Books I read in 2021

1. Talking to Humans – Giff Constable

2. Zero to One – Peter Thiel

3. Disciplined Entrepreneurship – Bill Aulet 

4. Losing the Signal – Jacquie McNish

I took a BMA class at the Columbia Business School in the spring of 2021, called Launch Your Startup, and books 1-4 were required readings for the class. I thought they were great complimentary readings, as they gave very practical guides and examples on how to/how not to lead startups.

5. Getting More – Stuart Diamond

6. Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

7. How to Influence People by Public Speaking   – Dale Carnegie 

During the same time I took the MBA class, I also took a class on negotiations. Book 5 was required reading for the class, I had read several books on negotiations before, and this one wasn’t that special for me. Book 6 was recommended by the class as well as by several other successful people I know, I thought it would be a good book for anyone in sales. I picked up book 7 by myself, hoping to improve my public speaking skills, though I am not sure how helpful it was.

8. My Michael – Amos Oz

9. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri

10. The wind up bird chronicle – Haruki Murakami

These 3 books were recommended by my friend Mendy. book 8 is a novel about a young Israeli family, book 9 is a novel about the story of a young Indian man in America, and book 10 is a magical realism book about a Japanese man. I enjoyed all of them.

11. Animal farm – George Orwell

12. The Trial – Kafka

13. The castle – Kafka

14. Metamorphosis – Kafka

I decided to read Animal Farm after enjoying Orwell’s 1984 from last year. Animal Farm is a relatively short and easy read, but very profound nonetheless. I also bought a book with several of Kafka’s essential works, although the nature of Kafka’s writing is supposed to be frustrating, as it depicts the puzzling nature of bureaucracy, I enjoyed the read.

15. Discourses and other writings – Epictetus

After having read Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations back to back several times, I wanted to find some other texts on Stoicism. Epictetus is another great philosopher. He grew up as a slave and was also lame, but he overcame his adversities, and his philosophy was very well received at the time.

16. The wall and other stories – Jean Paul Sartre

17. Nausea – Jean Paul Sartre

18. Today I Wrote Nothing – Daniil Kharms

19. Nadja – André Breton

I had been wanting to read Sartre since I read Simone de Beauvoir several years ago. I really enjoyed these couple of books I read of his, while Nausea may be a little bit too existential, I liked the stream-of-consciousness style of writing; his short stories are interesting too. Books 18 is by a Russian Absurdist, some of it is pretty funny. Book 19 is by one of the founding members of Surrealism, so it definitely has the dreamlike quality of a typical work in this genre.

20. Complex PTSD: from surviving to thriving – Pete Walker

21. The body keeps the score – Bessel van der Kolk

These two books are great for anyone who wants to understand how traumas, especially childhood trauma and abuse affect someone.

22. Men explain things to me – Rebecca Solnit

This book was recommended to me by my friend Jonathan. It is by a feminist writer that discussed the male/female power imbalance of today’s society.

23. Mao – Jonathan Spence

24. Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 – Volker Ullrich

Two historical and biographical books on two of the most powerful men in the history. The Hitler book was particularly thick and detailed, it was 1000 pages and took me 2 solid months. There were several similarities between the two men. For example, neither of them had good enough education, so that when later they came in power, they resented well-educated people. Under their rules, books were burned and scholars were treated like dirt. Another similarity was that because of their humble upbringing, they were both very insecure, and after came in power, they had their propaganda departments rewrote history to make them seem successful from a younger age.

25. Art, a visual history – Robert Cumming

26. Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of early delights – Hans Belting

I also read a couple of art books. Book 25 is like a coffee table book, which I read in 2 days, it gave a good overview of art history with some nice graphics. Book 26 gave a detailed analysis of Bosch’s most famous work, as well as his personal background, and the historic era that he lived in.

27. First love – Ivan Turgenev

I picked up this book on the curbside of a street in Berkeley. It is a short love story of a Russian teenager. It only took me 2 hours to finish and wasn’t anything special.

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