I believe that books are besides our own experiences a main part of our knowledge and therefore also a decisive part of our character. There is a saying:" Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are." I think there is a similarity between books and friends and for this reason the choices for books might describe a person also quite well. In this sense "Show me your bookshelf and I will tell you who you are." I would like to share some of my favorite books I have read through the years which were definitely an enhancement for my life.
The Black Swan - The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan is not just one of my favourite books it is really one of the best works done in the field of statistics. The book discovers the flaws of the standard normal distribution for our reality splitting it into Mediocristan and Extremistan.
This is in fact a troubling insight since the risk management of the whole financial industry is based on the assumptions which follow the modern portfolio theory. Besides those quantitative topics there are a lot of philosophical concepts which relate to his work and connect it with everyday life.
I have read a lot of books which taught me valuable skills or certain experiences I could learn from but The Black Swan is a book which helps you to receive a completely new point of view of our reality. It changes your perception for the tradeoff between risk and return and makes your senses sharper to profit from situations where your human nature will mislead you due to common used patterns or evolutionary limited resources. This book is an absolute must read to understand our modern society independently of your profession, political party or religion.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I have written a post some time ago why biographies are an easy way to learn valuable life lessons from other people without the necessity of spending a whole lifetime to actually obtain them. I believe that Steve Jobs is one person of the last century who changed not only the way we live in a significant way but also created with the introduction of iTunes and the App Store a multibillion dollar industry for developers, publishers and intermediaries.
On top of that the book is filled with insights how his business approach and problem solving worked. One of my favourite passages is when he rejoined Apple which was at this time not the giant we know today and deranged the messed assortment reducing it to the famous iPad, iPhone and iMac. Reading this book discloses Steve Jobs mind which has formed the future before it arrived.
Never Split the Difference
I have found this book more or less by accident browsing through the web, clicking on one of those "books you need to read this summer" topics. This book actually changed my life in a significant way and is therefore my favourite book 2016. I can say this even if we have August right now. People are born with certain talents which enable them to achieve success in fields where others need to work hard for to keep up with those results. One of those gifts I have received is the ability to convince people to do what I want them to do even though I have never questioned how I do this in technical terms. So before I came across this book I knew what to say and more important how to say it to receive a certain response even though I had no idea how it was working and of course my failure rate was way higher than now. On top of that I did not exactly knew where those decisive key moments were which could blow the whole social interaction up. Reading this book I had suddenly a basic and structured explanation why those things I have been doing my whole life actually worked and for the most important part, Chris demonstrated me why I am taking a loss during conversations. I suppose you have not seen the movie "Stalingrad Enemy at the Gates" but with this book I feel like this boy who can shoot pretty good in the Siberian woods, getting a super scoped rifle which shoots on point over 2000m. I mean it was a big help for me to have somebody to structure those skills since I didn't even know that there is a serious science based knowledge about that. Thank you Chris so much for that! I would recommend this book to anybody since everybody of us has to deal with other people in life and this book shows basic mechanics how social interactions work. For those who feel confident in dealing with people, ( and I don't mean pushing for a hard yes on a selling contract, since this is bullshit, which is not even working anyway) understanding their needs and searching for a solution to solve real world problems creating a better situation for both parties this book is definitely your sniper rifle.