Books to Read: Business, Globalisation, Economics, Internet/Information Industry, Big Picture Lateral Thinking

During the last few months I’ve made a list of Books to Read covering topics like Big Picture thinking, Business Ideas, the Internet & Information Industry, Economics, Lateral Thinking, Globalisation etc.

This was prompted by suggestions of interesting books by several people I’ve met through Twitter & my blogs including: @edwardharran, @zebrabites, @scott_drummond, @scottpape, @kcarruthers – thanks guys 🙂

Read this book=I’ve read this book already, my aim is to read the rest of the books on my list as soon as possible

Please feel free to suggest any other books you think would be interesting to read.

In no particular order these are the books on my list grouped loosely by theme

Rodins Thinker sculpture

World History / Geopolitics / Science

Read this bookThe Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Some interesting ideas from the book:

  • At the politico/military level USA remains sole superpower but in other dimnesions power has shifted to other countries
  • Post-American World doesnt mean an anti-American world, but a world which is defined and directed by many governments, places & people
  • USA is hampered by an internal focus which leaves many of its citizens unaware of world/cultures beyond USA borders
  • USA politicians rarely look around and notice new options/innovations from overseas, preferring to say “We’re Number 1”
  • In a way the USA caused the Post-American World by travelling the world post WWII encouraging free trade, capitalism, technology uptake
  • China’s goal is avoidance of conflict. True success for them is manipulating situations to inevitable Chinese advantage
  • China has been more skillful than USA in using diplomacy/soft power with other Asian countries to become most trusted ally
  • USA remains global superpower today but it is feeble. Economy is woeful, currency is weak, government and private debt is growing at an explosive rate

Read this bookVon Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael Neufeld – read and reviewed on my blog

The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World by Paul Roberts

Business / Globalisation / Psychology

Read this bookThe World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman

Read this bookThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Read this bookBlink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Read this bookThe Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls & David Weinberger

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks

Economics / Money

Read this bookFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Some interesting ideas from the book:

  • Steven Levitt (author of #freakonomics) tends to see things differently from the average person, differently from the average economist too
  • What interests Levitt is the riddles and hidden sides of everyday life-he has an urge to find out how the world really works
  • Levitt sees economics as a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of interesting questions
  • What this book is about is stripping a layer or two from the surface of modern life and seeing whats happening underneath
  • Morality represents the way that ppl would like the world to work, economics represents how it actually does work
  • Fundamental #freakonomics ideas: Incentives are cornerstone to life, conventional wisdom often wrong, dramatic effects can have subtle causes
  • An office is more honest when employees like boss & work. Employees higher up the corporate ladder cheat more than those down below
  • Information is a beacon, cudgel, deterrent, depending on who wields it & how. Disseminating secret information reduces its power
  • Of the many ways to fail on a dating website, not posting a photo of yourself is the biggest predictor of failure
  • People are terrible risk assessors. Risks that scare people eg: sharks & risks that kill people eg: food poisoning are very different

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle

Read this bookThe Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Read this bookThe Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

Read this bookAgainst the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk


Internet / Information Industry

Read this bookThe Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr

Read this bookThe Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Some interesting ideas from the book:

  • in meetings search 4 consensus encourages tepid lowest common denominator solutions which offend noone
  • in many corporations the incentive system was (and is) skewed against dissent & independent analysis
  • in small groups,diversity of opinion is single best guarantee that the group will reap benefits from face to face meetings
  • top down command & control corporations give people an incentive to hide information and dissemble

Read this bookPredictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

Read this bookHere Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Read this bookWikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams.

Read this bookThe Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

Read this bookEverything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger

Read this bookSuper Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart

Some interesting ideas from the book:

  • of Dewey. Amazon encourages cataloging/indexing multiple ways compared to Dewey’s single way
  • interesting related article by @clayshirkyOntology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags
  • Ranganathan’s 5 laws of Library Science are almost 80 years old, but still highly relevant
  • its now common at conferences for organisers to ask attendees to hashtag conference related blogposts/photos/twitter eg: #io2009
  • the "market" of 18-24 yr old suburban Males exists only as 1 of a nearly infinite number of ways of slicing/dicing a population

Read this bookCrowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe

Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe has been reviewed as a separate blog post

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler

And something a bit different

To the extent that a book can be described as original, Read this bookSnow Crash by Neal Stephenson is deserving of the moniker. About the only common ground that his work shares with others is that ink is applied to paper using the same letters, and then pages are bound to create a book.

One date to remember when reading this work is that it was first released in June of 1992 after three years in the making. This is critical, as so much of what was absolute fiction then, may now be found within the pages of Wired Magazine. There are even words he originated that are common to most people who use a computer, especially if you have ever tried what he calls the Metaverse, touring it as an Avatar.

Technology, a version of what today’s society might look like one day, viruses that share traits whether attacking a human or a silicon life form, the origins of language based on Biblical text, it just never stops. He is an extraordinary artist who chooses to express his art through words. It is a unique ride if you have yet to take it, and one that you will never forget.

3 thoughts on “Books to Read: Business, Globalisation, Economics, Internet/Information Industry, Big Picture Lateral Thinking”

  1. Now a lot of these books are either on my list or is going on my list. There are a few books that I strongly recommend but the one that I would encourage you to read it the one called “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. It is truly priceless.

    EDITOR: thanks Mikael. I read “How to win friends and influence people” several years ago

  2. Hi Neerav,

    I’m currently reading The End of Oil by Paul Roberts (2004). It’s a very interesting book that really makes you think about the unsustainable use of oil and where we are heading. Sobering stuff.


    EDITOR: thanks Mark, added that book to the list

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