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My reading list in 2020

Updated: Apr 5

Before I begin…

A month ago, a friend of mine advised me to switch my way of reading books from traditional ways to apps that give you the audio version of cliff notes of the whole book within 15 minutes. To which I replied:  when I was in high school I used to read cliff notes of the books so that I could pass exams. Knowledge was not on my agenda back then, I just wanted to pass.


But now, I am an old soul. As I said above, I do not read to complete books – I read to feed my curiosity, to learn & to become a better version of myself. I do not prefer nooks, kindles, or any audio/text apps that fast-track you through the edited version of the book.


Although I have nothing against your way of smart reading, as they say, “whatever floats your boat” I like my books in an old-fashioned way.


What I meant by that was I like to hold the book; I like to take the essence of it & I love to learn from it in a way that it was intended.


So, in light of these comments made above, I am sharing the readings I have done this year. I will not be mentioning the articles & video podcasts I have gone through this year. I am sharing some of them on my social media accounts. However, books are different, so this list and reviews of my readings are for old souls like me, who like to read just for the sake of reading & learning.


I will be sharing the list in order from least favorite to the most. Followed by the ratings by Goodreads & sourced/edited explanations of the books.


16 Anti-Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century


Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has enjoyed great success and provides a new theory about wealth and inequality. However, there have been major criticisms of his work. Anti-Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century collects key criticisms from 20 specialists—economists, historians, and tax experts—who provide rigorous arguments against Piketty’s work while examining the notions of inequality, growth, wealth, and capital.


15 The rules of management


Managers are expected to be leaders, innovators, magicians, dynamic motivators, stern but fair judges, diplomats, politicians, therapists, financial wizards, warriors, and saints. They must deliver on executive mandates, no matter how crazy. For some people, it’s a breeze. They glide effortlessly through the hassles and politics, getting raises, promotions, and results. They know the rules of management and rules for managing a team — and managing yourself. They’re surprisingly easy to learn and live by. Richard Templar has brought them all together in one place: the quick, irreverent The Rules of Management. Templar covers everything from setting realistic targets to holding effective meetings; and finding the right people to inspire loyalty. Learn when and how to let people think they know more than you (even if they don’t) — and recognize when they do! Discover how to adapt your style to each team member … get people to bring solutions, not problems … create your private game plan for success, complete with Plans “B” and “C” … capitalize on luck … manage stress and stay healthy … get respect … and take charge.


Very refreshing if you are an entrepreneur or at C level, and very useful if you are trying to become an entrepreneur or a leader.


14 Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl: And Why You Should Too


Investing isn’t a man’s world anymore—and this provocative and enlightening book shows why that’s a good thing for Wall Street, the global financial system, and your portfolio.

Warren Buffett and all of the women of the world have one thing in common: They are better investors than the average man. It’s been proved by psychologists and scientists, and the market calamities of the past two years have only provided more statistical and anecdotal evidence of the same. Here are just a few characteristics of female investors that distinguish them from their male counterparts.


13 The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking


Most of us face the same questions every day: What do I want? And how can I get it? How can I live more happily and work more efficiently? A European bestseller, The Decision Book distills into a single volume the fifty best decision-making models used on MBA courses and elsewhere that will help you tackle these important questions.


This was one of the simplest among the books I have read this year, a recap of all decision-making models known in the business world.


12 Make Your Bed


If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.

On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves and the world for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. This timeless book is told with great humility and optimism. It provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.


Due to my work nature, I encounter a lot of military people & I do know a lot of military men. Their discipline always mesmerized me & this book purchase is a result of me watching a YouTube video clip of an admiral making a moving speech. However, this admiral also made the case for me to further dive into books of military men like Jocko Willink. His book is on my further reading list.


11 Mindpower into the 21st Century


In Mind Power Into the 21st Century, John Kehoe has articulated a set of life-changing principles for charting a course to success and happiness. More than that, Mind Power Into the 21st Century presents a remarkably specific and practical guide.


If you haven’t read Joe Dispenza,  this book is awesome.  I find Joe’s take on this topic much more interesting & appealing. However, Kehoe also should not be discredited.


10 Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online with Sales Funnels


DotCom Secrets is not just another “how-to” book on internet marketing. This book is not about getting more traffic to your website–yet the secrets you’ll learn will help you to get exponentially more traffic than ever before.


This book is not about increasing your conversions–yet these secrets will increase your conversions more than any headline tweak or split test you could ever hope to make.


Low traffic or low conversion rates are symptoms of a much greater problem that’s a little harder to see (that’s the bad news) but a lot easier to fix (that’s the good news).


What most businesses have is a “funnel” problem. Your funnel is the online process that you take your potential customers through to turn them into actual customers. Everyone has a funnel (even if they don’t realize it), and yours is either bringing more customers to you or repelling them.

In this updated edition, Russell Brunson, CEO, and co-founder of the multimillion-dollar software company ClickFunnels reveals his greatest secrets to generating leads and selling products and services after running tens of thousands of his split tests.


Stop repelling potential customers. Implement these processes, funnels, frameworks, and scripts now so you can fix your funnel, turn it into the most profitable member of your team, and grow your company online.


9 Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice


It doesn’t matter what message, product, or service you are selling online. If you don’t build a mass movement of people who will pay to hear your message, it’s unlikely you will achieve success. Expert Secrets Will Help You Too

         ▪        Find your voice and give you the confidence to become a leader…

         ▪        Build a mass movement of people whose lives you can affect…

         ▪        Make this calling a career, where people will pay you for your advice…

Your message can change someone’s life. The impact that the right message can have on someone at the right time in their life is immeasurable. It could help save marriages, repair families, change someone’s health, grow a company, or more…But only if you know how to get it into the hands of the people whose lives you have been called to change.


Expert Secrets will put your message into the hands of people who need it. Russell Brunson is a serial entrepreneur who started his first online company while wrestling at Boise State University. Within a year of graduating, he had sold over a million dollars worth of his products and services from his basement!

For over ten years Russell has been starting and scaling companies online now. He owns a

software company, a supplement company, and a coaching company. He is one of the top

super affiliates in the world.


Expert Secrets was created to help entrepreneurs around the world to start, promote, and grow their companies online.


Russel Brunson was introduced to me by my partner & I am glad that I took on his advice to read his books. He is a unique expert who is being paid by Fortune 500 companies to consult.


8 What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence


People know who Stephen Schwarzman is – he’s the man who took $400,000 and co-

founded Blackstone, the investment firm that manages over $500 billion (as of January

2019). He’s the CEO whose views are sought by heads of state. He’s the billionaire, the

philanthropist who founded Schwarzman Scholars, this century’s version of the Rhodes

Scholarship, in China. But behind these achievements is a man who has spent his life

learning and reflecting on what it takes to achieve excellence, make an impact, and live a life of consequence.


Folding handkerchiefs in his father’s linen shop, Schwarzman dreamed of a larger life,

filled with purpose and adventure. After starting his career in finance at a financial firm

called DLJ, Schwarzman began working at Lehman Brothers where he ascended to run

the mergers and acquisitions practice.  To found Blackstone he eventually partnered

with his mentor and friend Pete Peterson, where Schwarzman’s simple mantra ‘don’t lose money’ has helped Blackstone become a leading private equity and real estate investor, and manager of alternative assets for institutional investors globally.


Schwarzman is also an active philanthropist, having given away more than a billion dollars. His gifts have ranged from creating a new College of Computing at MIT for the study of artificial intelligence to establishing a first-of-its-kind student and performing arts center at Yale to founding the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing – the single and the largest philanthropic effort in China’s history from international donors.


Schwarzman has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence from deal-making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy.

If you haven’t done your research Buffet, Dalio & Swarzmann – then your understanding of investing might be flawed. This trio is at the top of the food chain for me.


7 Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing 


Drawing on more than a decade of new work Kim and Mauborgne show you how to move beyond competing, inspire your people’s confidence, and seize new growth. They are guiding you step-by-step through how to take your organization from a red ocean crowded with competition to a blue ocean of uncontested market space 


By combining the insights of human psychology with practical market-creating tools and real-world guidance, Kim and Mauborgne deliver the definitive guide to shift yourself, your team, or your organization to new heights of confidence, market creation, and growth. They show why nondisruptive creation is as important as disruption in seizing new growth.


The reason this book is in 7th place is because it is a repetition of its previous version with updated cases. Blue ocean strategy is an awesome topic to dwell on. I even attended the Blue Ocean strategy course at INSEAD in 2014 in France, Fontainebleau.


6 21 Lessons for the 21st Century


How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever. Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves to survive.


5 The Future of Power


In the era of Kennedy and Khrushchev, power was expressed in terms of nuclear missiles, industrial capacity, numbers of men under arms, and tanks lined up ready to cross the plains of Eastern Europe. By 2010, none of these factors confer power in the same way: industrial capacity seems an almost Victorian virtue, and cyber threats are wielded by non-state actors. Politics changed, and the nature of power-defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes you want had changed dramatically. Power is not static; its story is of shifts and innovations, technologies, and relationships. Joseph Nye is a long-time analyst of power and a hands-on practitioner in government. Many of his ideas have been at the heart of recent debates over the role that America should play in the world: his concept of “soft power” has been adopted by leaders from Britain to China; “smart power” has been adopted as the bumper-sticker for the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. This book is the summation of his work, as relevant to general readers as to foreign policy specialists. It is a vivid narrative that delves behind the elusive faces of power to discover its enduring nature in the cyber age.


4 The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World


Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot. Call it what you like, it matters now more than ever. In The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that financial history is the back story of all history.

From the banking dynasty that funded the Italian Renaissance to the stock market bubble that caused the French Revolution, this is the story of booms and busts as it’s never been told before.

With the world in the grip of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, there’s never been a better time to understand the ascent – and descent – of money.


3 Spy the lie


Three former CIA officers—among the world’s foremost authorities on recognizing deceptive behavior—share their proven techniques for uncovering a lie

Imagine how different your life would be if you could tell whether someone was lying or telling you the truth. Be it hiring a new employee, investing in a financial interest, speaking with your child about drugs, confronting your significant other about suspected infidelity, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences.


Former CIA officers, Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero are among the world’s best at recognizing deceptive behavior. Spy the Lie chronicles the captivating story of how they used a methodology Houston developed to detect deception in the counterterrorism and criminal investigation realms. It shows how these techniques can be applied in our daily lives.


Through fascinating anecdotes from their intelligence careers, the authors teach readers how to recognize deceptive behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, that we all tend to display when we respond to questions untruthfully. They are sharing their methodology and their secrets to the art of asking questions that elicit the truth with the general public for the first time.


Spy the Lie is a game-changer. You may never read another book that has a more dramatic impact on your career, your relationships, or your future.


I work with people & I always was attentive to different traits of personalities & body language. However, this book takes you beyond to further understanding of micro-expressions & deceptive behavior. CIA always takes things to another level.


2 The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness


Getting rich is not just about luck; happiness is not just a trait we are born with. These aspirations may seem out of reach, but building wealth and being happy are skills we can learn.

So what are these skills, and how do we learn them? What are the principles that should guide our efforts? What does progress look like?

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, philosopher, and investor who has captivated the world with his principles for building wealth and creating long-term happiness. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a collection of Naval’s wisdom and experience from the last ten years, shared as a curation of his most insightful interviews and poignant reflections. This isn’t a how-to book or a step-by-step gimmick. Instead, through Naval’s own words, you will learn how to walk your unique path toward a happier, wealthier life.

I would call this book a modern philosophy & life-coaching. Imagine a very well-read person who is successful & happy – and all he does is share his take on things, experiences, wisdom & memories. Life-changing! 


1 Lesson of history


A concise survey of the culture and civilization of mankind, The Lessons of History is the result of a lifetime of research from Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Will and Ariel Durant.

With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, Will & Ariel Durant take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of humanity over time. By juxtaposing the great lives, ideas, and accomplishments with cycles of war and conquest, the Durants reveal the towering themes of history and give meaning to our own.

This book is more than a history book & it is a blend of philosophy & history. The Durants are everything that Yuval Harrari wants to be. This book triggered my deepest interest in reading history.


Pura Vida

Rashad



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