My Best Reads – 2019 – Part 2

1. This is Marketing, Seth Godin


I’m not sure how many years it has been now that Seth Godin has written a daily blog which is sent by email to thousands of people worldwide. Some are just a few lines, some much longer explorations on an idea. I’ve been reading them for a few years and when suitably inspired have shared a few on this blog.

The book is one of the best and most up to date that I’ve read in a long time on the subject of marketing, from the perspective of all the ways we seek to influence people to make particular decisions.

2. Vernon Subutex One, Virginie Despentes


This is the first in a three part novel series. I had probably not read something that had such a gut-thumping impact in quite a few years. Translated from French it goes deep in to modern society, French politics and the world we live in today.

I also read the second in the trilogy, but it didn’t quite hit with the same impact. The third and final part is, I believe, available in the French, but yet to be released in English translation.

3. Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan


I’ve long believed that McEwan is one of the most powerful British writers today. It made the Man Booker Shortlist for 2019 with good reason. A powerful exploration of a near future when Artificial Intelligence has reached the point of a human standard robot that can be purchased and taken in to one’s home.

The interplay and disruption of ethics and life perspectives for all who interact with the robot is fascinating.

4. Hagseed, Margaret Attwood


Maybe I’m just a contrarian! 🙂

In the year when so much attention of the media and readers was on one of Margaret Attwood’s other works, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ However, as much as I loved that novel and many of her others, the one that really got my attention in 2019 was one maybe a little less known.

It’s a witty modern reworking of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ and the central character of Felix is brilliantly portrayed.

5. When, Dan Pink


Dan Pink is one of those writers I find takes scientific research in the social sciences, makes it accessible and shares it in ways that can enable us all to live smarter lives. As a repeat reader of some of his earlier books, this was one i was waiting for when it came out.

‘When’ didn’t disappoint. It provides fascinating evidence on why, as humans, we’re not necessarily good at getting the timing of things right, but also contains some very practical steps we can take to improve our ability to get the timing of things better.

6. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut


In the first half of my book list I mentioned that Murakami was one of two writers I ‘discovered’ late in 2019. Vonnegut was undoubtedly the other. My choice for this list was a toss up between ‘Cat’s Cradle’ and ‘Slaughterhouse 5’. Both were incredibly satisfying reads.

‘Cat’s Cradle’ was published in the year i was born. A near future science fiction novel, it explores the relationship between people and technology that was so starkly presented with the invention (and use) of the nuclear bomb. Today, we have many parallels as people are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas about whether to use new technologies like AI, advanced robotics etc. for good or for bad.

7. The Future of the Mind, Michio Kaku


I’ve never fully understood why, but as a boy and at school I never really managed to fall in love with Science enough to pursue the science subjects for study.  This was strange, because in my youngest years I spent hours looking at things through a microscope, used to make simple circuits with an electrical kit and took things apart to see how they worked (though they were never the same again!). I can’t help thinking that if people like Michio Kaku and Neil DeGras Tyson had been around things might have been very different.

I recently heard a comment that is so true – when you go in to bookshops today, the science fiction section is so much smaller than it used to be when i was a kid. In fact, today, most of what you find there could be more classified as fantasy. This is because at an ever faster pace, science has turned all the things that were once science fiction in to science reality.

Space was once considered to be the final frontier for man’s knowledge and learning. Today, it’s the human mind. We’re still an awfully long way from cracking our understanding of its workings, but we’ve come a long way in the last 20 years. This book takes that scientific learning and makes it accessible, whilst exploring possible answers on the parts we still don’t know. It also explores the fascinating ways in which this new knowledge is already starting to change the way we interface with the human mind and conjecture on where this learning could take us in the future.

So, that completes my best reads lists for 2019. There were some other books that ran close to making the list. Now nearly 2 months in to 2020 I can promise that if it carries on like this, then this year’s list will be brilliant.

I had a sobering thought the other day. In the rest of my life, if I’m lucky I may have time to read 1,000 more books. On that basis, it’s going to make sense to be quite discerning about which new books i choose to read, especially as I want to make sure that there’s a good amount of that time available to reread the books that have brought me most joy and satisfaction in my life.

Happy reading !!

Books, Books, Books

Books Books

It’s an established fact that I’m something of a bookworm (and therefore love a good book list. What better to share at this time of year when we get the chance to recharge our batteries a bit, and also to begin to reflect on the year (and this time, decade) gone by and what we want to achieve, be, have and do in the coming year.

So, I’ve got not just one but two book lists from Fast Company. The first list is books that top CEO’s have on their wish list at the end of 2019, while the second list is of books that top company Heads go back to time after time to find new inspiration:

Fast Company – CEOs on the Books on Their Wish Lists 2019

Fast Company – 10 Books that CEOs Keep Rereading

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to put together my own list of the books that had the biggest impact on me in 2019. So, watch out for that.

More Books To Read


We’re not even 20% in to the new century yet, but apparently it’s not too soon for some people to sit down and brainstorm out a list of the best 100 books of the century.

Regular readers of this blog know what a bookworm I am, so I’m still a sucker for a list like this. So, here is a list that suggests the best books so far this century:

The Guardian – 100 Best Books of the Twenty First Century

There are some excellent choices on the list and some that have now piqued my interest. I have some issues with some writers who are not included.  These include Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks, Hariki Murakami. Also, when one considers the biggest selling genres of books outside fiction there’s very little representation from the Self-Help or Management/ leadership/ Economics/ Business categories and not many biographies.

I have plenty of favourites on the list; Terry Pratchett, Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Haddon, Neil Gaiman, Ali Smith, Yuval Noah Harari, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes and the book given number one – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell.

Still, a worthwhile list with something for everyone – and it’ll soon be Christmas !!

Even More Great Reading

Reading a book

It seems that good reading lists are a bit like Number 11 buses – none come for ages, then they come three in a row. I shared a really good list a couple of days ago and here are two more. Needless to say, these have simply added to my ‘to be bought’ list that was already quite long enough, and motivated me to push on reading what I’ve already got lined up a bit faster!

Inc – 25 of the Most Inspiring Books Everyone Should Read

McKInsey – What Executives Are Reading in 2019

And for anyone who looks at these lists and says, “I don’t have time to read,” they had better never utter the words that they expect children to grow up to be lifelong learners (especially my fellow educators).

Enjoy 🙂


Book List

Adam Grant Books

Those who know me well (or have set foot in my home) know that i always surround myself with books. When electronic books and things like podcasts came along I thought I would probably slow down the number of books i bought and read. However, what’s happened is that I simply increased my consumption!

On my various bookcases I have one shelf on which i keep all the new books that are waiting to be read. Every time I pass it I’m taunted to read faster so as to satisfy my anticipation to get in to those books. When the contents of that shelf start to get a bit light, that’s my permission to buy some more. Already, there’s a list of around 17 books on an online book sale website ‘parked’ as my shopping list.

And then , ……………….. Adam Grant puts out the following note on books that are coming soon. He’s privileged as a known and very prominent writer to receive advance pre-publication copies of lots of books (I even wonder when he last bought a book!)

This list contains at least three books that I knew were due out and was already looking forward to, but also a whole load more that look very interesting and some of which will undoubtedly find their way on to my ‘to buy’ list.

LinkedIn Article – Adam Grant – New Fall Books on Behavioral Science, Leadership and Life

So, Mark, read faster because there’s a load more books coming in soon!

Books For Success

I’m always receptive for good lists of books, especially when like this list, I’ve only read two of the recommended books already – and they are both good ones and among my favourites.

Success – 13 Must-Read Books on Success and Being Successful

Incidentally, the ones I’ve already read are the ones by Adam Grant and Tim Ferriss.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Reading List

All regular readers of this blog know what a bookworm I am.

So, a big ‘Thank You’ to Mark Zuckerberg for adding some great books to my ‘to be read’ list.

Here’s his list of 23 books;

Business Insider – Mark Zuckerberg’s Favourite Books

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