by Noson S. Yanofsky
About the book: Many books explain what is known about the universe. This book investigates what cannot be known. Rather than exploring the amazing facts that science, mathematics, and reason have revealed to us, this work studies what science, mathematics, and reason tell us cannot be revealed. In The Outer Limits of Reason, Noson Yanofsky considers what cannot be predicted, described, or known, and what will never be understood. He discusses the limitations of computers, physics, logic, and our own thought processes.Yanofsky describes simple tasks that would take computers trillions of centuries to complete and other problems that computers can never solve; perfectly formed English sentences that make no sense; different levels of infinity; the bizarre world of the quantum; the relevance of relativity theory; the causes of chaos theory; math problems that cannot be solved by normal means; and statements that are true but cannot be proven. He explains the limitations of our intuitions about the world -- our ideas about space, time, and motion, and the complex relationship between the knower and the known.Moving from the concrete to the abstract, from problems of everyday language to straightforward philosophical questions to the formalities of physics and mathematics, Yanofsky demonstrates a myriad of unsolvable problems and paradoxes. Exploring the various limitations of our knowledge, he shows that many of these limitations have a similar pattern and that by investigating these patterns, we can better understand the structure and limitations of reason itself. Yanofsky even attempts to look beyond the borders of reason to see what, if anything, is out there.
Notes: What a beautiful #book. Fantastic summary of a diversity of topics. Totally accessible to a lay person. Highly recommended.
by Martin E. P. Seligman
About the book: Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.. With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.
Notes: Good concept, but probably not worth an entire #book
by David Deutsch
About the book: The New York Times bestseller: A provocative, imaginative exploration of the nature and progress of knowledgeIn this groundbreaking book, award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe—and that improving them is the basic regulating principle of all successful human endeavor. Taking us on a journey through every fundamental field of science, as well as the history of civilization, art, moral values, and the theory of political institutions, Deutsch tracks how we form new explanations and drop bad ones, explaining the conditions under which progress—which he argues is potentially boundless—can and cannot happen. Hugely ambitious and highly original, The Beginning of Infinity explores and establishes deep connections between the laws of nature, the human condition, knowledge, and the possibility for progress.
Notes: This book could easily be one of the most influential books of this century. Very inspirational.
by David McCullough
About the book: On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did? David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly human story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, who encouraged their studying. As individuals they had differing skill sets and passions but as a team they excelled in any given task . That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no patron to open doors to their desires, never stopped them in their goal to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed, or, at the very least, maimed. In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers' story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.
Notes: This #book deserves a movie. Fantastic story of invention plagued by competition, patent disputes and secrecy.
by Patti Smith
About the book: M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village cafÃ© where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith's life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith. Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable artists at work today.
Notes: Read it on the recommendation of my wife and wasn't disappointed at all.
by Brad Stone
About the book: **Winner of the 2013 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award** Though Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail, its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, was never content with being just a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become ‘the everything store’, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To achieve that end, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now... Jeff Bezos stands out for his relentless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way that Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing. Amazon placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Notes: Wow, well written. So fascinated by Amazon. This book is a must read.
by Ken Segall
About the book: 'Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains' Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998 To Steve Jobs, Simplicity wasn't just a design principle. It was a religion and a weapon. The obsession with Simplicity is what separates Apple from other technology companies. It's what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on Earth in 2011, and guides the way Apple is organized, how it designs products, and how it connects with customers. It's by crushing the forces of Complexity that the company remains on its stellar trajectory. As creative director, Ken Segall played a key role in Apple's resurrection, helping to create such critical campaigns as 'Think Different' and naming the iMac. Insanely Simple is his insider's view of Jobs' world. It reveals the ten elements of Simplicity that have driven Apple's success - which you can use to propel your own organisation. Reading Insanely Simple, you'll be a fly on the wall inside a conference room with Steve Jobs, and on the receiving end of his midnight phone calls. You'll understand how his obsession with Simplicity helped Apple perform better and faster.
Notes: This book is recommended reading at Apple. Very refreshing.
by Clayton M. Christensen
About the book: Examines how companies can create a balance between marketing cutting-edge technology and anticipating customer demand.
Notes: Good management at big companies leads to downfall. What an excellent book. Worth reading twice.
by Clayton M. Christensen,Michael E. Raynor
About the book: An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations. A seminal work on disruption—for everyone confronting the growth paradox. For readers of the bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma—and beyond—this definitive work will help anyone trying to transform their business right now. In The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor expand on the idea of disruption, explaining how companies can and should become disruptors themselves. This classic work shows just how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today’s hyper-accelerated business environment. Christensen and Raynor give advice on the business decisions crucial to achieving truly disruptive growth and propose guidelines for developing your own disruptive growth engine. The authors identify the forces that cause managers to make bad decisions as they package and shape new ideas—and offer new frameworks to help create the right conditions, at the right time, for a disruption to succeed. This is a must-read for all senior managers and business leaders responsible for innovation and growth, as well as members of their teams. Based on in-depth research and theories tested in hundreds of companies across many industries, The Innovator’s Solution is a necessary addition to any innovation library—and an essential read for entrepreneurs and business builders worldwide.
Notes: The best business book I've read so far. Talks about how the very things that lead to success prevent further hits.
by Marcus Buckingham,Curt Coffman
About the book: Explains how good managers can select, focus, motivate, and develop their employees in order to transform talent into performance
Notes: If you have to read only one book on what great managers do, read this one. Wish I had read it years ago.
by Peter M. Senge
About the book: Leading management guru Peter M Senge defines the five business 'disciplines' which together help to build learning organizations. These companies will be the successful ones in the coming decade because of their ability to learn, to absorb new ideas, theories and practices at all employee levels and use them to competive adventage. Shared vision, teamwork and leverage are the main themes of this book.
Notes: A very important book. A mix of theory and case studies. I related to it 100%
by Robert Kegan,Lisa Laskow Lahey
About the book: A Radical New Model for Unleashing Your Company’s Potential In most organizations nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for—namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people’s impressions of them. There may be no greater waste of a company’s resources. The ultimate cost: neither the organization nor its people are able to realize their full potential. What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone—not just select “high potentials”—could overcome their own internal barriers to change and use errors and vulnerabilities as prime opportunities for personal and company growth? Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (and their collaborators) have found and studied such companies—Deliberately Developmental Organizations. A DDO is organized around the simple but radical conviction that organizations will best prosper when they are more deeply aligned with people’s strongest motive, which is to grow. This means going beyond consigning “people development” to high-potential programs, executive coaching, or once-a-year off-sites. It means fashioning an organizational culture in which support of people’s development is woven into the daily fabric of working life and the company’s regular operations, daily routines, and conversations. An Everyone Culture dives deep into the worlds of three leading companies that embody this breakthrough approach. It reveals the design principles, concrete practices, and underlying science at the heart of DDOs—from their disciplined approach to giving feedback, to how they use meetings, to the distinctive way that managers and leaders define their roles. The authors then show readers how to build this developmental culture in their own organizations. This book demonstrates a whole new way of being at work. It suggests that the culture you create is your strategy—and that the key to success is developing everyone.
Notes: Imagine an organisation where people don't hide their weaknesses and their fears. This book is path breaking.
by Orson Scott Card
About the book: Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives. Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Notes: Finally read this classic Science Fiction book.
by Daniel S. Vacanti
About the book: "When will it be done?" That is probably the first question your customers ask you once you start working on something for them. Think about how many times you have been asked that question. How many times have you ever actually been right? We can debate all we want whether this is a fair question to ask given the tremendous amount of uncertainty in knowledge work, but the truth of the matter is that our customers are going to inquire about completion time whether we like it or not. Which means we need to come up with an accurate way to answer them. The problem is that the forecasting tools that we currently utilize have made us ill-equipped to provide accurate answers to reasonable customer questions. Until now. Topics Include Why managing for flow is the best strategy for predictability-including an introduction to Little's Law and its implications for flow. A definition of the basic metrics of flow and how to properly visualize those metrics in analytics like Cumulative Flow Diagrams and Scatterplots. Why your process policies are the potentially the biggest reason that you are unpredictable.
Notes: This book requires some background in Scrum and Kanban, but it's absolutely a gem. Must read.
by Marshall Goldsmith,Mark Reiter
About the book: Your hard work is paying off. You are doing well in your field. But there is something standing between you and the next level of achievement. That something may just be one of your own annoying habits.Perhaps one small flaw - a behaviour you barely even recognise - is the only thing that's keeping you from where you want to be. It may be that the very characteristic that you believe got you where you are - like the drive to win at all costs - is what's holding you back. As this book explains, people often do well in spite of certain habits rather than because of them-and need a "to stop" list rather than one listing what "to do". Marshall Goldsmith's expertise is in helping global leaders overcome their unconscious annoying habits and become more successful. His one-on-one coaching comes with a six-figure price tag - but in this book you get his great advice for much less. Recently named as one of the world's five most-respected executive coaches by Forbes, he has worked with over 100 major CEOs and their management teams at the world's top businesses. His clients include corporations such as Goldman Sachs, Glaxo SmithKline, Johnson and Johnson and GE.
Notes: I highly recommend this book to everyone who is a manager, leader or an aspiring leader. Shows so many possible blind spots.
by Matthew B. Crawford
About the book: A philosopher/mechanic's wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands Called "the sleeper hit of the publishing season" (The Boston Globe), Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world. From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Max Bloomquist brings his considerable talents to Crawford's meditation on the meaning of work and disparity between blue collar and white collar occupations. Crawford draws on his own experience—he quit a miserable think tank job and has found joy and meaning working as a motorcycle mechanic—to question the presumed value of the cubicle working world, deplore society's disconnection from the material world and vividly convey the reward of working with one's hands. Bloomquist reads with authority and erudition; his steady, everyman narration makes Crawford's well-founded arguments even more persuasive. A Penguin Press hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 20). (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Bookmarks Magazine We note that Publishers Weekly named Shop Class as Soulcraft one of the top ten books of 2009. Reviewers were clearly intrigued by Crawford's argument, but only a couple of them seemed fully persuaded. (The New York Times Book Review critic, for example, admitted to enjoying Crawford's manual work alongside his academic career.) But most critics, while praising the book's overall premise, seemed a little hesitant about fully embracing Shop Class as Soulcraft, perhaps because, as the New York Times reviewer observed, many of the author's personal preferences and quirks, such as Crawford's defense of dirty jokes, seem to impede his argument. However, it's hard not to be interested in a philosopher who, in a nation that privileges intellectual attainment, can also successfully replace a carburetor. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From AudioFile Crawford offers a compelling book at a time when we struggle to define our values amid the whirl of technological progress. However, narrator Max Bloomquist falls a little short in his performance. Crawford argues that while technology entices us with promises of convenience and ease, our ignorance about the mechanics of our magic machines disempowers us as a society and as individuals. Though competent, Bloomquist's voice doesn't do full justice to the ominous warnings--reminiscent of Huxley--implied in the book. At times, Bloomquist's delivery even has a note of what sounds like condescension that seems unintended by the author. Still, the experience of listening to Crawford's book while driving or working might bring home the power of its message. L.P. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Review "It's appropriate that [Shop Class as Soulcraft] arrives in May, the month when college seniors commence real life. Skip Dr. Seuss, or a tie from Vineyard Vines, and give them a copy for graduation.... It's not an insult to say that Shop Class is the best self-help book that I've ever read. Almost all works in the genre skip the "self" part and jump straight to the "help." Crawford rightly asks whether today's cubicle dweller even has a respectable self....It's kind of like Heidegger and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." -Slate "Matt Crawford's remarkable book on the morality and metaphysics of the repairman looks into the reality of practical activity. It is a superb combination of testimony and reflection, and you can't put it down." -Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University "Every once in a great while, a book will come along that's brilliant and true and perfect for its time. Matthew B. Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft is that kind of book, a prophetic and searching examination of what we've lost by ceasing to work with our hands-and how we can get it back. During this time of cultural anxiety and reckoning, when the conventional wisdom that has long driven our wealthy, sophisticated culture is foundering amid an economic and spiritual tempest, Crawford's liberating volume appears like a lifeboat on the horizon." -Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots "This is a deep exploration of craftsmanship by someone with real, hands-on knowledge. The book is also quirky, surprising, and sometimes quite moving." -Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman "Matt Crawford has written a brave and indispensable book. By making a powerful case for the enduring value of the manual trades, Shop Class as Soulcraft offers a bracing alternative to the techno-babble that passes for conventional wisdom, and points the way to a profoundly necessary reconnection with the material world. No one who cares about the future of human work can afford to ignore this book." -Jackson Lears, Editor in Chief, Raritan "We are on the verge of a national renewal. It will have more depth and grace if we read Crawford's book carefully and take it to heart. He is a sharp theorist, a practicing mechanic, and a captivating writer." -Albert Borgmann, author of Real American Ethics "Shop Class as Soulcraft is easily the most compelling polemic since The Closing of the American Mind. Crawford offers a stunning indictment of the modern workplace, detailing the many ways it deadens our senses and saps our vitality. And he describes how our educational system has done violence to our true nature as 'homo faber'. Better still, Crawford points in the direction of a richer, more fulfilling way of life. This is a book that will endure." -Reihan Salam, associate editor at The Atlantic, co-author of Grand New Party "Crawford reveals the satisfactions of the active craftsman who cultivates his own judgment, rather than being a passive consumer subject to manipulated fantasies of individuality and creativity." - Nathan Tarcov, Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago Philosopher and motorcycle repair-shop owner Crawford extols the value of making and fixing things in this masterful paean to what he calls "manual competence," the ability to work with one's hands. According to the author, our alienation from how our possessions are made and how they work takes many forms: the decline of shop class, the design of goods whose workings cannot be accessed by users (such as recent Mercedes models built without oil dipsticks) and the general disdain with which we regard the trades in our emerging "information economy." Unlike today's "knowledge worker," whose work is often so abstract that standards of excellence cannot exist in many fields (consider corporate executives awarded bonuses as their companies sink into bankruptcy), the person who works with his or her hands submits to standards inherent in the work itself: the lights either turn on or they don't, the toilet flushes or it doesn't, the motorcycle roars or sputters. With wit and humor, the author deftly mixes the details of his own experience as a tradesman and then proprietor of a motorcycle repair shop with more philosophical considerations. - Publishers Weekly, Starred review Philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Crawford presents a fascinating, important analysis of the value of hard work and manufacturing. He reminds readers that in the 1990s vocational education (shop class) started to become a thing of the past as U.S. educators prepared students for the "knowledge revolution." Thus, an entire generation of American "thinkers" cannot, he says, do anything, and this is a threat to manufacturing, the fundamental backbone of economic development. Crawford makes real the experience of working with one's hands to make and fix things and the importance of skilled labor. His philosophical background is evident as he muses on how to live a pragmatic, concrete life in today's ever more abstract world and issues a clarion call for reviving trade and skill development classes in American preparatory schools. The result is inspired social criticism and deep personal exploration. Crawford's work will appeal to fans of Robert Pirsig's classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and should be required reading for all educational leaders. Highly recommended; Crawford's appreciation for various trades may intrigue readers with white collar jobs who wonder at the end of each day what they really accomplished. - Library Journal
Notes: This book has too convoluted writing for my taste, and maybe that's the point.
by Chris McChesney,Sean Covey,Jim Huling
About the book: An insightful new book from the multimillion-copy bestselling author Sean Covey and the FranklinCovey organization based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and large companies to unveil the essential disciplines proven to help businesses and individuals realize their most important goals. Do you remember the last major initiative you watched die in your organization? Did it go down with a loud crash? Or was it slowly and quietly suffocated by other competing priorities? By the time it finally disappeared, it’s likely no one even noticed. What happened? The “whirlwind” of urgent activity required to keep things running day-to-day devoured all the time and energy you needed to invest in executing your strategy for tomorrow! The 4 Disciplines of Execution can change all that forever. The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing on your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following The 4 Disciplines: • Focusing on the Wildly Important • Acting on Lead Measures • Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard • Creating a Cadence of Accountability leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams. 4DX is not theory. It is a proven set of practices that have been tested and refined by hundreds of organizations and thousands of teams over many years. When a company or an individual adheres to these disciplines, they achieve superb results—regardless of the goal. 4DX represents a new way of thinking and working that is essential to thriving in today’s competitive climate. Simply put, this is one book that no business leader can afford to miss.
Notes: Wow, what a book! Common sense in hindsight but simplicity is what makes it amazing.
by Scott D. Anthony,David S. Duncan
About the book: Introducing the Four Components That Make Innovation Repeatable Even the best-performing companies eventually stall. Sustaining momentum—and remaining a great growth company—takes a system. Scott Anthony and David Duncan call this system a “Growth Factory.” They’ve seen it work in a small set of elite companies that have created environments where innovation is both repeatable and reliable, not relegated to an off-site or isolated division that has no real connection to the organization’s future. In this HBR Single, Anthony and Duncan draw on their extensive experience working with these growth factory organizations—most notably Procter & Gamble and Citigroup. They highlight the four main components that make innovation repeatable and reliable, citing real examples of what P&G, Citi, and even their own firm, Innosight, have gone through to stay firmly on a path toward growth despite huge challenges. They offer practical advice on how you can put their system into action in your own company—whether it’s a large multinational or a small start-up. HBR Singles provide brief yet potent business ideas for today’s thinking professional. They are available digitally at HBR.org and through the Kindle Store, the iBookstore, and other ebooksellers.
Notes: A quick read but an OK book. Less examples than I was expecting
by Gary Keller,Jay Papasan
About the book: Offers advice on living a better life by cutting down on distractions, building momentum toward a goal, and coping with stress.
Notes: Few good tips on productivity in this book but otherwise :/