We are fast approaching the shortest day of the year, so whilst the weather is bleak outside, why not stay in with a good book? To help you out with some appropriate reading material, we asked 20 TABbers to recommend a great read - and given the team’s eclectic tastes, we think you will agree there is something on here for everyone. Topics range from a history of Homo Sapiens to tips on building self-organising teams. Let the festive knowledge feast begin!
Ben Pitman, Architecture Owner Lead
The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer, Jeffrey Liker
Essentially the progenitor of Agile, the Toyota Production System was responsible for Toyota soaring from a third-rate Japanese car producer to the highest quality - and most efficient - car manufacturer in the world. Liker’s book takes you through the 14 principles that resulted in Toyota’s fascinating journey to become the world’s first lean organisation.
Zac Borrelli, Test Engineer
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, Randall Munroe
Randall Munroe, the man behind xkcd and bestseller What If? is back with another brilliantly simple book of explanations. In an easy-to-follow, blueprint-style collection of illustrations, Randall breaks down some of the world’s most complex concepts into easily understandable bites. As Einstein said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Flora Feldman, Business Development and Marketing Assistant
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance
There’s no doubt that people are intrigued by Elon Musk. Synonymous with Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, Hyperloop, and PayPal, Musk has accomplished more in a relatively short period of time than many could ever dream of, disrupting some of the most traditional and entrenched industries along the way. Vance’s biography tells a story of failure, persistence, innovation and success - and gives a glimpse into the life and inner workings of a remarkable, if at times controversial, man.
Jon Hocking, Senior Engineer
Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information, Manuel Lima
This book acts as the intersection between facts, functionality, beauty, and expression, with author Lima discussing the merit of using design and art when displaying data and correlations. The result of this collision is a visually stunning and easily understandable portrayal of complex science.
Christina Ohanian, QA Manager
Training from the Back of the Room!: 65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn, Sharon L. Bowman
Who wouldn’t want to build self-organising teams? It’s a goal that we all strive to achieve at work, and Sharon L. Bowman has managed to distill the art down into 65 useful tips. This informative but engaging book will help you to build up a library of techniques and skills to support your self-organising teams, by allowing the leader, trainer or coach to step out of the way to let the team take control and ownership.
Shaun Cullen, Marketing Assistant
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, Peter Thiel
Known in Silicon Valley circles as the ‘Don of the PayPal Mafia’, Peter Thiel is a legendary entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Zero to One focuses on how to build a successful startup, from the viewpoint of a successful venture capitalist. With Thiel’s exceptional track record investing in innovative startups like Facebook, LinkedIn and Stripe, this book is a must read for anyone with an interest in tech, business and strategy.
Paul Coletti, Test Engineer
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
Anyone who has seen Janet and Lisa talk at Agile Testing Days conferences will know them to be energetic characters who always have interesting experiences to share. Reflective of their personalities in real life, this book is full of testing wisdom, life experiences, and thought-provoking content on methodologies and processes in the testing world - a must read for any tester.
Francesca Hurdley, Business Development Assistant
The Dip: The extraordinary benefits of knowing when to quit (and when to stick), Seth Godin
A fast but informative read, The Dip debates when to quit - whether it's a job, a business idea or anything else - and when to invest your efforts to push through the dip. With the abundant belief that quitting is equal to failure, Godin’s book is a reminder that sometimes it can be hard to see that quitting is the best thing to do - and will set you in the right direction.
Rob Isaacs, Retail Strategist
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens is a phenomenal book that covers the history of humans and what has made our species so successful. From emerging as the dominant species hundreds of thousands of years ago, to the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions, Doctor Harari gives a succinct, fast-paced account of the history Home Sapiens - and what the future might hold for our exceptional, conflicted species.
Daniel Joseph, Co-Founder
Art's Principles, Arthur Gensler
A must-have for business owners trying to grow their business. Inside, Arthur (Art) Gensler lays out the principles of building a successful professional services firm. There is a lot of great stuff inside that we try aspire to - and do - here at TAB. Always a great read and reminder for developing a business that is not only profitable, but also innovative and enjoyable.
Tom Moore, UX Designer
Just Enough Research, Erika Hall
Erika Hall’s 'Just Enough Research' is a must-read for anyone conducting planning or conducting research within software development projects — especially Project Managers and Product Owners. It is succinct but immensely practical, drawing from Erika’s many years’ experience at Mule Design to give solid recommendations on a wide range of different activities. Buy a copy and keep it on your desk for reference at all times.
José Carbajo, Strategist
Talk like TED, Carmine Gallo
We do not keep secret the fact that we love TED Talks here at TAB. In fact, check out this list of some of our favourites here. This book systematically breaks down some of TED’s most inspiring talks, and why they resonate so powerfully with audiences around the world. An essential how-to guide to becoming a compelling public speaker.
John Adams, Product Owner
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford
A couple of years old, but this one’s still worth recommending. Both readable and accessible, the gems of how to land complex IT projects and ideas like DevOps are bundled together with a compelling storyline. For anyone who is keen to keep consuming knowledge without giving up on the pleasure of reading a well thought out story, Phoenix Project is definitely one to check out.
Rob Evans, Co-Founder
Great by Choice, James Collins and Morten Hansen
10 years after his worldwide bestseller ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins returns with a new question, ‘why do some companies thrive in chaos while others do not?’ He backs up his findings with rigorous research and analysis, and provides some provocative (and surprising) conclusions. A great read for anyone looking to run a business in our uncertain, fast-moving world.
Elena Sanchez, Product Owner
Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology, Gayle Laakmann McDowell
A must read for anyone looking to enter the world of tech as a Product Manager, McDowell and Bavaro boil down everything you need to know about getting your foot in the door. From interviews with PMs at tech giants like Google, to getting the right experience and advancing your career - this book is a great starting point for anyone thinking about a career as a PM.
Toby Weinberg, Junior Product Owner
Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, Ken Segall
Apple’s resurrection story is an oft-told tale. Take a look at how Apple went from the brink of failure to unimaginable success as former Apple Creative Director Ken Segall details how simplicity has been key in every aspect of the company’s triumph. The book is split into ten elements of simplicity which can be applied to any organisation, and provides real insight into why Apple is a brand we can’t get enough of.
Brett Thornton, Senior Strategist
Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters, Daniel Rachael
This is a fantastic collection of some of the best British artists having in-depth conversations about their inspiration. It offers a unique view into the creative process featuring original handwritten notes and lyrics from the songwriters themselves. An inspiring read for anyone interested in the British music scene, plus it is a great stocking filler or coffee table book. A great book to reignite your creativity on a wet and dreary day.
George Proudfoot, Strategist
The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, Richard Susskind
Disruption is all around us, and virtually every industry is starting to feel the effects. Susskind and Susskind take a look into what the future of “human experts” is shaping up to be, positing that doctors, teachers, and accountants amongst many others will see their professions completely shaken up by technology.
Sam Cave-Penney, New Business Manager
The Big Short and Boomerang, Michael Lewis
Perhaps this is cheating a little, but these two books build on each other perfectly. Lewis has an incredible story telling ability, so much so that despite covering the seemingly dry subjects (the mortgage market crash in the US and the world-wide recession), his books are more about the characters than anything else. He puts seemingly complex, macro and micro events into context in a way that’s easy to understand and leaves you feeling well-informed on the subject. If that’s not enough to grab you, the first of these books, The Big Short is set to hit the cinemas early 2016 starring Brad Pitt and Christian Bale. How many books on macroeconomics can say that?
Hamish Vallabh, Strategist
The Four-Hour Chef, Tim Ferriss
The 4-Hour Chef is a book about ‘learning’ in the disguise of a cook book. Taking you from Manhattan to Okinawa, from Silicon Valley to Calcutta, Tim Ferriss unearths the secrets of the world’s greatest chefs to teach you how to master any skill in minimal time.
What books are you looking to tick off your reading list this holiday season? Tweet us @theappbusiness.