Curious minds lead to creativity and innovation. Both are the hallmarks of great leadership and entrepreneurs. The guests of our award-winnning interview series Velocitize Talks routinely share their recommendations for books and podcasts, from business classics to creative fiction. Below you will find some of their favorites. The breadth and depth of these selected publications showcase the best in curious minds.
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2. God, Human, Animal, Machine
Jessica Creane, Founder & CEO, IKantKoan: “It’s really all about the nature of consciousness, but deeply relatable and very, very readable.”
Creane calls “God, Human, Animal, Machine” fantastic and one with an accessible message. A philosophy book authored by Meghan O’Gieblyn, it focuses on technology, metaphor and the search for meaning. It also explores what it means to be human in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) through transhumanism, consciousness, religion and technology. O’Gieblyn’s book was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology.
3. Good to Great
Can a good company become a great company and, if so, how? In “Good to Great,” Jim Collins, the author of “Built to Last,” concludes that it is possible, but there are no silver bullets.
4. Profit First
Anne Stefankyk, Founder & CEO, Kanopi Studios: “It’s so important to me that every business owner reads ‘Profit First‘ by Mike Michalowicz. He’s a great author. He’s hilarious, but it was totally freaky to run an agency and not be making as much profit as I could or should, because I was just in the day-to-day business. So it very much has that Oprah Winfrey’s philosophy of pay yourself first in the business.
“It means take your profit first and then figure everything out.”
Michalowicz writes about a new accounting approach to an outdated formula: Sales – Profit = Expenses. He shows that by “taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows.”
5. Marketing Dragons
Jonathan Nyst, CMO, Monizze: Marketing Dragons is Nyst’s publication on Medium where he talks to people that he admires including marketing professionals in Southeast Asia and asks them a series of questions.
“What’s one habit that you’ve developed in the last couple of years that’s really changed your life? What are the books that have had the biggest influence on your professional life? When you feel stressed, what do you do? Reading these answers and talking to all these people has taught me a lot and helped me reflect on the things that I’ve been doing myself and refine my thinking when I’m stressed.”
6. The Business of Expertise
Magne Ilsaas, CEO & Founding Partner, Dekode: “It’s a couple years since I read it, but it’s a book I revert to quite a lot.”
Ilsaas credits “The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth” by David C. Baker as the catalyst to the positioning work he has done. “I both read Baker’s book and also worked with him and that has changed the way we do business.”
7. Smashing UX Design
Steve Kreeger, Head of UX, Earnest: “User experience design isn’t a new thing. It’s not a fad.”
Kreeger feels it’s important to continuously refresh his UX, agile experience and design knowledge. Although “Smashing UX Design” by Smashing Magazine was released in 2012, Kreeger says it’s one he goes back to time and time again.
8. The Power of Geography
Benno Wasserstein, Founder & Managing Director, Box UK: “I think with everything that’s going on in the world, it’s a fascinating look at how he specifically talks about 10 regions of the world which have a huge influence on the makeup of everything geopolitical going forward.”
9. Burnout Epidemic
Gabe Karp, Managing Director of EMEA, 10up: “Whether your company is experiencing burnout or not in an acute way, it’s important to be educated on.”
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 89% of global workers said their work life was getting worse. In Jennifer Moss’s book, “Burnout Epidemic,” she writes about an alternative way to address burnout within organizations; it isn’t investing in more self-care offerings. In fact, she points out that self care can’t solve burnout; it’s the upstream impacts that lead to happiness and wellbeing detractors.
Karp found that the book pushed him to think about how to set up a structure where people have the right work-life balance. “It’s about how you give people the right balance of accountability and control over their own destiny, and the right workloads,” says Karp.
10. Atomic Habits
Julio Taylor, CEO, Hallam: In “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, Hallam likes the discussion of “the small but very powerful incremental improvements that you can make to the mindset and habit for huge success and huge gain and huge permanent improvement over time. I think it’s a great personal development book that I’ve really enjoyed reading.”
A number one New York Times bestseller, “Atomic Habits” offers a framework for improving habits. Clear shares “practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”
Photo by Shiromani Kant
What’s in your library? Care to add something to this list? Comment below!