This is a selection of rousing works that effectively guide, push, and punch me into the direction of professional growth. Because I find most publications on business and management to be nauseating, it centres around meta-skills.
Reading attentively is tough work. Books seldomly deserve their hundreds of pages. My hope is that these companions will save some of your precious time sifting through inane material and support you as they continue to support me.
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.
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.
Letters from a Stoic, next to the great essays On the Shortness of Life and On the Happy Life, all by Seneca, is a collection of letters by the Roman moral philosopher and bedrock of stoicism that attached itself to me as a reference book. Its teachings are as simple as they are preposterous; do not carelessly sacrifice the present for the future. A body of work to be read in perpetuity.
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.
Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss, was hailed by an icon of mine in the product world as, to paraphrase, the most useful business book ever to have been written. I must concur. What it invites you to understand are the underpinnings of empathetic, effective communication; to pave the way for a negotiation to be able to conclude favourably."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Skin in the Game, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, has been brought to my attention by a good friend. As a work, it's hated by many due to the author's outright refusal to be polite. At the same time, it's filled with both highly practical advice and wisdom impossible to ignore for anyone aspiring to be more than, to paraphrase Taleb, an academic philistine.
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 can't find it translated into English language, which is not uncommon for Rilke's work.
Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy of Morals, by Friedrich Nietzsche, 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.
Lex Fridman’s podcast of the same name is a collection of long-form interviews centred around the insights gained by some of the most interesting contemporary thinkers. The aesthetic is sober, with a strong focus on science and technology.
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 Oxman’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.
Waking Up, the meditation tool named after Sam Harris’ homonymous book and podcast, is the only app of this genre I find tasteful. They recently released a feature, “Moments”, which really does helps me find a window of clarity on even the busiest of days.
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.
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.
Poolsuite.net, previously Poolside.fm, is the place to tune into when you need a mental break at work but can’t really go anywhere.
Untools, by product designer Adam Amran, is a greatly useful collection of thinking frameworks that will provide aid in all manners of decision-making.
Start-up advisor Shreyas Doshi’s twitter threads, quirky as the format is, prove immensely insightful when it comes to gathering cues from someone on the cutting edge of the product development community.