At Nonpareil, we’re constantly curious and love learning–whether it’s a new tool, skill, or topic– so it’s no surprise that reading is at the top of our list of pleasurable pursuits. Summer is the perfect time to curl up with a good book, so we decided to compile a list of some of our favorite reads and what we’re excited to read next.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Former Apple and Google executive Kim Scott presents a simple framework that shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity and creating an environment where people love their work. This is a great read to new managers, experienced managers, or anyone who wants to help build workplace environment. Scott also provides actionable advice and insights for you to practice in your own workplace.
Audible Audiobook: (read by the author) https://amzn.to/2lUcoDj
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Carol Dweck’s ground-breaking book on how every area of our lives–school, relationships, sports–can be influenced by how we view our talents and abilities. She introduced the concept of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. This is a gamechanger in how we think about growth, success and personal development.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2IMh4Us
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg & Mike Chamberlain
A long-time favorite amongst product teams, designers, and entrepreneurs. It’s was sitting on our shelves for a while, about time we read it and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Leveraging stories across corporations and individuals, Duhigg helps us understand how habits form across individuals and societies. If you’ve read Nir Eyal’s Hooked, there are similar threads and themes that you’ll appreciate.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2KHcicM
Evicted by Matthew Desmond
We consider it a duty to be educated about our surroundings, broadly defined; that’s why we read things such as Evicted. In Evicted, Desmond follows eight families as they struggle to make ends meet. Books such as Evicted remind us of the centrality of home, the stability it provides and the trauma such a loss can induces. Without a home, nothing else is really possible.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2MItGyn
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This is Paul Kalanithi’s gripping and emotionally charged memoir about his life, illness battling stage IV lung cancer and confronting death. I’ve re-read sections, dog-eared much of the book and even cried at the end.
As Dr. Verghese suggests in his New York Times review, “I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. There is so much here that lingers, and not just about matters of life and death: One of the most poignant things about Dr. Kalanithi’s story is that he had postponed learning how to live while pursuing his career in neurosurgery. By the time he was ready to enjoy a life outside the operating room, what he needed to learn was how to die.”
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2Kxtju0
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This one was on so many “Best of” Lists, we felt compelled to read Americanah. This is the story about two young lovers, Ifemelu and Obinze, who flee a military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria.
Aside from the beautiful writing and storytelling, which was hard to put down, I found the cultural commentary on race in America, particularly from an outsider’s perspective, as someone one who has never experienced race before, eye-opening and enlightening.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2u0vH1h
What’s Up Next:
Quiet by Susan Cain
This book must have started a cultural revolution. It’s now commonplace to ask people if they’re introverted or extroverted or what their Myers’ Briggs classification is; there are pop-culture quizlets on how to tell if you’re an introvert or extrovert or how to work, date, relate to different personality types. Putting aside the fact that I’m an introvert, I can’t wait to read one of the books that has caused our extroverted culture to think so differently about personality and see what value it can unlock personally and professionally.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2IQAh7A
Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal
After sharing our learnings on high-performing teams with a few founders, a number of them recommended General McChrystal’s book. “Team of Teams offers insights into the modern practice of leadership and management required to navigate and succeed in this complex world.”
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2KrG4WU
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Running a growth team is as much about running a high performance team as it is about the tactics we employ. That’s why we’re equally obsessed with culture as we are with growth. As a growth organization, we rely on the collaboration of specialists from product managers, to acquisition specialists, to designers. We sometimes work remotely, too.
That’s why we’re really excited to read Coyle’s book on just this topic. In this book, Coyle, who currently works with the Cleveland Indians on performance culture and player development, turns his attention to successful groups. Coyle studied teams from Pixar to the US Navy SEAL Team Six, and concluded that group performance boils down to safety, shared risk, and purpose.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2u7NuUq
Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser
As tech workers who increasingly live in cities, we’re (partly) responsible for driving up rent prices, and we believe it as our imperative to educate ourselves about our role in the evolution of cities, our environment, and the future of urban life. That’s why Glaeser’s book is on this list. So what’s the story?
Glaeser states, “America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the three percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they’re dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly. Or are they? Yet as Glaeser addresses in this book, cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in cultural and economic terms) places to live.” We’re excited to dig in.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2MJQ22G
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
At Nonpareil, one of our goals for the next quarter is to write more, both internally and externally. We picked up this book to help us get into the writing mindset. As intimidating as writing can be, Lamott’s wit, humor and approachability–in just the first few chapters–make writing seem much more enjoyable and relatable. We’ll see what the rest of the book holds. We’re taking it “Bird by bird” so to speak 🙂
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2NnE53H
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
We can’t wait to read Roy’s second book, published nearly 20 years after her award-winning novel, The God of Small Things (and one of our personal favorites). The novel is set in India during peace and wartime, and connects the lives of a diverse set of characters and the worlds they live in.
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2KGF1Sm
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Everyone needs at least one good beach read, and this one’s ours for the summer. It’s been out for a while and we hear it’s even going to become a movie soon. Better read it before it’s out in theaters!
Audible Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2IQE44X
We’d love to hear your feedback! Have you read any of these book? Did you like them?