First Quarter Books 2020

First Quarter Books 2020

I set a 2020 goal of reading 2 books every quarter. I love reading but I haven’t been reading for quite a while and I thought by setting this goal, would be a nice restart.

My picks: “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu and “The hard thing about hard things” by Ben Horowitz.

The Art of War
Although I had read this book in the past (and not remembering anything), I thought it would be good to start from a small, simple book. 
Ok, it’s not that simple, but it was a good choice after all.
At the first impression it’s a book written for warriors, soldiers and people that need to strategize a battle. But of course you can always link with our daily battles such as preparing for a job interview or dealing with a tough person in your team or your family.
I couldn’t connect every single lesson to real life, but for sure it’s a book to be read many times. It will always help with something.
Mostly what I got from this book is: be prepared!
Dedicate time to think about a problem, a situation, a challenge. Really think about it. Study it, talk to people that could support you with areas that you are not so aware of. Understand what you are dealing with. Consider different paths that the situation could lead to and the options for each one.

The hard thing about hard things
My friend Peter Colen once showed me a piece of this book. I honestly don’t remember what piece was that, but I got really interested. I’m gonna share some with you in a bit.
The book seems to be for people trying to build a business. It’s not. Well, it’s also for that, but it also teaches how to be humble, how to treat your bosses, colleagues and managees well, how to deal humanly with tough situations, and as an employee, how to read things and choose what company deserves you and how to position yourself to deserve the job you want.
What I got from this book is: create true connections. Treat people as humans.

I also found really touching and unique the way Ben writes; He referes to CEO/CTO/managers as “she”!

Here are some important quotes:

“That experience also taught me not to judge things by their surfaces. Until you make the effort to get to know someone or something, you don’t know anything. There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all”

“Former secretary of state Colin Powell says that leadership is the ability to get someone to follow you even if only out of curiosity.”

“Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, “What am I not doing?””

“The ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves. […] Most people are not strong enough. […] There is always a move.”

“Be present. Be visible. Be engaging. People want to see you.”

“There are lots of smart people in the world, but smart people is not good enough. I needed people who were great where I needed greatness. I need people who really wanted to do their jobs they were hired for. And I needed people who believed in the mission.”

“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”

I hope it inspires you!

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