This is a selection of luminous works that perpetually guide, push, and punch me into the direction of professional growth. Because I find most publications on business and management to be nauseating, the focus is on meta-level skills.
Reading, attentively, is tough, and books seldomly deserve their hundreds of pages. My hope is that these gems will save some of your precious time sifting through material and support you as they support me.
Die Verwandlung der Welt ins Herrliche, by Rainer Maria Rilke, is an essay that has been monumental to me. It's an almost cathartic introspection of the poet on the nature of work itself and the deep satisfaction that can only be born out of it. Unfortunately, I cannot find it translated into English language, which is not uncommon when it comes to Rilke's complex body of work.
Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy of Morals, by Friedrich Niezsche, urges you to think critically and fearlessly. It is a wild piece of text unafraid to challenge any divine values there may be in the process of establishing the foundations of futuristic moral landscapes rooted strictly within an individual's reality; one's own will to live.
On the Shortness of Life, by Seneca, is only one of many letter-formed essays by the Roman stoic that attached themselves to me. Its demands are as simple as they are preposterous in the 21st century; do not carelessly sacrifice the present for the gamble of a better future. I find that adopting some of stoicism's mantras is an effective way to remain grounded in business.
12 Rules for Life, by Jordan B. Peterson, aims to fortify your stance opposing the complexities of everyday in its unfolding. Interweaving psychology, philosophy, evolutionary biology, and theology, the author grounds his claims with an impressive body of knowledge and real-world experience while making the wellbeing of others a firm priority.
Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, by Erik Spiekermann, taught me how to become aware of what surrounds us at virtually all times, shaping how we perceive products and spaces; typography. Through the use of great real-world examples, it also acts as a primer for typesetting and grid-based layouting best practices, which come in handy in all disciplines of design.
Damn Good Advice, by George Lois, is a book splitting crowds, largely due to what is perceived as overt boasting. It's also (visually) striking in every way, communicating as clearly as possible. It's what I envision the spirit of advertising to be, and I commend the author for being able to put it into physical form.
Manage Your Day-to-Day, by the 99U initiative, helps creatives build more sustainable lives. As anyone who's ever attempted to create something will attest, coming up with great ideas is not necessarily difficult. Executing on them, however, is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. Pragmatic and beautifully typeset, this book draws on the insights of masters to support you on your journey.
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, manages to give distinct shape to everyone's primary antagonist. As a book on the virtues of perseverance and professionalism in its realest sense, its author calls into present tense everything you may not ignore about the rigorous, prayer-laden process of marching towards self-actualization.
The Laws of Human Nature, by Robert Greene, pries open your eyes so as to better see what drives people. Its laws give you a deeper look into the narcissism inherent to all minds, underlined by historic examples driving home the principles' severity. The author considers it his magnum opus, encapsulating many essential lessons purported in his previous works, and I mostly agree.
German Philosophers, by Roger Scruton, Peter Singer, Christopher Janaway, and Michael Tanner, elegantly introduces you to Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche's marvelous feats of reasoning without leading you down an unintelligible, academic rabbit hole of tiresome hypotheticals; something particularly the former two are very good at.
Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, aims at only one thing; to humble you. Borrowing stylistically from his mentor, Robert Greene, the author argues against the temptations of ego, on account of many historic figures, in an attempt to dispel illusions around it. A beacon in today's meritocratic society.
Inspired, by Marty Cagan, was recommended to me by my mentor, and I've since adopted it as a religious text for the practice of product management. With a no-nonsense attitude, the author gives you a detailed account of golden standards, along with the industry's best practices for moving product organizations and thought into a direction that keeps both innovation and execution in sight.
Patrick Winston’s lecture on speaking is something very fundamental I wish I had heard in school.
Peter Attia’s body of research and podcast, The Drive, focuses on physical health, longevity, and performance. He is my most trusted source on these subjects.
Neri Oxmans’s presentation on bio-inspired design, very convincingly, heralds the use of organical, grown design components as the fourth industrial revolution.
Ash Thorp’s podcast, The Collective, brings to you endlessly inspiring encounters with today’s giants of the arts and entertainment industry.
Tristan Harris’ ethical movement, Time Well Spent, brings attention to the unprecedented power technologists and designers have today, as well as strategies for wielding it in a humane way.
The Gapminder Foundation, conceived by Hans rosling, provides a positive outlook on global matters based on data, something that often comes as a surprise in light of political climates.
Poolside.fm is the place to be when you need a break but can’t go anywhere.