Happy August! Lately, I’ve been working on my new blog called ‘Brains Unite‘ which is going to be launching early this month (I can’t wait to show you!). However, for this post, I’ve decided to share 6 books that I’m either currently reading or have already read so that you have some reading suggestions for this summer. This post only includes a small selection of books which I, personally, have thoroughly enjoyed reading – what I’m trying to say is, I have plently more books that I can share with you! So, if you want me to share some more of my recommendations, make sure you like this post and leave a comment to let me know. Now let’s get to the post.

1. David and Goliath – Malcom Gladwell

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My thoughts on the book: In this book, Gladwell does an incredible job with explaining the way in which we should approach and deal with obstacles or difficulties. He illustrates his ideas using historical events which are used as evidence for his beliefs; this further persuades the reader of his point of view.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“Gladwell is masterful at explaining how the world works”

– Lionel Beehner, USA Today

“Entertaining… David and Goliath readers will travel with colorful characters who overcame great difficulties and learn fascinating facts about the Battle of Britain, cancer medicine, and the struggle for civil rights, to name a few topics upon which Mr Gladwell’s wide-ranging narrative touches”

– Christopher F. Chabris, Wall Street Journal

“Provocative… David and Goliath is a lean, consuming read”

– John Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle

2. Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

HomoDeus

My thoughts on the book: This, along with Homo Sapiens by the same author, is easily one of my favourite books about the path of human evolution. Harari’s ideas and beliefs are so eloquently written, and his writing style enables both experts and novices in the field enjoy reading the book. Simply put, Homo Deus predicts the future of humanity and, in my opinion, it deals with some philosophical questions regarding our current position.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“Tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world”

– Jared Diamond

“The sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain… Harari’s writing radiates power and clarity, making the world strange and new”

– The Sunday Times

“Consistently fresh and lively… Harari is a brilliant populariser; a ruthless synthesiser; a master storyteller and an entertainer… Thrilling and breathtaking”

– Observer

 

3. The Fourth Industrial Revolution – Klaus Shwab

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My thoughts on the book: This is quite a short book, but it packs a punch! I’ll admit that I haven’t got through the whole book yet, but so far I’ve discovered that the book is about the way in which the recent rapid advance in technology is affecting our economy resulting in changes to our everyday lives. Schwab suggests, and convinces me, that this change is so great that it should be referred to as The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Although brief, this book covers a whole host of different topics in a concise manner and with the use of a lot of evidence.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“Essential reading for corporate leaders, policy makers and citizens”

– Muhtar Kent, chairman of the board and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

“A thoughtful framework for leaders”

– Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of leanin.org

Here Klaus Schwab provides an excellent framework for thinking about how we can shape technology to deliver a future society in keeping with our deepest human values.”

– L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4. Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

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My thoughts on the book: This book is full of the lessons and events which Trevor Noah experienced as a child living in apartheid South Africa as well as post apartheid South Africa. The lessons are disguised as humorous, entertaining childhood events, but Noah dissects each experience and makes links to humanity as a whole. I really enjoyed learning about the importance of culture and the role of family by reading this book; the unconventional circumstances Noah faced clearly highlight aspects of life which are sometimes taken for granted.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“Noah’s memoir is extraordinary . . . essential reading on every level. It’s hard to imagine anyone else doing a finer job of it”

– The Seattle Times

In the end, Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother”

– Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Powerful prose . . . told through stories and vignettes that are sharply observed, deftly conveyed and consistently candid. Growing organically from them is an affecting investigation of identity, ethnicity, language, masculinity, nationality and, most of all, humanity”

– Mail and Gaurdian

5. Machine Platform Crowd – Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

MachinePlatformCrowd

My thoughts on the book: In this book, the authors discuss the way in which digital platforms affect society. The book focuses on 3 key points: machine, platform and crowd (of course, the book is aptly named). There is also a focus on analysis using economics. Each chapter has a ‘chapter summary’ which is great for recapping the most important points of the chapter (good for all of you with short term memories!); there’s also a ‘questions’ section after every chapter which enables the reader to ponder about concepts discussed.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“For citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, and governments that want to successfully navigate this new world, the first step lies in finding reliable and prescient guides. Andrew and Erik are two of the best”

– Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners, cofounder of LinkedIn, and coauthor of The Start-Up of You

“Even Silicon Valley is surprised by the speed and scope of change today. The best way to stay on top of it is to understand the principles that will endure even as so much gets disrupted. This book is the best explanation of those principles out there”

– Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc.

“A clear and crisply written account of machine intelligence, big data and the sharing economy. But McAfee and Brynjolfsson also wisely acknowledge the limitations of their futurology and avoid over-simplification.”

– John Thornhill, Financial Times

6. The Singing Guru – Kamla K. Kapur

SingingGuru

My thoughts on the book: This book follows the story of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Legends, myths and folktales about his life are all intertwined, with frequent references to poems from the Guru Granth Sahib, to create a book which contains many philosophical lessons that I believe everyone should read. No matter how you feel about your life, I guarantee that reading this book will improve, if not solidify, your beliefs.

If you don’t believe me, believe them:

“In company with the Sikh spiritual leader, Guru Nanak, we travel from magical place to magical place throughout India and are reminded again and again of what values should inform our life. You wait until the saga is over to exhale and still wish there were more. A ripping read”

– Thomas Hoover

“Rich imagination, anchored by the spirit of the Janamsakhi tradition, brings alive the story of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. Kamla Kapur has written a gripping book in a style that is both simple and lucid. Her reinterpretation of the Janamsakhis should find wide resonance among readers”

– Roopinder Singh

“Kamla Kapur chooses an innovative and wondrous way of retelling the eternal truths contained in the life and teachings of Guru Nanak. Her simple, melodious narrative depicts common human frailties and deep philosophical complexities with equal ease: “The Singing Guru” will delight the mind even as it enlightens the spirit”

– Navtej Sarna

 

That concludes this post! As I stated at the beginning of the post, I have many more suggestions that I would be more than willing to share with you, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you want some more posts just like this. Likewise, if you have any recommendations for me, I want to know! Leave a comment and give a brief description of the book if you can. Adios.

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5 thoughts on “Reading Suggestions

  1. I learned about Yuval Harari a couple years ago and his books have been in my on-deck circle since then, waiting for my attention. But a couple things about his ideas trouble me.

    First is that for nearly every big, philosophical question he is asked, he has a novel interpretation drawn from history that upsets millennia of tradition. All by itself, that may not be a bad thing, but understood as a biased pattern, he appears to be an iconoclast seeking to promote novelty for its own sake. I need to acquaint myself with his arguments better before delving into examples.

    Second is that his predictions do not strike me as even remotely rooted in a future expected to deliver extraordinary stresses and instability rather than material abundance and universal wellbeing. His optimism doesn’t fit with what I know about the world. Again, examples must wait.

    Machine Platform Crowd sounds like a sales job for those espousing the so-called California Philosophy emanating from Silicon Valley. Ugh. I’ll skip it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry to see that you didn’t really enjoy my suggestions in this post, but is Harari’s optimism really something that we should just dismiss? Optimism allows us to be bold and courageous whilst expressing adventurous, new ideas. It opens up the discussion of concepts which could have been shut down by pessimism. Anyway, I’m only 17 years old so I guess I’m pretty vulnerable to adopting optimistic ideas due to my obvious lack of experience with living in the ‘real world’ (i.e. not spending most of my time in the constraints of my school).

      To me, Machine Platform Crowd is an economic analysis of the digital revolution and how it has affected society. Again, my naivety could be playing a role in my decision to read and accept the arguments presented to me in the book. However, at this moment, I feel totally comfortable with adopting these ideas and publicly endorsing them…

      I’m intrigued to know of any book suggestions which you may have. You seem to disapprove of a couple of my choices so maybe you could steer me in the right direction from your point of view?

      Like

      1. I don’t know that enjoying or disapproving a series of book recommendations is really the point. I merely commented on two of them. I’ve read a couple of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. He’s a very good storyteller, but I don’t always appreciate his conclusions. He’s awfully good food for thought either way. The others (except the two on which I commented) fall out of scope for me.

        I definitely want to read Harari’s work eventually, but knowing what I know, his books seem wildly at odds with the reality in which we live. YMMV. Further, where one falls on the optimism/pessimism scale may partly be a function of age, but it’s also something inborn. Both types are needed, but I can’t bring myself to be unrealistically optimistic, or a bright-sider, as Barbara Ehrenreich calls the phenomenon.

        Economic analyses are myth-making in the extreme. The digital revolution has been analyzed to death already, but the lessons to be drawn from it are frequently the wrong ones. All things digital lead away from human values and toward purely abstract, instrumental values. If that means nothing to you, well, that’s true for almost everyone. The book I’d recommend and one partial antidote is Matthew Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head

        Liked by 1 person

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