System Thinking

This is a fantastic introduction to systems thinking, combining the distilled wisdom of 30 years of teaching carried out by many creative people in MIT and beyond. It provides a whole new perspective on how to think in an increasingly complex world.

Taleb’s concept of Antifragile talks about accepting the inevitable unpredictability of life and turning its randomness to our advantage. This goes beyond the concept of being robust. Highly recommended!

This book can change completely your perspective on leadership. When faced with complexity and constant change at work, what do the best leaders and teams do?  They say “yes” to the “mess” like a jazz band.

This book explores the counterintuitive notion that diverse crowds of non-experts can make better decisions than a small group of “experts” and when we should trust the collective wisdom of a large population of people.

Leadership and Collaboration

Are you ready to let go of control, discard all conventional wisdom and trust people closer to the action make the decisions? That’s what General McChrystal did in Iraq when the US forces faced a decentralised, fast, unpredictable and agile enemy. 

 What if you could turn everyone in your business into a leader? David Marquet shares his personal experience on how he took over an underperforming sub-marine with a disengaged crew and turned it all around by pushing for leadership at every level.

If your job involves negotiations, then this is probably the best guide on how to accept and use your emotions to reach to an agreement, instead of allowing your emotions to take over.

 Humans when they come together naturally form tribes and as such businesses comprise of many different tribes. This influences how we act and interact with others, and how effective our teams and organisations are. 

Understanding Yourself and Others

We are so used in advising others what to do that we forget that the true art of leading lies in asking more questions. Really good read that will help you understand how to engage others and build empathetic relationships. 

Fantastic insights on how to ask the right questions and have more impact as a manager and leader. It all boils down to 7 essential coaching questions. This is very easy to read and can be applied straight away.

Most people speak English, but this shouldn’t make us fall into cultural traps. There are significant cultural differences between people from different countries and this book is a great guide to the most common differences.

If you think you cannot understand people around you, then this is the right book to read. Based on 4 personality types, the author explains on how to understand yourself and others better and influence them effectively.

The mind and how it works

This book is about daring to be original and go against conventional thinking and conformity, even if it makes you unpopular. The author uses many interesting real-life examples and case studies to present his insights.

Incredible insights by the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Although not the easiest book to read, it is really worth the time. The author’s focus is on how our minds operate, our limitations and how we reach to wrong decisions.

Gary Klein analyses how professionals make complex and intuitive decisions in real-world environments (naturalistic decision making). The author uses examples of firefighters, pilots, chess players and others to drive his analysis.

Success is no longer just about talent, or knowledge or skill. It is also about freeing ourselves and harnessing cognitive diversity. It is about having intelligent teams of rebels rather than teams of clones. It is about avoiding echo chambers and having constructive dissent. 

Philosophy, Culture and History

Through Mandela’s eyes, the reader takes a long journey through decades of turbulent South-African history. This is an extremely inspirational book about love, forgiveness, hope, peace and togetherness. Definitely my most favourite book.

Cuban’s music has influenced the popular music of the 20th century like no other. This is the most detailed and well-researched account of Cuban’s music history, covering almost 500 years of  culture, politics and history. 

One of the most influential books in the history of philosophy. Written in the form of dialogues and  allegories, this is a must-read classic.

This extremely well-written book is a deeper look into what makes us human and how we evolved since ancient times. The author provides some incredible insights on how human history has shaped our modern lives, who we are as species and where we may be heading to.

Biographies

This is the book that catapulted Anthony Bourdain to fame. He wrote it while working full time in restaurants in New York. His raw realism and honest account of what is going on inside professional kitchens created a lot of stir at the time. The chapter of his first experience travelling to Japan is just awesome.

Phil Jackson is the most successful basketball coach of all time with 11 NBA Championships as a coach and 2 as a player. He has coached the biggest superstars and most successful teams of all-time but success didn’t come easy and the pressure to perform and deliver results was relentless.

Chris Hadfield is one of the world’s most seasoned and accomplished astronauts and the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space. Here he is sharing some inspirational life lessons he learned while preparing for becoming an astronaut and then spending months in space.

There is not much introduction required. Elon Musk is one of the most interesting people of our times, who has managed to shape single-handedly the  automotive, energy and aerospace industries, and has made us dream of interplanetary travel!

Various

This book continues from where Antifragile has left off, taking the authors arguments’ to their natural conclusion. This is a book for risk takers and not people who just talk but never feel the impact of their actions. Taleb is one of the greatest thinkers of our time and every one of his book provides great food for thought.

Fantastic read on teamwork and high-performance with lots of insights, great examples from different fields and practical actions. The author, through academic research and analysis, has identified some key secrets of successful groups that seem to be universal irrespective of the field

Are we overestimating our ability to remember things? The volume and complexity of knowledge has exceeded our ability to consistently deliver it – correctly, safely or efficiently. Gawande explains a simple idea that has revolutionised hospitals and has saved thousands of lives. 

As it says on the cover, this is a playbook for innovators, rule breakers and changemakers. It is very easy to read, and provides many tools and techniques, along with advice on how to design your own tools and games, and help your team collaborate, innovate and be creative.

Self-Help

This is one of the best-selling books of all time and one of the first ever self-help books. Although the book is based purely on the author’s empirical knowledge, his advice is surprisingly effective. A must-read!

Although almost 85 years old, this is an absolute classic and worth a read. The advice in this book remains as relevant and effective as ever, and provides great ideas on how to find success in life. 

If you are looking for an introductory book to Stoic philosophy this is it. The author provides small segments of wisdom for every day of the year, making the book a great companion and source of inspiration. 

This is a really nice read, and a real eye-opener on what matters in our life and career. The author provides 52 rules of thumb for better living, that is collected from different philosophies and other authors. Overall, a good read.