Books that shaped the personality of an outstanding author and scientist
“The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen
– Gladwell’s review
Also recommended by Steve Jobs, Evan Williams, Mark Cuban, Andrew Grove, Guy Kawasaki
Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.
“Stone’s Fall: A Novel” by Iain Pears
– from interview to The Guardian
Pears’ eye for detail as a financial reporter comes out in this historical novel, which describes the many influences and possible reasons for an arms dealer’s death. Since he fell from a London office window, and had many powerful connections in finance and the spy world, the possible puzzling reasons are many and varied. So are the reading list recommendations, from the New York Times to Richland College. While the book mirrors modern headlines, the setting is in Victorian times, which ought to intrigue fans of Austen and Dickens.
“Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” by Steven D. Levitt
– Gladwell’s review
Also recommended by Bill Gates
After publishing Freakonomics in 2005, Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner didn’t stop. Having worked a lot, unrevealling new sides of current situation in the world, they present SuperFreakonomics, a book that will twist our way of thinking once again! Can television rise crime levels? What do prostitutes and department store Santas have in common? These and many other at first sight looney questions that can arise in the head of everybody are answered by the authors. It’s not an analysis, it is a freakalysis!
“Fooled by Randomness: TheHidden Role of Chance” by N. N. Taleb
– Malcom Gladwell
Also recommended by Evan Williams
The role of luck in life is under-appreciated, and reasons assigned to success are over-simplified, declares Taleb in his new work. Positing that risk and uncertainty are an ignored part of life and business (including not knowing why something works and why it doesn’t), he points to the amount of information in which society drowns, after drawing misguided conclusions. Using historical figures such as the wealthy Croesus, and games of chance such as Russian roulette, Taleb forms a picture of unwelcome reality that must be faced. Recommended as thought-provoking, from Pine River Capital Management trader Steve Kuhn to the Trading Pitt, this book makes an intriguing addition to the reading list.