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5 Must-Read Books from 2023

Discover five insightful books, carefully curated for our readers from some of the best published in 2023, forming the perfect holiday reading list. From understanding how pockets have influenced the items we purchase to the closely guarded secrets of scaling a business, a guide on crafting luxury for the masses, inventive problem-solving strategies, and the timeless art of storytelling, these literary offerings equip you with actionable wisdom drawn from diverse realms of life.


John Doe

Published on

December 15, 2023

As we usher in 2024, we've curated a list of five must-read books. Each book in this collection borrows wisdom for non-tech economies and draws parallels on their applicability in leading technology startups of today.

Let's get started!

Book #1 How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner. 

“Scale changes everything!” is an often-heard phrase in the startup world.

Authored by Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg, the book delves into a vast database of 16,000 incomplete megaprojects worldwide to analyse why more than 92% of them exceed both time and budget constraints and yet never get completed. 

From self-serving leadership to inadequate planning, a dearth of experience, and the unpredictability inherent in large-scale operations, there are valuable lessons that startup founders can glean from the top 1% of successful megaproject planners.  

This book provides an ultimate roadmap for tech leaders seeking to scale their startups while ensuring they adhere to their vision within designated timelines and budgets.

Buy here

Book #2 The Four Workarounds: Strategies From the World's Scrappiest Organizations for Tackling Complex Problems by Paulo Savaget. 

How do you deter public urination in India? Or outwit Brazil's predatory bankruptcy laws? What about conserving the rainforest by repurposing old phones with solar power to harness ubiquitous mobile connectivity and detect the sounds of chainsaws for reporting to authorities?

These are just a glimpse of the inventive 'workarounds' explored by author Paulo Savaget in this book while introducing four problem-solving models: piggyback, loophole, roundabout, and next best.

The book brims with anecdotes from the author's experiences, but its standout feature lies in dedicating over half its content to applying these strategies in your own life and work. Offering a fresh and undeniably effective approach to tackling complex challenges, it transforms into an unconventional guide for modern tech leaders grappling with multifaceted issues across their organisations.

Buy here

Book #3 The Status Revolution: The Improbable Story of How the Lowbrow Became the Highbrow by Chuck Thompson 

If luxury goods and status were the means for us to 'measure our value and standing among our fellow citizens,' as Thompson writes, then a world where luxury has become attainable for all fundamentally changes this reality.

This book serves as a roadmap toward a new vision of luxury and is filled with valuable lessons for leaders building a luxury or affordable luxury brand. More importantly, it offers insights into how our relationship with luxury itself may be shifting and the role it plays in our self-esteem, relationships, and our place in the world.

This well-researched exploration of what status means presents a compelling argument on how customers reflect their social understanding through their purchasing patterns."

Buy here

Book #4
Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close by Hannah Carlson. Buy from here

Pockets delves into the modest beginnings of a fashion accessory that has been unevenly distributed throughout history.

This book examines the various ways pockets have influenced the items we purchase, including case studies on the decline of the once-popular men's purse and how evolving pocket sizes have spurred the miniaturisation of clocks and handguns.

Furthermore, it explores how women’s pocketless dresses created a $73B handbag industry and discusses the potential of pockets to hinder a device-free future. It provides insightful analyses of how even the smallest everyday features can disrupt consumer needs and spending patterns.

Book #5
Yours Truly: An Obituary Writer's Guide to Telling Your Story by James R. Hagerty 

In the fast-paced world of tech entrepreneurship, crafting a compelling narrative is often the key to success. James R. Hagerty's Yours Truly offers a unique perspective on storytelling, drawn from his remarkable career as The Wall Street Journal's only full-time obituary writer.

Hagerty understands the profound impact of storytelling on one's legacy, and in this illuminating guide, he shares the secrets to telling your life story with honesty and power. In a time when our digital footprints and social media bios often fall short in capturing the richness of our experiences, Yours Truly serves as a beacon for tech founders seeking to create narratives that truly resonate.

Through a step-by-step approach, Hagerty provides invaluable insights into the art of storytelling, honed through years of commemorating the lives of hundreds of individuals. His expertise is not only captivating but also instructive, making this book a must-read for those who understand the importance of storytelling in shaping their personal and professional journeys.

Buy here

As you embark on this literary journey through the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, may these five insightful books be your guiding light. Each offers a unique perspective on innovation, leadership, and the power of storytelling. Happy reading!

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