Listen, I find reading as boring as the next guy. I read like 3 lines of Great Gatsby in high school. Books are hard. That being said, there are books that as a gainfully employed business person in today’s society you’re expected to have read (or at least know enough about to pretend you did). Simply put people who read these books end up making a lot more money*.
Here is a running list of my favorites / most tolerable. Yes I get paid if you buy these from my links. If that bothers you you can either move to China with the rest of the socialists or just open a new window and search Amazon yourself:
*I have zero factual information to back this up, but it’s true.
Stuff I have actually read:
The Checklist Manifesto – entertaining and informative. For some reason I’m drawn to people that hold high and mighty titles and have BSDs but still realize they can screw up stupid stuff. In this case, the author is a surgeon (he was also rated one of the top thinkers in the world by Time) and walks you through his efforts to develop a checklist to reduce complications from surgery, and hones in on the issue of getting his peers who all think they’re reallllllllly big deals to follow his checklist. He tells some cool stories from his life as a surgeon, and gets you fired about about freaking checklists, literally one of the most basic things in the game. Immediately after reading the book I started thinking of where I could put checklists – and then of course didn’t make any because I’m lazy like that. If you’re also
lazy efficient, here’s the corresponding TED talk.
How to Win at the Sport of Business – Cuban is so hot right now – between Shark Tank and the Mavs it’s Cuban’s world and we’re all just lucky to be a part of it. This “book” is really just a collections of his blog posts put in some sort of sensical order. It’s awesome though – he takes you back to his college / post college days when he was a poor, and you can really see how hard he hustled to get to where he is now. My #1 business idol and it’s not even close.
Liar’s Poker – whether you’re in banking, consulting, sales, accounting, or space exploration, this is just one of those books you have to know about (and ideally, read). It’s funny, and if nothing more gives a great first person insight into the absurdity of the life of a wall st bond trader.
The Big Short – another Michael Lewis book, this one tells the stories of a few people who either made or lost LOTS of money during the financial crisis. Some chapters are pretty technical and use a good amount of finance jargon (synthetic fucking CDOs), but by the end you’ll have learned a lot about the crisis, what happened, and how everything got so fucked up.
Too Big to Fail – an inside look at the characters of the 2008 crisis (“Tricky Dicky” Fuld, “Hammering Hank” Paulson, Lloyd Blanksteinenbergerfein* etc..). It’s long, and there’s an HBO movie that’s not exactly the same thing but close enough if you’re lazy.
*may or may not be actual nicknames
Blue Ocean Strategy – the basic message in this is don’t try to compete in crowded, bloody “red” water- instead go after a market no one is targeting (the clean, “blue” ocean”). The example that stuck with me was how Yellowtail wines went after beer drinkers rather than try to compete with fancy schmancy established winemakers for the hardcore wine drinker market.
And I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes- same strategy works for dating (not extrapolated upon in the book for some reason). Find the undervalued, like third hottest girl in a group who is upset because everyone is only paying attention to her hotter friends. Buy her a few drinks, ask a few questions to show you’re listening, bingo bango you’re welcome. Blue Ocean Strategy for the win! (No, I do not practice what I preach and usually just end up passed out covered in Dominos and shame).
Good to Great – everyone and their mother has read this so you have to too. Chances are it will come up in some sort of manner while you are conducting business and you should have something insightful to say about it.
The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferris, a guy who does a lot, writes a whole book telling you to do less. To sum up the book in haiku form:
meetings are stupid
start your own business
Lone Survivor – oh your job is hard? Training sucked? Read this book and you will feel like a complete panzie every time you ever complain about something again. Read the book, watch the movie, and youtube as many interviews as you can find. The SEALS are the most ridiculously amazing and dedicated guys out there. Heroes.
…more reviews coming soon (maybe)