Books

This is a collection of books which have influenced how I think about design, technology, business, and life in general. They are in no particular order.

Extreme Ownership

Leif and Jocko provide a number of leadership insights in this book, but one concept has defined extreme ownership for me. It is the simple discipline of owning your team's output in the same way you own your personal output. That is, if your team screws up or under delivers, what could you have done better or communicated more clearly to prevent the issue? More often than not, your lack of communication or unclear expectations with your team are the source of their performance issues. 

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This book should be required reading for all adults. Kahneman dives into how we think and how our brains can trick us if we're not careful. It's dense and neatly divided into logical parts and chapters. Approach it like you might approach a religious text. Read one chapter at a time, take notes, highlight key sentences, discuss it with friends, etc. After you finish the book, start over. Reading this won't prevent you from making mental mistakes but being aware of your own fallibility and how it presents itself will make you a better person.

The Lean Startup

A must-read for anyone who is or aspires to be an entrepreneur. Eric Ries lays out a framework for experimenting and iterating on new ideas for your product or business. Get something in front of your potential customers as soon as possible in the form of a minimum viable product (MVP). My favorite takeaway from this book is the concept of "leap of faith" assumptions. What is the one assumption that must be validated that could render all other assumptions, ideas, and aspirations for my business useless?

Positioning

After reading this book I found myself wondering why I never thought about marketing like this before. What position does my brand hold in my customers' mind? How do customers view my brand relative to competing brands? Do customers see a unique value in my brand or do I blend in with the crowd? A professional marketer would probably scoff at my revelation but I've found the ROI of reading this book to be very high as someone who doesn't work in marketing full time.

The 4-Hour Workweek

This one feels a bit trite in 2017 but I consider this book the launchpad for my entrepreneurial mindset. Recognizing the difference between being effective and being efficient changed my perspective on work. That sexy term "the new rich" still floats through my mind now and then. And I've made it my life mission to never, ever become the fat man in the red BMW.