I’ve compiled a non-comprehensive booklist for 2021 (that is for me, you should read whatever you want). I’ve created a Twitter thread to feel a bit more accountable, because Want to read list on Goodreads is just a pile of ideas without a shred of pressure (and I’m not going to read 400 books in a year!).
I usually pick up books in business/economics/finance field, politics/society field (look, I hold undergraduate degree in sociological-economic studies, I’m deformed that way), sci-fi/fantasy section and poetry.
Marcus Aurelius - Meditations (Amazon link)
I’ve picked up the stoic classic for several reasons: Philosophy used to be my hobby, but school taught me out of it. The four pillars of stoic life are definitely worth remember: Justice, Wisdom, Courage & Temperance. And I’m not saying I live by them, but are definitely close to my heart and close to what I consider good life.
Mark Baker - Anaerobics: Destruction & Reconstruction (Gumroad)
Mark’s approach to live is inspirational. Do what you want, stick to tried thinks, bear consequences. He’s former sprinter turned trainer, now writing books about physical health. You can take a hint from the books title about what kind of training he prefers - anaerobic strength training, definitely not skipping legs. On the other hand, he puts long runs to category of things you can get away in your twenties. So, choose carefully. The book consists of over 80 short essay that remind the reader how good being wild is - and what being wild might actually mean.
Allan Dib - The 1-Page Marketing Plan (Amazon)
I picked up this books randomly from Amazon, when I was looking for a marketing system. The title sounded enticing, reviews weren’t bad, so I gave it a go. It deals with whole marketing cycle (Prospect - you create oportunity to meat someone, Lead - you get to know them, Customer - you deliver). It actually breaks the each part of the cycle down to three steps, creating a nice 3x3 grid for describing the system. And systems are what builds businesses.
Emma Newmann - Before Mars (Amazon)
Emma paints the world, where everyone has their own AI implanted as a personal assistant. Depending on their occupation, it can help scheduling calls or manipulating data in a world where everyone is recorded. This is the third book from series I’ve read and loved all of them. It helps you imagine how a world with fully functioning VR might look like while not really caring about the technology at all. It’s not about the gadget, it’s about people and how they react to all-knowing, powerful entity AI, when it doesn’t oblige.
Nicolas Colin - Hedge (Amazon)
Nicolas is an investor, former government employee from elite French background (educational, not aristocratic) and European venture capitalist. He describes a paradigm shift from the age of grand companies and full time employment for life to the Entrepreneurial age of volatility, frequent job switch a and instability. I’ve encountered his thoughts on Twitter, but soon became subscriber (and after couple weeks a paying one) to his newsletter European Straits. It’s about changing landscape of VC (and economy in general) in Europe and that strikes close to my heart.
Still on the list
Mark Spitznagel - The Dao of Capital (Amazon)
Everyone keeps talking about it, I’m looking forward to discovering why. Althought what intrigues me is Mark’s investment track record (he has a fund dealing with fat tail events, returns are magnificent in rough times).
Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Antifragility (Amazon)
NNT is legend on and off finance world. Famous for his book Black Swan (I have to re-read it, it’s been a long long time), he’s a philosopher concerned with risk. And also very good with fat-tail investing. Probably the most important thinker emerging from the 2008 financial crisis, he still is full of ideas or wisdom, even when new crises hit.
Bob Moesta - Demand-Side Sales 101 (Amazon)
I chose this book because hard core selling as is presented in media (especially films) is not to my liking. What sounds interesting is providing solutions to customer in need, who have a demand for service/product. Bob Moesta put together book that promises teaching you how to put yourself into customers shoes. And that’s worth it.
Seth Godin - What to do when it’s your turn (Amazon)
Seth is a legend. I’ve read his earlier books before deciding to work in corporate finance and they are absolutely fantastic. I hope this one will be as well.
William Gibson - The Peripheral (Amazon)
W. Gibson is a legend (not in the same sense as Seth Godin, they both play different games). He is the author of the term cyberspace, Neuromancer and Burning Chrome (both books). He also quite recently sold the rights to audiovisual interpretation of The Peripheral to Amazon, I’m hoping to read the original before spoiling my vanilla ideas with a series.
Cory Doctorow - Attack Surface (Craphound)
Cory writes about near future, maybe just couple years ahead. In his bestseller Little Brother he painted a world where governments surveil it’s citizens, create false flag operations and are generally not helpful, rather oppressive. The story continued in the sequel Homeland and judging by both books (which you can download from authors site Craphound), the third installment Attack surface is going to be phenomenal. Also, I participated in crowdfunding, so it would be shame not to read it.
Jamie Russo - The Underdog Paradox (Amazon)
Jamie was unemployed at the end of 2019, not really the brightest moment of his life. He started writing a book about inspirational entrepreneurs who overcame the adverse conditions they were in and achieved a success. The book became internet sensation and Amazon bestseller and I hope to read something really hopeful after 2020.
Luca Dellano - Ergodicity: Definition, Examples, And Implications, As Simple As Possible (Gumroad)
I picked this book for two reasons: The theme was raised in a paper I read couple months ago dealing with losses in investments, loosing 20 % and gaining 20 % is still a loss. I’m also following Luca’s Twitter and I see a pattern of well thought observations of organizations and society.
As to what ergodicity is, let the author speak: An activity is ergodic if the outcome of a single person performing it n times coincides with the outcome of n people performing it once. For example, in Russian Roulette, the expected outcome of many players playing it once is 5/6 (i.e., the survival rate) times the reward for playing it once. In contrast, the likely outcome for a single player playing it many times is death. Because the two outcomes differ, Russian Roulette is a non-ergodic activity.
Pieter Levels - Make (Makebook)
Pieter is an interesting character. About five years ago he embarked on a mission (while traveling the world as digital nomad) to create 12 startups in 12 months - I don’t think he succeeded but most of them are still active, so I assume he has his hands full. Make is a book about creating a product, bootstrapping it and monetizing. And maybe exiting. I’m already excited.
Sam Julien - Guide to Tiny Experiments (Author’s page)
Sam deals with one of the most common problems people have. Doing something new. How does one go about it? Not only starting (you wouldn’t believe how many domains I bought for interesting projects or how many notebooks for poetry I bought - domains are already expired, notebooks are still mostly empty…), but actualy creating and finishing something. I expect to find mental framework helping prioritize, plan, measure progress and evaluete. I’ve already bought it, so I hope I would not be disapointed.
More books are probably coming.