Today is December 28th 2021, another year has just whizzed by, a time to introspect. I have fond memories, of resilience, the world re-opened and we slowly gathered whatever crumbling’s COVID spared us. I tinkered, lost some, gained some. I had a target to read and I almost, almost made it to 30 books; here is a summary of just 10 of them.
New power – Henry Timms & Jeremy Heimans
Technology has led to unprecedented velocity and reach and in all these melees is the confusion to find identity, participate and win. This book is about a form of power that works like a current; made by many, peer driven, open and participatory. It is most forceful when it surges and the goal is to channel it; New power. The authors draw from everyday examples to provide tools on how to understand and navigate the new world.
Knock out entrepreneur – George Foreman
Building a successful career from scratch takes courage but it is also tremendously exciting. George came from retirement to win the world’s heavy weight boxing championship, he also with no formal business training went on to build a billion-dollar enterprise. George uses his own example to guide the reader on spawning ingenuity and building something remarkable. This book is practical, no lab theories, no philosophies, just everyday stuff that gets you ahead!
4th industrial revolution – Evelyn Ngatia
Technology is shaping everything around us, there is so much of it that trying to keep up with all the change just leaves one thoroughly exasperated. Evelyn changes all of that, she does the heavy lifting so that you don’t have to; bucketing the technologies into various groups and going the length to explain what each entail and further offering everyday use that the technology can be put into and all of this done in everyday language – sorry no geeks here!
The Laundromat – Jake Bernstein
This year we had the infamous Pandora papers leak, it was a big haul but miniscule in comparison with the Panama papers. Jake goes behind the scenes on the organisational juggernaut that was mounted to bring Panama papers to life; a fishing expedition like no other. The limelight focuses on the key actor; the global reaching firm of Mossack Fonesca, the notoriety, greed and manipulation that goes into aiding illicit money flows. The book also focuses on the ineffectual and marginalised risk management practises at the firm – no crime is perfect! This is a thriller!
Power of moments – Chip and Dan Heath
Some moments are vastly more meaningful than others – what if we knew exactly how create and deploy such scenarios for our benefit? This is a book about the attributes that make one moment stand out against others and how to create more of them. You will trip on many insights including one that everyone in service industries should know of – clients will forgive you on many underwhelming aspects as long as there is one magical moment in the service delivery.
Wizard of the crow – Ngugi wa Thiongó
This is a satirical piece from the master story teller; you will laugh your brains out, then you will realise you are laughing at yourself…it pains (in common parlance – inauma). Brilliantly crafted, Ngugi goes the length to demonstrate his spite for injustices using fictional characters from a fictional African state. Important lesson; power is transient, life is fickle.
The branded mind – Erik du Plessis
Successful brands create lasting emotional tags in people’s minds; the anticipation of pleasure derived from the brand and not just from a functional reward but also from emotional and social benefits. Erik takes the reader though the neuroscience that holds the puzzle between the brain and the brand but that’s not just all, you also get to enjoy a philosophical theatre clash of ideas between the philosophies of Descartes and those of Damasio. This book is deep, a slow read, bring a pen and a notebook.
The bomber mafia – Malcom Gladwell
General Pershing, a decorated WW1 strategist once said “Air power cannot on itself win any war, not now not in the future’ He was wrong. A group of the enthusiast airmen, the pioneers of the air force were determined to change that; they had a dream to get dangerously behind enemy lines and win a war with no boots on the ground, fight a better war; an oxymoron. This is a book about two military men Haywood Hansell and his antithesis Curtis LeMay and how their beliefs and strategies changed the WW2 and continues to influence game planning to this day. Malcom has delivered the book in his usual style, taking you on a journey where you trip on insights, deeply researched.
Man’s search for meaning – Victor Frankl
Everywhere, man is confronted with fate, it is a chance to achieve something through his own suffering. This is a book about survival and the author’s source of strength during the WW2 Nazi extermination. Frankl teaches logotherapy; the belief that everything can be taken from a man but for one thing: the last of the human freedom; to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. He concludes by quoting Nietzsche “he who has a why (purpose) to live for can bear almost any how”
Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
A collection of short fictional stories the central of which is about a travelling salesman who wakes up one day to find himself converted to a giant cockroach and his struggles thereafter. Kafka delivers riveting dark humour depicting the absurdities of everyday living. Someone once said “don’t take it too seriously” maybe they were right, who knows?
King Power – Richard 3
This is a humorous recollection of Leicester’s football club championship campaign in the 2015/16 season. The bookers had assigned them a probability of 1/5000 to clinch the title, veritable underdogs! This is a story of how those written off as failures can if they have grit to ride their gumption storm into the vanguard.
Thank you all, wishing you a prosperous 2022!