RECOMMENDED READING 2019
The Mask of Command — Through the lens of Alexander The Great, the Duke of Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Adolf Hitler, this exceptional book that asks us to consider concepts like leadership, military leadership, and why people follow leaders. Keegan is an exceptional military historian.
Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most — I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection recently on how my conversations go astray and how my unspoken thoughts and feelings derail my best intentions in conversations. Difficult conversations was an eye opener for me, offering a foundation for improving all of my conversations. The most impactful thing for me, which is still a work in progress, is moving away from blame and looking to contribution. A great read with practical insights that you can apply to all of the relationships in your life.
Music as Alchemy — Have you ever wondered how music gets created? That emergent property that is so much more than the sum of its parts? In this book the author dives deep into the experiences of 6 famous orchestras and their conductors to provide incredible insight into how a piece of music is realized. There are many lessons in here for teamwork in general, and the kind of mindset that you need to produce something remarkable.
The Upside of Stress — Highly enjoyable and very informative. This book offers a counter-intuitive look at why stress is good for you and how you can develop the capacity to get better at handling stress. Even if you’re not stressed it will help you develop the skills to change how your friends and family look at stress. The ability to not only embrace stress but learn from it is a powerful combination.
Pride and Prejudice — I thought I’d start the year off with a classic and what better one to start with than a reminder from Jane Austen about the folly of judging things based on first impressions. When I read this book as a teenager in first year English, I gave up out of boredom and watched the movie instead. I will never forget getting a “D” on my final English paper, with the only comments from my professor “Sounds like you watched the movie and didn’t read the book.” Re-reading the book as an adult is a vastly different experience. Not only is the romance more apparent but you start to see that the friendships, gossip, and snobberies of provincial middle-class life exist all around you.
What Smart Students Know — The first thing I did after recording a 4-hour interview with Adam Robinson (part 1 and 2) was order a book he casually mentioned in our conversation that he wrote about learning. Intelligence is often a series of learnable mental disciplines that few people have taught us. You can discover these secrets yourself through trial and error or you can listen to a trusted guide. While Adam covers a lot of this book in our conversation at various point, this book was nonetheless an indispensable addition to my ongoing research on how we learn, where we go astray, and what we can do about it.