Books I read in 2019


Happy New Year!

Last I read 5 books, This far behind my annual target of 12 books. I need to get better in 2020.

The Barcelona Way: Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture – by Damian Hughes

In The Barcelona Way, sports psychologist Damian Hughes reveals the key principles that have defined FC Barcelona’s success and shows how the DNA of a winning team can be successfully applied to any working environment, with dramatic results. ‘A powerful book on the important principles of creating a high-performing culture.’Eddie Jones, England RFU Head CoachFC Barcelona are one of the most successful football clubs in the world. What makes FCB unique is the winning culture that has delivered sustained success for much longer than the customary four-year cycle of an elite team. Lying at the very heart of their success is how they deal with people and the care and attention given to the environment in which those people are nurtured: practices which are of equal relevance to all organizations trying to channel the activities of their talented individuals for the corporate good.The key principles are: Big Picture, Arc of Change, Repetition, Cultural Architects, Authentic Leadership. These are the same principles that are adhered to in successful working environments across any industry. Drawing on interviews with key architects of the culture, as well as his own extensive experience as a sports psychologist working with leading sports and business institutions, Damian Hughes provides unique insights into the crucial issues confronting the modern corporate environment, and shows how the lessons learnt at FC Barcelona can also be applied to develop your own winning culture.

The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves by The Arbinger Institute

The Arbinger Institute has helped millions with their books Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace. Their newest book, The Outward Mindset, reflects their latest research and experience and offers a new and intuitive way to teach people how to implement mindset change in themselves and scale it across organizations, with incredible effect. One’s mindset governs how one views the world, what one does, and how one does it. One’s mindset can be self-focused, which Arbinger calls an inward mindset, or it can be inclusive of others, which Arbinger calls an outward mindset. It turns out that our own actions, and others responses to those actions, end up being dramatically different depending on which mindset we are operating from. The Outward Mindset teaches readers how to shift more fully to an outward mindset and how to help others, even whole organizations, to make that shift a shift that sparks innovation, increases accountability, and transforms collaboration, engagement, and fulfillment.”

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology–and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today’s kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues–from super intelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam M. Grant

In Originals the author addresses the challenge of improving the world from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?  Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

My favorites of the year and highly recommended:

  • The Barcelona Way: Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture – amazing stories on leadership and how Pep managed a team of stars
  • The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves – I love this series including the other Leadership and self deception. It cultivates certain traits and behaviors that are required in all organisations!
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – fascinating true story on the abuse of power and how startups can create monsters due to the lack of governance and strong charisma, Be Aware!

Happy New Year!

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