I wanted to publish a list of books I’ve read in 2018 to remember a key point or two from each since I have a terrible memory. Since this will be a living post, my hope is that it will be a resource for me and hopefully a few others along the way. Below is the list of books I’ve finished this year in reverse order.
Currently reading: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and The Blockchain Revolution by Alex and Don Tapscott
6. Reset – Ellen Pao
It’s impossible not to feel for Ellen’s journey in Reset, and her passion for inclusion and lasting change is evident. I also couldn’t read this book and take a side since it is from one perspective but I do recommend everyone read it. We could all do better by learning about our conscious and unconscious behaviors which prevent the very best employees from rising to the top regardless of gender, race, or religion.
5. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
It’s hard to classify this as the best book I’ve read this year because they’ve all been fairly different, but in terms of writing style and readability, Sapiens is hard to top. I likened Harari’s writing style to that of Carolo Rovelli but for social anthropology. He takes an incredibly complex subject and makes it extremely enjoyable. The book is exactly what it says, “a brief history of mankind” and puts into perspective just how insignificant we really are as individuals.
4. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility – Patty McCord
Patty McCord is best known for her role as head of HR at Netflix and the corresponding Netflix Culture Deck. The book does a great job of highlighting the counter-productive nature of today’s HR and examines why companies don’t treat HR problem-solving in the same way they would product or marketing despite how well those strategies work. My favorite insight from the book came in the form of resource allocation when it comes to salaries. Most companies are either competitive with compensation or not, regardless of position. Compensation doesn’t have to be a zero or one problem, startups can compensate the positions they most need well, while paying close to market rates in positions where top-level skill is not needed.
3. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
A powerful book that I was convinced to read after seeing so many successful people recommend it in Tribe of Mentors. I won’t spoil the one true freedom every man has, but needless to say, it had a big impact on the way I think about things. I’m not sure there’s a book I’ve read that packs more punch in just a few short pages.
2. Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss
A quick and skimmable read. Tim asked the same 10 or so questions to a variety of extremely successful people and then put the best answers here. I read most of the interviews but certainly skipped over about 1/3. The format of the book makes it quite easy for the reader to determine which interviews are worth reading and which may not be applicable. This book will be a resource over time, especially when it comes to skills like being more diligent with my schedule and for exploring new books.
1. Principles – Ray Dalio
A must-read for any business professional. While most of us probably have a loosely defined set of values and norms, Ray has codified his after 30+ years in the investing business. He encourages the reader to only take the principles they feel apply to them and create their own set of principles. We could all heed Ray’s advice to be more cognizant and accepting of what we don’t know while being more focused on achieving success rather than appearing successful.