BR 168: Mastery by Robert Greene

Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A Robert Greene masterclass. Lovely mix of biographical stories wrapped within a compelling framework. A lot of the stuff isn’t new. But, the combination is potent.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Mastery is a culmination of years of intense deep work. There is no easy way.

2. Apprenticeship is both awesome and dangerous. On the one hand, your learning curve speeds up with great mentors. However, very few mentors turn out to be large minded enough to “let go” – it is the typical bad parent problem all over again

3. Developing emotional intelligence is a useful tool to make sure your mastery gets the credit it deserves. This section spoke to me. I assumed I had high EI but had learnt from a relationship that that wasn’t the case. This chapter taught me one simple but critical lesson – stop listening to what people say. Instead, listen to what they do.

Book notes here

BR 167: The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: If you have any interest in technology whatsoever, this book is a must read. Awesome awesome 140 odd year journey starting from when Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace conceptualized the modern computer.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. History favors writing about the individual but great innovations were always made by teams that worked incredibly well with each other.. and almost always built upon the good work done by many others.

2. A collection technology change makers have been at the intersection of the arts and sciences (e.g. Steve Jobs). The big learning here is that diversity of skills, interests, etc., are really productive. The greatest tech innovations have come about when diverse minds came together.

3. Artificial intelligence has always been two decades away.. (;-))

Book notes here

BR 166: Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Good book overall. Greg’s concepts and thoughts definitely resonated and felt consistent. However, I felt that the book repeatedly prescribed ways to do things and hardly ever spoke about the psychology or the “why” behind things. In that sense, I felt it lacked the depth I’d have liked and often skated over the difficult stuff. And, I felt it was often a collection of lists without structure. (as a good illustration, I had to go back to the book notes to write my 3 top learnings..)

Top 3 Learnings:

1. A lovely story about Stephen Covey prioritizing his daughter above a friend who he ran into. The learning here was that we need to learn to say no to stuff we don’t prioritize so we can say yes to the stuff we do prioritize

2. Mission statements need to be concrete and inspirational (think of them as a 2×2)

3. Less is more. 🙂

Book notes here

BR 165: Case in Point by Marc Cosentino

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments and Learning: 

Top book if you are preparing for case interviews – I had case interviews in a couple of roles I interviewed for in my technology internship quest in the 1st year of my MBA – this book was very useful.

No learning blogged aside from – solve as many cases as possible and develop an approach that’ll help you tackle case interviews. 🙂

BR 164: Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments and Learning: 

Top book if you are preparing for case interviews – I had case interviews in a couple of roles I interviewed for in my internship quest in the 1st year of my MBA – this book was very useful.

My favorite learning from the book was the importance of taking the first 2 minutes in a case and developing an approach/structure for the problem. If you structure a problem wrong or just don’t, there are few ways back in a case.

No learning blogged aside from – solve as many cases as possible and develop an approach that’ll help you tackle case interviews. 🙂

BR 163: Decode and Conquer by Lewis Lin

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments and Learning: 

1. Same as ‘Cracking the PM Interview’ – really good book if you are preparing for Product Management interviews in technology

2. Learnings here

BR 162: Cracking the PM interview by Gayle Laakmann, Jackie Bavaro

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments and Learning: 

1. Top book if you are preparing for Product Management interviews in technology – this book was very helpful in my internship recruiting quest in the first year of my MBA

2. Book learnings here

BR 161: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments and Learning:
1. This is a very important book – designers all over have probably read this book. I think of it as a must read if you are interested in anything to do with design. I read this as I was thinking of product design.

2. If a user keeps making an error when using your product, the problem is with your product.

3. Learnings here