As a team, we motivate each other through tracking our reading rates and total pages. We’ve begun compiling book reviews in monthly instalments in the hopes that the beauty and power of great literature fills your heart with the same desire to read that fills ours.
Top three books of the month
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
384 pages, Written by Phil Knight, published 2016, Amazon rating 4.9/5
Lannie’s Review: This is among my favourite autobiographies. Love love love Phil Knight’s humble storytelling. What a seemingly-never-ending roller coaster ride of stories about how close these guys got to losing it all. It helped to put seemingly difficult things into perspective. Respectable and lovable is the rag tag team of “weirdos” that made Nike possible. I love weirdos.
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
220 pages, Written by Esther Perel, published 2006, Amazon rating 4.3
Kal’s Review: It is an enlightening read. I know none of my friends would ever need a book on relationships. I however, still have lots to learn. I agree with Anthony Robbins statement: “(Mating In Captivity) is a useful and enthralling read that powerfully addresses the dynamics of domestic couples and reveals how to emotionally and physically love without losing ourselves.”
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
325 pages, Written by Dan Ariely, published 2009, Amazon rating 4.7/5
Mark’s Review: An insightful book about how we shape our decisions. It explains that irrationality isn’t random, it can be predicted through the external forces. The book got me reflecting on my own behaviours and work, as it used examples from advertising and design. I have no problem sharing the book’s memorable lessons and I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks they’re crazy.
A great startup book for those founding start-ups. The classic ‘Build, Measure, Learn’ formula is definitely a win. Recommended follow ups include Scrum by Jeff Sutherland, and Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses | 290 pages, Written by Eric Ries, published 2011, Amazon rating 4.6/5
A quick and thoughtful read about death, decay, love, friendship, family, and what’s important in the last moments. I found this book adventuring through our bookshelf. It was given to me as a gift about ten years ago. I guess I wasn’t very comfortable reading about the subject matter at the time. Is today the day you die? A question we should ask more often than not. Based on a true story.
Tuesdays with Morrie | 192 pages, Written by Mitch Albom, published 1997, Amazon rating 4.4/5
What is the number one personality trait that leads to success? #Grit, obviously. The good news is that you’re not born with grit, it is a trait you can develop and strengthen over time. To go deeper I recommend you look to the masters Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi (book: Flow / 1990) and Martin Seligman (book: Learned Optimism / 1991). I loved the parable of the three bricklayers, it says so much about how we view our work and purpose.
Grit | 333 pages, Written by Angela Duckworth, published 2016, Amazon rating 4.6/5
This book is short, intriguing, and repetitive. In my opinion, Godin successfully drives the points home: don’t resort to thinking inside or outside the box, poke it once in awhile, and don’t be afraid of breaking it or getting it wrong before getting it right. If you’re looking for a book to help light a fire under your butt, this is a good one. An even better one, in my opinion, is ‘Do the work’ by Stephen Pressfield.
Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time? | 83 pages, Written by Seth Godin, published 2011, Amazon rating 4.6/5
Obstacle is the Way weaves stoic philosophy, stories from history, latin phrases and pop culture examples, to change your perceptions about the obstacles in your way. Every bump in the road presents a new opportunity to succeed even higher. My favorite section was entitled ‘Will’ about the endurance to persevere through it all.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph | 201 pages, Written by Ryan Holiday, published 2014, Amazon rating 4.5/5
One Minute Manager is a good quick read, recounting 3 techniques of an effective manager: One-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands. The book simplifies managing and saves you and your team time. It helped me realize that, with efficiency, managing doesn’t need to be as time consuming as it sometimes is.
One Minute Manager | 107 pages, Written by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, published 1983, 2004, Amazon rating 4.1/5
Ego is the Enemy reminds the reader how monstrous their ego can be and the damaging consequences that come with it, because no one likes an egotistical dick. Your ego might be holding you back from achieving greatness. Although reading it sometimes felt like a slap in the face, it also made me feel grounded and level headed.
Ego is the Enemy | 226 pages, Written by Ryan Holiday, published 2016, Amazon rating 4.6/5
An inspiring book written in a confrontational way, as if the author was right in front of you. It was almost poetic with ever changing typography and layouts. Some cool takeaways about logic, the importance of process, and the use of ‘the dragon’ as an analogy for resistance, something that you had to kill over and over again if you want to get shit done.
Do The Work! | 98 pages, Written by Steven Pressfield, published 2011, Amazon rating 4.6/5
A book about the difference between liars and bullshitters. The liar is focused on intercepting the truth whereas the bullshitter is focused on manipulating the truth. The style was very academic although it could have been simplified. The size was deceptively small as it took longer to comprehend all of the esoteric terms. I could see myself giving this book to certain people but it’s not something I’d preach over and over again.
On Bullshit | 67 pages, Written by Harry G. Frankfurt, published 2005, Amazon rating 4.3/5
I wouldn’t have picked up this book if it weren’t for the major influence it had on the team. Geoffrey Moore outlines the journey of moving your product from early market to mainstream market with effective (and evolving) marketing. It’s definitely a valuable book but I wouldn’t read it again cover to cover.
Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers | 253 pages, Written by Geoffrey A. Moore, published 1991, 2014, Amazon rating 4.9/5
At times quite dense to trudge through. It’s a good book if you’re looking to brush up on what you learned in your philosophy or politics classes about Platonism or if you’re rather passionate about the topic. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend.
Platonism And Its Influence: Our Debt to Greece and Rome | 132 pages, Written by A.E. Taylor, published 1963, Amazon rating (not rated)
Overall, we achieved a power average of 615 pages-per-teammate from a total of 3688 pages read in the month of January. This is a tremendous start for what is sure to be a terrific year in reading.
To all the readers out there, know you are not alone. Books can bring people together. Businesses, communities, and families can all benefit from increased literacy. Reading is an activity that we celebrate. Hopefully our enthusiasm gets you in the spirit for reading more. If you have any book recommendations let us know.
Happy New Year, 2017.