A lot of us make the best of summer by catching up on our reading. I personally love reading at the beach, or just going to my favourite neighbourhood coffeeshop on a hot summer day, sit in the shade and enjoy a book and a cold beverage.
I handpicked some of the books that, so far this year, have been the most fascinating and impactful, and that are also excellent summer reading material. Enjoy!
Summer is a great time to slow down a bit, and do the proper checks and balances of the first half of the year. If you've been thinking about optimising the way you work, improve your focus and boost your productivity, Cal Newport's "Deep Work" is a great start. In this book, Cal Newport analyses how, nowadays, we're constantly shifting our focus between short, scattered and (usually) non-urgent tasks — shallow work — while we should be aiming for longer, meaningful, more focused periods of work — deep work — during which we dedicate our full attention to the task at hand. Several Deep Work techniques are presented, alongside with excellent examples, showing how we can reshape the way we work, in order to produce better — and potentially faster — results, given that we're not constantly being interrupted by phone calls, emails, and all other sorts of distractions.
On a related note, "The Obstacle is the Way" takes you on a journey throughout stories of perseverance, failure and triumph, from impressive characters that shaped worl history, such as Marcus Aurelius, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emilia Earhart, and Steve Jobs. In an era where most of the barriers and obstacles we see in our lives are intangible and, very often, self-imposed— fear, change aversion and other mental blockers — Ryan Holiday reminds us of the continuous process of trial and error, embracing new opportunities to proactively dismantle the obstacles in our way.
I'm fascinated about human behaviour. That's why I enjoy reading about organisational culture so much, or simply how people do things and learn from their experience. It's really incredible that we're able to learn from the experiences of leaders in world-class, disruptive organisations, taking a peek behind the scenes and understanding why they operate the way they do.
Laszlo Bock is brilliant at sharing the multiple experiments they did at Google to optimise their operations and processes. Rather than simply amplifying their successful stories, I particularly enjoyed that he gave special detail to the unsuccessful ones, dissecting them and presenting their key takeaways.
For the sci-fi fans, this is a must read! And for someone that, like me, hasn't explored this genre that much, you'll be impressed with the rhythm/cadence of the narrative. It's was almost like you're watching a movie! Blake Crouch was very considerate when it comes to the ratio of science and storyline, introducing concepts whenever the plot required them and providing a level of detail and complexity that is attainable for the readers that are less familiar with physics/quantum physics. This is clearly one of those books that you can't stop reading: the characters are meticulously developed on par with the story, so the more you learn about them, the more you want to continue reading!
Last, but definitely not the least, still in the topic of science, I recommend Neil deGrasse Tyson's new book. Globally, we're at this interesting junction when there are a lot of polarised ideas about science — specially climate change — it's validity and accuracy. This book couldn't be more timely. Dr. Tyson's narrative is as engaging as his public speaking so, fear not, you'll finish this book with a better understanding of the great majority of concepts presented. Specially, you'll have a better picture of how the Universe, along with all the stars, galaxies, planets, and our dear Earth, have come to exist. It's never enough to get a refresher on how our ever changing, ever evolving Universe has come together, specially if it's done with a good sense of humour. This is also a great opportunity to appreciate the beauty of this invisible orchestra of energy, atoms, molecules … that, some million years ago, were combined and sparked the beginnings of life!
Enjoy the summer☀️ Thanks for reading!