Business & Management

How I Built This by Guy Raz
How I Built This by Guy Raz

The only book you need to read if you own a business or dream of starting a business.

Guy Raz has interviewed hundreds of brilliant and successful CEOs, serial entrepreneurs, and silicon valley giants on his podcast “How I Built This”. This book (of the same name) is a condensed and distilled version of the pearls of wisdom gathered from all those interviews. Consider it a crash course on entrepreneurship or a startup Bootcamp in a book.

Whether you are still looking for a startup idea to call your own or looking to scale up your business or hunting for funding, this book will give you amazing ideas to accomplish all of them.

One of my school teachers used to say every student should possess an Oxford English Dictionary. In a similar vein, anyone who wants to succeed in business for their side hustle should have this book in their personal library. Even if you work in a company, the ideas in this book will help you take better ownership of your tasks and become an intrapreneur innovator!

This is a book you want to savor, read, refer, and re-read.

Running a business comes with many highs and lows. This book will keep you motivated throughout that roller coaster ride. Many entrepreneurs and freelancers find themselves lonely and unable to discuss their stressors with friends or family. Consider this book your escape hatch and therapist!

Unlike other books, which propagate various kinds of hustle “porn”, a single-method playbook that rarely works for anyone, this book has meaningful and practical techniques that can be applied by everyday hustlers trying to keep their idea afloat. The book presents multiple pathways to business success – like an entrepreneurial buffet. As the subtitle says, this book will present the reader with multiple paths to success. So choose your journey and launch yourself to success.

Last but not the least, shout out and thanks to Technical.ly and Philly Tech week for bringing in Guy to be the main speaker at the recent “Introduced” conference. Thanks to Guy Raz himself for giving away signed copies to the attendees of the conference!🙂

In summation, brilliant book! 5* rating.

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Books on Creativity & Innovation

Feeling stuck or devoid of inspiration? A problem irritating you to no end? Stuck with writer’s block?

Creative inspiration is an ideal answer to all these problems. In today’s knowledge economy, innovative ideas and creativity are the new currency for career acceleration. Also, as more jobs get automated, soft skills combined with innovative thinking is the only way to remain relevant and valuable in the marketplace.

Creativity & Innovation Thinking – the only way to save your job from being made obsolete by Automation!

So here is a list of 7 superb books that will turbocharge your thinking and sharpen your creativity muscles:

1. Alchemy. Author = Rory Sutherland.
2. Creativity Inc. Author = Ed Catmull.
3. Design Thinking. Author = Tim Brown.
4. 131 Boredom Busters & Creativity Builders for Kids. Author = Jed Jurchenko.
5. The Accidental Creative. Author = Todd Henry.
6. Creative Careers. Author = Jeffrey Madoff.
7. Tools of the Titans. Author = Tim Ferris. Review here

Some of these books also feature on my list of Top 25 books to read this year. A modified version of this article was also posted on Medium.com under the title “Best Books on Creativity & Innovation

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Welcome to Day 05 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Rebel”.

Shoutout to Niru from “Opinions of a Catty, BookLoving Couch Potato” for her witty review of “The Duke and I”. The book was a perfect fit for the theme, the review notes were heartfelt and Julia Quinn book covers themselves are so quirky and attractive!

For today’s challenge I went with a relatively safe choice – “Rebel Talent” by Harvard Business school Professor, Francesca Gino. This book explains why creative rebellion is essential to find joy at work and in life, using diverse examples like a Michelin star chef, the Head of animation studio Pixar and many more!

  • Title – Rebel Talent
  • Author – Francesca Gino

REVIEW SCORE = 4/5

The book uses the term “Rebel” to mean outlier and someone who shatters conventions, not necessarily mean or evil or aggressive. The author argues that rebel employees are critical to companies and help to raise the bar on innovation, thus contributing to profits and branding and shareholder value.

We all can agree that mindlessly following rules and policies and repeating mundane tasks does suck the satisfaction out of work and life! However, not many of us can gather courage to break the norm, or risk failure. The special few who do are the ones who reach spectacular success!

Note that the author is not suggesting that every employee start breaking rules. Rather the book shows how to balance social conventions and be rebellious for useful purposes. The book also has tips for managers to reign in rebellious employees just enough to maintain a healthy equilibrium between hellion and star performer.  

The book reminds me of a quote from Iris Apfel’s book “Fit in before you Step Out”.

The “Pygmalion effect” in the book and the anecdotes in the book were quite interesting. What I would have liked to see more steps to cultivate this mindset, especially for employees who have been conforming for too long. This was a bit lacking in the book.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “What You Do is Who You Are” by Ben Horowitz. “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Peter Drucker. “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried and David Hansson. “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in a Multigenerational Workplace” by Lindsey Pollak.
  • Movies – Legally Blonde, Braveheart, Brave.
  • Genres – Organizational Culture, Workplace Behavior.

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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Welcome to Day 03 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Golden Classics”. Any book published before 1995.

I chose Robert Cialdini’s evergreen bestseller “Influence” for today’s prompt. This book was published in 1984 but the evergreen content still holds true after all these decades!

Bestselling authors like Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferris suggest that everyone should read at least 3-4 books written 50-100 years ago. These books have stood the test of time, so the wisdom remains immortal across generations! Some other perennial classics are listed in the end of this blogpost.

  • Title – Influence
  • SubTitle – The Psychology of Persuasion
  • Author – Robert B. Cialdini, PhD

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

The book outlines six main principles of persuasion that you can use to influence others and be aware, so others do not take undue advantage of you! Must read for anyone looking to accelerate their career or business, not just marketing professionals or sales folks! If you work in product design, social media marketing or want to boost your personal branding, then please pick up a copy today!

The principles listed in this book have a very sound foundation in science and decades of research. But the book is never dry or boring and uses compelling examples to explain the topics. This book was a recommended reading for my organizational behavior and strategy class during my MBA program.

As a female immigrant, I sometimes encounter subtle prejudices and unconscious bias. I have used the principles of this book to great success to counter these effects.

One example of the effectiveness and ageless insights of this book is the principle of social proof. This book was written before the internet ever existed, but today we rely so heavily on social media reviews on Amazon, Google testimonials, Yelp stars and other proof before making even a $20 purchase.

Even Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author of “I will Teach You to be Rich” and coach of Growth Labs also recommends this book as a must-read for anyone starting their business.

Similar Works

  • Books – “Alchemy” by Rory Sutherland, “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath.
  • Golden Classics – “Art of War” by Sun Tzu, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • TV Series – Mad Men
  • Genres – Applied Psychology, Social Psychology, Consumer Behavior, Marketing for Small Businesses.

Until next time, adieu and Happy Reading!

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Who is not impressed by a rocket scientist?
I certainly am, and I’ve also had the privilege to meet a couple retired ones in real life!

But I did not think there was any process to emulate their ability to think about solving problems with no known solutions. So the description of this book captivated me completely.

  • Title – Think Like a Rocket Scientist
  • Subtitle – Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life
  • Author – Ozan Varol

Review Score = 5/5 *****

Compared to bestselling author, Nassem Taleb’s book “Black Swan” is the unlikely event that disrupts industries and bankrupts businesses, like a pandemic or housing bust. This book is the answer to avoid getting hurt badly when such situations, and they will happen at some point or the other, no doubt about it.

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or mid level executive, this book will help you improve your critical thinking skills. You will emerge with new ways to innovate, see patterns and a fresh burst of creativity. The best way to describe it is as a crash course equivalent to an MBA business strategy class.

Nine brilliant thinking processes that you can use to boost your career.

Side note, the cover and title were so compelling, I only read the recommendations AFTER I put in my #NetGalley advance review request.

Did you know? This book comes recommended by:

a] bestselling authors like Adam Grant (Wharton professor and author of “Originals”) and Daniel Pink (“Drive”) ,
b] Tech titans I follow, like Satya Nadella and Bill Gates.

Honestly, did not think the request would be accepted, but being a Top Reviewer (see badge on right) seemed to help my case. So I figured I would get to the book ASAP, and also add a review.

In all fairness, my 5* review is 100% honest, and not at all swayed by the amazing other people who have praised this book. My review after all, is for regular readers like you and me, who read for entertainment or learning. Plus, I have read so many non-fiction books in the past that I can decipher (or so I like to believe!) when books are simply rehashing generic concepts or regurgitating content from a hundred other books.

In this book, I was looking for practical strategies to hone my critical thinking skills, and possibly ideas to accelerate my career. The book delivered everything that I expected and a little more! I got some wacky ideas for my website promotion, and early testing seems to show more positive response than I expected.

Brilliant book. 100% recommend to readers in all industries and stages of their career.

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