Our 2016 Reading List

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You’ve come to the right place for book recommendations. There’s nothing like a good piece of literature that both entertains and teaches us new things. Over the past year, our team has been growing our reading list and putting more knowledge under our belts. We think you should add the following titles to your own list this upcoming year!

From Andrew Ive, Managing Director at Food-X…

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing – Harry Beckwith
The ‘go to’ book for how to market service and non-tangible businesses and services. Beckwith creates insights using real world examples that you read in bite sized chunks. Not a book you need to read chapter by chapter but can get useful nuggets in half a page or less.

Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss
Insights, hacks, and shortcuts from top performers across the categories of health, wealth, and business.

From Kelly Kirkpatrick, SOSV Analyst & Public Policy Advisor…

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Great pop psychology book about the role that introverts can play in the world, and the strength they can bring to ideas, projects, and companies. Great read for any entrepreneur looking a fresh new perspective on building your startup dream team in 2017. See my blog post.

From Allison Stewart, Program Manager at Food-X…

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
My absolute favorite book I’ve read this year – a novel with a post-apocalyptic plotline. Intense, immersive, and quite believable. Good reading for the end of times 😉

The Industries of the Future – Alec Ross
To be honest, I haven’t finished this one yet, but it’s a great nonfiction book about innovation and how technology is shaping the world and its economies.  Many of SOSV’s portfolio companies address the themes of this book.

From Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV Founder and Managing Partner…

The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddharta Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – Siddharta Mukherjee
Both of these books are wonderful introductions to complex subjects, told at a level that starts out as appropriate for laypeople, and filling technical depth in with engaging historical context. By the end of each book, you feel relatively smart about each topic.

From Nick Plante, Program Director at Urban-X & Director of Technology at SOSV…

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy, or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.” An interesting examination of who we are and where we’ve been, in the macro. And a great reminder that it’s our collective beliefs (and the creativity that it requires to create those beliefs) that allow us to build things that transcend our meager beginnings.

The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
“We are nature. Our every tinkering is nature, our every biological striving. We are what we are, and the world is ours. We are its gods. Your only difficulty is your unwillingness to unleash your potential fully upon it.” Stunning hard sci-fi that imagines a post-oil Thailand dominated by agribusiness concerns and the politics of genetic modification. Recalls Gibson’s early work both in tone and its fantastically pessimistic prescience. Beware the calorie companies, for they are upon us.

From Alex Kopelyan, Program Manager at IndieBio…

Biography of Benjamin Franklin – Walter Isaacson
So Ben seemed to have been involved in quite a few startups like the postal system, libraries, fire departments, America, etc. Pretty in depth for a bio, includes information, stories, and lessons from when he was born ALL the way to when he died. Lots of insights on self improvement and mastery, dealing with conflict,  schmoozing and relationship building, and thinking differently.

From Bill Liao, General Partner at SOSV & Managing Director at RebelBio…

The Gene – Siddhartha Mukherjee
Brilliant book by the author of The Emperor of all Maladies. An insightful and personal journey into all things genetic from history to present day and the crucial implications for all life on Earth.

From Vivian Law, Analyst at SOSV & Partnerships Director at Chinaccelerator…

Mastery – Robert Greene
Tracks the life of many of the “greats” and key leaders in time: Mozart, Darwin, Paul Graham, etc., commenting on their attitudes of embracing uniqueness, not conforming to the rules of society, and becoming masters of doing what they love.

Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women, ambition, and leadership (and not just women 😉 .  May, Rita, and I all passed the book around at Chinaccelerator.

Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable – Nassim Taleb
Stop trying to predict everything. Take advantage of uncertainty. This book will make you question the way you look at the world.

From Alan Clayton, Roaming Mentor…

The Whole Brain Business Book – Ned Herrmann
Since I’ve been working to build effective teams for 20 years in partnership with the U.S. based Herrmann Institute, from corporates to accelerating startups, it’s always a pleasure to read about how others ‘in the wild’ apply the HBDI technology!

Selling the Wheel – Jeff Cox
Startups often ask themselves what makes a great head of sales. So here’s a simple memorable text that shows there stages that a new venture has to go through just like the guys who invented the wheel. Imagine trying to sell the first ever wheel!

From Shawn Broderick, General Partner at SOSV…

The Startup Checklist – David S. Rose
I was privileged to receive a pre-publication copy of TSC from David – who happens to be one of my absolute favorite startup people. As a type-A, list-making nutjob, I was certain I could find some big holes in his lists and steps so I could give him some useful feedback and get some nice credit in the 2nd Edition foreward. Alas, David has been doing this years longer than I have – and he’s seen it ALL. This is a stupendous resource for founders (first-timers and repeat offenders alike!) to make sure they dot their Is and cross their Ts as they set up the next Google or Facebook.

The Nature of Urban Design – Alexandros Washburn
Aside from being an absolutely beautiful book to relish with the eyes, Alexandros has done a fantastic job of creating a volume that, rather than be a textbook, is more of a call-to-action for us “regular folk” who care about our cities, but aren’t professional city planners. With a ton of great examples of superb urban planning, one can take away great perspectives on how to improve the city that you love – wherever and whichever it may be.

The Complete Poems – Anne Sexton
Don’t forget to feed the right side of your brain too, folks. Love, death, and relationships – laid open and bare by this Pulitzer prize-winning poet.

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