January is a sacred month for me.
I start my year by creating a very ambitious reading list.
I take the first few weeks to go through bookish newsletters that share anticipating new releases, old classics and books from different genres. At times, such reading lists are filled with overhyped books from renowned authors. But, I’ve been fortunate to find some extraordinary gems on the internet– thoughtfully selected titles that are insightful, inspiring, and intriguing.
I am grateful to the people who curate them because if not for them, I would have never found these amazing books, and authors.
Inspired by them, I thought of curating a reading list of Quovantis. Our in-house book club is always brimming with book recommendations, summaries and we love exchanging our thoughts on books we read.
So I asked my book club members what’s on their reading radar this year and why.
I’ll start with mine.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, Bill Gates
For me, 2020 was a year full of anxiety. The government imposed lockdown made me distressed and apprehensive of the future ahead. Simple joys like spotting a rainbow, adoring a clean blue sky, marveling at rare birds perched on my window sill, brought me happiness. But I soon realized that all of this was ephemeral. The moment we went back to the old normal, all of this would vanish.
This was also the time when I realized how merciless and selfish we’ve been with our cohabitants of the planet. I soon came to a conclusion– if we continue to be like this, we don’t have much time left on Earth. The Amazon and Australian fires proved the point. I started reading books to understand the what, and the why of climate change. My knowledge is still limited but now I am more environmentally conscious of my choices.
Last year, I read The Climate Solution and How to Grow Fresh Air. This year I am looking forward to reading Bill Gates’s new book– How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. Bill Gates has spent nearly 10 years studying the impact of climate change on life on Earth. His new book has ideas on how the world can achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions in order to change the course of the planet’s disastrous future. I am looking forward to reading some actionable advice that I can implement at home and in my life.
Inspired by Marty Cagan
Inspired is on my reading list simply because this year, I want to get inspired. Marty Cagan is a revered name when it comes to creating products that customers love. From what I’ve heard, this is a book of hope for all product managers — new as well as experienced. And as a new product manager, I need a lot of it.
One of the reasons why I picked this book for 2021 is because this year I want to learn the A-Z of product development, not just design and engineering. I have heard great reviews about this book from my peers (and on the internet.) And now I am looking forward to learning the nitty-gritty of the development process– how to market and sell a product, what role do team members play in the process, and how to bring the right people, process, and culture together.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
I am certain that I’m late to the party. Yes, Daniel Kahneman’s fan club party. If I start counting the number of people who have recommended this book, I’ll fall short of fingers.
Thinking, Fast and Slow is a book on behavioral psychology and decision-making that talks about concepts around how people make decisions. The reason why it’s on my reading list this year is because I want to understand how our brain makes decisions– fast and slow. I am certain that this book will leave a positive impact on my own worldview and also help me understand other people’s decisions.
Permaculture Design: A Step-By-Step Guide
Permaculture design is an integrated and ecologically harmonious method of designing human-centred landscapes. It imitates the closed loop systems where there is no waste generated and no resource wasted. By integrating land, people, resources, and the environment, it creates a mutually beneficial ecosystem.
I got interested in reading this book because my aim is to abandon the city lifestyle. I want to quit city life and live peacefully and in harmony with nature on a land of my own. I love nature, greenery, trees, animals so much that most of the time I dream of these things. I am hoping this book will enlighten me and give me a gentle nudge to pursue my dream.
Tuesdays with Morrie
The only reason I want to read this book is because I want to start reading. I am not a reader, although I always wanted to. The moment I pick a book, I fall asleep. Maybe it’s the choice of book or my timing is wrong.
I told this to one of my bookish friends and she recommended this book to me. I have already purchased it and am waiting for the weekend to arrive so that I can soak into the winter sun and dig in.
Outcome over Output by Josh Seiden
I developed the reading habit last year. With a few extra hours in hand I started reading books on design and product management. I never imagined I would be the one who would make a list of books to read. But here I am.
This year I want to read Outcome over Output by Josh Seiden. The excerpt of the book says that unlike physical products, the definition of ‘done’ is hazy for software products. When does one know the product is ready to launch? When does one know if the output is valuable?
As a product manager, I want to understand and learn how to create valuable products by doing outcome-based planning in product development.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I don’t have a reason to choose this comedy sci-fi over other self-help books. I just want to start my year with some mind-blowing fiction. Plus it’s a recommendation from Tarun and I trust him blindly when it comes to books.
It’s a 5-part series and I am going to read it one at a time. I am not panicking, you’re panicking. Wish me luck!
Nine Lies about Work
It’s an intimidating title for me and that’s why I want to start my year with this book. Something that gives me courage to accept the lies we’ve been telling ourselves since long and make changes in how things are done. I’ve heard great things about this book- from friends and the bookish community.
The best part of this book is it critiques popular HR practices and the assumptions passed on to us from years. I want to become aware of these flawed assumptions so that I can better understand the effect they have on the people, practices and the culture of the organization.
One thing that made me smile when I was compiling this list was the diverse topics that everyone selected. From fiction to nonfiction, we have every kind of reader in our group.
What are you reading this year?