I am always asking people and scouring the Internet for good book recommendations. Even though I exchange tips in person, I rarely broadcast what is worthy of your time. Time to change that.
The year 2015 was not as good as some others with regards to drowning in good reads, but there were some golden nuggets I would like to share.
Man’s search for meaning
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl lost his family and survived Nazi imprisonment. His experience and those of others who came to him for treatment after the war led him to coin a theory stating that our primary drive in life is the pursuit of what we find meaningful. We often can’t avoid suffering, but we can decide how to cope with it. In the end, our mindset is more important than our environment.
I used some of the quotes from the book in my post about humor and meaningfulness.
Laszlo Bock was leading Google’s People Ops for a decade during company’s rapid growth. In his book he openly shares successful techniques for hiring, motivating, and compensating people, but also talks about lessons learned from failed experiments. If you’re managing a team or running a company, this is a book for you.
Customs of the World
This is a course by The Great Courses, but I consumed it as an audiobook. Aside from being an interesting history lesson, the course compares major cultures of the world against ten dimensions: individualists versus collectivist, direct versus indirect, punctuality versus relationships, and so on. I currently work in a highly diverse environment, and the book helped me understand why people from different cultures behave in their ways and how to adapt to different communication styles.
It’s Complicated: the Social Lives of Networked Teens
A Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research Danah Boyd writes about young people’s use of social media. She explores what networks they use, how it affects their lives, and debunks myths about teens being careless oversharers and social media addicts.
Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth
The final two books are unique because they explore peculiar jobs. The first one is a memoir of the astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield. He explains his long journey from a young age to working inside the International Space Station. Aside from telling humorous and inspiring stories, he also tries to teach us a valuable life lesson: prepare for the worst and think through potential failures because this is the only way to stay calm under immense stress.
A vast majority of people don’t think about where all things they throw away end up. But it has to go somewhere, and for an industry mostly hidden from our view, it is a gold mine. Adam Minter lead us through the US and Chinese recycling operations which often are, although better than mining, not as “green” as we think they are. This book is an eyeopener.
I hope you will this list helpful and put some of these books on your reading list.
You can find lists of recommended books from all years on my reading and books page.