychology and theories behind persuasive management. Even though the examples and illustrations are based in a pre-internet era, the lessons are timeless. He reminds us what is real management and what is not.
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World — Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Bold was published in 2015 and recommended by my co-founder. Though these authors were new to me, I was impressed with their experience and the depth of topics they covered (we’re talking AI to asteroid mining).
To me, this is more than a reading list, it’s a portion of what I consider to be startup canon. If you have any recommendations, please share in a comment below.
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