Here are my Top Reads of 2018. As I put this list together, I saw that there was a common theme: Simplicity. Simple language, simple ideas, and articulating complex topics in a simple way.
What’s your favorite book that you read this year?
10. Orbiting The Giant Hairball - Gordon Mackenzie (1996)
To “Orbit The Giant Hairball” means to find your satellite place within the corporate environment that you can do your own thing. Finding a corner in a large company, making sure you’re having fun, and flying under the radar. Gordon Mackenzie was a creative who survived the corporate card making business at Hallmark.
9. Made To Stick - Chip and Dan Heath (2006)
The art of persuasion and storytelling starts with reducing an idea to it’s essence...then having people try to remember it. Made To Stick is a great guide book on how to shape your ideas so people actually care.
8. Turning Pro - Steven Pressfield (2012)
Steven Pressfield, most known for “Gates of Fire” (the book that ‘300’ the movie was based on), writes about the craft of art itself. He masters his creative routine by calling his muse everyday. Steven taught me how to how to use ’Resistance’ as a compass. For further reading, check out The War Of Art.
6. The Last Season - Eric Blehm (2006)
Eric Blehm does a magnificent job recounting the life of Randy Morgenson, a Sierra park ranger who spent his time saving others from danger, until one day he goes missing himself. I loved reading about the culture of park rangers, how a search and rescue is conducted and a the history of the parks system. A must read for anyone who hikes in the Sierras.
5. Private Citizens - Tony Tulathimutte (2016)
A sobering and chillingly accurate description of Silicon Valley, Private Citizens follows a group of friends through the maze of the Bay Area. If you live in San Francisco, or want to see another side you won’t hear about in the news, check it out. Warning: This book can put you in a gloomy mood.
4. The Lessons of History - Will & Ariel Durant (1968)
The Lessons of History is a short survey of the last 3,000 years of history. This book is bite sized enough to digest, but not a textbook that feels too academic to read. More than ever I realized that our life is really just a drop in the ocean of time.
3. Managing The Professional Services Firm - David H. Maister (1993)
Awesome book. As far as I’m concerned, this is the bible on how to manage a professional services firm. This is a great intro to learn about how to run a business in general. You can feel the expertise and craftsmanship behind these words. Favorite topic: Underdelegation = What % of your job that you’re doing right now could be done by someone more junior?
2. Disciplined Entrepreneurship - Bill Aulet (2013)
Once you have your startup idea, this is the book you need to read as you execute. An awesome step by step guide for validating your idea, and bring your project to life. Warning: Don’t look to it for new ideas, but a roadmap for execution. If you follow the directions, you’ll come out the other end on top.
1. How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big - Scott Adams (2013)
My favorite book of 2018. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is successful (which he defines as doing what he wants and when he wants) because of a pretty simple reason: He’s tried many things. In fact, this is a common theme I’ve seen across almost all the successful people I’ve seen, they try things until one of them hits.
My favorite quote: “I put myself in a position where luck was more likely to happen. I tried a lot of different ventures, stayed optimistic, put in the energy, prepared myself by learning as much as I could, and stayed in the game long enough for luck to find me.” pg - 158