2019 in 20 Books

A tradition at this point, here are the twenty books that I read last year. I’ve included short commentaries, thoughts, and opinions on each one. If you’re looking for a reading list inspiration, I do hope this helps you out!


The Water Will Come, by Jeff Goodell.

There was a certain tone of inevitable gloom and doom to the book; Goodell argues that the sinking of coastal cities are inevitable. It’s not the most insightful or ‘new’ pro-environment book, but still a good one if you’re looking to learn of ways to minimize your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

⭐⭐⭐

HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017, by Harvard Business Review.

Ten varied articles, curated by the editors of the Harvard Business Review. I personally found that the ones that leaned towards marketing, technology, and clever use of data more useful. The individual articles were structured like blog posts, and made for easy reading. It’s a great series, and value for money.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Inside Knowledge, by Alison Temperley.

The kind of book that only a woman can (and should) write, being full of “should do’s” that no male author can honestly state or claim. A revealing read on the struggles and challenges that women face in the workplace. It challenged me to be more aware of and conscious to certain behaviours, and I hope to be a more sensitive, understanding, and fair colleague to my female peers.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Future Politics, by Jamie Susskind.

A powerful read on how technology is irreversibly changing the way concepts such as democracy work. Susskind challenges us to see how deep we already are in a Big Brother society, and how through our own willing participation we’ve arrived here. Positively Orwellian, it’s sobering how much corporations (and governments) know about us.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward.

Regardless of your American political leanings, one fact is clear: Trump in power is dangerous for many of us. While Trump is undoubtedly charismatic and oddly charming, he is also petulant, impulsive, and – in numerous instances proven in the book – a habitual and professional liar. Woodward is a talented journalist, and the book reads like a gripping Hollywood thriller. Maybe it is, but in real life.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Calm Technology, by Amber Case.

An eye-opening read on how great (unintrusive) design in technology could apply to various aspects of businesses, such as marketing, communications, and even hiring. Featuring a succinct list of eight ‘calm technology principles’, Case writes a brilliant and practical set of principles that anyone can apply in day-to-day work.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.

I think the reason that this book has stood the test of time is the fact that Dr. Fiore didn’t simply give task-based solutions. Rather, he gave mindset-changing ones. I particularly liked his recommendations on concentrating with positive words, as well as planning out scheduled breaks. Useful, if you’re looking for ways to be more productive or efficient.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Master Switch, by Tim Wu.

Not a lot of tech-centric books are written in the style of an historical commentary, but this is the genius of Wu’s work. He explores ‘tech eras’, and made me realise just how interconnected tech progression was. If you love history, the book has trivia and insights that will keep you wide-eyed with wonder, page after page.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Introverted Leader, by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D.

“Introversion is not the same as being shy”, is perhaps my favourite soundbite in this book. Introversion, from my experiences, is not always painted in a positive light, but Dr. Kahnweiler challenges us to reframe how we see the situation. The book is great for both introverts and those working with introverts, as it teaches useful relationship approaches for both sides.

⭐⭐⭐

Transforming Nokia, by Risto Siilasmaa.

This was a fascinating read on one of my generation’s favourite tech companies: Nokia. I like how it was written by someone from the inside, and who had to make (hard) decisions for the company, its people, and the brand. Some concepts were fluff, but it was nonetheless an entertaining peek into how a giant could almost-fall and be saved through reinvention.

⭐⭐

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Leadership is Terrifying, but the Lessons are Priceless

In the last three years or so of my career thus far, my leaders have constantly reminded me to ‘train another me’. In other words, to mentor someone (or more) so that she / he / they can eventually take over my job and for me to be able to move on to other responsibilities.

It’s a terrifying thought.

Continue reading “Leadership is Terrifying, but the Lessons are Priceless”

The “Unfriend Me Now” Culture on Social Media Needs a Serious Second Look

I have observed a behaviour on social media (specifically, on Facebook) that should be worrying us: the Unfriend Me Now call-out. Not only is it silly and impractical, it’s self-limiting and potentially dangerous, too.

Continue reading “The “Unfriend Me Now” Culture on Social Media Needs a Serious Second Look”

The Books that Defined my 2018

This is the second instalment of my attempt to read twenty books in a calendar year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the twenty. I think that’s okay, since a) I came pretty close, and b) it’s still within my general goal of ‘reading more books than articles’ yearly.

Continue reading “The Books that Defined my 2018”

Why Staying Where You Are is One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Career

One to two years. This is the new ‘normal’, it seems, when it comes to the length of time that people in my generation are staying in their jobs. While there are certain reasons (I can name three off the top of my head) why moving on after a year or two is “okay”, I disagree with the whole philosophy of it – and frankly, I think it’s going to damage an entire generation’s career development and progression.

Continue reading “Why Staying Where You Are is One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Career”

Everyone Needs an Ego Bucket

I’d like to believe that we’re all good at something. Some of us are even great at that something. It’s a source of good and positive confidence, self-belief, and even satisfaction to know this. But knowing we’re good/great at something also has a dark side: when it clouds our judgment and the ego takes over. Continue reading “Everyone Needs an Ego Bucket”

Leadership is a People Business – And Why We Should Remember This

After a leadership conference last month, some of my company’s biggest honchos asked me a question on leadership. The discussion that followed will become, I am sure, one of my favourite mentoring experiences.

Continue reading “Leadership is a People Business – And Why We Should Remember This”

The Only Public Speaking Guide You Will Ever Need

Have you been asked to deliver a speech at an industry event? Have you been tasked to speak for your school or organisation at a conference? As a public speaker, I have made mistakes and learned a bagful of lessons over the years, and whether you’re a newbie at this or a weathered pro, I am sure you will find some of these tips super helpful. Continue reading “The Only Public Speaking Guide You Will Ever Need”