The Personal MBA

This is an essential riad for anyone interested in business, especially those looking to get a promotion or work for themselves as a freelancer; hence I recommend it in my series Working For Yourself (coming soon). It breaks down all of the components of business, broken down into Marketing, Sales, Value Delivery, Finance, The Human Mind, Working with Yourself, Working with Others, Understanding Systems, Analyzing Systems, and Improving Systems. All of these are essential to running your own business or operating as a freelancer. 

Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari, one of my favourite authors, first wrote ‘Sapiens’,  a book that explores humankind’s past. In Homo Deus, he looks to the future, giving his educated guess at what the future will bring as we move through it. The book centers around the fact that humans have mostly overcome the three biggest obstacles that slowed our development by regularly decimating populations – famine, plague and war. It’s a fantastic read for anyone interested in sociology, anthropology, futurology, or people who ahve an interesting in seeing humanities future continue to improve. 

The Non-Designer’s Design Book

When I was a teenager, my Dad taught me how to use Photoshop for making graphics, and InDesign for making multi-page publications, such as my school’s annual magazine. These technical skills, though, need to be supported by a solid understanding of what separates good design from bad design. This book teaches you how to be a great designer, from scratch, by examining poor designs (posters, business cards, websites, etc), and showing you how to improve them by applying the four pillars of good design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity (the handy acronym being if you don’t use these, your designs will be C.R.A.P).

Ego Is The Enemy

Ego Is The Enemy examines, and shows us how to tame and overcome, what is often our biggest obstacle in life: our own egos. It teaches us how to get out of our own heads and see ourselves from a distance. It tackles how we often talk about doing something, and never get around to actually doing it (It’s easier to talk about an activity or project, to do exciting things related to it, than to commit to the act itself). It explains how we can see past our egos when learning a new skill; if you’re learning to draw, your first few hundred attempts will look poor, and this can make it difficult to learn new skills. Ever gotten constructive feedback on a project, and, even though you knew they were right, still recoiled at the criticism of your work? Ego Is The Enemy will teach you how to overcome this and more. It will help you to improve faster, learn faster, work with feedback, trump emotions with logic, and handle your inner critic. I highly recommend it to anyone interesting in starting or continuing their self-improvement journey.