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Books - June 2021

Marcus Wermuth
Marcus Wermuth
3 min read
Books - June 2021

Sharing the books that I read in June 📚️ Topics this month include leadership, management, systems thinking, philosophy and psyhcology.

(The links to the books are Affiliate Links, feel free to buy the book through those links to support my writing.)

Scout Mindset ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve seen this book recommended on Twitter and from colleagues. Going into it I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was pleasantly suprised. What is a Scout Mindeset?

Scout mindset is what allows you to recognize when you are wrong, to seek out your blind spots, to test your assumptions and change course. It’s what prompts you to honestly ask yourself questions like “Was I at fault in that argument?” or “Is this risk worth it?” or “How would I react if someone from the other political party did the same thing?” As the late physicist Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”

It was really great to read, easy to understand and practical. Talking about topics like curiosity, having an opend mind, and challenging your own beliefs. While reading it, I already found value in the things the author Julia Galef writes. Big recommendation!

What I needed to hear: It is impossible to please everyone around us (I know I am a people-pleaser and haven't been able to). So you might as well aim to please the kind of people you’d most like to have around you, people who you respect and who motivate you to be a better version of yourself.

An Elegant Puzzle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve had this book on my Kindle for quite a while. As I am focusing more on building strong first team mindeset and in general understaing leadership and management in organizations better, I thought I’d give it another try. At first I struggled a bit to understand the structure and flow of the book. But once I went over that hurdle I had fun. So stay with it for a few more pages if you struggle.

As I am a big fan of Systems Thinking, I loved how Will Larson applied this to Engineering Management and building teams. Very practical advice that I would have needed a few years ago. Especially the part about Product Management. If you are currently in a reorg, or need to setup your organization and teams, go give this a read!

What I needed to hear: "As an organizational leader, you’ll always have a portfolio of risk, and you’ll always be doing very badly at some things that are important to you. That’s not only okay, it’s unavoidable."

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Maybe some of you heard about @naval, the CEO and Founder of Angelist. He is known for his thoughts around personal growth, philosophy and getting wealthy. Especially this Twitter Thread is quite popular. Whenever I saw some of his tweets, I agreed with them and liked how clear and precise he was in arcticulating them. Recently the author XX put together all of Naval’s shared thoughts into a book. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. A fast and simple read that was able to motivate me around life, work and money.

What I realized: "Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life."

On Becoming a Leader ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great topic about the journey to becoming a leader. Warren Bennis focuses on the skills that are really important as a leader like self-awareness and reflection. The style of the book is something you have to get used to. Each chapter starts with a general explanation and then goes into a kind of Interview-style rhythm. Where he explains his concepts with example from other famous leaders. Althought the topics are great, I felt it a bit too focused on US politics. Still a great read if you want to learn more about reflection and the difference between management and leadership.

What I learned: The most important step towards great leadership is reflection. Reflection of yourself. Reflection of your actions. And finding resolution in those thoughts. Leadership is first being and only then doing.

A World Without Email ⭐️⭐️

I was really hoping to get sucked into this book. Email hasn’t evolved too much, but we are still using it. Well, at least in some places. Buffer has been „internal email free“ since a few years now. The title of Cal Newports book really intrigued me. But I felt a little bit dissapointed. Maybe I had too many expecations, but for me the content was too basic, and not really new. I would have loved to see him go a bit deeper into certain topics.

What I learned: Not too much. But the book motivated me to research more about virtual communication and how we can learn more and maybe even innovate more on that front. Especially with asynchronous communication becoming more and more popular.