There really is nothing like flicking through the pages of a real book- kindles or tablets just dont create the same sense of connection as a printed page. And there is nothing better than gifting a great book, it sure beats saying to someone 'here's your e-book download coupon'.
You may wonder why its only 8 books, the list could have easily been 20 without any effort. A 5 book list was far too short and 10 books seemed a bit too many, so 8 books sat in the goldilocks zone of 'just right'.
Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that within the Non-fiction category there seems to be 2 types of efforts-
1. ONE IDEA WONDERS- where the author has just one good idea and then pads it out for another 300 pages so it looks like a book
2. RE-READERS- where the author's ideas are so good, you find yourself making notes in the margins and re-reading it a number of times. It is these books that you talk about and usually end up gifting to others.
So if you are interested, here's just a few favourites that are genuine Re-Readers and worth giving to anyone who likes thinking about things.
FOR BIG INSIGHTS
Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine and a veteran of the internet, outlines the major forces of technology that is going to shape society. He relates stats that will shock and surprise anyone. Spoiler alert- dont send your kids to law school or buy a truck....
Peter Diamandis, creator of the X Prize, makes a fabulous argument that there are great solutions being developed by clever people around the world which are going to make a great future. You cant help but feel positive that the world is in good hands regardless of all the doom-saying that some people push at us everyday.
Malcolm Gladwell, journalist and hobby social scientist, has written a number of best selling thought provoking books. Tipping Point was the one that put him on the map, and made 'tipping point' a common household phrase. He is a must read for anyone interested on 'why' things happen.
Alain de Botton, brought philosophy out of the academies and to us common people and showed that many 'new ideas' are really just old ideas stolen from the classical thinkers. We can learn so much and find a more balanced life from the wisdom of long forgotten philosophers.
Like Gladwell, de Botton has written many other fine works worth exploring.
Levitt and Dubner take seemingly contradictory questions and looked for the most rational solution by using the 'economic theory'. This may sound dry, but it is really a very entertaining insight into how the world works. For example, Is a 'working girl' better off working for a pimp or going freelance? The answer will surprise.
As an aside, Stephen Dubner also has a weekly podcast which is regarded as the 'gold standard' for podcast production quality and worth recommending.
Freakanomics is a nice segue into the next selection.
FOR BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Business books are probably the worst offenders of the ONE IDEA WONDERS, just check the bookstores for all the lightweight pulp that is promoted by 'celebrity business leaders'. So here are 3 books that may be a little unknown, but if you are interested in the "business of business" they are a good start.
Awful title from 1995, a better title could have been " how to manage a great company". Andy Grove turned Intel from a struggling tech company to the powerhouse of today. Over 20 years ago he outlined a simple explanation of how to create a great company. Since then his ideas have been plagiarized by "celebrity gurus" on the speaker circuit. Grove was in front of everyone 20 years ago and this book is regarded as a true classic.
Here is another one you may never have heard of before. Just as Grove sketched out how to create a great company, Gino Wickman goes one step further to spell out a step by step process to systemize a business. Similar in process to Scaling Up by Verne Harnish and E-Myth by Michael Gerber, Traction is a good framework to implement for anyone serious about their business.
Bernadette Schwerdt interviews Australian online entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of the new economy, what works and what doesn't. The style is very conversational and is a great introduction to the changing business landscape because it relates to real world companies, not the usual global giants. A must read to give to a teenager contemplating their future, especially after reading 'The Inevitable'.
FOR THE KNITTING TRAGICS
Just in case you wish to alienate your friends and families by sharing your love of knitting technology.
Fundamentals and Advances in Knitting Technology is a great reference for general industrial knitting, if you like such things.
Otherwise, it is guaranteed to bore anyone else absolutely stupid.
There are so many other books that should be mentioned, and so another post will definitely appear sometime in the future.