These are my favourite books. Some I read more than once, because I really enjoyed and needed a refresh; or because it was more complex than I expected; or just because I got distracted way to many times and needed a fresh start. Whatever reason, all worth it.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
Like many, being an astronaut was a childhood dream of mine. Since that is not likely to happen anytime soon, listening to real stories mixed with good life advice told by an astronaut was surely the next best thing.
The Art of Choosing
Once again, less is more. But how much less? Having options to choose from feels good, but often it’s also overwhelming and we should just not be given options at all, as long as someone we trust chooses for us. Ah… the illusion of choice.
How to get into a particular habit? By setting yourself up for success, taking small easy steps and repeating over time. With each repetition, change will accumulate and you’ll start creating a new improved self. Much easier than it sounds.
In this book, I learned how our intuition works, when to trust it and when to ignore it just until we have enough information to make a good informed decision in a timely manner. Also learned how to improve gut feelings by filtering out red herrings.
Born a Crime
Amazing life story narrated by Trevor himself. Helps understand racism, how it was like to live under apartheid and how much influence a strong-minded mother can have over a child. All this intertwined with many drops of humour.
As a fan of 30 Rock, this book feels like a big comedy sketch. Tina Fey tells stories from behind the scenes of her career and life as a down-to-earth hard-working female comedian, in an honest and hilarious way without any TV-editing or filters.
Brain Rules for Baby
Medina draws on scientific research and his own parenting experience in this book packed with practical usable advice and narrated with a good sense of humor by the author. If you only want to read one parenting book, make it this one.
From the co-founder of Pixar, this book includes plenty of management wisdom with a side of good humor. Explains how they built a creative company with a lasting culture and a massive track record of computer-animated movies.
One of many books I read from Daniel H. Pink. This one alone made me change how I drink coffee, how I take breaks and how I start a new project. Also learned why many people make life changes at around particular ages and dates.
Put simply, Schwarzenegger explains how a German immigrant makes his way to be the world’s most famous bodybuilder, the biggest action movie actor in Hollywood and then Governor of California. All within 50 years of his life.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Another great book with lessons on leadership and how to approach problems paired with humorous and humbling first-hand stories by someone with many years of success and struggle as a CEO.
The Obstacle Is The Way
Years ago a team manager called me ‘a bit stoic‘. This book is an easy introduction to the practical philosophy of Stoicism with stories about well-known people who overcame great difficulties. There’s a way to turn every negative into a positive.
Ready Player One
Probably the only fiction book I’ve read in over 20 years. Heard about the movie and as a child of the 80’s decided to read it before watching the movie. Though a bit too nerdy, recalled good memories and I now want to play in the OASIS as well.
As an introvert, this is music to my ears. A self reassuring book by a top TED speaker with over 20 million views. Explains why extroverts are seen as an ideal of success and how introverts can even out the field and make the world a better place.
Punished By Rewards
As a dad, this book challenged my assumptions of what good parenting and education should look like. The ‘well done‘s and ’good job’s that many adults need to hear for validation is a result of the carrot-and-stick approach learned from birth.
Start With Why
Another book looking at the success of leaders, breaking it down and squeezing out a formula. Once you start thinking on the why and not just the what or how, you digg deeper and find a meaning that can also inspire others to take action.
Lost and Founder
The overnight successes told by media fail to show the harsh reality that most startups simply fail or don’t even bring the expected riches. This is the untold and less glamorous story of the startup world written and narrated by the founder of Moz.
As a long time user of Basecamp, this book helped me rethink the cultural approach to work. It knocks down many beliefs about what’s needed to start and be successful as a business. Long hours and investors are very last resorts.
A story of how much work a long term vision focused on building a great company culture and creating an amazing customer experience can turn into another “overnight” success, told by the founder himself. It’s not easy being the best in the world.
Get Some Headspace
This book got me started on meditation. Together with the app (Headspace) I learned the basics and then strengthen my medidation routine. It already helped me improve my sleep and focus. By the way, I have to start doing it every day, again.
Everyone knows Twitter is an amazing tool with its ups and downs but still far from perfect. Now just imagine how much drama it went through since it was launched well over a decade ago. This is that story. Entertaining and insightful.
Using psychology goggles, this book destiles how technology products used by millions of people became so successful. Most of the methods explained are now considered harmful and just like slot machines in a casino, the house always wins.
The Laws of Simplicity
Ten laws to help us simplify complex systems in both business and life. The laws become obvious once learned, but I’ve read this book a couple of times to keep it fresh in memory. I often use it for design and technology thinking.
Made to Stick
A guide book explaining a “simple” way to get others to pay attention to your ideas. The authors look at successful ad campaigns, stories and myths to explain why the unexpected works best and keeps us going. Also, why clickbait works.
The Myths of Innovation
How big ideas really change the world. Most are well covered by the media and painted in a different light, simplified for mass consumption. But as anyone who works at the verge of ideas and technology knows, this is very far from true.
This book debunks the myth that some people are just successful on their own, independently of external conditions. It explains how much weight luck and events out of their control like birth month and place, really played a part in that success.
I’ve never been great at general History knowledge, but this book grabbed my attention like no other. I was eager to read it cover to cover. The book shows how ideas in Human minds can connect millions of people around it, and propel us forward.
You probably know his name or heard the stories. They’re likely true. The guy who created Apple could be both a genious and a mad man. This is a long, accurate and detailed book but also the only authorized and written with Jobs’s consent.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Learn from a Nobel Prize winner about the two thinking systems in our brains, one for intuitive output and another for deliberate rationalising. And how these two are constantly fighting for control and often leading us astray with leaps of judgement.
Why We Sleep
I used to think that sleeping was a total waste of time. Now I regret doing all-nighters and sleeping only 5-6 hours for years. A shocking revelation to a night owl like me, and a reminder of how bad my brain will get just by not sleeping enough.