We have heard a rumour that a good amount of people have “read more books” as part of their new year’s resolution. That’s why we have helped compiled 8 of the best ones that could help kick start your new year. Get reading!
The Art of Not Giving A F***
When you get into the first few chapter of this book, you could almost imagine the author as a white alpha male who is a bit too nonchalant, who makes you want to roll your eyes. But trouble is, he’s got a point — and the more you read it, the more you hate that you are starting to like what he has to say. I like a book that convinces me to like it.
The first thing that manages to save the book from being a self-serving manifesto is that by not giving a f***, the author doesn’t mean being indifferent, he really means choosing to prioritize what to give a f*** about. Honestly, after reading this book, you feel like you’ve just been given a pep talk over a drink at a dive bar by your friend who’s best at giving pep talks. You’ll be in a good mood and motivated to go get somethings done. A fun, hilarious, uplifting read to get in the system for the new year.
“They say, “Fuck it,” not to everything in life, but rather to everything unimportant in life. They reserve their fucks for what truly matters. Friends. Family. Purpose… And because of that, because they reserve their fucks for only the big things that matter, people give a fuck about them in return.”
“To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.”
Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school — a job she’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.
Flash forward to today, she’s the founder of Nasty Gal and the founder and CEO of Girlboss. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she has written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.
Now a Netflix TV show and podcast where different female entrepreneurs and leaders are interviewed by Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS is a must read modern rags to riches story. Although Amoruso received criticism after the company Nasty Gal she created went bust — as her mother said “Girlboss is who you are. Nasty Gal is what you did.” #GIRLBOSS is a timeless story on determination, hard work, and carving your own path towards success.
“Hey, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission.”
“If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting what you want, stop for a second: Have you actually flat-out asked for it? If you haven’t, stop complaining. You can’t expect the world to read your mind.”
“It’s unfortunate that school is so often regarded as a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. And if it doesn’t fit, you’re treated as if there is something wrong with you; so it is you, not the system, which is failing.”
P.S. Although we are big fans of Sophia’s entrepreneurial spirit, we do wish she considered more the sustainability and ethical aspects of Nasty Gal. Since its founding about 10 years ago, Nasty Gal hasn’t communicated anything about their suppliers or environmental policies nor shared any social or environmental goals.
Give and Take
This is one of the most radical books one could read about achieving success and joy through giving — and giving smart.
According to Give and Take, for generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. Turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. And givers, argues Grant, are the ones excel far beyond matchers and takers.
How could this be? The math does not seem to add up and this seems to contradict with our image of the alpha, dictator-like leader. Read more to find out — how to give more no matter which type of reciprocity type you identify with and how to avoid certain pitfalls if you are a natural giver. Give and Take is a delight.
‘Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.’
‘The fear of being judged as weak or naïve prevents many people from operating like givers at work.’
‘The successful givers weren’t just more other-oriented than their peers; they were also more self-interested. Successful givers, it turns out, are just as ambitious as takers and matchers.’
There is difference between being happy about your life and being happy in it (according to another author Daniel Kahneman) – the former is derived from the remembering self – the one that keeps score, and maintains the story of our life, the other is from our experiencing self – the one that answers when the doctor asks “does it hurt here?” – the one that lives in the present.
Have you been in a situation where you thought you should be pretty happy with your life, especially when you look back at it, but you don’t feel it? That gap is a result between our perceived sense of success and what it really means to us. For anyone who has experienced this gap or is experiencing it, this insightful book pushes you to find your truth and achieve happiness and success on your own terms.
Authentic Success is doubtlessly one of the best books to read in an age where we often “confuse busyness and success, adrenaline and purpose, and effort and effectiveess” – a great read that inspires and motivates one to find one’s truth and joy.
“But how much success is enough? People crave success because they hope it will deliver salvation from the ego’s self-attack.”
“Success is about seeing the truth in all things. It is about living wisely and knowing what you love. It is being able to discern between true values and neurotic cravings.”
“The most successful and happy people I know are good at making time for reflection and inspiration. They stop regularly to go deeper, to gain perspective, to hold a vision, and to receive direction.”
Just Kids is less an inspirational book than simply, an inspiration – especially for those of us who want to discover or rediscover our artistic selves. It is artist and mother of Punk music Patti Smith’s first prose work – which focuses on her encounter with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their 12 years of intertwined lives as they grow both as humans and artists against the vivid backdrop of 1970s New York. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.
Although both Smith and Mapplethorpe eventually went their separate ways – she got married and had two children; he embarked on a long-term relationship with someone else – their spiritual closeness remained until Mapplethorpe’s death from AIDS in 1989.
In a way, Just Kids is a compassionate portrait of an unconventional marriage; an intimacy forged through a shared artistic vision. It is a piece of art in its own right about artistic purity and innocence, a literary song that inspires us to stay hungry, curious and adventurous.
“I had no proof that I had the stuff to be an artist, though I hungered to be one.”
“Yet you could feel a vibration in the air, a sense of hastening. It had started with the moon, inaccessible poem that it was. Now men had walked upon it, rubber treads on a pearl of the gods. Perhaps it was an awareness of time passing, the last summer of the decade. Sometimes I just wanted to raise my hands and stop. But stop what? Maybe just growing up.”
“So my last image was as the first. A sleeping youth cloaked in light, who opened his eyes with a smile of recognition for someone who had never been a stranger.”
The Responsible Company
Yvon Chouinard, Vincent Stanley
“Know Your Impact. Favour Improvement. Share your Knowledge.”
These words are by author of Emotional Intelligence Daniel Golemam, but are quoted and emphasized in The Responsible Company several times – which perhaps summarizes the conclusion of the book most neatly.
This is perhaps a must read for anyone who runs a business in today’s world where issues regarding climate change and limited resources are becoming more pressing, and affects not only a company’s reputation but its bottom line as well. Unlike a lot of similar reads which give information and opinion on impacts of the clothing industry, The Responsible Company by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Footprint Chronicles co-editor Vincent Stanley also offers practical tools and guidance on how to start making changes in the right direction. Responsible business IS smart business, and as intimidating as pivoting one’s business is, it is an inevitable and necessary move – why not get a head start on it in the new year?
“Every company needs to ask itself: If you do business around the world, where are you local? And what are your obligations to those places you call home?”
“That truth is this: Our economy depends on nature, not the other way around, and companies will destroy the economy if they destroy nature.”
“The strongest thing your company can do is something no one else will do, or do well.”
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Written by author and Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, her groundbreaking book Mindset finds that one of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Dweck goes on to explore how depending on which mindset we hold, our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness are determined. This is doubtlessly one of the most insightful books to equip yourself with the right mindset as you start off the new year.
“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over…. I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .
There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with… In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.”
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the first woman to become a social media billionaire, Sheryl Sandberg has quite a few pieces of advice to impart about advancing oneself as a female in the workplace. At the beginning of the book, she recounts a time when she was working at Facebook and had to step in for someone for a pitch meeting at a potential investor’s office. Eventually it was time for break and she asked the senior partner where the bathroom is, he stared at her blankly. “My question had completely stumped him. I asked, “How long have you been in this office?” And he said, “One year.” “Am I the only woman to have pitched a deal here in an entire year?” “I think so,” he said, adding, “or maybe you’re the only one who had to use the bathroom.”’
4 years after these words were first published in her book Lean In, there have been much more conversation about feminism and female advancing in the work place, but there is still much more work to do. Men still dominate top leadership positions across finance, tech, film etc. How do women’s perspectives and rights get honored in a workplace when they aren’t represented in decision making roles?
Written sincerely from a depth of personal experience and research, this book holds undeniable and significant truths and advice about how to assert oneself as a female and strive for success in a male-dominated society. A must read for the ambitious boss lady!
“As Gloria Steinem observed, “Whoever has power takes over the noun—and the norm—while the less powerful get an adjective.” Since no one wants to be perceived as less powerful, a lot of women reject the gender identification and insist, “I don’t see myself as a woman; I see myself as a novelist/athlete/professional/fill-in-the-blank.” They are right to do so. No one wants her achievements modified. We all just want to be the noun. Yet the world has a way of reminding women that they are women, and girls that they are girls.”
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives—the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men.”
Select book summaries adapted from Amazon.com