Week of 9/25: OFF WEEK
Week of 10/2: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
Week of 10/9: Flawless Consulting by Peter Block
Week of 10/16: The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
Week of 10/23: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Week of 10/30: OFF WEEK
Week of 11/6: The Outward Mindset by the Arbinger Institute
Week of 11/13: Give and Take by Adam Grant
Week of 11/20: Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
Week of 11/27: The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman (Completed September 23, 2023)
Well, we’re fucked. Humanity, that is. Ok, maybe that’s the pessimistic view of the challenges mentioned in this book. This book from Mustafa Suleyman is an absolute MUST-READ for anyone interested in understanding AI’s dangers and exciting potential. Mustafa Suleyman, the former head of Deep Mind and now Inflection AI, is at the forefront of technology, but this book is not necessarily a book about technology – this book is about humanity’s responsibility to focus on containment. AI is coming, and we need to understand what that means and what we can do about it. This book is not fear-mongering; it’s about hope, and Mr. Suleyman does a fantastic job outlining the challenges and options for humanity as the Coming Wave hits.
Drive by Daniel Pink (Completed September 14, 2023)
Drive is a deep dive into motivation. Daniel Pink explores the missing elements of our current rewards systems (what he calls Motivation 2.0). Motivation 2.0’s main motivators are extrinsic (carrots or sticks, mostly). In Motivation 3.0, what Daniel Pink calls the future Motivational approach, Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose are critical intrinsic motivators that bring the best out of people. Daniel Pink brings scenario after scenario where intrinsic motivation – like Purpose, has increased output while extrinsic motivation (like If-then Bonuses) has decreased output. This has a few nuances, but Drive is a great book if you are trying to understand whether you, your team, or your Organization) are Type-I or Type-X.
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek (Completed: September 7, 2023)
Some games have a definite ending (Finite Games), and some have no ending (Infinite Games) – just the game itself. More broadly, the Infinite Game is a mindset that focuses less on an end product and more on alignment with a vision – a Just Cause, is what Simon Sinek would call it. Within that vision, there may be products or “ends,” but when challenged with new information – like Apple when considering the GUI or CVS when considering pulling cigarettes (a major source of income) from their stores – the company makes the decision to invest in their purpose rather than profits.
The Age of AI and our Human Future by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher (Completed: August 30, 2023)
AI is coming – there is absolutely no way around it. AI (when directed properly) has found cures for illnesses, defeated previous unbeaten Chess programs, and beat the best pilots in simulated air battles. AI is not constrained to normal human thoughts, baggage, or borders but can learn…endlessly. Yet, it does not have the ability to have human emotions or periods of reflection. It does not inherently have bias, but it is currently maintained by humans and, therefore, has some flaws associated with humans. AI-curated content is good until it’s not, by accidentally creating echo chambers (or the incident where the AI learned hate speech). In the end, AI is not going anywhere, and we desperately need to focus on two things: 1) AI should be embraced and leveraged to help where the human mind has limitations (sorting through genetic data to find trends, for example), and 2) AI should be monitored and managed to limit fully autonomous situations where humans may be at risk.
Why Are We Yelling by Buster Benson (Completed: August 23, 2023)
I have been fascinated with conflict for a few years. I grew up without much conflict, and the idea of conflicting conversations has always created anxiety in me. I see this in a lot of new employees, and I have seen organizations suffer from a lack of healthy disagreements. This book is a great starting point for what happens to the individual when anxiety builds and what we all must do to create a safe environment for conflict. This book outlines eight ways to improve healthy disagreements in our lives and work. It all starts with the fundamental belief that Disagreements are not inherently bad and can and should be enjoyable if these key steps are taken.
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield (Completed: July 17, 2023)
Holy shit – this book. This book is all of 121 pages (soaking wet – there is a good deal of white space), but it has an incredibly powerful message. Becoming a Pro takes more than being good at something. In fact, becoming a Pro takes focus, passion, and perseverance against the many forces that tend to work against you being fully Creative. This took me three weeks to finish because I couldn’t help but spend 10-15 minutes after each passage to process its meaning (for me). This is a great follow-up to the War of Art and a complimentary book to The Practice by Seth Godin.
Atomic Habits by James Clear (Completed: June 23, 2023)
“All big things come from small beginnings.” The core principle of Atomic Habits is that small changes can lead to big changes. To form a new habit, start small, make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and then make it satisfying. “Atomic Habits” contains great examples of how to start new habits and how to curb bad ones. Note: To curb bad habits, use the inverse of the above. This book is great for anyone struggling to create new or unlearn old habits.
The Practice by Seth Godin (Completed: June 8, 2023)
The Practice was a pivotal book for me to read during this time. The Practice is about the process of creating and not just the outcome. We are all about outcomes in a culture of What have you done for me lately? This book counters that with an approach that shows appreciation for the act of creating – which is not black and white and doesn’t always lead to an outcome. It’s also a book about taking personal risks and avoiding hiding places that are common in pivoting to a Creative world where generosity is the key to many things – unless it’s a hiding place for your thing.