In our attempt to bring different perspectives and enable the NextBigWhat audience to learn new new things, we have started a series called ‘Books I Recommend‘. This is the third installment.
Today, we share book recommendations* by Paras Chopra, founder and CEO of Wingify, one of the finest bootstrapped tech startup from the country.
1. The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane
In The Vital Question, biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria.
How and why did this radical transformation happen? Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology.
2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most.
Newport uses principles of psychology and neuroscience to enhance his points. He elaborates how to improve a person’s cognitive abilities and how employers should encourage workers to not take shortcuts for completing projects.
3. Theory of Nothing by Russell Standish
The “Theory of Nothing” explores the radical idea that the reality we see around us is but one of an infinite “library” of alternate realities, the sum of which contains no information and is in fact “Nothing.” The necessity for observed reality to be consistent with the observer’s existence implies a strong connection between fundamental physics and cognitive science. A revolutionary understanding of why physics has the form it does, and why our minds are the way they are is forged.
4. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Everyone wants to succeed in life. But what causes some of us to be more successful than others? Is it really down to skill and strategy – or something altogether more unpredictable?
This book is the bestselling sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. It is all about luck: more precisely, how we perceive luck in our personal and professional experiences.
5. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions.
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.
6. Irrational Man by William Barrett.
Widely recognized as the finest definition of existentialist philosophy ever written, this book introduced existentialism to America in 1958.
Barrett speaks eloquently and directly to concerns of the 1990s: a period when the irrational and the absurd are no better integrated than before and when humankind is in even greater danger of destroying its existence without ever understanding the meaning of its existence.
7. First, Break All The Rules
Great managers do not help people overcome their weaknesses. They do not believe that each person has unlimited potential. They do play favourites and they break the ‘Golden Rule’ book everyday.
This amazing book explains why great managers break all the rules of conventional wisdom. The front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. No matter how generous its pay or how renowned its training, the company that lacks great, front-line managers will suffer.
8. The Fabric of Reality
An extraordinary and challenging synthesis of ideas uniting Quantum Theory, and the theories of Computation, Knowledge and Evolution, Deutsch’s extraordinary book explores the deep connections between these strands which reveal the fabric of reality in which human actions and ideas play essential roles.
9. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Guns, Germs, and Steel is a brilliant work answering the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples.
This edition includes a new chapter on Japan and all-new illustrations drawn from the television series. Until around 11,000 BC, all peoples were still Stone Age hunter/gatherers. At that point, a great divide occurred in the rates that human societies evolved.
* Willing to share the books you’d recommend to India’s tech and startup community, hop here.
TL;DR: Here is a quick summary of books recommended by Paras.