The year is coming to a close. What a journey it was. It’s a nice time to reflect and celebrate the achievements of the year before turning an eye to the continuing journey. I believe as often as you strive towards a better future, you should always look back and see how far you’ve come. And celebrate the good.
Upon reflecting, I realised that I read more books this year than I have before. I wanted to share with you some books that had a pretty huge impact on me. Here’s an overview of six that were pretty significant. This list is in no particular order.
1. The Philosopher and the Wolf – Mark Rowlands
This book is incredible. It changed me for the better, and I was really sad when it finished. If I had to summarise it into a sentence or two I would say;
‘When it comes to understanding true wisdom, sapiens are not the best subjects to study. We may be better off turning our attention to creatures who don’t walk on two legs.’
The Philosopher and The Wolf is also an incredible, touching story of friendship. A friendship that cannot be achieved Sapien to Sapien.
2. All Marketers are Liars – Seth Godin
This book demonstrates the importance and power of good, compelling and authentic storytelling in business. It breaks down marketing principles until it’s plain that all marketing consists only of storytelling. This book reminded me of what I love about Narrative therapy theory. Which is, storytelling is so crucial to us humans. We tell ourselves and others stories all the time. I am telling you one now. Storytelling is universal to the human condition. All Marketers are Liars is not just for marketers or entrepreneurs because of the knowledge Seth imparts on storytelling is beneficial to everyone.
3. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
Speaking of storytelling, this book outlines what was the biggest factor that contributed to Sapiens becoming the most dominant species on the planet. Spoiler alert: it was (and still is) our incredible ability to believe and share common stories that became the glue for large scale collaboration as a species and our rise to dominance. Yuval’s ability to weave historical events and concepts of storytelling into an amazing narrative enhances even further what made this book so capturing to read. Sapiens took me a while to read because I, on regular occasions, needed to put the book down and ponder in utter awe and amazement.
4. Eat Real Food – David Gillespie
From the guy that was the brains behind ‘That Sugar Film’, eat real food is an eye-opening read on foods that have become so readily available (and somewhat hard to avoid) and glorified by the health food media but are actually horrible for your body in many ways. Don’t read this one over lunch.
5. The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
The lessons in this book are numerous. I’ll start by saying that Ryan has an amazing skill of telling a good, well-researched narrative, no matter what subject he is writing on. I heard somewhere that the brain learns best with metaphors. Ryan does this so well, and instead of presenting a concept, will unfold the concept carefully through a narrative of a historical figure demonstrating the concept. It’s genius. The Obstacle is the Way taught me the opportunities that exist in challenges. For example, if one avoids discomfort and seeks comfort when they can, their tolerance for discomfort decreases. When they are faced with (even minor) discomfort they can’t avoid, they feel the impact of it worse than if they were to stop avoiding discomfort. When one accepts discomfort (not seeking it out, but not avoiding it either) one’s tolerance for discomfort rises, so that they are comfortable in situations that cause discomfort to the one who avoids it, and therefore are more comfortable more often than the person seeking comfort.
6. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and Jack Trout
As a musician, I know that if I want to have a successful and long career, I need to think like an entrepreneur. Marketing is a big part of any successful business. This book is a great handbook for learning some fundamental rules. I had many lightbulb moments when I was reading it. These rules parallel with music marketing. Especially when you consider product development being a crucial step in marketing. If you want my deeper thoughts on this topic you will have to email me or leave a comment.
Honourable mention to a few more:
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
Like a Virgin – Richard Branson
Tribes – Seth Godin
Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday
Masters of Command – Barry Strauss
How to Make it in the New Music Business – Ari Herstand.
So that’s an overview of 6 (of the many) books I read this year that were pretty amazing. The comprehensive list is bigger, and if you liked this please feel free to send some feedback.