Reading List: 2014

January:

Philosophy For Life: And Other Dangerous Situations – Jules Evans

READ: 02-01-2014 | RATING: 10/10

Review coming

101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising – Bob Hoffman

READ: 03-01-2014 | RATING: 8/10

A collection of the best blog articles from The Ad Contrarian. Funny, insightful and candid about the current state of advertising and all the hype and false song that surrounds digital. Practical commentary on what it takes to thrive in the industry (specificity, attaching oneself to great products and agencies, adoption of humility and modesty) and warnings about what not to take at face value (data and claims).

How to Stay Sane – Philippa Perry

READ: 06-01-2014 | RATING: 7/10

Review coming 

Entrepreneur Revolution – Daniel Priestely

READ: 10-01-2014 | RATING: 3/10

Review coming

Anything You Want – Derek Sivers

READ: 14-01-2014 | RATING: 10/10

A fantastic and brief read spanning business ethics, life principles and what it takes to create something life-changing and miraculous. Derek Sivers is a great storyteller, even greater proponent of entrepreneurialism. Anything You Want documents the rise of web company CD Baby, which helped thousands of independent musicians distribute their music around the world before eventually being sold for $22 million several years later. A thoroughly recommended read for any artists struggling to make a difference.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

READ: 20-01-2014 | RATING: 9/10

Extremely interesting book that condenses most of Cal Newport’s theories and discussion points from his blog Study Hacks. Confronts “courage culture”, the seeming increase of publications (both on and offline) urging people to find their passions and live freely. Questions whether this route actually leads to job fulfilment and pride in what you do. Newport’s main thesis is that people should instead simply focus on being the best they can be within fields they see value in. And practice deliberately to eventually leverage a job for the autonomy that makes an average job great.

February:

Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holiday

READ: 12-02-2014 | RATING: 8/10

A brief, yet informative, look into the era of ‘growth hacking’, a modern way of marketing that concerns iterative development and feedback loops designed to pave the way for the the ultimate product or service. A nice primer on how companies like AirBnB, DropBox, Amazon and other leading tech companies have allowed for exponential growth and adoption via clever techniques that fall under the remit of the ‘growth hacker’. Also extends to more traditional businesses in the argument that marketing is dead and that new marketers need to develop a new toolkit of skills and ideas in order to get their product noticed.

April:

The Good Life: What Makes Life Worth Living? – Hugh Mackay

READ: 14-04-2014 | RATING: 10/10

A profound and moving read that charts philosophical and spiritual contemplation on the matter of what it really means to live a good life.  Found myself agreeing with the main premise that a life best spent is one in service of others. Radical in places, especially considering Mackay’s theories surrounding the Utopia Compex and his lambasting of the rigidity of the atheistic viewpoint, this book really forces you to think deeper about the life you’re living.

The Leap Year Project – Victor Saad 

READ: 15-04-2014 | RATING: 7/10

I first found out about Victor Saad and his experiments in experiential learning thanks to a feature on Inc.com. The Leap Year Project, a book that chronicles both his and the hundreds of other ‘leapers’ that joined him a journey of self-discovery and giving back, was successful funded due to a Kickstarter Campaign. The book touches on what it means to bring value, how you can make a difference amid overwhelm and how we are all empowered enough to invest in ourselves and our education. Victor created his own 12-month education project as an alternative to an MBA. How he did it and what he did as a result is quite inspirational.