The most important book on politics I have read in the past 20 years. Fukuyama summarises the state of liberal democracies in 150 pages that are easy to read. The last chapter he describes guiding principles for how to move forward from the rut most of the liberal democracies are in today. Invigorating.Buy this book
I think I read this for the first time in 2009. It has become one of my all-time favourite books. It’s short, it’s full of wisdom. I refer to some principles outlined in The Laws of Simplicity in my daily work. And I practice Sort, Label, Integrate, Prioritise (SLIP) almost every week. This book has had a profound impact on how I see the world and how I tell others about the world.Buy this book
This was quite possibly my favourite book of 2019. It’s one of those mind-expanding works that changes the way you look at things. Having grown up during the timespan Baricco treats, it makes me look back at that history with even more awe than it was. It’s fun to read, educational, and changes the way you think about things. Novel, business book, history book and opinion piece all in one. I think this will become one for the all-time favorites list.Buy this book
At the moment of writing, this book is only available in Dutch.
An essay about the environment humans live in. Why we should preserve it. And what we should do now to stop depletion. The only thing I found sad about this book, is that I did not read it until the 2019 edition was published. It is a well-written text that is stylistically easy to digest – which is not always the case with philosophy books. The 2019 edition bundles the original unadapted text from the eighties and extra discourse about that original text. I find the ideas in this work so seminal it should be part of the school curriculum.
Alain de Botton is one of my favourite contemporary philosophers. In this book, he explains with apt examples how our environment can make us feel pleasant, or unhappy. Many principles from this book translate well to other forms of design. One of the most important books I ever read.Buy this book
Even the form of this book lives and breathes the principles and philosophy described inside. In a digital age, this is necessary, mandatory reading. Changed the way I look at the world. Very powerful.Buy this book
Visionary essay on media by Marshall McLuhan, made understandable by graphic designer Quentin Fiore. This is mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in communication in the 21st century. Fun fact: the title was a mistake at first. McLuhan’s adagium was “the medium is the message”. However, it is generally accepted he left it as is because it was an apt play of words.Buy this book
Invigorating book by Tony Fadell, one of the designers on the iPod project at Apple. Some highlights for me: “The only failure in your 20s is inaction.” and “You can only have one customer. Whether you’re B2B2C, B2C, B2B or any other form.” He also gives the advice to “Have at least one really big launch. And another one to three smaller launches every year.” – all in all I’d like to re-read this multiple times. Contains practical advice, but also fires you up to set the bar high for whatever you build.Buy this book
Remarkable book by a remarkable man who found a way to find meaning in life when everything around him made that harder. I like that it’s exactly as long as it should be. One of the lines that stuck with me the most was “ I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”Buy this book
This (audio)book from (contested and admired) scientist David Sinclair succeeded in making me enthusiastic about the field of longevity. I can’t speak to the science that backs of some of the claims here. And specifically with regards to food supplementation, there seems to be some serious counter-evidence to some of the claims made around Resveratrol, NMN and other compounds. However, for me the big takeaway here is that this field of study really deserves more attention. Not so we can endlessly prolong life per se, but so we can live it in a dignified way up until the end.Buy this book
The subtitle is a bit lame, but the content is remarkably good. I liked this book because the writer effectively summarises ideas from different other books and bundles them in one smooth to read package. Many of the things in here are not original, however they serve as a good reminder and practical guide for how to stay grounded in life, love and work. I am confident I will re-read this over the next years.Buy this book
You can be pro Gates or anti Gates, the fact is that he wrote an important book that makes a very compelling case to move to a net zero carbon economy by 2050. It’s full of interesting numbers and facts about climate change, the technological, political and societal advances we’ll need to get there. The writing is clear too. Enjoyed it!Buy this book
An enjoyable business book written by a good storyteller. The story starts some time before he began as the CEO of The Walt Disney Company. The book is full of explicit, practically applicable lessons. They are summarized in the introduction and the appendix. The meat of the book is full of good stories with behind the scenes details about the Pixar acquisition, the Lucasfilm acquisition, strategic discussions with board members and many more. I loved it. I listened to the Penguin/Randomhouse audiobook.Buy this book
If you have a long train ride home, you can finish this book. The writer tries to summarise human stupidity with a semi-scientific approach. Considering the topic, I think Cipolla does a great job of avoiding any cynicism. I found it hilarious and educational at the same time. Even though there is obviously no scientific basis for the claims, it taught me something about myself and the world around me nonetheless. I read the Dutch translation of this book.Buy this book
At the moment of writing, this book is only available in Dutch.
If, 500 years from now, someone wants to grasp today’s zeitgeist, they would only have to read this book. I found it one of the rare books that deals with technology, that is neither dystopian nor utopian. Neither technical nor technically wrong. And if there is one line that sums up the hope of an entire generation, it must be this: “. . . the entire digital economy is based on naive trust.”
I read this book at a time when the company I founded is slowly growing. I want to create a workplace where people enjoy working together. Simon Sinek is a guiding light and answers the most important question: why does a team pull together, get the work done, and feel fulfilled to boot?Buy this book
The life story of Marjane Satrapi, told and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi. A graphic novel that holds the perfect balance between the grim realities of a war-torn youth and a type of subtle humour I find hard to describe. I found it at the same time entertaining, intellectually challenging and light enough to read on a Sunday afternoon. I read the Dutch translation.Buy this book
A book that dives deep into why we make certain choices. Provides clear examples and interesting studies, some of which I still contemplate when I design. Shows how to influence people’s choices. If you use this to do good, it can be very powerful. One of my favourites.Buy this book
A good friend of mine recommended Alessandro Baricco. The first book I read was “Silk”. I read this on the plane to New-Zealand. Silk is a tiny book and very pleasant to read. I really like the way Baricco plays with conventional ways of storytelling. Somehow, he manages to transport me to France and Japan with just a few sentences.Buy this book
A classic. I read The Psychology of Everyday Things as part of my graphic design curriculum at the Media & Design Academie. It profoundly changed the way I look at things. The title of the book has since been updated to The Design of Everyday Things, but the message and content are still the same. Pleasant to read and full of wisdom. Don Norman at his best!Buy this book
Decent book by the late Clayton Christensen and his co-authors. He makes some interesting points about career and life choices, ethics and others. However, the overtly religious approach to some topics bothered me. They don’t make it a bad book per se, but they do make some points a bit one-sided.Buy this book
What makes Israel so innovative and entrepreneurial? The answer lies in a classic cluster of the type Harvard professor Michael Porter has championed, Silicon Valley embodies, and Dubai has tried to create. This is a nice business book that looks at things from a unique perspective. It’s more of a nice story than something you can practically apply. It brought me some inspiration and a different way to look at innovation, business, and life.Buy this book
Dale Carnegie is the Tim Ferris of his time. Excellent book that is both entertaining and useful—however you like to take it. Gave me insight and some neat tricks to stop worrying—a wake up call so to speak.
Some advice is religiously-tinted and may therefore sound a bit dated. There is also a lot of show-by-telling of things that were relevant in the early 1940s. But if you translate it to today’s society and read the book in its context, you will find principles that you can apply in your life right now anyway.Buy this book
I’m still not entirely sure what this book tries to be. I’m surprised I made it to the end (it took me months). Perhaps, it can best be summarized in this last line from the last chapter “…it demands seeing individual freedom as nothing more than a way for all of us to be oppressed.” The book reads like a depressing personal account of someone who tries to sell their pessimistic world view as objective truth based on cherry-picked research references. I did like some entertaining chapters of the more neutral-observation type.Buy this book
Graphic novel that provides background to the events leading up to the economic and political earthquakes of the beginning of the 21st century. The author succeeds in making otherwise somewhat dry material appealing for a wider audience. The story mainly revolves around poking holes in objectivist philosophy developed by Ayn Rand. Interesting read if you want to understand the events of the early 2000’s better. The graphic style and story are a bit too apocalyptic for my taste, and I thought some story lines were a bit simplistic or lacked nuance. I guess there’s only so much you can put in a graphic novel.Buy this book