In case you didn't know: we are avid readers here at Bothrs. Over the years, we've been collecting a steady amount of books in our team library. At the start of the new year, we asked everyone to name one book that they'd love to read in the year to come. This list contains our top 5 books, and why we think they would be a great read. We're also starting a little book club, more on that later! In the meantime, take a look at our top 5.
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues - from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.
Favorited by: Thomas MacLean (Full-Stack Dev)
Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for. How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of hit and miss? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation. Now, he goes further, offering powerful new insights. After years of research, Christensen has come to one critical conclusion: our long held maxim—that understanding the customer is the crux of innovation—is wrong. Customers don’t buy products or services; they "hire" them to do a job. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success, he argues. Understanding customer jobs does. The "Jobs to Be Done" approach can be seen in some of the world’s most respected companies and fast-growing startups, including Amazon, Intuit, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt, to name just a few. But this book is not about celebrating these successes—it’s about predicting new ones. Christensen contends that by understanding what causes customers to "hire" a product or service, any business can improve its innovation track record, creating products that customers not only want to hire, but that they’ll pay premium prices to bring into their lives. Jobs theory offers new hope for growth to companies frustrated by their hit and miss efforts.This book carefully lays down Christensen’s provocative framework, providing a comprehensive explanation of the theory and why it is predictive, how to use it in the real world—and, most importantly, how not to squander the insights it provides.
Favorited by: Stef Nimmegeers (Co-Founder)
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Mark Twain once observed, "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on." His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas -entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists - struggle to make them "stick." In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds - from the infamous "kidney theft ring" hoax to a coach's lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony - draw their power from the same six traits. Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It's a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas--and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
Favorited by: Craig Soenen (Product Manager)
Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't make Sense
Why is Red Bull so popular - even though everyone hates the taste? Why do countdown boards on platforms take away the pain of train delays? And why do we prefer stripy toothpaste? We think we are rational creatures. Economics and business rely on the assumption that we make logical decisions based on evidence. But we aren't, and we don't. In many crucial areas of our lives, reason plays a vanishingly small part. Instead we are driven by unconscious desires, which is why placebos are so powerful. We are drawn to the beautiful, the extravagant and the absurd - from lavish wedding invitations to tiny bottles of the latest fragrance. So if you want to influence people's choices you have to bypass reason. The best ideas don't make rational sense: they make you feel more than they make you think. Rory Sutherland is the Ogilvy advertising legend whose TED Talks have been viewed nearly 7 million times. In his first book he blends cutting-edge behavioural science, jaw-dropping stories and a touch of branding magic, on his mission to turn us all into idea alchemists. The big problems we face every day, whether as an individual or in society, could very well be solved by letting go of logic and embracing the irrational.
Favorited by: Dries Vaesen (Design Strategist)
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
I'm a true believer in the power of generalists and it triggered me to pick up this read for this year. Fun fact, I've found out about this book because Kobe Bryant(!), one of the greatest all-round basketball players ever, reviewed this on Goodreads.
What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.
Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world's top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. David Epstein examined the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields (especially those that are complex and unpredictable) generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't see. Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
Favorited by: Simon Floré (Product Manager)
Obviously, we want to share everything we picked up from these fresh reads with all of you! That's why we're starting a book club. Do you like reading about business, entrepreneurship, design, and everything in between? Fill out the form below to sign up!
The goal for us is to connect with people who are into the same stuff as we are, exchange thoughts and learnings, and have meaningful discussions. Once we got a few people signed up, we'll decide on a general category (I.E. design, marketing, biographies...) and eventually pick a single book we'd like to read within that category.
In the meantime, we'll be drafting an article outlining some broad questions, things we want to see clarified, points of interest, or topics for discussion. Once that article is out there, members (who hopefully read the book as well) can join the discussion, offer their review, or just have a chat. Our goal is for everyone to learn by reading whatever book we pick. We want to benefit the author as well as learn something new together.
Sounds like something you'd be into? Sign right up and we'll keep you posted!