Crossroads

At the intersection of technology, finance and the Pacific Rim.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Best Books I Read for 2009

I am much obliged to those who continue to tune in to this site. I thought (since now is downtime) that I would relate to you the top books that I read for business--now I say this with some hesitation because many of these books have nothing to do with business--but I will try to explain briefly the connection.

- Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson

I picked up this book at the airport because I couldn't find anything else and then starting reading it....Wow! I gave it to a very wise, good friend who does not usually read books and he could not put it down. And I even gave it to my Mom, who (at 90) could not stop talking about it. So what does this book teach? It's all about having a mission, individual determination, and the power of an idea. It is simply the best book on entrepreneurship that I have read and on my all time favorite list.

- Influencers, Kerry Patterson
The subtitle to the book was "The Power to Change Anything"--which I thought was a bit hokey--meaning rather sudsy with sales and overblown promises. But the stories of people who have been able to change dramatically human behavior is riveting. I bought the book because I was desperately trying to figure out how to make radical changes in people. And this book has the answer--or I think it does. Most impressive was a lady who runs a series of businesses in San Francisco where the employees are ex-convicts of violent crimes--the book details how she (yes, she) was able to train and change the thinking of such people, to the point that more than 90% never commit another criminal act. Amazing. It belies the old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

- Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
this is a book about how to achieve excellence--thus the title, "Outliers". According to Gladwell, who looks at case studies of Bill Gates, the Beatles and many others, you need to put in about 10K hours of deliberate practice--i.e., time where your mind is concentrating on the task at hand. It is a testament to the power of perseverance and pursuing that about which you are passionate.


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