The best books I read in 2015

December 31 2015

The Martian - Andy Weir

I don’t tend to read fiction but I bought this on impulse as it was recommended by friends and also name dropped on the Tim Ferriss podcast. I’m so glad I did as read this cover to cover in two days.

It’s about a botanist called Mark Watney who becomes stranded on Mars after a storm nearly kills him while his team are evacuating the planet. He figures that he might be able to survive until the next scheduled mission to Mars and this book takes us through his endeavours in trying to do that. It can be a bit heavy on the science and math at times, but I found those to enhance the story. I wholeheartedly recommend reading this!

Zero to One - Peter Thiel

Peter’s premise is that entrepreneurs should be intent on building and maintaining a monopoly, and to achieve that their focus ought to be on creating something new and original. Not something that is a variant of an existing product or service. That way you avoid competition, and are able to scale up in to becoming a monopoly by being the first business to dominate that niche. He also provides some guidance on maintaining a monopoly and some insight in to the PayPal mafia.

Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead - Laszlo Bock

Overall I really liked this book. Laszlo is head of Google’s People Operations, and details how Google takes an unconventional approach to recruitment, hiring and managerial processes, and how these things have came to be(hint: it’s data driven). Some of the advice given probably isn’t practical for all businesses, but it’s a worthwhile read and there’s a lot to take away from it.