Book reviews

My Best Reads of Q1 2018

Last year proved to be challenging in terms of reading books due to the demands of the MBA that I am studying in the evenings. This year, however, I have set up myself the aspirational goal of reading – at least – three books per quarter.

The year is off to a good start, as I have been able to begin clearing up my reading list which had been growing over the past 18 months.

Below are three short reviews of the books I have been able to go through so far. It would be great to hear back from any book recommendations you might have in the comments.

Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Source: Amazon

This book is a must read. Period. Nobel Price winner Daniel Kahneman, to whom it might be one of the most influential living psychologist, revolutionises how do we think about thinking.

The book explains the dual-process model of our brains. To perceive and think about the world we use two systems of thinking: “System 1” and “System 2”. “System 1” is fast, intuitive, automatic and it can’t be switched off. This is where human’s irrationality and cognitive biases stem from. Conversely, “System 2” is slow, deliberate and effortful. To use it, we require attention, and it tends to take over when things get difficult.

This timeless theory has become the foundation of how entrepreneurs and marketers think about products and customer relations. Moreover, there are plenty of interesting cases where this behavioural economics theory can be applied too. An interesting one being Brexit.

The Inevitable – Kevin Kelly

Source: Amazon

Former executive editor of Wired magazine, Kevin Kelly reviews twelve of the most prominent forces that, enabled by technology, are shaping our world and will continue to drive human progress over the near future.

Flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking and questioning – Kelly demonstrates the interdependence of these trends and how will they revolutionise how we think, buy and learn. Understanding them is paramount to being able to adapt to the world we live in both in business and in our personal life.

Whilst the book doesn’t unveil anything we don’t already know it’s a great compilation of trends to reflect on how we got here and where do we go to as well as why.

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

Source: Amazon

One way in which I choose which books to read is by selecting the ones that are more than ten years old but keep being reedited consistently over time. This proves that they are timeless pieces. And this is very much the case with Meditations.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from AD121 to AD180. He wrote his Meditations as a series of thoughts or spiritual exercises. His point is clear: everything has happened before – the same plot, the same stage. And people repeat it themselves from generation to generation.

Although these Meditations were composed to provide personal advice and encouragement, in developing these beliefs Marcus Aurelius managed to create a timeless collection of philosophy guidelines that one can feel truly actionable in today’s world.

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