The best books I have read this year

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear 

I have read many books on habit forming, but this is by far the best book I have read on the subject.

It’s an amazingly well researched and well-written manual for inculcating good habits or breaking the bad ones.

What makes this so credible is that fact that the author speaks from his own personal journey of recovering from a terrible injury in high school that placed him in coma to clawing back as his university’s top athlete.

Practical, plausible and potent - this is a book that I will keep going back to.

2. Super pumped: The battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

The story of Uber is a story of arrogance, excesses, and power struggles – a cautionary tale of what happens when one chases scale and success at any cost

Uber’s story is both a growth hacker’s dream and an organisation's nightmare, at the same time :)

Deliciously written- this is clearly one of my favorite business books of this year.

The last time I felt like this was when I read ‘Hatching Twitter’ by Nick Bilton

If you have not read already, you should order now. Both of them!

3. Maximum Willpower by Kelly McGonigal

Kelly is an award winning psychology instructor at Stanford University.

The fact that this was in my bookshelf for years but l kept procrastinating it is an irony in itself.

Or may be like they say “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. I am so glad I read it finally.

The book is full of wisdom- like this introduction to willpower: “everyone struggles in someway with temptation, addiction, distraction and procrastination. These are not individual weaknesses that reveal our personal inadequacies- they are universal experiences and part of the human condition”

Isn’t that all of us :)

4.‘The Four- The hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google’ by Scott Galloway.

It’s an insightful, provocative and highly nuanced study of the ‘Four’ and the sectors they operate in - search, social, brand and retail.

There is so much highlight worthy in this book. For example Scott' take on business strategy "what can you do really well that is also really hard" -is the best articulation of strategy I have come across so far.

Scott’s ‘no holds barred’ writing style is an absolute delight to read.  Like how he sets the context of our times in the first chapter: “ it’s never been easier to be a billionaire, but it’s never been harder to be a millionaire”. Ouch!

5. That will never work by Marc Randolph

This one is an extraordinary memoir on the birth of Netflix. 

Engaging, inspiring and insightful- this is an absolute page-turner. 

I have always believed, for an entrepreneur -choosing “what not to do” is as important (if not more) as choosing  “what to do”. 

When you are on a growth path, everything seems like an opportunity and doable. But, this is where focus comes into picture. 

And no one puts this better than Marc Randolph in this book. He in fact equates focus to courage and I can’t agree more!

In my opinion, It’s one of those books that can be adapted into into a major motion picture. Are you listening Netflix?

6. Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

They say that running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure.

We run when we are scared, we run when we are ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.

I started running this year and I am hooked to it. 

So when I came across ‘born to run’ by Christopher McDougall - I picked it up immediately.

As exhilarating as a good run- this book starts easy, slowly picks pace and finishes on a high.

Couldn’t imagine a book on running could be so gripping.

7. Big billion startup - the untold Flipkart story by Mihir Dalal

A gripping read- this one is so well researched, well structured and well narrated that I was mighty impressed.

The book does justice to the story of Flipkart by covering  both its glory and vulnerability in right measures.

With so much chatter around start-ups, VC funding, valuations, etc- Mihir’s book is a great reckoner for anyone who wants to get a flavour of how the start up scene works

I am also optimistic that this book will encourage many more authors to write interesting books on Indian businesses.

8. Mind Without Fear by Rajat Gupta

Rajat Gupta was my childhood hero and I was heart broken when he was charged with insider trading.  He tells his side of story in this book 'Mind without fear'

From an orphan to an immigrant, to an international business icon and then an insider trading convict- Rajat's life story is dramatic to say the least

He’s a master narrator and once I started reading- I didn’t want to put it down.

There are so many lessons in this one- from both his accomplishments and his mistakes.

Author: Gurudev Prasad

December 21, 2019