Out of the 11 books in my this year’s reading list, I already read five books in the last few years and some just the last year:
- What I learned by losing a million dollars.
- The Psychology of Money.
- Atomic Habits.
- Style: the basics of clarity and grace.
- The Customer Service Survival Kit.
I am going to re-read them all this year.
The year-end lists of books read by some people I follow are really long! And I only read a handful of books for the past two years (2019 and 2020). While I am cool with the amount of reading I do, I must admit, at some corner of my mind I had the nagging feeling of having to read more. Nevertheless, when I made a tentative list of eleven books to read in 2021, I included the above five books that I already read in the years past.
I felt validated last week when I read the blog post of my ex-colleague and an excellent human Jeremey, titled On Re-Reading and The Book Quantity Trap. I particularly liked this quote in Jeremey’s post:
A good book gets better at the second reading. A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading isn’t worth reading.NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB
That validated my thoughts on reading and re-reading a few, but good books. And today’s meditation of The Daily Stoic emphasized the same point.
What if, when it came to your reading and learning, you prioritized quality over quantity?
What if you read the few great books deeply instead of briefly skimming all the new books? Your shelves might be emptier, but your brain and life would be better.May 20th page of The Daily Stoic
Here’s to reading and re-reading a few but what I believe are great books!
Last month I read Gretchen Rubin‘s book on habits titled Better than Before. Thanks to Tony at Coach.me for sending a free copy of this book. I received it in March and I finally got to read it in June.
This book is based on the premise that everyone is different. So there is no universal solution that works for everyone. The key is to find your habit tendency and frame your habits forming strategies around that personality.
Here is The Four Tendencies Quiz to determine your habit tendency. I am an Upholder. I am not surprised by it.
Each chapter introduces a strategy and details how it applies to each of the four tendencies. She shared a lot of her personal stories as well, which is great. There are little nuggets of wisdom all over the book title Secrets of Adulthood, which I liked but I did not highlight them until it was too late.
Everyone needs Four Foundation Habits: Food, Sleep, Exercise, Declutter. Wherever you are and whatever you do, you better be good at them, she advises.
Although I like to declutter as much as possible in my life, I am not convinced that it is a foundational habit. I heard most creatives and high performers are messy. But I don’t dispute the first three.
The chapter I liked the most is about Habit Loopholes. I blogged about it earlier. They help you realize when you are kidding yourself.
This book provided some unique ideas like tendencies and loopholes which I never came across earlier. For these ideas alone, it is a worthy read.
I read Scott Berkun‘s latest book The Ghost of My Father. It is a memoir about Berkun’s failed relationship with his father. Given I am a father, the theme sounded interesting. So I hoped to buy and enqueue this book to my current reading list. However Berkun tweeted:
I subscribed with a feeling that he might giveaway this book. And he did, indeed. So to return his favour, I started reading as soon as I received the book.
This memoir gave me an interesting perspective on people. As this is an intimate personal story of the author I love to read, I am keeping my opinions of the characters in the book, to myself. I felt awful to learn what Berkun had to go through in his childhood. I am glad that he became what he is today despite the hardships in his childhood. My respect from him grew manifold.
I strongly recommend this book to dads and mums out there. This books is by no means a parenting handbook but it gently teaches how not to treat our children. Witty yet thoughtful Berkun’s writing style will inform and entertain at the same time. I thank Berkun for his willingness to share his intimate personal story with the world and thereby providing us useful insights on family and relationships.
Last week I finished reading Delivering Happiness book by Tony Hsieh. The book has also has its own resourceful website.
I work in Customer Support and have plans to advance my career in this area because I love learning things, solving problems, and helping people. So reading this book made perfect sense.
Most of this book is about Tony’s personal entrepreneurial story leading to acquisition of Zappos by Amazon.com, with an emphasis on company culture and its importance. The action oriented tiny chapter at the end got my thinking hat on and articulate what happiness means to me personally. I did that exercise but am not yet ready to share my happiness plan publicly. But this was an interesting exercise to do.
The wowing customers part particularly resonated with me. I would be cheeky if I claim that I wow my customers all the time. But I try my best and be as close as possible to the utopia. So this wowing thing did not feel foreign to me. For any business that intends to be relevant, I can’t think of anything else that can take precedence over delighting customers.
Taking cue from the book, I pinged one of the Zappos customer support team to check if they ship to New Zealand. I really felt like ordering something, if they can ship. But it seems down under is too far for Zappos to ship their “Happiness Box”. However as I read in the book, the customer service rep offered me a visit to Zappos facilities in Las Vegas. If I ever visit Vegas, I will remember Zappos and would be glad to visit their facilities and understand their culture first hand.
As an aside, I made a list of what some companies I admire call their customer facing teams. So far I listed Customer Support, Customer Experience, Customer Happiness, Customer Success, Customer Loyalty, Customer Care, Customer Service and Customer Excellence. I would be glad to know if you are aware of any other name that can be added to this list.