The reading challenge in 2016

It's that time of the year, folks! As we usher into the (hopefully) better 2017, many of us (myself included) start making lists and plans. I did learn he heard way how to make realistic plans and make them happen. I'm still improving, but I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved.

There is definitely one plan I'm going to great lengths to keep it: reading as much as possible. I've set an ambitious goal for the year, to read 50 books. I didn't achieve this goal, but I'm not too unhappy. There is a trick: in a certain way, I've achieved this goal. This year I had to finish my Ph.D. paper so there was plenty of reading involved, but I didn't want to include much of it in the list below. 

If you are looking for inspiration for what to read in the next free days or set your reading list for 2017, find below the list of books I've read with some personal comments. Some of them are re-reads, as I was looking for some particular job inspiration. I didn't make notes for all, so feel free to ask me any questions in a comment. 

Most of the books I've read in 2016. The rests are eBooks or audio books

Oliver Sacks - On the move, Awakenings
Oliver Sacks is one of my favorite authors in the world. I've discovered first his New York Times articles and then the books. This year I've read his biography (On the move) and Awakenings. A little bit of background for Oliver Sacks - he was a world-renowned neurologist, an amazing author, a motorcycle enthusiast, weightlifter. This biography depicts his adult life: research, travel, writing, personal life, family background. I recommend you to read first Uncle Tungsten, a truly revealing writing depicting his childhood, his childhood battles, and science. 

"Awakenings" is the book that inspired the eponymous movie. It tackles the period when Oliver Sacks joined the Bronx Home for Incurables (currently Bronx's Beth Abraham hospital) and made research about the patients who were infected with the sleep-sickness after WWI (known as encephalitis lethargica virus). The persons who contracted this virus have been able to lead a normal life for years, before manifesting symptoms similar to the Parkinson disease.

Alain de Botton - Essays in love 

Another favorite author. I've been reading all the books I've found written by him, a long list is waiting, though. I enjoyed this writing from the first phrase: The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. The book, the first Alain de Botton wrote, is a part fiction and part philosophical reflection on falling in love. A man falls in love with a lady he met on a flight. From this encounter, the reader can follow the narrator's feelings, inner traits, entering the relationship, and the sequence of events that follows.

Another quote I've enjoyed: We are all more intelligent than we are capable and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.

As marketer, I truly value Seth Godin's books and articles. We Are All Weird is a first read, but All marketers are liars is a re-read. The first is a manifesto that touted the future of business and marketing as catering to the “weird". It depicts the people who live and thrive outside of the norm, outside of the masses. The second is more of blog-ish written book. I do remember I made plenty of noted when I've read it the first time, but now I've only taken some inspiration for my work. (if you are a young communicator/marketer this should be on your reading list)

One quote from We are all weird: Amplified creation, marketing efficiency and the support of tribes, then, are pushing toward one outcome: we’re getting weirder. Mass is withering. The only things pushing against this trend are the factory mindset and the cultural bias toward compliance.

Viktor - Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier - Big Data - A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

A re-read (also part of my Ph.D. reading lists). Definitely a must-read for every person working in the digital, marketing, tech and not only. 

This one is right on my all time favorite reads. I've admired profoundly Jaqueline's Novogratz work during my years of working in the non-governmental sector. This book, part autobiography, part real-life example of how to have an impact in the international community, is an inspiration for me. Definitely a thought-provoking reading and a must-read for everyone in the nonprofit world (and not only).

This was both part of my Ph.D. reading list and my work reading list. I've found plenty of inspiration for improving my vision and skills in what concerns the small bites of information I can pay attention. The book is part anthropological look of the author, part examples of improving business. For those looking for a more scientific/textbook approach, they will find more of an observation book. Lindstrom is on the road for 300 days/year and is terrific at discovering and unveiling the tiniest details that will make a difference in the end.

David Allen - Making it all work 

Anthony Bourdain - Kitchen confidential 

David Rothkopf - Superclass 

Elizabeth Gilbert - The signature of all things 

Not going on my recommendation list. It's an interesting book, but sometimes a bit too long and losing your attention. 

This is a re-read. I've prepared a seminar for my Leadership students including work of Gladwell. I've read all his books so far, and I would definitely recommend them for Aha moments, creativity boost and lateral thinking improvements.

Michael Paterniti - The telling room 

What did you read in 2016 and made to your favorite books/authors list? Share with me in the comments.


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