This blog is inspired by a LinkedIn post from Arash Samimi and the upcoming holiday break.
“I often think of reading books as a means to create a worldview. I want to know what the world looks like today, how we got here and how we can do better tomorrow. The world opportunities and challenges are infinite. It is a gigantic puzzle. That being said, in 2020, I tried to diversify my readings toward creating a big picture of the world – from leadership to technology, retirement, empowerment, society, education, data and startups. Here are 8 of the books I read in 2020.
Our content team took Arash’s idea and offer up fifteen favorite reads from 2021. In no particular order, their selections cover business, fiction, biographies, self-improvement and create a StarFish worldview.
The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less by Christine Carter. Although it does not have deep wisdom or philosophy, it is a very good reminder about how to balance your life, how to do the work, but not overdo it so you are constantly busy. Being busy is not the answer. It tells how to manage the workload, how to bring back joy to the workload of work, how to bring the groove back to your whole life, arrange your time and prioritize and fix things. It really spoke to me.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker is fantastic. It’s got lots of details regarding clinical trials around sleep, interesting stories and helps reinforce to bed on time.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell. It was helpful at work. It was helpful in my personal life. Very interesting, very challenging subject matter, but offered in a very Malcolm Gladwell-esque objective manner.
Brunel: The Man Who Built the World by Steven Brindle. A swashbuckling tale of Isambard Kingdom Brunel from the 19th century. Just outrageous, all the stuff he built including the Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge. He never actually finished it, but he did a number of bridges and tunnels including a tunnel under the Thames. There’s a tunnel near Bath which, when the sun rises on his birthday, it shines down the tunnel. And he built the largest ships in the world and so many revolutionary things. It was the swashbuckling time.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Bob Iger. Just another swashbuckling tale of making big, visionary decisions that he didn’t know if they would work out at the time. Driven by vision.
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier. I enjoyed that one, quite brilliant.
Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed by Ben R. Rich, Leo Janos. This is a re-read. It’s an older book from 25 years ago about the group that built the SR-71 airplane and the U-2. What they took on at Lockheed was just outrageous in terms of ambition. They had this thing called the Skunk Works and they did all this. I’ve been reading inspiring engineering stories.
The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford. It’s an old one, but it was updated in 2020. It is quite relevant to our business and pretty impactful. I’d recommend that to anyone dealing with clients.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. I love her detective books. There are 21 books, and I’ve read eight so far. They’re very good and take place in Montreal and Quebec. This is unrelated, but she just released and co-wrote a book this year with Hillary Clinton.
Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson just came out in November. It’s taken forever, but it’s very topical right now with climate change and all the flooding we’ve had in B.C. It’s kind of eerie reading because he wrote the book a while ago, but it’s really hitting home as I’m reading it. Basically these folks are trying to change the climate by taking matters into their own hands. There’s a coalition of countries that are going below sea level trying to figure out how to stay above sea level. It’s very interesting, speculative science fiction.
Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy by Rebecca Burgess, Courtney White is a book I started to read this year and I’m going to try and finish next year. The title is a play on words of the watershed. The book looks at whether it’s possible to set up a localized supply chain to generate more sustainable clothing that isn’t tied to long distance shipping and fast fashion. With the troubles in the last couple of years with supply chains, COVID and climate problems, it’s quite interesting to read about the feasibility of localized supply chains for things we are used to getting from further afield.
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One by Jenny Blake. I read it earlier this year and it’s about career development and looking at what’s what’s next and if you’ve gotten your ideal job and what makes it ideal. You think critically about it.
Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, and Mark Reiter. Two great books.
Not all favorite reads are books: “When it comes to book recommendations, to be honest, I’m still traumatized by the readings I did for my masters. I’m reading nothing but newspapers at the moment. One day I will be able to get back to casual readings again.”
We hope you enjoyed and read some of our selections. And now it’s our turn to quote Arash’s query: “Book suggestions?”
Astero StarFish is the attributed author of StarFish Medical team blogs. We value teamwork and collaborate on all of our medical device development projects.
Photo credit: Canstockphoto by Jag_cz