1. Mastery, Robert Greene:
This is a collection of biographies of successful people like Darwin, Paul Graham and Henry Ford. It tracks their path of life and looks for patterns in their successes. For instance, how to pick any art form and master it.
2. How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World, Steven Johnson:
This book is about what triggers innovation. The author is a great linker and explains how the invention of many things are just inspirations from some other invention centuries earlier. For instance, how The Gutenberg Press made everyone realize.
3. Fooled By Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
This is a very interesting book and does not hesitate in packing punches at established financial institutions and people. The author is a somewhat controversial figure and his manner of speech does not help him make friends. But the core message of the book has been very well explained, which is how financial markets are usually very random movements and that financial success of individuals and institutions can usually (not always) be just due to them being in the right place at the right time and not due to their financial skill as such. If nothing else, it convinced me to not lose any more money by trading in the stock market.
4. How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie:
A lot of you would already have read this. It spawned a whole genre of “positive thinking” books. Opinion is divided as to how successful these books and methods are. But there is no doubt that this particular book is penned down very well. With its diverse collection of stories and easy to digest messages, it leaves one with a very good feeling and motivation.
5. Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell:
This too is a very celebrated book. Like Mastery, this attempts to analyse the lives of “outliers” and why they are so. Most of us are fond of trying to understand what makes leaders or geniuses the way they are. It also addresses how we perceive individual merit. Certainly a must read book.
6. The Fortune At The Bottom of The Pyramid, C. K. Prahalad:
This provides a refreshingly new take on marketing and whom to market to. Usually, the obsession is with considering the so-called “upper middle” or “middle” classes as the target group for any product or service. But Prahalad revolutionised thought through his book. Since then, this topic became a serious matter for further study and many enterprises are now beginning to venture into this.