Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good Books to Read

Some recent additions to my Amazon reading list. These are things that I sort of want to buy/read but feel like I need to save money or something before I do.

1. The Bootstrapper's Bible: How to Start and Build a Business With a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money by Seth Godin
I'm interested in reading this because I'm contemplating starting my own business and I think it would be great to bootstrap it, or fund it through customer sales versus raising equity from external sources.

2. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
I sort of find his blog annoying sometimes, but, whatever, he has written a lot of interesting things about starting a business and even created one with very little money and sold it.

3. The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us by Robert Frank and Philip Cook
I am really interested in content type businesses and marketplaces, and I've found that certain markets are totally winner take all. For example, auction sites like ebay or classifieds like Craig's List are sort of winner take all markets. It is more beneficial to users on both sides of the platform if everyone goes to one place.

4. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Black swans are not supposed to exist. So when you see one, you think, impossible. Totally rare, unlikely. Unfortunately, in today's world black swans happen more often than you think. The events of September 11th, the bailout of Fannie Mae, how should we think about seeingly rare events? He takes a psychological approach, and I'd really like to get through this book - someday! I picked the audio version because it is great for long car rides and or lazing around and learning at the same time.

5. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
I was just in LA and experienced horrible traffic. It is so weird how places are only 20 miles or so apart, so not actually geographically distant. BUT, it will still take an hour to get anyplace. I think our existing modes of traffic are totally due for an overhaul and I'm interested in reading this book to figure out the psychology of our driving patterns.

6. The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen
The author discusses the rise of "non-professional" content, like user-generated content and how it's hurting our society. I am not sure if I agree with him, but given cheaper and cheaper methods for creating and distributing content, I think this topic is totallly worth thinking about.

7. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I feel like this would be a useful book to read since health and diet are very important. The author goes through our industrialized diets and assesses the lack of nourishment.

8. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson
This book discusses how a standardized container ship resulted in the flattening of the world. I think it makes sense. If you create standards and make it easy to ship stuff, no matter WHAT it is, then transport should become a lot more efficient. I think it would be interesting to learn about how this all came about.