List of books I enjoyed the most in 2019

1/ Let’s Talk Money by Monika Halan

I have probably got at least a dozen people to get this book. A must read if you are in your 20s and trying to figure out how to do this personal finance thing.


2/ The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels - Michael D. Watkins

I don’t pay for a lot of books (I know I am cheap). But I bought a hard copy for The First 90 Days after reading it on Kindle. If you are transitioning to a new company, division or a role this is a must read.

3/ Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters - Ryan Singer

I work for a big startup where processes and people are set by now and experimenting with new style of working is hard. But if I was doing my own startup, this is how I would do product development. Ryan Singer is one of my fav Product thinkers.

4/ 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy - Hamilton Wright Helmer

One of my goals this year was to learn how to be more “strategic”. I read a bunch of books on Strategy and this book stood out. Most ideas are not original. But the author ties them nicely in a framework.

5/ The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviours that Transform Ordinary People into World Class Leaders - Elena L. Botelho, Kim Powell, Tahl Raz

I love taking notes while reading books and I realised the notes from this book turned out to be 30-40 pages long.

6/ The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture - Scott Belsky

The Messy Middle was another good read. While reading this book, I was sharing Twitter threads all the time with relevant excerpts.

7/ Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (Without Money or Muscle) - Deepak Malhotra

This was an amazing book on Negotiations.

Honest confession: I don’t remember each tactic from this book now, but if I have to be on the negotiation table regarding anything, I would re read the notes I took.

8/ Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly - Anthony Bourdain

This book was amazing. I had read a post on how running a kitchen at a top restaurant is like working for a high performing startup: Why Chefs and Soldiers Make the Best Product Managers. Reading this made me realise how true it is.

Disclaimer: I have 0 interest in cooking.

9/ The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You - Julie Zhuo

If you have read Julie Zhuo’s medium posts, this book is a must read. One of the best books for first time managers.

10/ The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change - Camille Fournier

If you are a TL or an EM, this book is something which should be in your to-read list.

11/ Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business - Aswath Damodaran

I am a big fan of Aswath Damodaran and this book did not disappoint.

12/ One Up On Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market - Peter Lynch, John Rothchild

Peter Lynch is one of the best investors of all time. This is one of the best beginner books on Investing.

13/ AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order - Kai-Fu Lee

Good read on how companies in China are leveraging AI, competition between US and China, how China’s approach is different than other countries around AI, and Kai-Fu Lee’s ideas on handling the massive job losses that will come with the rise of AI.

14/ The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company - Robert Iger

Loved Bob Iger’s autobiography. Hard to be this honest and write about his peers and past managers while still being in office. An authentic read on his rise in ABC and then Disney.

15/ Stoner - John Williams

I think the first fiction in this list.

16/ Bulls, Bears and Other Beasts - Santosh Nair

This book tells you the history of our stock market through a fictional stock trader. 80s-90s Indian stock market was wild!

17/ Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn

I loved Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. Hence picked up this one. Did not disappoint. True Detective can create TV shows based on all her books.

18/ Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

What if you gain super human intelligence thanks to a lab experiment only to lose it away?

19/ Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–and How to Make Them Work for You - Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Sangeet Paul Choudary

If you want to understand how platforms (or aggregators based on Ben Thompson’s definition) work then you should read this.

20/ Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America’s Top Stock Traders - Jack D. Schwager

I thought I would go with 19 recos (because 2019 duh). Then added this as 20th because this book will tell you why the random walk hypothesis holds true in investing.

Most of the successful traders interviewed in this book went bust soon after.

If you are lazy, then you can always read the summaries for most of these books here: Book Summaries.

Happy reading