2023 - year when I switched from podcasts to audiobooks
This year I marked a significant shift in my journey of knowledge and discovery. While I have always been an avid consumer of podcasts, 2023 became the year I transitioned to the rich and immersive world of audiobooks. This change coincided with an eye-opening experience: creating our book with Kevin Owocki, set to be published in September 2024.
Crafting a book was enlightening, revealing the stark contrasts between producing short-form content and weaving together a compelling long-form narrative. We spent over a year meticulously assembling the best possible material, refining each chapter, and stripping away the superfluous to deliver an exciting, engaging experience spanning over 200 pages. This journey deepened my appreciation for the immense knowledge, effort, and time authors invest in their books. I realized that books are indeed one of the most profound sources of information available.
In a world inundated with newsletters and podcasts, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. While these mediums are fantastic for staying current, books offer a depth and richness unmatched in other formats. Each book takes me on a tremendous journey, allowing me to dive deeper into subjects I'm passionate about. As I immerse myself in audiobooks, I savor every moment of this new way of learning and exploring.
As you explore my curated reading list from 2023, I invite you to join me in this transition. Discover the profound insights and transformative experiences these books offer, and perhaps, like me, you'll find a newfound love for the depth and journey that only a good book can provide.
Merry Christmass and happy reading!
MUST READ: "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
Description: Thiel discusses what it takes to build a successful startup and how to innovate to create something entirely new and valuable.
Recommendation: This is a must-read for startup enthusiasts, though it's worth noting that the landscape is shifting towards more networked rather than isolated companies.
Leadership Pick: "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek
Description: Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust, and change in organizations by discovering and communicating why they do what they do.
Recommendation: This is a very inspirational read for anyone pursuing entrepreneurship with purpose.
Political Science Pick: "The Accidental Superpower" by Peter Zeihan
Description: Zeihan examines the geopolitical landscape and argues that geography and demographics will shape the future, focusing on the United States' accidental rise to power.
Recommendation: I recommend this book for those who want to understand how geographical advantages still matter in the digital age.
History Pick: "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari
Description: Harari provides a sweeping narrative of human history, from the emergence of Homo sapiens in the Stone Age to the present.
Recommendation: It’s funny how short a history we have as a human species and how we evolved. It offers a different view than what is taught in history classes, so you should check it out.
Startup Founder Pick: "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz
Description: Horowitz shares wisdom and insights from his experiences as a startup founder and venture capitalist, addressing the challenging problems that business leaders face.
Recommendation: It's an essential read for aspiring startup founders and a reminder that family should always come first.
Networking Pick: "Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated" by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
Description: This book offers strategies for networking and building meaningful relationships in both professional and personal life. Ferrazzi emphasizes the importance of generosity and connecting to others authentically.
Recommendation: If you enjoyed 'How to Win Friends and Influence People,' this book is a must-read, as it nicely builds upon similar principles.
Organizational Design Pick: "Team of Teams" by General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman
Description: This book redefines the age-old military hierarchy and introduces a more flexible, team-oriented approach to leadership and management that can be applied to all organizations.
Recommendation: An insightful book demonstrating how organizations have evolved in the internet-native era. It showcases the Army's adaptation towards a more decentralized, DAO-like structure.
Innovation Pick: "The Medici Effect" by Frans Johansson
Description: Johansson discusses the phenomenon of innovation that occurs at the intersection of diverse fields, disciplines, and cultures, drawing inspiration from the Medici family's support of creativity during the Renaissance.
Recommendation: Do you feel like you're all over the place? Multitasking doesn't always work, but this book shows that being at the intersection of many fields is critical to innovation.
All-Time Classic Pick: "The Art of War"
Description: This ancient Chinese military treatise offers strategic wisdom that has transcended its martial origins and is applied in various aspects of modern life.
Recommendation: It's timeless; I didn't believe it till I read it. Some things will stay the same, even if technology moves rapidly, which can be calming, and we can rely on some things to be stable.
Sci-fi Read Pick: "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
Description: Cline's novel is a futuristic tale where players compete in a virtual reality game with real-world stakes, filled with 1980s pop culture references.
Recommendation: Both the book and the movie are engaging, offering a glimpse into the potential future of virtual reality.
Autobiography Pick: "The Infinite Machine" by Camila Russo
Description: Russo tells the history of Ethereum, one of the leading blockchain platforms, and its creator, Vitalik Buterin, offering insight into the revolutionary potential of decentralized applications.
Recommendation: The incredible story of Ethereum is very detailed, and even though I have been in space for six years, I learned many new exciting details about it. The book provides a well-rounded view of Ethereum, not just focusing on Vitalik.
Personal Development Pick: "Give and Take" by Adam Grant
Description: Grant categorizes people into givers, takers, and matchers and explores how these personality types can significantly affect success in the workplace.
Recommendation: I love books by Adam Grant, and reading about how giving is the way to go aligns with my personal views.
The rest of my reading list 2023
"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed
Description: This memoir recounts Cheryl Strayed's journey as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail alone, dealing with personal grief and finding self-discovery along the way. Strayed's raw and honest prose captures her physical and emotional challenges.
Recommendation: It's a sad story but also inspiring. What happened in the past is behind us, and we can move forward.
"Dao De Jing" translated by Roger Ames and David L. Hall
Description: This translation offers a fresh perspective on the ancient Chinese text, focusing on the Daoist philosophy of living in harmony with the Dao, or the fundamental principle underlying the universe.
Recommendation: I found this translation complex and lengthy. I'd appreciate recommendations for a more accessible book on this topic.
"The Doomed City" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Description: A thought-provoking science fiction novel in an experimental city with an unknown purpose, inhabited by people from different times and places.
Recommendation: This book presents an interesting perspective on centralized planning, taken to extreme cases. It serves as a reminder of why we should decentralize power and empower individuals.
"The Real Work" by Adam Gopnik
Description: In this collection of essays, Gopnik reflects on diverse topics, from life in New York City to the nuances of friendship and parenthood.
Recommendation: Though not overly inspirational, this book affirms that anything can be learned with enough desire.
"Talk Like TED" by Carmine Gallo
Description: Gallo dissects the ingredients of the most successful TED talks and guides how to deliver persuasive and captivating presentations.
Recommendation: Many people underestimate the power of storytelling across all industries. Could you make sure to avoid the same mistake?
"Grit" by Angela Duckworth
Description: Duckworth explores the concept of grit—the combination of passion and perseverance—and its role in success, challenging the notion that talent is the primary determinant of achievement.
Recommendation: A must-read for entrepreneurs, highlighting the unparalleled dopamine rush from achievements, contrasting with the rewards in traditional employment.