In 2020 I have managed to remain very consistent in my reading habits; successfully reading every day and keeping up with my goal of at least one book a month for 2020. As we're approaching the mid-point in the year 😱 I thought now would be an ideal chance to recap my recent reads.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
In a world in which it’s all go go go and our brains are in constant overload, it’s easy to forget the big question:
What am I really working for
For most of us the answer is going to be rich - time rich that is.
Despite some of the outdated examples in the edition I got my hands on, the hidden gem in this book is that we can ‘buy’ freedom for a lot less than we thought and toss out the old assumptions that we need to work for 60+ years before we are ‘free’.
Alongside this standout gem, Ferris also provides some practical methods of being more productive through batching tasks and automating everyday things (emails, phone calls etc.) that take away life’s most precious currency - time.
Even if Ferris’s writing style is not your favorite, I suggest anyone with a vague interest in productivity, business, and remote work will come away from this book with some interesting food for thought.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
This was a really interesting read that dives deep into journalism, business, and, marketing campaigns case studies to identify key traits that make certain ideas stick. Chip and Dan Heath revealed that:
"The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern"
To do this, the identify a few simple traits that all sticky ideas share. These are:
- Be unexpected
- Use curiosity gaps to keep attention
- Tell great stories
Whatever profession you may be in, Chip and Dan provide some simple and effective methods of better presenting your ideas and generally do better work. There's also some nice 'practical' exercises scattered throughout - give it a go!
David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
I really enjoyed this book and felt like it read more like an adventure story than a non-fiction - it was a real page turner. Simple in context (Gladwell explains why underdogs win in situations where the odds are stacked unfavorably against them), but the cross-sectoral case studies, both historical and present day, tie together nicely three main take aways:
- Living in a privileged environment might hinder your success.
- You can turn your learning difficulties into advantages in other fields.
- Even if you’re the underdog, you can win against big competitors by relying on your unique skills.
So coming away from this book, I felt a great sense of encouragement for those moments when often we feel like we're outnumbered, outwitted or just put at an unfair advantage.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Bad Blood follows the great uprising and terrific downfall of one of Silicon Valley's most infamous startups - Theranos. One of my first deep dives into investigative journalism, I found that this book played out more like a movie than a long informative article. Largely due to the 'stickiness' of the story and the unbelievable Theranos management insights unveiled by journalists John Carreyrou.
Even if you're not directly 'plugged-in' to the Silicon Valley scene, this gripping page turner will certainly leave with a sense of "what the f***" on more than one occasion with it's shocking number of insider accounts and will teach every budding entrepreneur exactly how not to manage a company.
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
This read poignantly examines the too often-dismissed problem of racism in Britain. Contrary to the title, I found Eddo-Lodge provides an essential starting point for productive conversations about racism in Britain today by identifying key differences between discrimination, prejudice and racism by exploring British black history, white privilege and the links between class and race.
Whilst reading this book, I often found myself face to face with the reality of my deeply rooted colorblindness - that is the all too common idea that "I don't see color".
Despite the well meaning nature of colorblindness from many white people, it's important (especially as a white person) to acknowledge that colorblindness is in fact hindering any chance of progress in the valuable pursuit of equality. It's burning much needed communication bridges that might actual help progress and begin making a dent in the harsh woven fabric of systemic racism in Britain and globally.
So this is a little summary of a few stand out books I've read in 2020 so far. I will probably post again at the end of the year with an updated list. But thanks for checking out some of my recent reads 🙌 Have you read any of the books above? If so, let me know!
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