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5 books for 2018 recommended by YourStory readers

Rohit James
10th Jan 2018
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For any and every self-proclaimed bibliophile, a spare minute is a minute wasted if it is not spent face-deep in the hallowed pages of their current read. Book lovers will tell you that their chief guilty pleasure would involve hoarding books or spending hours reading. It is the only form of self-indulgence for many bookworms.

Given that it’s the new year and reading would top the resolution list for many, we took to the internet to ask YourStory readers what they were reading or planning to read. So for those who are new on the booklovers’ bandwagon or even those who just want to spruce your reading list further, here are some books recommended by our readers that you can add to your reading list.

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

The age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is beyond just scratching the surface; it is here, and here to adapt, evolve, and stay. Tegmark, a cosmologist from MIT, in this provocative and futuristic piece details how the human race places itself in a world where AI is not just tangible, but in fact dominant.

The role of AI and what the future beholds has been a bone of contention for decades, and as AI inches closer to transfiguration, this book tries to paint a very factual future. It envisions the positives and perils of a super-intelligent form of the tech and demystifies some doubts, all while carefully treading between fiction and prediction.

According to a review on The Guardian, “The book does a good job of clarifying basic terms and key debates, and in dispelling common myths and captures the fact that real problem when it comes to AI is the unforeseen consequences of developing a highly competent AI.”

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam T. Wasserman

While setting out, every entrepreneur sets his/her gaze on the top of the peak, which usually is a bid to emulate trendsetters of the likes of Gates, Jobs, Bezos, and Huffington, and closer home Bansal, Mazumdar-Shaw, etc. But though many start for the summit, not all reach the top, and that’s the harsh reality of the entrepreneurial journey. The Founder’s Dilemmas looks to shed light on what encapsulates this journey and what entrepreneurs are to be pitted against.

The book, written by American academician Noam T. Wasserman, explores all the key decisions faced by startup founders throughout the life of a company. In essence, it provides a precursor to what any founder might have to deal with, and the trek to the pinnacle is laced with tough choices and constant dilemmas.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The mind is a very powerful tool, something that we’ve heard repeatedly, making it almost a rote thought. While there are no doubts about the limits of the mind, how we shape ourselves to tackle questions is something that leaves much to desire. That is exactly what Daniel Kahneman talks about in his book, where he declares that there exist two systems of thought processing in our brain – slow and fast. The slow system is more deliberative and logical, while the fast system is plugged to be more intuitive and impulsive.

A New York Times review claimed the book to be “an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value.”

A book for all times, it can be especially helpful to entrepreneurs who are on the cusp of making big decisions. It defines how you can train your thought process to react to the given situation, and which system of thought-processing to employ.

Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali by Mike Stax

Famedom can be quite the slippery slope. One moment you are on top of the world, and the next you can be spiralling out of control, ending up on the obscure side of history. This is exactly what Mike Stax details in his biography of folk musician Craig Smith, who had it all – the fame, money, deals, looks – and then lost it all to die penniless and homeless.

An intriguing read, it explores what triggered the fall of Craig Smith, while putting a magnifying glass on the Messiah Complex. The author explores how the complex had taken over every aspect of Craig’s subconscious, so much so that he proclaimed that he was the reincarnation of both Christ and Buddha, even renaming himself Satya Sai Maitreya Kali.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

An age-old classic, if you haven’t read this book, then definitely keep it on your must-read list for the year. A definitive self-help and personal development book, the 1937 manuscript transcends beyond norms of the time and establishes principles which are time-tested. Napoleon Hill wrote the books based on his conversations with and (a) suggestion by billionaire steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Hill puts the focus on both realistic and psychological barriers that an entrepreneur will indefinitely have to overcome during their pursuit of success.

While there were plenty of books recommended by our readers and fellow bibliophiles, we narrowed them down to a smaller list. But how do you ever finish a book list without mentioning honourable mentions? Other books that you can get your hands on should be Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, The Four by Scott Galloway, and Purple Cow by Seth Godin, all suggested by our readers. If you do have any other recommendations or reading lists, do leave a comment below, or join the discussion with fellow book lovers on YS Forums.

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