Tim Ferriss recommends5 min read

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A start-up angel investor (Twitter, Posterous, RescueTime), blogger and entrepreneur gives awesome book recommendations.

  “Vagabonding (An UncommonGuide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel)” by Rolf Potts

– Random show

By his enthused affirmation of the lifestyle of non-tourism travelers, Potts inspired the work of another contributor to contrarian reading lists. Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, mentions Vagabonding as one of the top four highly recommended additions to anyone’s book list who wants to get out of the modern rat race. A most helpful addition to this book, all about the art of international travel, is the author’s website, which has travel updates and increased resources for those who want to discover the world before their retirement years.

  “Letters from aStoic” by Seneca

– Random show

Although Seneca is not as well-known as either Plato or Aristotle, it hasn’t stopped his fans in adding this Stoic work to their reading lists for many centuries. Pinning Seneca’s work between the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, author Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Work Week says that this book is a necessary book list item. Business readers will appreciate the emphasis on personal virtue, and self-sacrifice when faced with overwhelming emotions – always a necessary element when building a lasting enterprise. The rejection of slavery will also dovetail with a business philosophy of seeing employees as partners rather than assets or mere wage earners.

 “Leaving Microsoft toChange the World (An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’sChilden)” by John Wood

– Random show

Wood has been compared to two influential Carnegie’s – Dale and Andrew – in two different categories. The author clearly shows the influence of Dale Carnegie’s class (author of classic business book list addition How to Win Friends and Influence People) in his approach to people. At the same time, his deep business insights have led to the San Francisco Chronicle’s assessment of John Wood as the spirit of Andrew Carnegie let loose in third world countries, according to Rakestrawbooks.com. This is the story of Wood’s rejection of the corporate for the developing world, via the startup of a non-profit designed to inspire the love of reading in children.

“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Violate Them at Your Own Risk!)” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

– Random show

What this book lacks in quantitative analysis, it makes up for in common-sense ideas boiled down to marketing laws. While the Laws of Leadership have also been mentioned by leadership author John Maxwell, Ries and Trout point out that marketing leadership is more about leading the pack by being first, and therefore remembered. This recommended reading list addition (for Government Express and Mark Amtower’s Federal Direct clients) includes powerful concepts such as ‘mindshare’, candor, and niche specialization.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh

– Tim Ferriss

This blockbuster from Zappo’s anti-corporate leader made it onto the top of the New York Times reading list, as well as USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Hsieh redefines how a company ought to run, based on the right people (one of the most mind-blowing points is that new employees should be incentivized to leave the team if they’re not a culture fit), the right product, and the right world-changing passion. This book is part of a movement to make a corporation’s reason for being infused into every product and every person, instead of the responsibility being relegated to one leader or one department.

  “Getting Real: Thesmarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application” byJason Fried, Heinemeier David Hansson, Matthew Linderman

– Random show

This Web Geek ‘must have’ on the reading list includes the joint effort of Fried, Hansson, and Linderman. Topics include the idea-building value of outside limits (such as budgets and time constraints), and saying ‘no’ to additional but unnecessary features. The authors (one of whom was a writer for the business-focused Inc magazine) practiced the idea simplicity that they preached, because their 6 applications have been used by half a million people, without the founders getting funds from angel investors or hiring a team of over 10 people.

“Motherless Brooklyn”by Jonathan Lethem

– Random show

Madame Malaprop, an amusing creation of Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the 18th century, is a pale shadow of Lethem’s characters. While Mrs. Malaprop occasionally uttered a misplaced word in The Rivals, bumbling detective Lionel Essrog is in a constant state of confused verbal uproar. Fellow detective Frank Minna, the protagonist, trains four orphaned boys in the trade of discovery, who then attempt to avenge his demise. Critics from Salon.com to the UK’s Guardian describe the work as a fascinating but dizzying ride, so fans of detective fiction will have to decide on their own whether to add this book to their favorites list – or not.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)” by Richard P. Feynman

Tim Ferriss recommends this book in one of the episodes of “Random Show”.

Also recommended by Larry Page

Fact is surely stranger than fiction. Richard Feynman seeks to dispel the image of a Nobel laureate as inhumanly grave and ascetic, by publishing his exploits – and his annoyance at being given the Nobel news at 4 in the morning. The author’s alma mater, MIT, enthusiastically promotes his book as an addition to American reading lists by describing his penchant for practical jokes and bongo drums, plus an ability to open sophisticated safes in Los Angeles. Those who haven’t heard of this amazing physicist will be interested in his contributions to science, including the quantum theory of electrodynamics, and a better understanding of helium.

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