15 more insights from 15 more books

(A continuation of the previous post on the 30 books I read in 2017).

To spice things up this week I’ve added an “in a gif…” summary to each book. Yep. I’m just that edgy.

16. Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder 

I know what you’re thinking. Way to kick off this next 15 with a thrilling, captivating book. And yeah, you’re right, this book sounds kinda dry, and well, parts of it are. But it’s the first book I’ve read where the idea of a business model actually made sense. 

Insight: There’s an easy way for a business model to be summarised onto one clear page and treated as a ‘canvas’ that is always subject to critique and change. 

NB: The template canvas from the book can be found here

In a gif:


17. Tribes – Seth Godin

Inspired by completing Seth Godin’s altMBA I fanboy’d pretty hard and re-read my favourite of his books: Tribes and Linchpin.

Insight: Great leaders connect an idea with a group of people. That creates a movement. That creates a Tribe.

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

In a gif: 

18. Linchpin – Seth Godin

Let the fanboying continue. This book I’ve now read three times. It’s one of those books that you read, highlight, take photos of, share with others and take to bed with you imeanwhat? It’s about standing up as a leader, standing out as an individual (regardless of where you work) and doing remarkable things.

Insight: To be a linchpin: Be remarkable. Be generous. Create stuff. Connect people and ideas.

In a gif: 

19. Losing my Virginity – Richard Branson

I had high hopes for this autobiography and, honestly, felt really let down. It felt like a long-winded, one-sided summary of a dispute between Virgin Airlines and British Airways

Insight: Richard Branson likes the sound of his own voice.

In a gif:  

20. Creativity Inc – Ed Catmull

The story behind Pixar Animations told by one of the co-founders Ed Catmull. AND WHAT A STORY. So good that I just yelled at you. I stopped to grab my notepad after the first 3 pages of this book, such is the awesomeness of its message.

Insight: To be a successful team or business, it’s most important to a) have the right people with the right attitude and b) give them space to try things, fail and be human.

“When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless.” 

In a gif:

21. Open – Andre Agassi 

Turns out I really went through an autobiographical phase. This badboy is completely captivating. Not a fan of tennis? Irrelevant. Read this excerpt from the first chapter and try and tell me you don’t want to read anymore.

Insight: Similar to the Bruce Springsteen story: everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Even apparent rockstars at the top of their game.

In a gif: 

22. Perennial Seller – Ryan Holiday

The latest read from Ryan Holiday who, once again, inadvertently makes you feel guilty for not doing as much with your life as he has.

Insight: You can’t hack your way to creating a business, brand, product or service that stands the test of time. Only one thing matters: Word of mouth. Do whatever you can to create it.

In a gif: 

23. Easy Strength – Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline

At some point during the year, I decided it’d be fun to try and do the impossible. To make my lanky decrepit body bigger and stronger. Outside of eating an offensive amount of food, this book was my guide on how to do that.

Insight: You’re even weaker than you thought, but getting strong is made far more complicated than it needs to be. Simplicity in strength training is key.

“To build muscle, most of us need to build strength. So to get stronger, I’d like you to consider doing four basic strength movements. Jim Wendler recommends the back squat, the military press, the deadlift, and the bench press.”

In a gif:


24. Show your work! – Austin Kleon

When I found out there was another book by the author of Steal Like an Artist I was beside myself excited. I ordered it right away and was not disappointed. It’s just as easy on the eye and digestible as it’s bigger brother and is filled with great illustrations, quotes, and wisdom.

Insight: When it comes to being creative, you are your own worst enemy. Stop projecting yourself on social media as someone you’re not and start being your unapologetic self.

“Don’t try to be hip or cool. Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.” 

In a gif: 

25. Principals – Ray Dalio

A pretty epic read from one of the most successful investors of all time. Dalio outlines the principals he uses that have shaped his life, both professionally and personally.

Insight: Radical transparency is the core reason Dalio’s company, Bridgewater Capital, has been so successful.

In a gif: 

26. Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink 

Another of those books that is 10X better in Audio. Jocko is an ex-Navy SEAL and has a voice that makes you stop dead in your tracks. Literally. I stopped walking a few times and stared into space just to listen to his stories.

Insight: Discipline equals freedom.

In a gif: 

27. Permission to Screw Up – Kristen Hadeed

This one came recommended by Simon Sinek, who also wrote the foreword. Say no more right? One of my absolute favourites of 2017, this is an entertaining and honest look at what it takes to start a company.

Insight: When building something new you will screw up. A lot. Not only is it okay, but it’s a good thing as it forces you to learn how not to do things.

In a gif: 

28. Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari 

A hilarious look at the current world of dating, through the eyes of a successful comedian.

Insight: Dating is hard and confusing. But almost everyone feels the same.

“Do I call? Do I text? Do I send a Facebook message? Do I send up a smoke signal? How does one do that? Will I set my rented house on fire? How embarrassed will I be when I have to tell the home’s owner, actor James Earl Jones, that I burned his house down trying to send a smoke signal?”

In a gif: 

29. The Art of Possibility – Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander

This one came highly recommended and there were some parts I loved, but some of it was lost on me. The author tells stories through his eyes as a conductor and, well, my knowledge of classical music and conducting is somewhat limited.

Insight: Turns out someone has codified a rule for how I live my life: Rule #6: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

In a gif: 

30. A Beautiful Constraint – Adam Morgan and Mark Barden

A unique book filled with diagrams, wise words and countless examples of times where very real constraints have lead to success.

Insight: Constraints should be viewed as opportunities, not roadblocks. In fact, constraints are responsible for some of the world’s most innovative solutions.

E.g: Google’s home page is simple because Larry Page was not adept at coding.

In a gif:

Weirdly, it turns out I read no fiction this year. Now, like being tall or having a large nose, this wasn’t a deliberate choice. But, unlike these unfortunate characteristics, it’s something I can remedy next year.

Stay classy.

Note: If you’re enjoying A bird’s eye view and my random musings what’s wrong with you? thank you. Sincerely. 

In the spirit of the festive season, if you feel like sharing your favourite post with a friend, family member or random stranger that’d be amazing. If not, that’s totally fine too. Just keep being awesome.