The best audibles of my 2018.

And so 2018 is over… My Audible App tells me there were 29 titles added. I remember after I devoured 17 books back in 2017 I was thinking: “I need to be more selective…” It’s been one of the tech joys since 2016.

Topics I read are design & brand, digital products, psychology, behavioral science, tech. Occasionally I enjoy array of random subjects like astrophysics, various crafts, etc. Inevitably, some books are becoming your favorites, some don’t. Out of the 29 books here are my favorites. The order is random, and I’m not numbering them not to understate the value of each.

Invested

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Danielle Town unfolds best practices for your future wealth if you’re willing to put in work. She will tell you straight about 3% inflation per year here 3% money management fee there. Dry financial terminology is less sucky because the author is building a great story by being the learner and the teacher at the same time. It’s about controlling your money, emotions, and mind. The thing that made it enjoyable — her style of delivery and occasional entrances of her Dad’s voice, Phil Town. And of course, financial adolescence process was enriched with a complex beauty of the maturing relationship between a child and a parent. You and your finances might not immediately get financially wealthy, but you become aware and start slowly plan for your better life.

Link to Audible book

The Art of Controversy by Arthur Schopenhauer

As long as humanity existed people debated. Physically first, with words swords later. A lot of those techniques I can track in modern politics, we haven’t gone too far in that sense I must say.

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“The Art of Controversy is a skillful analysis of the mechanisms of thought and debate, and the stratagems necessary to conquer any intellectual controversy one might encounter.” (source)

It happens that even back in 1800s people were concerned with such topic as they saw the real danger in “words” as a weapon and tried to find ways to combat it with various techniques. This book made me want to review history at a deeper level in politics, art, and science.

Get it here

12 Rules for Life

First time I heard Mr. Jordan B Peterson in an interview published on Youtube.The way he talks and the topics he brings up are like a cold winter air hitting my nostrils, unexpectedly refreshing, sometimes shocking… in a good way.

Not that it should become something you live by, but maybe update your definition of “chaos” and “order.” Also, it turns out Mr. Jordan B Peterson has been taking some controversial stances and succeeded to piss off some members of both scientific and political communities which makes the reading even more interesting. All 12 rules are not rules but rather the most popular topics with no single and simple answer.

Get the antidote

Audible Audiobook — Unabridged

After books above you’d want to lighten up things and maybe listen to something fun-ner but still valuable and relevant to your everyday life. Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson made astrophysics interesting for me. This is a distinct feature Mr. deGrasse is executing on a very regular basis when he is being interviewed or when writing books. The author is switching from funny examples to serious quantum mechanics details, from Starbucks whipped cream to the hight of mountains on the moon. If schools were just as cool…

Grab your astrobook here

Shoe Dog

This one is one of my favorite books of 2018. Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight share the story of building his brand. The many first attempts, failures, tricks from business partners in his early days. This book shows the power of will and commitment to what you feel is right.
It unfolds the thought process of the creator on the topic that is very relevant for me — bringing fitness to people. This book can be easily sliced into thousands of timeless quotes.

“What if there were a way, without being an athlete, to feel what athletes feel? To play all the time, instead of working? Or else to enjoy work so much that it becomes essentially the same thing.”
Phil Knight, Shoe Dog

This read completely consumed me in 2018, and it was a bit sad to find myself finishing it too soon.

Enough said, get this book here

Building a StoryBrand

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Here I shall ask the reader to forgive me if any of the books are in the category “how dare you never know about it.” I’m still on the learning quest myself so might have some obvious must-haves listed here. Great, simple, effective universal rules of building your brand. If you are a designer, creative director, or a founder, you will enjoy it and find it helpful.

Get the book here

The Everything Store

This book uncovers one of the ways of building a successful company; this one is a bit restless and tiring grinder that allowed Mr. Bezos to create a company with a market cap around $1 trillion. I won’t say much more, worth reading 100%. There is a lot about having a vision and demanding obsession with the results from your employees, and the temper of the founder sometimes that’s might have good and bad outcomes for the people and product altogether. Truly shows that the world is not that white/black, there are a lot of grayscale areas.

Get your book on Audible, of course.

Bad Blood

Heavy book for sure. It describes how many hints and facts that something isn’t right passes people’s attention.

“The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.”

Audible book is here

Why You Eat What You Eat

Terrific Rachel Herz Ph.D., the psychologist, and a cognitive neuroscientist.
She wrote a book explaining what and how our brain works and what affects your eating habits.

Rachel Herz explains the science behind food and calories; She reveals useful techniques for managing cravings, such as resisting repeated trips to the buffet table, and how aromas can be used to curb overeating.

Oh, did you know she’s behind Glade’s fragrances for your home from series “Tempted”? Me neither!

Audible book is here

Irresistible

It’s one thing what people say and whole another — what they do. In the age of behavioral addiction every single startup, marketer, the online platform is trying to find the opportune for the product launch. The book sheds some light on who we are and how we are.

A fascinating read for founders, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers.

Get it here

Peers Inc

Author Robin Chase is an American transportation entrepreneur. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar. She also is the founder and former CEO of Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car sharing service, acquired by Drivy. She now runs GoLoco.org, a ride-sharing company. Nobody knows about peer-to-peer platform building more than she does, ok maybe our president knows a bit more about it as he seems like a wizard of all kinds of traits.

Before I dive into this book details, let me introduce you to one of my favorite female narrators — Dina Pearlman. If you search her name in Audibledotcom, you’ll see “301” number for the work she’s done. Impressive right? I thought that too.

The content of the book is incredibly useful. It’s all about building peer-to-peer platforms and products. You’ll learn more about network effects and maybe will be able to leverage that knowledge. Robin helps you see opportunities in areas where you never paid attention before. Concepts like “excess capacity,” “peer-to-peer collaboration” won’t longer be foreign for you. The author brings your attention how legacy platforms and regulations get pushed out by new once, and the process isn’t natural either but should not be the reason to settle with something that’s not something great.

Enough said, get it here.

Platform Revolution

If you enjoyed the book above, this one is for you too. This book is all about building platform. But on steroids.

“Facebook, PayPal, Alibaba, Uber — these seemingly disparate companies have upended entire industries by harnessing a single phenomenon: the platform business model. Platform Revolution delivers the first comprehensive analysis of how platforms use technology to match producers and consumers in a multisided marketplace, unlocking hidden resources and creating new forms of value.”

Get this book here

Zero to One

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Unlike many theorists loudly trying to gain attention through evangelizing methods and processes that might work for an average company, this book is actually great “after the fact” notes and thoughts from somebody who has been a part of a team that built a great product or company (PayPal, Palantir) and invested in something full of potential (Facebook, SpaceX). This book shows ways and approaches how a startup can survive and evolve, how to startup can become a monopoly.

Enjoy the reading

How to Build a Billion Dollar App

This book is excellent for somebody who is entering the tech arena and has the ambition to build an app. Mr. George Berkowski describes the bulletproof approach of building team and processes. Great for beginners, but if you want to win the market you need to innovate, and you’ll find yourself looking for exceptional talent, progressive ideas, smart budgeting, marketing.

Please remember prices and salary ranges are bit outdated in this book as it was published back in 2017. You might find yourself interviewing not quite experienced talent or people turning your offers down. It’s most likely because you offer low wages and salaries. Bump it up liberally to retain people critical for your success.

Get your book here

Since it’s audible content, I’ve been continuing listening to 2 my favorite podcasts.

The Full Ratchet

Nick Moran is the founder and General Partner of New Stack Ventures. While venture capital is an interesting topic for sure, the main focus for me to discover frontiers in tech, new apps that are launching or in beta mode. As a designer, I’m always looking for inspiration, and sometimes that comes not only from watching design related movies or going to a museum, often it’s a conversation about biotech, space tech, fintech. Nick Moran is amongst first people who started inviting female investors for the interview. Diversity in people, topics, and approaches makes it a meaningful source of knowledge.

Find it on iTunes

Finding Mastery

Dr. Michael Gervais is a high-performance psychologist. He works with world record holders, Olympians, artists, musicians, etc. What I do appreciate about this podcast is the unfolding universal truth that there is no single method of succeeding but rather a multitude of factors. Interviews revealing how sometimes our scrappy, rough, or traumatic experiences and upbringing might fuel us for successes in life. You easily can see there is no superhuman out there, there are only super-committed ones who make the difference.

Very early episodes in 2017 and maybe mid-2018 Michael have been inviting athletes primarily, later in 2018 and till now the variety of topics and fields got broader, you can listen to interviews with other coaches, musicians, filmmakers, investors, CEOs, tech talent from leading tech companies, comedians, etc.

Find it on iTunes

I hope you’ll enjoy some of the books and podcasts mentioned above. Read responsibly and feel free to suggest your favorite audible content in the comment section.

Director, User Experience Design @ EA

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