I know it’s a bit late, but here is the list of books I’ve read in 2021. If you’ve read some of them let me know what you thought of them. If you have any suggestions let me know via comment or a reply to my tweet.
I don’t know why I waited so long to read that book, but with the new Dune movie coming (now released) I had to read it first.
If you check my previous entry you can probably guess the kind of fiction I like and Dune hit that spot. It’s a bit long (800+ pages) and can drag at times, but the world building and characters are amazing.
We follow the journey of Paul Atreid, son of Duke Leto and Bene Gesserit Jessica, on the desert planet Arrakis. The planet where water is more precious than gold, home of giant sand worms and the only place where a substance knows has spice can be found. Spice is used to create drugs that enhance human capabilities, increasing their lifespan, power to read minds, enable faster than light space travel, etc.
If you love sci-fi this one is a must read. I loved Hebert world building and characters. I’ve read some reviews that said it was hard to follow, but I didn’t have a problem with that.
This book could save your life
I’ve started this book at the end of 2020, and it took me a while to finish. The author Graham Lawton goes through each facet of health and analyzes the scientific study done on each topic.
Is Exercise good for you (yes), can it make you lose weight (depends, but fixing your diet is better). Is avocado a superfood? No more than other vegetables. He lays down claims then attacks them with scientific study after study and lays down the benefits and cons of each statement. If you care about your health, you should definitely give it a read. However, I felt the book was a bit cumbersome to read at times. He sometimes really goes deep in the data to explain a point and I found this a bit boring to read.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
I love astronomy even though I don’t have a working telescope. If you’re curious about anything happening in astrophysics, from the big gang, to exoplanets and dark matter. This book is a great read to put you up to speed. If you read astronomy and space blogs every day you probably know much of what is in it.
I think it’s a great book to give or lend to friends or family who may not be passionate about the subject, but are curious about it.
Note: I’ve read the French translation ”L’univers expliqué aux gens pressés” so I can give it the friends and family that don’t read much in English.
I really liked the “Power Of Habit” by Charles Duhigg so when my wife gave me that book for Christmas I was pretty stoked.
After reading it here my two cents, half the book is a refresher of the power of habit by Charles Duhigg. What makes it interesting is that it feels less academic than Duhigg’s book.
The basics are there like: how habits are formed, how to use this knowledge to stop bad habits and form new good one, use cues of things you like to do, etc.
If you don’t read much on the subject, I think it’s a good read. However, if you read a lot of self-help you might find there is not much new in it.
Unleash the Ideavirus
I was listening to one of Seth Godin interviews and the interviewer mentioned that book which Godin published in 2001 just before the dot com crash.
There is a free pdf which you can find online. Since it’s from 2001 many of the examples in the book feel very outdated for anyone reading it now.
Many concepts in the book are still valuable today and it does show that Godin was ahead of the times and on trend even way back when. Some of the ideas here are still applicable in terms of working with “sneezers” – which we now call “influencers“.
The book explains how to turn a good business idea into an infectious “ideavirus” that spreads like wildfire.
Early adopters, customers and key influencers, which he called “sneezers”, spread an ideavirus far more effectively than traditional, interruption-based marketing methods.
If you only want to read one book on marketing, check “This is marketing” instead it’s more in depth and more recent. However, if you’re looking for a free book with outdated examples, but timeless advice perhaps you can give Unleash the Ideavirus a chance.
Another Seth Godin book. It inspired me to write a bunch of articles for this blog in the mid 2021, so it did inspire me.
Here some of the key points:
You have a unique contribution to make – work that only you can do, work that matters for people who need you. Not everyone though, you don’t want to dumb it down to the masses, making it generic and average. You need to find who you seek to serve and do work that makes an impact for them. Change, by definition, means doing something that has never been done before, so it’s not guaranteed to work. Doesn’t matter; do it anyway – take the leap and embrace the practice, not the outcome.
The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output because the practice is all we can control.
There are some parts about making a habit that made me think of the book the atomic habit, like finding your streak and maintaining it (Like Seinfield steak). Other parts of the book discuss the resistance and ‘suffering from a writer’s block’ reminds me of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
Note that it sometimes feels more of a collection of insight than a book focusing on one point. It could be read in a daily format, reading a passage a day instead of trying to read the whole book in one sitting.
If you’re doing anything remotely creative, you should give that book a chance. If you find just a passage that hits you, it will be worth your time.
Le livre perdu de Léonard De Vinci
This is a fiction book I’ve read in French (translated from Italian) that follows Leonardo Da Vinci from his time in Milan to when he is back in Florence.
I bought it for my parents thinking it was another Da Vinci code, but it’s nothing like that.
It’s about inquisition by Leonardo and his Dominican friend, the famous mathematician Luca Pocioli, to find a rare and invaluable byzantine book stolen following a mysterious murder. They need to decrypt a code to access it (using math).
I like it, it is short and love how the other brought the setting and time period to life. Showing the struggle between the Italian city state and the french king making is moved in the background of the main story.
This is marketing
I’m not a marketing guy, but I was curious about it and since I follow Seth’s work and already read two of his books this year.
This is not a book about tactics, it won’t tell you should have a newsletter, or write a blog post every days, or that Instagram ads work better than FB.
It’s more about how you should think about marketing in a broader term. Who are you trying to serve, where are they hanging out and serve them for the better.
This book seems to be more about the fundamentals that will help you see the assumptions that are behind the techniques.
Here a TL;DR for you:
The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone. It will lead to compromises and generalizations. Begin instead with the smallest viable market. What’s the minimum number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort.
If you’ve read some of them let me know what you thought of them. If you have any suggestions let me know via comment or a reply to my tweet.