I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really been the most avid of readers throughout my youth – I spent most of my spare time playing football.
Recently though I’ve made an effort to change that, and with the help of my Kindle, I’ve been churning through them at a speed of knots.
In this post, I’m going to review some of the best books I’ve read and highly recommend. They cover Project Management, Design, Business, Productivity, Psychology and I’ve threw in one Science Fiction too. Enjoy!
Project Management & Web Design
Essential Scrum is a really good in-depth book for both people who have used scrum before and those that need a thorough introduction. Set out and written in a manner that is easy to digest. It has everything you need to work with Scrum.
This is also excellent material to demonstrate the value of Scrum to commercial stakeholders.
The author’s accessible style and excellent layout of chapters make it very easy to read.
This is the most comprehensive guide of Scrum I’ve come across and should be on every PM’s desk.
I found this book through Doug’s Agile at Work series over at Lynda.com – An excellent series for Digital Project Mangers!
His book does a great job presenting the concepts of Agile/Scrum in a way that makes it digestible and relatable in the modern business world.
He compares Agile to traditional project management practices and describes how stakeholders may perceive working with an Agile team.
If you need an introduction to Scrum, or are struggling to adopt it, then grab this book!
If you’re in the Web Design business or are a graphic designer thinking about dipping your toes, then this is the book for you.
It covers the basic principles of design, teaches you how to integrate/translate that for the web, and helps you produce more effective websites.
Mark also provides very useful information on the business side of things for anyone looking to go freelance or wanting to start up their own agency.
Outliers brings the science behind successful people. Turns out it’s not just down to pure genius or a sizeable inheritance.
Malcolm takes you on a journey through that will help you understand the facts and figures of success. It’s incredibly well researched and the referenced studies are incorporated into the text very naturally.
I particularly enjoyed the theory about dedicating 10,000 hours to truly become an expert on something. It raises questions about how to plan for such things and how, on occasions, you’ll need some luck along the way.
I’m about to start Chapter 8 of Mark’s latest book and I can safely say, I’ve taken more notes from this book than any other.
Today, being known for expertise in a particular field is crucial. Known is all about seeing the distinct connection between being successful and being ‘known’.
Mark starts at the very beginning and walks you through the steps required to go from being completely unknown, to someone who is known.
You’ll read stories, learn techniques and be given tasks to help you along the way. I’ve really enjoyed this book – Now I just need to make time to put it into practice!
Chris does a fantastic job breaking down the mental barriers for anyone thinking about starting their own business.
He shares stories from ordinary people, who have changed their lives by making the most of the opportunities or situations they found themselves in.
Money is usually a barrier of entry for a lot of people, and is often the first thing people think about when wanting to start a business – This book will help you change that mindset.
Don’t expect mind boggling maths or detailed business plans, this book is here to help you overcome your initial fears and launch yourself into the world of entrepreneurship.
The Power of Habit is an insightful look at why we do the things we do and how we can identify these traits in ourselves and in those around us.
If you’re eager to analyse your behaviour and really understand why you make certain decisions, then this is the book for you. The book breaks down how to be your best by sharing real-world stories and interesting facts about psychology and people’s behaviour.
It will empower you with the knowledge to make a positive change in yourself and your environment. It’s really easy to follow and a great place to start if you want to read about psychology.
It took me way too long to finally sit down and read this. Don’t make the same mistake as I did.
An essential read for everyone. Opens your eyes to the psychology behind human nature, with fascinating and insightful stories.
It opens your eyes to certain principles that may seem obvious at first, but make a huge difference on you and on those you interact with, when you apply them.
Just ignore the cheesy title…
In my final year at Uni, I was facing insurmountable odds to get a 2:1 and *this book is probably the reason why I have a degree (and a decent job right now).
Long story short, it’s not about what you know but what you can remember. This book will teach you to remember ANYTHING, and at short notice. If you’re a student and you’re approaching exam season, buy this book.
*Not this one specifically, but an older edition.
I had to include The Martian. It’s my favourite book. Period. I’m a sucker for Astronomy and this story really had me hooked from cover to cover.
Almost as interesting as the book is how Andy Weir wrote it. He pretty much crowdsourced the book without any prior knowledge, using Google and his readers to get the science right.
You may have watched the movie adaptation starring Matt Damon, but the book is a lot better. It contains a lot more content, and a few more twists and turns.