Top 5 takeaways after reading 30+ books in 2018

Whether you like reading or not, here is a list of insights or facts that impressed me most for your own inspiration – or even discovery of your next book to read.

1. Homo deus by Yuval Noah Harari
homo deus

“Evolution theory cannot square with the existence of a soul as the soul has no parts and hence cannot be gradually formed by mutations.”

Does this mean that souls don’t exist or that evolution theory needs to be re-invented the same way that Newton’s gravitation was taken to the next level by Einstein? The book does not go there but still it is a powerful insight.
Also enjoyed the reasoning on why communism failed: “the restrictions communism imposed did not allow the network effect to develop, internally or with the outside world.”

2. Manual for living by Epictetus

manual for living by Epictetus
“Do not care / desire for things in the power of others or just not in our power (wealth, promotion).”
This is the central theme of Epictetus philosophy and the starting point in Epictetus thinking that produce many more rules and advises. A challenging guideline to follow as ‘goals not in your control’ effectively refers to most of one’s goals such as good health, career ambitions, spouse etc. Since one cannot really change the topics that he or she cares about, the idea is to switch from wishes to achievements that one can make without relying on others’ contributions. In the case of career ambitions, one should not wish for good health but achievements that could improve his or her chances to land the next job – but not the actual landing of the next job.

3. The culture code by Daniel Coyle

the culture code

“The 10 red balloon challenge: 10 fed balloons were hidden across USA and awarding prize money for finding them. Various teams tackled it ranging from university teams to random individuals. The team that won managed it within only a few days by creating a pyramid-like reward offering 1,000 EUR to the person that found 1 balloon, 500 EUR to the person that recommended him, 250 EUR to the next etc.”
Impressive demonstration of the power of collaboration and networks.

4. Getting to yes by Roger Fisher

getting to yes
“Method of preparation for a negotiation:
Step 1: state what you want to achieve
Step 2: write down possible agreements that would satisfy both sides
Step 3: try to broaden the pie
Step 4: select your best outcome out of the possible agreements”
Simple, easy-to-follow & to-the-point.

5. Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict

tigger woods
“Tiger spent 1-2 hours per day from age 0 to 2 watching his dad hitting balls while his mother was serving him his dinner. At eleven months as soon as he stood straight he immediately tried the swing on his own.”
Interesting trivial about the most gifted golf player in the history of the game.
Please be sure to comment in case you have also read the same books and would like to add more takeaways that made an impression on you.

How innovation is like playing defence?

In sports, such as basketball, playing offence requires more talent vs playing defence. Of course there are basketball players who are more talented in defence than others but the truth is that defence is more about willingness & motivation than anything else.

Maybe it is not a conscious decision, but the main edge of defensive players is that they devote more of their energy on defence. Simple as that. Most offensive players would play equally good defence, or better even, if they devoted the same energy on defence.

Dennis Rodman in action, 8 times in the NBA’s All-Defensive Team

The same applies to innovation. Innovation is a process. Starts with understanding what is important, then identifying an issue or opportunity which if resolved or captured would greatly add value. Then ideation comes into place. Then implementation of the top idea. And finally measurement of results to confirm whether value was indeed created.

Innovation being a process means that anyone can follow it. It is a matter of willingness to question the status quo, to push business forward, to dare to try new things. Innovation is a process and as such it can be mastered with practice. Some people are better at following some of these steps, but it is not talent that distinguishes innovative people, it is more attitude than anything else.

Let me repeat this because it is empowering really. Innovation is not so much about talent but it is more about having the right mentality & practice. Why is this important? Well, it means that Innovation – the holy grail of business today – is just one realisation away.

My advice. Make innovation a priority. Find a priority in your business, gather data, challenge everything by asking many questions, experiment with ideas, analyse data, go back and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Innovation is a craft. You get better at it with every effort. And in the end it is a numbers game. The more experiments you do, the higher the chances one of them will deliver results. You only need willingness.

I will be sharing innovations i have contributed to or experienced first-hand in this space, both successful and not – unsuccessful efforts being equally important with the successful ones because one cannot have the one without the other. Failure is just part of the process.