Each year I build a backlog of books that I want to read. There are so many incredible works out right now that it’s awfully hard for me to prioritize what to read first. Of course, thanks to Kindle and Audible I’m able to enjoy more books than ever before (long runs and bike rides are now “reading" opportunities thanks to Audible). What must reads would you recommend for 2015?
Here are some of my favorites from last year:
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
Did you know that the Mongols once controlled a kingdom that was larger than Rome’s largest kingdom? And did you know that it was built in only 25-years by a homeless teenager who was socially outcast and abandoned from society? I think Genghis Khan’s rise to power and the Mongol’s world conquest has uncanny parallels to the rapid growth of today’s companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Read it for history, business, or pure enjoyment.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
This is probably the best startup book I have ever read. Ben Horowitz (now founding partner of Andreessen Horowitz) gives a from-the-trenches view of operating a company. When I face tough challenges I think about Ben’s quote: “there are no silver bullets for this, only lead bullets."
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I read this based on Will Smith’s recommendation. Yes, I’m a Will Smith fan, not because he’s a celebrity but because he’s a brilliant marketer and business man. Anyways, Coelho’s book is a brilliant hero’s journey tale which hints at a deeper truth about following your “personal legend."
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How To Build The Future by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is one of those rare individuals who is both a deeply thoughtful intellectual and savvy executor. Zero to One is a collection of his often counter intuitive observations about business and startups.
Resonate by Nancy Duarte
Nancy Duarte is the undisputed master of presentation and storytelling. She is widely known for her work on Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” presentation and on the TED conference presentations. This book details her approach to resonating with audiences.
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
Another great work by marketing guru Seth Godin. Seth’s life work has been preparing us for the connection economy by encouraging us to create, build, and be remarkable. In this book, Seth once again implores us to raise our game.
Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
I have heard Tony speak at several salesforce.com events so I always enjoy following his new works. In his latest book, Money: Master the Game, Tony certainly brings his signature energy but also brings a deeper level of analysis and perspective which comes from his interviews with the world’s top money managers.
Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton
Nick accurately compares the founding of Twitter to “Game of Thrones for geeks.” Bilton chronicles the Twitter story from founding through massive (albeit turbulent) success. The story is radically different than the story I thought I knew. Its a great read which further substantiates the claim that startups are really freaking hard.
The Everything Store by Brad Stone
Brad Stone dives deep into the history of Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com. Stone offers a very new perspective on a story I thought I knew. The deeper look at Jeff Bezos helped me appreciate his genius and insanity even more.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Great book by my classmate Greg McKeown on how to focus on what’s most important.
I’m getting started on my 2015 backlog. Any titles I should consider?