Books in Review 2018
I’ve finished 40 books this year, which I’m very pleased about.
Using Goodreads to track my progress (add me if you have an account!), have a “Year in Books” summary which is pretty cool (Here’s mine for this year). I’ve tried broadening my reading a little more into fiction and philosophy this year and here are my recommendations from the books I’ve read in 2018.
Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Written by former Navy Seals, they combine war stories with the leadership lessons learned from their experience. The crux of the book is that leaders should always own the mistakes and shortcoming of their team.
Team of teams – Stanley McChrystal
Reading this really changed the way I see organisational structures. The historical hierarchy and analogies to machines and conveyor belts is losing relevancy in an environment of growing complexity. Teams are more analogous to ‘organisms’ where decision making is decentralised with a focus on resiliency and adaptability to change instead of the Talyorist emphasis of efficiency.
Thanks for the Feedback – Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
Receiving this as apart of the course pack for the AltMBA (created by Seth Godin) I did at the beginning of this year, I wish I read this one earlier. Its main assertion is that feedback receiving is where communication breaks down. An opportunity which will benefit receiver of feedback greatly if this is corrected. I would encourage everyone who plays a role of a teacher to at least skim this book.
Psychology and Self Improvement
Grit – Angela Duckwork
This book discusses a mindset that is common among many successful people in spite of other seemingly crippling disadvantages. In summary, perseverance is key. You can see her TED talk about the same subject here.
Quiet – Susan Cain
Very practical insights into the world of introverts, which I’ve talk about in a previous post (see point 3).
Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
In a society where the individual is celebrated, it is very easy for the ego to be inflated. Here is a straightforward book with many stories taken out of Ryan’s research into stoicism that will keep your ego in check.
Sociology and Philosophy
LikeWar – P. W. Singer
The first audio book I’ve finished, and what an audio book it was. A comprehensive recount on how social media has changed the political landscape of small communities to entire nations. The biggest takeaway is the need to educate everyone on critical thinking of digital disseminated information
Bullshit Jobs – David Graeber
An analysis on how utterly useless some jobs are in the modern age. See full review and thoughts here.
Identity – Francis Fukuyama
A deconstruction on how modern day identity politics came to be in the wake of Trump and Brexit. Very insightful and has given me more perspective into the minds of Social Justice Warriors, and how people rationalise their identity.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Being the book n00b I am. I’ve never hear of Gaiman, but apparently he’s a big deal. Although considered a young adult/children’s book, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. It was the first page turner in fiction genre for me in over a decade. The characters were amazingly developed and I had a running visualisation of everything that was happening as I read the adventure of Nobody Owens. A+