There are no shortcuts in life – except reading. Books are the fastest and cheapest way to level up and broaden understanding of complex issues we face in our daily lives.

Here are eight books that have made an impact on our team and that we are recommending to our friends. From artificial intelligence to human sciences and leadership, these books will help people working in a wide range of industries.

 

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

By Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle

”That´s the sound of your head coming out of your ass.” Powerful stories and lessons form the life of the ex-football coach turned into a business executive.

Bill Campbell played an instrumental role in the growth of several prominent companies, such as Google, Apple, and Intuit, fostering deep relationships with Silicon Valley visionaries, including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. In addition, this business genius mentored dozens of other important leaders on both coasts, from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to educators to football players, leaving behind a legacy of growing companies, successful people, respect, friendship, and love after his death in 2016.

A must-read book from an experienced leader to someone who´s just starting out.

 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

By Ben Horowitz

Concrete real-life stories, about running a startup company… when everything doesn´t go as planned. Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup – practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover.

Above-mentioned Bill Campbell was a coach of Ben Horowitz, his one-liners are well represented also in this book.

 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

By Robert B. Cialdini

The First edition was released in 1984, but this is a timeless masterpiece. You’ll learn about Cialdini’s six principles of influence — reciprocity, social proof, commitment, authority, scarcity, and liking — which explain why buyers (and people in general) behave the way they do. You can find these tactics used widely in sales and in marketing.

This is the one book every business should know inside out.

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

Like Cialdini´s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a masterpiece and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman´s studies have influenced numerous other authors.

Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices.

 

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Not all swans are white, and not all events – no matter what the experts think – are predictable. Every so often, one of these unpredictable events occurs and has an immeasurable impact on the world – such as 9/11. Taleb argues the problem is that humans focus too much thought on what they already know, and not enough on what they don’t. The trick is understanding how to deal with black swans when they appear, and how to benefit from them. Check the earlier post about black swan and Covid-19.

Did you know? The term black swan was a Latin expression ”A good person is as rare as a black swan” (”rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno”).

 

Sensemaking: What Makes Human Intelligence Essential in the Age of the Algorithm

By Christian Madsbjerg

Co-Founder of Copenhagen based consultancy Red Associates Christian Madsbjerg argues that many of today’s biggest success stories stem not from ”quant” thinking but from deep, nuanced engagement with the culture, language, and history of customers. He calls this technique ”sensemaking” and illustrates how business leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals can use human science tools to innovate and solve their thorniest problems.

 

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

By Kai-Fu Lee

In his provocative book, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee – former head of Google China – reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid pace. As the US-Sino competition begins to heat up, Lee envisions China and the US forming a powerful duopoly in AI, but one that is based on each nation’s unique and traditional cultural inclinations.

 

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.

 

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