2018 was great. I did not read as many books as I did in the previous two years, but that’s ok.
I learned a lot more from starting a company and running my first big event.
Here’s a review of the book i read this year.
I publish this list to elicit suggestions and hopefully inspire you to read more. It is in no way meant to boast or show off. Reading is not a competition.
Frankly, these posts are also
Here's a list of all the books I read in 2018;
(1) Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Where do you want to compete? In red oceans with lots of competitors, but proven demand? Or, in the blue oceans of unproven, low competition markets?
(2) The New New Thing by Michael Lewis
I think that this is a must read. If you are over the age of 50, then you remember the dotcom crash and hype around “the internet” changing everything. Everyone else has heard about it secondhand and is missing the details.
Blockchain technology, not necessarily Bitcoin or Ethereum, represents similar promise. We are in the equivalent of the mid-90s for this new technology, so you’d be well served reading Michael Lewis’ chronicling of one of that era’s most influential entrepreneurs and the climate he existed in.
(3) The End of Advertising by Andrew Essex
Former Droga5 President talks about how the industry is changing and why large and small companies will have to rethink how they get their brand out.
(4) Hello My Name is Awesome by Alexandra Watkins
This book had a significant on the naming of Piper Creative.
(5) The Everything Store by Brad Stone
Amazon’s cultural relevance grows by the day. Pittsburgh is particularly gripped by #HQ2 fever and this book covers the companies birth, growth, and rise to dominance. The depth of each line is reinforced by Stone’s diligent interviewing of hundreds of people in order to paint as complete of a picture as possible.
(6) The Internet of Money by Andreas Antonopoulos
Great starting point for wrapping your mind around cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and the future of money.
(7) Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons
We live in the age of glorifying startups and entrepreneurs. A class & community that used to be comprised of exclusively outcasts and nerds has slowly moved into the mainstream.
However, the glamour and prestige covers up an underbelly that is not always pretty. A former Newsweek journalist outlines how his time at HubSpot made him significantly more skeptical of startup culture. Lyons take is not representative of all startup, but his captivating story kept me hooked all the way through.
(8) Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
This is a fantastic guide to improving your skills as a negotiator. Also includes entertaining stories from Voss’ time in the field as a hostage negotiator.
(9) Zero to One by Peter Thiel
This is a must read for any aspiring entrepreneur. The basic philosophy of a startup is getting from nothing to something.
(10) American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton
I never used the Silk Road. I didn’t know how big it was. This book did a really compelling job of introducing the complex web of characters that ran the massive website that served as the internet’s Black Market.
The libertarian programmer behind the project, Ross Ulbricht, is a fascinating case study on the corrupting nature of power & wealth, while simultaneously representing the entrepreneurial spirit behind all the best companies ever built.
(11) The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett
Allen will be speaking at the Going Deep Summit about how anyone can become more creative. His book is worth reading.
(12) Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse
(13) Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb
(14) Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday
Conspiracy theories are one of the most dangerous rabbit holes on the internet. The inability for closure or confirmation creates an addictive “open loop” that can’t be let go.
I take these book recommendations very seriously, so I’d be hesitant to recommend such a piece of media. Ryan Holiday’s book about the takedown of Gawker features all the cunning and drama of a great conspiracy, while ending with a degree of closure that most theories can’t muster.
(15) The Lessons of History by Will Durant & Ariel Durant
I’m obsessed with meta-narratives. Patterns that are repeated over and over in subtly different forms. When you learn to recognize consistent patterns, you start to anticipate opportunities and position yourself for success.
In this short (less than 110 pages) book, Will & Ariel lay out the consistent themes of history that tend to repeat themselves. How has Race influenced History? How about Economics? Or Biology? This book has concise, context-dense answers.
(16) Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter by Scott Adams
How’d the creator of Dilbert predict Trump would win the 2016 election? By viewing the world through his Persuasion Filter. This reframing of how humans interact, the world works, and why Trump won was fascinating. It’s already starting to influence the way that I write.
(17) Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
(18) Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
In the US, we’re freaked out about Amazon and it’s potential to participate in every aspect of the economy. Actually, that’s not true. It’s the 4th Most Loved Brand in America.
Similarly, Jack Ma’s Chinese behemoth Alibaba is beloved in the East and steadily growing in power and size. It’s financial services arm runs the world’s largest money-market fund. It’s large-scale shopping holiday, Singles' Day, is much, much bigger than Amazon’s. In 2017, Alibaba passed $25.3 billion in sales, while Amazon hit $2.4 billion.
Learning how a disciplined, ambitious former English teacher made it happen was fascinating.
(19) The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
After reading about Robert Moses, I cannot look at cities the same way. Moses completely reshaped New York City through guile, will, and brute force. He amassed massive amounts of power in the process and made his fair share of allies and enemies.
This book is a case study on how Moses’ skill at writing bills, immense vision, and the political power of building parks gave him an irreplicable edge. Anyone interested in power, politics, and history will enjoy this one.
(20) 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
Jordan Peterson is a force of nature. In his bestselling book, he lays out practical advice for organizing your life and your relationships. Peterson’s ability to contextualize Biblical stories through the lens of clinical psychology is powerful.
There’s a good reason Peterson sells a ton of books and commands stages around the continent.
(21) Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else) by Ken Auletta
Like (3) The End of Advertising, this book explains how an entire industry is being disrupted and trying to make sense of itself.
(22) This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
If you are “in marketing” and have not read this book, you are making a mistake. Plain and simple. Godin touches on all his core
(23) Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else) by Ken Auletta
(24) Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals by Tyler Cowen
(25) The Messy Marketplace: Selling Your Business in a World of Imperfect Buyers by Brent Beshore
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