For avid-readers and non-readers alike, here are some book recommendations based on what I read in 2018.

To avoid overloading you with numerous recommendations, I’ve whittled down the 70+ books I read in 2018 to the three most important ones (the ones that had the greatest impact on me). At the bottom of this piece, you’ll find some honourable mentions; great books that I enjoyed and you might too. Over the last few years, I’ve read an average of 75 books per year including some re-reads and tend to read almost exclusively nonfiction. 2018 was no different. To clarify, these are the books I read and not books that were released in 2018.

Here are the three most important books I read last year:

Utopia For Realists by Rutger Bregman

For some time now I have been interested in how business and art can have a social impact and have tried to learn more about how I can play a part. Utopia For Realists takes a wider-view and discusses how government policies could reduce income inequality and other issues we face. Ideas that are discussed relatively frequently such as Universal Basic Income and a shorter working week are explored, backed with studies to demonstrate their viability and effectiveness. Some of the ideas are radical but I believe this book can spark some ideas on how we can make things better.

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

This is not the book I thought it would be. It was 99p on Kindle one day and I bought it on a whim. I was mostly expecting a self-help style book focussed on not worrying to much about what other people think of you; it turned out to be so much more.

The Courage To Be Disliked explores the theories of Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Freud, in a discussion between two characters, a youth and a philosopher. It takes a bit of getting in to (the ‘youth’ character is fairly annoying) but is absolutely worth the investment. It shifted my thinking in terms of how past events don’t automatically determine your present. Adler also argues that “all problems are interpersonal relationship problems”, an idea that takes a bit of wrestling with but when you read the book, it begins to make some sense.

Side note: After reading more about Alfred Adler there are ideas and theories of his that I fully reject but these take nothing away from this book.

Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff

In 2018 I went on a bit of a Silicon Valley startups book binge (I read books about Twitter, Snapchat, Uber and Apple among others) but this book is not really about Google. The book is about Rushkoff’s views on the digital economy.

Some takeaways:

Growth for growths sake is detrimental to people, companies, the environment and the economy as a whole.

Power and capital is being diverted to a select few (for more on this read The Four by Scott Galloway)

The most frequent criticism I’ve seen about this book is that it is not supported by economic theory (I can’t comment on this having little to no knowledge of economics myself) but the ideas remain interesting. It’s a good read that will definitely get you thinking about the large digital corporations of today and alternatives for the future.

Honourable Mentions

The Four by Scott Galloway

Six Billion Shoppers by Porter Erisman

Losing The Signal by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff

The Trigger by Tim Butcher

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss