Favorite Reads of 2016

2016 Reads

I haven’t been reading as many books as I use to but I also spend less time on airplanes too. I did however make time to read several books this year and was fortunate enough to read three really great ones back-to-back-to-back.

The Third Wave by Steve Case

I picked this book up after seeing Steve Case in Boulder, CO. Case, the co-founder of AOL and the VC firm Revolution LLC  spends his time now preaching and investing in this ‘Third Wave’. While the book does touch on his time at AOL and the epic failure of the AOL – Time Warner merger, he focuses mainly on this next wave of innovation.

Condensed, the first wave was getting people online (AOL, MSN,Netscape, etc) then the second wave was building on top of that (Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Google) and now we are entering this third wave. A wave that will require new skills, patience, and experience in public policy. His belief is that the days of the kid in the dorm room inventing an app that ends up being worth a billion dollars is over.

It’s a quick, interesting read that I recommend going in to this uncertain 2017.

Disrupted by Dan Lyons

This book was funny as much as it was troubling. As someone going into his fourth decade on this Earth and someone who switched careers in his mid 30’s, I related to this book waaay too much. I had a near identical experience in the digital marketing industry except mine was at an old media conglomerate trying to find it’s way in the digital world instead of a startup.

Lyons was a magazine writer for years and then was let go. Wife, kids, house payment and a changing media landscape left Lyons searching for answers. Lyons decided to try working for a startup in Boston called HubSpot. It had yet to go public and Lyons figured he could add a wealth of experience and make a good amount of money in the process. What he found and experienced just made you shake your head.

The book should give you pause before jumping into a startup because it lifted the veil on the culture and people and how some of this is complete and total bullshit.

Tribe by Sebastian Junger

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s not a long read by any means but if you are upset at what you see in the world and in particularly with the fractures that have occurred in American than you should read this book. Junger doesn’t provide a great deal of solutions but he does get to the root causes which in turn in turn help explain post traumatic stress.

Junger was on NPR’s ‘On Point with Tom Ashbrook’ this past summer during the height of the Presidential Campaign. He points out that the divisive rhetoric of the campaign was hurting veterans more than people thought. It’s a fascinating read.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

This book came out a few years ago and was the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs book of the year. Stone tells a blow-by-blow of how Jeff Bezos built one of the most powerful and influential companies on the internet.

Stone is eloquent in his portrayal of the company and Bezos but is in no way flattering. Bezos is shown to be as ruthless, brilliant, driven and as confrontational as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Which makes sense when you see Amazon’s share price and Bezos net worth.

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