I'm a binge reader.
I read every day. Blog posts, short stories, novels, biographies, self-help books, business books, screenplays, graphic novels, comics, poetry (well, maybe not poetry); I consume millions of words every year.
Reading inspires me, it gives me ideas. It ignites my creativity and helps me join the dots between different projects I’m working on. I’ve taken something away from every book or article I’ve ever finished, but a handful have had a much greater impact on me than the others.
Below are some of the books, articles, blogchains and Twitter threads that have helped shape my worldview over the years.
Productivity & Personal Growth
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People—Stephen R. Covey’s essential tome on personal development, this is probably the book that has influenced me more than any other. I’ve owned three or four copies over the years because I keep giving them away. If you’ve never read it, order it now. You’ll be glad you did.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity—I’m no longer a strict follower of David Allen’s GTD methodology, but this was the first book to get me thinking about productivity. I went from being a disorganized ADHD magpie to laser-focused careerist overnight.
Mindfulness In Plain English—Sometimes you need to find a little calm in the storm. Mindfulness isn’t some sort of hippy fad inherited from Steve Jobs, it’s an essential habit if you want to keep from burning out in the modern tech industry.
Legacy: What The All-Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business of Life—The New Zealand All-Blacks are the most successful team in any sport, ever. And for good reason. Fifteen simple practices have resulted in an all-time win rate of 78%. No other team comes close.
The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organising Digital Information—Arguably one of the most influential productivity writers since David Allen, in this article Tiago Forte presents a tool-agnostic method for organising your actionable and non-actionable digital information that complements GTD perfectly.
Creativity & Innovation
Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!)—If you want to win at creativity then pay close attention to George Lois, the original Mad Man who changed the face of advertising with his provocative campaigns for the likes of MTV and VW. His best piece of advice? The word comes first…
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out—I’m not necessarily advocating the use of psychedelics as a means for finding creative inspiration, but Timothy Leary’s tripped-out manifesto is a masterpiece of leftfield philosophy which could get even the most conservative minds thinking differently.
Business & Strategy
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers—A brilliantly readable, no-holds-barred insight into the career of one of Silicon Valley’s most influential entrepreneurs. Ben Horowitz is the man responsible for writing Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager; listen to him.
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War—Observe, orient, decide, act. Indispensable advice for anyone who wants to be successful in any field; figure out what’s going on around you, decide what you need to do and act on it quicker than your opponent.
Strategy Letter I: Ben and Jerry’s vs. Amazon—Two decades after Joel Spolsky published this article it's even more relevant than ever. If you're starting a company, your most important decision is to choose what kind of company you're going to be. Are you Ben and Jerry's or are you Amazon? If you don't figure out which camp you're in, then everything is going to come crashing down around you.
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success—During his incredible career as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won eleven NBA championship rings and helped some of basketball's greatest-ever stars deliver their finest performances. The Zen master of sports coaching, Jackson remains one of the most innovative leaders of recent times. Essential reading for anyone who wants to guide their team to the top.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses—The bible of product management in the new millennium. Have ideas, build them, get them out in front of people and find out if they work. Product management isn’t complicated; it just needs you to take the bull by the horns.
Good Product Managers, Great Product Managers—A Twitter thread from Stripe's PM lead that contains some of the most insightful advice on the craft of product management since Marty Cagan's Inspired. Every PM who wants to level up their skills should have this bookmarked.