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What I Read 2018

27 February, 2019 - 4 min read

Today I will talk about the books I read in 2018. In the last year, I started reading more books since I finished my apprenticeship and I had a lot more time and hunger for knowledge. I had to stop for two months because of learning for university tests. Since these are done now I'm back reading and already started a new one, more about that at the end of the post. Without further ado the books I read in the last year.

Deep Work (Cal Newport)

Cal Newport is a CS professor at Georgetown University who describes the term „deep work“ and how to really work with focus. One of his tactics that really stuck in my mind was that he uses his mail out-of-office responder when he’s working in his office. Just to not get interrupted by „shallow work“ like getting lost in answering all those emails. He also states that society turns into a more knowledge-driven society. In the future, it will be way more valuable to quickly master hard things and produce at a really high level in terms of quality and speed. The most important thing is to get into „deep work“ by focusing for extended time periods on just one task without getting interrupted by meaningless activities.

Sprint (Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz)

A book about a sprint method developed at Google Ventures which is used to develop a product prototype from an idea in just a week and use the last day of the week ( Friday ) to test it with real potential customers. They also provide a couple of real-world sprints they did for example with Blue Bottle Coffee.

Peak (Anders Ericsson and Robert Paul)

The authors going deep into neuroscience which is a super interesting topic. They talk about if good athletes or musicians have „talent“ or just trained for a really long period of time to get to an elite level. Something that surprised me is that the ability for perfect pitch (Absolute pitch - Wikipedia) can be learned by almost anyone who starts with music at a young age. Ericsson and Pool describe how it is possible to get better at one’s craft even if it’s not about being the world best violin or chess player. Definitely worth the read even if it’s not the easiest to understand.

4 Hour Workweek (Tim Ferris)

Minimize the work you do and outsource as much as you can so you can enjoy the free time you created. It’s about defining your goals which you like to achieve when having more time and eliminate all distractions that keep you from reaching these goals. One of Ferris’ solution is to automate as much as you can with Virtual Assistants or automated tasks that run without you. He talks about getting rid of the typical 9 to 5 days and start enjoying the time as you like.

The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck (Mark Manson)

Interesting read, not a lot of new things inside but I really enjoyed reading it. Mark Manson did a great job of writing a guide for people to give less f*cks and care more about important things. He talks a lot about his own history and underlines his points with anecdotes from his own life. I asked myself how much the word f*ck would appear in this book. Well, a whole lot.

The End of Jobs (Taylor Pearson)

A book about entrepreneurship and doing the things you love to do. Pearson tries to encourage people to have a look at entrepreneurship since the number of jobs as we know them has reached its limits. You no longer need an office to get work done and create value for customers since technology and the internet makes it easier to do so than ever.

I enjoyed reading every book and learned a lot from them. My „would love to read“ list isn’t getting shorter and I’m really looking forward to reading as much as I can.

A couple books of that „would love to read“ list:

  • Company of One (Paul Jarvis)
  • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Phil Knight)
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Yuval Noah Harari)
  • Moonwalking with Einstein (Joshua Foer)

The new one I got is Make Time written by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky (JZ). A book about how to organize the day and not forgetting what you did a couple days ago. In the time when one has the feeling that the time just keeps flying this not a bad idea to start with.

See you next time,
Niklas