I’ve been in this really weird reading space lately. I’m obsessed with reading about tech founders and start up journeys. It’s weird because I find the whole “start up” mentality where people use words like “growth hacking”, “founders” and the like absolutely ridiculous. You’re an entrepreneur, you start a business, you build a business. Nine times out of ten when I meet someone who refers to “start up culture” or the like I find their business fails. It is a weird annoyance of mine. I’ve digressed. Despite my current thinking I’m still fascinated by the journey and so, my reading list has recently reflected that. Here’s a quick look at what books are currently piled up on my bedside table and why you might dig them:
4 books to add to your geeky reading list
Small Fry – Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Lisa is the daughter of Steve Jobs, the illustrious founder of Apple. She’s been depicted in the movies about him and written about in biographies but this is her first time publicly speaking about her father and growing up with him. Her story is pretty well documented by now: her dad got her mom pregnant when they were very young and he was adamant Lisa was not his child. Allegedly, in court, when a paternity test result came back as a 98% match he still tried to argue that 2% meant x number of men in America could still be her father. You can imagine how the relationship went on from there. The book was a difficult read for me. I disliked Lisa the whole way through: sometimes for her bratty spoilt behaviour (which she openly shares and his hauntingly self aware about) but mostly because at every turn she defends her father’s horrible behaviour. She constantly puts herself down and justifies his commentary or actions. It was like reading the thoughts of a bird that had been strapped to the floor of the cage for much of its life. However, I’d still suggest you read it. It offers insight into a world I don’t think many of us will ever understand and Lisa is an incredible writer.
We Are the Nerds – Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
I’ve never liked reddit. It always feels like the darkest of the internet hang out there and I’ve avoided it, for the most part. We Are the Nerds takes an in depth look into how the company started, grew and evolved into what it is today. It captures the dirty despicable stuff that goes on on the site and also celebrates the amazing acts of kindness the reddit forums have shared. Christine spent years writing and researching this book. She speaks to so many people and cites a host of sources. It is a long read that spans a timeline of years but it is thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. I learnt a lot about running a business, employee happiness and even things like freedom of speech and what constitutes hate speech. While reddit is the topic, the book provides a level of insight on the internet culture our generation has bred. For that alone it is worth the read.
64 Geeks – Chas Newkey-Burden
Possibly my favourite coffee table book right now. I’m using it as a social media “de-wean”. When I have a few minutes of down time instead of scrolling through twitter I open this beauty and read one of the 64 stories in this hardcover special. Touted as a way to “meet the brains who changed the world”, the book gives you a two page break down per geek and is broken up into 5 sections. You can read up on Classical thinkers and renaissance brains like Aristotle and Isaac Newtown or you can jump into Wartime Whiz Kids or Gen-X Genius and Millennial Marvels. You’ll see names you recognise like Steve Wozniak and Mark Zuckerberg but you’ll also be introduced to a host of people you may not have even known about. As I mentioned earlier each geek has a dedicated two pages which includes their story and what they’ve done. There is also a fun pixelated drawing of each geek which adds a touch of colour and cute to this one.
Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life – Katherine Ormerod
Truth time: I haven’t read this book. It has been sitting on my reading pile for months and I’m too afraid to go near it. The contents page paints a horrible picture. Each chapter addresses why social media is ruining a specific part of your life. Think identity, body image, relationships and even careers and money. I’ve flipped the book open to a few pages and read a few paragraphs. Katherine, a journalist and influencer – believe it or not, shares her own personal stories and experiences. At some point I’ll get to this one. Right now I’m just not sure I’m ready for the hard truths it might spit out at me.
I’m always looking for new books to read so if you have any suggestions please drop them in the comments below!
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