Those who know me for real know that I am a book lover. My interests range from Chuck Palahniuk (my favorite!) to Beat Generation authors, from the Greek and Roman philosophers I studied in college to the travel and adventures tales of Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux.
While each book has something to teach us, I will put here the 10 books that contributed most to my professional development, and why. Of course, it was hard to leave several other titles out of this list: I’m curious to know what your top 10 is!
- “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris: I totally agree with Tim Ferris when he says that “lifestyle design” helps you get rich in terms of time and mobility (among the most valuable things of our day). Traditional work schemes are outdated, and many tasks must be delegated so that you can focus on what is really important. This book was an inspiration for me to develop my own philosophy of life, which I call “Freestyle” (if anyone is interested in hearing more, I can tell you better).
- “Elon Musk,” by Ashlee Vance: I am a big fan of Elon Musk, in particular because of his two characteristics: vision and courage. The report of how he got everything he received from the sale of PayPal and reinvested in his 3 new projects (SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity), running out of money and not renting an apartment for himself (asking every day to stay with friends ), inspired me a lot and encouraged me to become an investor myself.
- “Gomorra”, by Roberto Saviano: Unfortunately, the Italian Mafia is one of the best managed “companies” in the world. This book describes an unknown reality for many, including many Italians, and forces you to think outside the box as they do. The film and TV series inspired by the book are also great.
- “Good to Great” by Jim Collins: This book describes some characteristics that very successful companies share based on a long-term performance analysis. They are very useful tips to improve your own business management, regardless of the market in which you operate.
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie: This book was recommended by a manager who had on Groupon and who I admire a lot. Managing teams was something new to me at the time, and I needed some tips to be respected and heard by the team. This book has helped me a lot, and I apply the principles of this book not only in the professional sphere, but in personal life as well.
- “Kitano by Kitano” by Takeshi Kitano and Michel Temman: I am a big fan of Takeshi Kitano’s films, but this book made me know another Kitano: a chameleon, comedian at once dramatic, Buddhist, constantly learning and with a work incredible work ethic.
- “Moral Epistles to Lucilius,” by Seneca: I read some of these texts in high school when I was studying Latin, and have since been etched in my head. They are the foundation of stoicism, the philosophy that inspires my work ethic, and that makes me focus on what is really necessary and escape from what is superficial.
- “The Power of No” by James Altucher: A word so short and simple, “no”, is at the same time one of the most difficult words to say. We tend to accommodate others and avoid saying “no”, but this can affect their personal and professional development. Being able to say “no” at the right times allows you to prioritize better and focus on what is in fact important to you.
- “The Prince” by Niccolò Macchiavelli: Although this book has generated controversy since its first publication in sixteenth-century Florence, we must recognize that the principles by which a prince holds power still apply to the contemporary world, whether in the business world or in politics.
- “The Shadow-Line,” by Joseph Conrad: This short story describes the inevitable transition from youth to adulthood. He reminds us that it is necessary to face this transition with courage, and that just like the ship’s captain in the novel did, young people can also be successful in leading older people. It motivated me to never feel inferior because of my age in the professional world.