audiobook

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

This is a really cool book. It gives an interesting insight into how Satya Nadella came to be the CEO of Microsoft and his approach to really refreshing the approach Microsoft is taking to make them modern and fresh. He touches on how important corporate culture was a huge element at Microsoft and how it was toxic and that this was / is his main focus on reshaping the organisation to be focused, 

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

I never really knew the history of Alibaba, so this book was a welcomed listen. Jack Ma is a very interesting and somewhat inspiring man, he came from pretty much nothing to becoming one of the richest men not only in China but the world. Alibaba is truly changing the way not only e-commerce works but also revolutionizing mobile payments and it was interesting to get a glimpse at the roots.

my only complaint really is how the book is written, it felt like you’re jumping around Jack Ma and the Alibaba story and not really following a timeline, this is something which I think could be improved upon in future books.  

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book provides various case studies on how habits have impacted peoples lives for better and for worse and really shows you how important it not only is to define habits for the better but to also identify habits which are actually harming you. 

I was expecting some lifehacks on how to form habits and good ones, but even though I was dissapointed the book doesn't provide you the tools or framework on forming good habits. It does provide you some sense of how important habits are in everyones lives. 

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

I can really say that this book blew me away! it’s now on my very short list of essential reading a long with GTD and Mindset. The book gives you many tools on how to approach productivity and gives you some good examples as well as some useful advice.

A lot of the tools I already practiced before reading this book, but  I can say that the book inspired me to create another lightning talk for work. 

If you’re feeling lost, snowed under or overwhelmed with the tasks and tribulations with modern work and home life, give this book a read! 

Artemis by Andy Weir

Having recently read The Martian, I was really hyped when I heard that Andy Weir had another book out set again in space. I was really worried that the rinse and repeat Formular would be used from his previous book, but I was happy this wasn’t the case.

The story follows the main character throughout, you grow with the character and can relate from time to time with the choices they have to make. The world in which the book is set is really thought out and yet again Andy Weir has done his research into technology and what actually would be possible in space. This makes the book and story even more believable.  

The book has many up and down moments that keep you open the edge and want to keep reading, I can highly recommend this book and think that Andy Weir has successfully departed from The Martian way of writing (which also is a good book).  

If you’re into near future sci-if and want some drama, a little romance and a thrilling storyline, then I can truly highly recommend this book.

Munich by Robert Harris

This was my first Robert Harris book and I would for sure read more. The book was intense and was well written and researched. It almost seemed as though I was reading a transcript of the history books. 

The book leads you from a start not knowing the progression, with it slowly opening up as you progress. The only dull moment was the ending which was lacklustre.  

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

I can really highly recommend this book to everyone, it really talks about the value of deep work and how you can go about setting up a routine and approach to getting your boss, leader or manager on board with the approach. I think we are living in a very reactive world right now and I think deep work is not really utilized that much as we are always firefighting the status quo and trying to keep the ship afloat. 

I will definitely revisit this book overtime and check in and make sure I’m still aiming for larger amounts of deep work. 

Recommendation:

Must Read

Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

This book was recommended to me by a good friend and the title was something that really grabbed me. I’m some one who aims for freedom when it comes to where I can work and so I went into this book with a lot of enthusiasm. What it turned out to be was more of a soft commercial for campfire and the 37 signal products, this in no means is a bad thing as their products are engineered mainly for distributed organizations and they also dog food their own products and this has been a big driver for them to tweak the tools and processes to work.

 

I went into the book expecting more philosophy, processes and ideas behind how you can switch to working solely remotely, some best practices and some pit falls. But in the end I was let down. I would’nt say that this is a bad book at all, I guess my expectations were not in line with the content of the book. I will definitely added it to the “Must Read Again” pile.  

 

Recommendation:

Unsure 

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

I’ve been fascinated with the story of Steve Jobs and Apple for many years. My first foray into the story and history was an old movie called “Pirates of Silicon Valley” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168122/) which was released in 1999. This is an excellent film, and I still recommend to go and watch it get a slice of history from when Microsoft and Apple first started and roughly how it got started. The movie goes all the way from the foundation until Steve Jobs came back to Apple and that’s where the movie ends. 

The book, on the other hand, covers Steve’s full life from his childhood all way the up until his death and it's a somewhat inspiring read. It paints a picture of his colourful character nd some of the struggles he faces in life from his early days until later on in life. 

Steve saved Apple while it was laying on its death bed and it’s a shame he wasn’t able to overcome this personally. 

By the end of the book, I have to admit I did have some tears rolling down my face because of the way it ended (no spoilers ;)). Because of Steve’s character and mindset, he died way earlier than he should have, Steve could have been saved and cured of his cancer, but his stubbornness and reality distortion field made him believe he can fully overcome it himself. 

I can highly recommend the read, and I recommend it in audio form as its a large book and easier to digest in audio form. 

My Recommendation:

MUST READ

 

Scrum The Art of Doing Twice The Work In Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

For me personally, this was the best book I've read about any sort of agile process. The book gives you not only theoretical aspects of establishing a SCRUM workflow, it also gives you practical advice which is also backed up by real world examples. The book also touches on that SCRUM is not only for software development but its approach can be applied for a magnitude of different situations. One of the examples is that how a school in the USA is applying the same approach to teaching and enabling the students to run with SCRUM for learning various topics and was dubbed the new monastery in the book also.

If you are using SCRUM or any kind of agile process, or you're hearing the hype of such process. I can defiantly recommend this. I also think this is a good starting point if you want to organise your own life much better aswell as its a very versitile approach. 

My Recommendation:

MUST READ

Smart Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

I was really excited by the title of this book, I was expecting it to tell me about some other methods to be productive and share with me some insights. In the end, it turned out to various case studies on varying different situations but it stopped so far as tell you the method that was used or summarizing the different approaches. I was disappointed with this book and cannot really recommend it. Maybe in the future, I would listen to it again to double confirm my thoughts.

My Recommendation:

NO NEED TO READ

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Richard Branson has always been someone who had inspired me. Someone who doesn't shy away when he needs to get his hands dirty (more ways than one) and someone who has built an empire with his business ventures covering things from telecommunication, an airline to even healthcare. Richard is someone who I look up to.

I was happy that I finally could get some time to read/listen to Richard's autobiography. He gives his account of where things started (not missing out on hard times) to the risks he took many of times to establish a very cut-throat and often lucrative business ventures. I would say the book is somewhat inspirational and shows you don't need millions to be able to cut it in business. He very often took risks, and these risks could have easily been the end of it all for him, but his passion and dedication was something that kept him in the fight and able to go from challenge to challenge.

Richard truly knows how and when to hustle and really take advantage of a bad situation. 

My Recommendation:

READ

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

Continuing my trend on listening to biographies of people I look up to or areas of interest. I decided I would look behind the curtain of Amazon and Jeff Bazos. 

The book is less about Jeff Bezos (as the Elon Musk bio focuses on him and his life) this book mainly focuses on Amazon, where it came from and its grand plans. Throw in a small snippet here and there on Jeff Bezos, and you have a fundamentally fascinating account of Amazon.

To be honest, I was rather surprised by the tactics Jeff Bezos employees and his approach to not only leadership but to the vision of the company/brand. In this modern world where companies usually shower their employees with benefits and perks, Amazon takes a more traditional approach. They provide a platform, but ultimately the employees must pay to access it (such as on-site fruit and drinks), this leads me to believe employees aren't driving by the culture (which seems toxic and chaotic) but by the man Jeff Bezos and the grand scheme of the Amazon approach and future visions.

The book shows that in the business end of Amazon, the acquiring new products for its shelves, new services for its platform. Amazon takes the bully approach and is in such a wealthy position that it can quickly lower prices / introduce a service that competes with nonconformant competitors or suppliers and scares them by hitting them where it hurts, in their wallets. 

If you're an avid user of Amazon services (like I am), I think this is a must read to see what goes on and the business practices. Does this change my use of Amazon? Not really as we must admit that the business model makes sense in this every hectic and chaotic world. 

 

My Recommendation:

READ (if you use Amazon)

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk is someone I respect and look up to. He is truly a visionary and you can see this. He has an end goal and he has multiple projects and companies on the go which slowly step in the right direction to this goal and vision. He has shaped many industries and sectors and forced the automtive industry to think different, not many people can say they have that kind of influence. But like everything, there are two sides to every story and its interesting to read this unbiased piece which tries to show the man behind the headlines. If you want to be inspired and read an interesting and very dynamic story, I can highly recommend it. 

 

My Recommendation:

READ