It is a bit late, but it is never too late to share my yearly list of books that influenced me in some way. I actually do this for the third year in a row. In 2018 and 2019, I tried to keep up with a YouTube channel about "Books That Change My Life", but it is yet so much easier to write a few lines.
I very much hope that you will find some inspiration for your own digital or traditional library. Feel free to enter in a dialogue via comments.
This book by Kai-Fu Lee (former president of Google China) and Chen Qiufan (novelist) surprised me very much with its approach. It tries to make our real and digital future tangible through vivid stories of what AI and related tech developments could mean in our every-day lives two decades from now, in the year 2041. In the stories, you feel that the human being still remains the way it was made by nature. Evolution simply doesn't catch up that fast. But you also get a feel for the opportunities and the mess AI and thus AR tech could cause in us, in our society, in our traditions and values. Yet the humans own capacity for always trying to follow their purpose shimmers through many of these stories.
This was surely one of my top five favorites this year. This version is an updated version of the classic by Carl Sagan from 1980. I love it when authors manage to explain very complex topics in a comprehensive way. We get a short introduction to the history of research throughout the book, including into quantum physics theories. Also, the way of telling the story by using imaginative people and real places makes it easy to follow the contents. There is a deep passion for the subject itself in Sagan's lines. Apparently there's also a TV series following the structure of the chapters, but I have not watched it.
I remember this book basically being about building your start-up on something that people need and therefore creating true innovation. It is a book about building companies that create new, innovative products and ideas rather than copying existing ones. Peter Thiel (a German-American entrepreneur) argues that progress and success come from creating something new and unique, and provides insights for founders looking to achieve this. And he is right! For me, this was the missing link to understanding successful tech start-ups.
This book by Jack and Suzy Welch provides practical advice and insights for navigating the complexities of modern business. The authors draw from their extensive experience as business leaders to cover topics such as strategy, leadership, people management, and more, having the objective of helping readers develop the skills they need to succeed in today's competitive business environment. Also, as the title says, it is about real and true advice, since there is so much BS in the world of business coaching out there. I very much resonate with this and say that gut feelings and a true intelligence in people help you grow.
"Deep Work" by Cal Newport - he always writes titles like this one - is a book that argues that in order to produce high-quality work and achieve success in today's knowledge economy, individuals must cultivate the ability to focus deeply on cognitively demanding tasks. Newport provides practical strategies for eliminating distractions, increasing concentration, and developing the skills needed to produce valuable, meaningful work in less time. Even though the author belongs to the same generation as me, I feel he is older and wiser. It would be smart for all of us to set phases for truly deep work. This way, our publications, events, teachings, or whatever it is we are doing, become better quality and more meaningful.
This title is so much more than what you expect when seeking a book on business agility. It explores true leadership skills by adding human qualities to a leader, such as empathy combined with true intelligence, and teaches us strategies for team meetings and communication to avoid conflicts, resolve some, and make people stay and appreciate their workspace. Especially in the first chapters, I personally see a true intelligence surging from the deeper spiritual development of the authors, Michael and Audrey Tara Sahota, and I felt connected to them. I felt very much confirmed in my way of treating people and felt inspired to pass on some strategies in the forms of coaching and teaching. And to be honest, most leadership figures we know from our surroundings do not meet these criteria and rather opress their team and secure their superior role by blocking real agility in their own business.
This book by Tobias Beck teaches some strategies to improve your own results in public. I can say that I was very much into it until the last chapters started. Then it got a bit "too American" for me. Tobias Beck makes some good points, and one of them—which was shocking but true—is that nobody is interested in you succeeding. So you need to be persistent and keep going. Also, he reminds us that out of ten offers, only one may become reality. This was the case for me for a long time. I have to say that I improved my quota on this one over the past few years, but still, it is good to remember this so you are not disappointed. The four animals he refers to in listeners are a clear transfer of existing methods of personality classification, but it is a valid and playful approach.
Eckhart Tolle has a beautiful way of making us listen. He is brave to be silent and to wait. This audiobook contains the original teachings he offered to an audience in 2004. I sometimes told Denica, our yoga teacher, that I just feel like I am there, just like Tolle. I am grateful to have learned so much about our spiritual interconnection and I gained deeper insights into the desires of our mother nature about myself and my own history, which made it possible for me to deepen my own path. Yet, the calmness with which Tolle is teaching is something for me to work on. So is the depth to which we are able to enter this reflection and meditation of not judging. I still have to continue walking on this spiritual path.
"My Spiritual Journey," by the Dalai Lama, is an autobiography that chronicles his life and spiritual journey, from his childhood in Tibet to his exile in India and his role as a global spiritual leader. The book provides insight into the Dalai Lama's personal experiences as well as his teachings on compassion, mindfulness, and the nature of reality. The Dalai Lama reflects on his interactions with world leaders, his efforts to promote peace and human rights, and his belief in the importance of interfaith dialogue and cooperation. It inspires me to also organize a worldwide peace conference and let politicians know that they are not separated from the rest of us. To make them feel the interconnectedness.
Some fun facts I loved were that the little Dalai Lama sometimes helped his father eat some meat, which was actually forbidden in the temple, but since the young boy requested it, the chef prepared some pig meat, which the Dalai Lama gave his father. Also, I found it important to learn for myself that there is no cure for age-related diseases. All we can do is live a healthy life and meditate, and we will be younger for longer, but at one point the knee might hurt and the fingers will lose their capacity for handling fine motor skills.
This once popular book by Jose Silva wants to motivate individuals to develop their mental abilities and, hence, achieve their goals. The program is based on the principles of positive visualization, meditation, and self-hypnosis and is intended to help readers overcome negative thought patterns, improve their focus and concentration, and tap into their subconscious minds to unlock their full potential. The book includes exercises and techniques for developing mental clarity and intuition, as well as strategies for using these abilities to enhance one's personal and professional life.
Even though Silva gives us great examples from life, this book might seem odd to many of you in the beginning. But give it a try. Even though it was written ages ago, I very much see true value in it because many of us know from other people's lives that visualization helped them overcome disease and conflict. Also, as an adult, I now see how so many things I thought as a young person became true for me and how even wishes or ideas from a few years ago actually became true. As my friend Georgine I. Coelha writes in her first novel, repeatedly, "If you only set your mind on it".
Cal Newport again! This book inspired me to do another 1-month-long digital detox right after finishing the last lines. In 2021, I had a seven-day detox, but this time social media was off for the whole month of January 2022. I tried a similar period of 3–4 weeks again in September 2022. Sometimes we believe that we need social media, whether for business or whatever. And actually using it in my private life to not lose touch with some lovely people or even professionally to gain inspiration for projects or spread some social projects like our free mentoring for young women makes a lot of sense to me. But there is so much harm and addiction for many users in social media. Sharing beautiful things should come from the heart and not stress others out. Avoid putting up luxuries, foods, or anything similar. Post, for example, more flowers, more colleagues, and more true friendship moments. And be brave enough to delete all social media that is not making you happy or helping to make your moment richer.
I can't believe that this was in 2022. It feels like it's been years since I read this title. "The Soul of a Woman" by Isabel Allende is a book that reflects on the author's experiences as a woman and examines the roles and expectations of women throughout history and across cultures. Allende reflects on the various challenges and inequalities that women have faced, including discrimination, violence, and limited opportunities for education and professional advancement. In her own career, she was not accepted in her own country, her literature being diminished by the judgments of elderly male authors and critics, no matter how many awards and whatever else she received outside of her home country.
I usually do not read novels, but this one had been recommended to me by our Spanish teacher Lilian, whom I had visited when coming back from the Amazon forest, and she thought that this could be the right thing for me, being a great fan of the author Isabel Allende. This title of hers is definitely partly autobiographical, even though there is a lot of imagination in it. City of the Beasts" tells about the adventure of fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold, who travels to the Amazon rainforest with his eccentric grandmother, Kate Cold, and a team of explorers in search of a legendary creature known as the Beast. Along the way, they encounter indigenous tribes, mystical creatures, and dangerous natural obstacles. The book explores themes of environmentalism, cultural diversity, and the historic exploitation of Amerindian cultures and richness. It unmasks Western arrogance and ignorance by explaining equally the behavior of so-called explorers, who make themselves a name by showing "the wild" Amerindians, as well as those who are seeking to take their lands to grow their businesses at all costs. This is a suitable novel for teenagers and young adults, and even for us who are a bit older, due to the detailed descriptions of the traditions, languages, and surroundings of the Brazilian native people of the story!
This book by Dough Good Feather is among my top favourite books because it takes the idea of indigenous culture further than only seeking Amerindian spirituality and further uncovers the underlying ethics of indigenous cultures. Therefore, I also felt reflected when considering our ancient traditions in Croatia, which stem partly from Christian influences but go partly much further back than Christianity. I surely felt connected to the past of our prior cultures while reading. Readers are reminded again on our interconnectedness of the importance of our consumption in the context of the whole and how to ground yourself and connect with the great spirit behind everything.