Man Alone With Himself by Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings are like pots of valuable insights about the human condition. In this series of aphormisms he delves into subjects such as art, arrogance, boredom and passion. As with most philosophy books though, you’d probably not understand a sizeable chunk of what he says — But the ones that you do understand, they stay with you and they could change how you think of the world. One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “Calm in action. As a waterfall becomes slower and more floating as it plunges, so the great man of action will act with greater calm than could be expected from his violent desire before the deed.”
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
If I were to recommend you to read one personal finance book for your entire life, it would probably be this one. Personal finance is a hell of an important subject for you to learn, whether you like it or not — Because life is a lot about finances, yes. And if you don’t already, someday you’ll have to manage your own money — And your money-managing system could easily send you down the gutter or lead you towards a prosperous life. Personal finance, or money, is an easy topic to complicate — Because there are a lot of expert advice and traditional advice floating around in the stratosphere. But this book tells you pretty much everything you need to know in a direct way. Not only that, it also teaches you that being rich isn’t about being able to recklessly spend your money. Rather, being rich is about spending money on things you do love and ruthlessly cutting back or eliminating things you don’t give much of a damn about — You’ll learn about automating your finances, what to invest in, negotiating a raise, and other important systems you can practice.
Indistractable by Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal’s previous book, “Hooked” is easily one of the best marketing books I’ve ever read — It’s a book that studies the triggers that impel us to do certain behaviors, for instance, checking up your social media feed every few minutes — And how you can implement this force for good ends in making your own products. “Indistractable” is about how you can disconnect from all of that and in turn, live a much more present and richer life as you learn to become more in control of what you give your attention to. This is more serious than it sounds, because as technology advances, it becomes harder for us human beings to pay genuine attention to our work or to simply be alone with our thoughts. If we don’t learn how to control our attention, it will badly affect the quality of our work and our relationships.
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
I’ve always been attracted to Elon Musk’s personality — For me, there’s something really inspirational about someone who is relentlessly optimistic, who not only dreams like a child, but manages to turn those dreams into concrete reality. One of the most important things I learned from reading this book is that to make a huge impact on the world, you need to really believe that humanity has a bright future, and without a doubt, you need to be willing to fight for that. Learning about Elon’s background and how it shaped his character is a valuable bonus too.
Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern
Reading this book, I felt that it is most of all, a cautionary tale that warns against ego and hubris. It was daring for Napoleon to dream of walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, of invading Egypt and building a new civilization. It wasn’t wrong for him to dream. It was wrong for him to not anticipate what might go wrong — And plenty of things went wrong. Lacking a definite plan, Napoleon failed to study the culture of the Egyptians, and how unwelcoming the French presence would be. In a modern light, it reminded me of how Starbucks closed more than two-thirds of their stores in Australia — And it all goes back to them not conducting a proper market study. They learned the hard way that Australia already has a strong coffee culture, and that it didn’t need Starbucks to be in their long list of cafe options.