Magazines Read in 2014

I read less books last year than I normally do – which felt a bit disappointing – but it was largely because I spent so much time reading magazines (a magazine resurgence!) and listening to an ever increasing amount of great podcasts. So here’s the magazines I read regularly in 2014.

The Economist

Hands down one of the best magazines available. Every week they produce a staggering amount of superb content, ranging from politics, to science, to technology. It’s a challenge to get through a whole one, and usually just picking bits and pieces is enough. If you could only read one magazine, this would be the best overall choice.

http://www.economist.com/Read More »

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Books Read in 2014

books-read-2014-covers

My reading suffered a little this year, due to relentless listening of podcasts, and subscribing to way too many magazines. I also started quite a few books which I never finished. But luckily I did finish a handful of really good books, some of which are below. 3 works of fiction, none of which were outstanding, and 9 works of business literature, four of which were excellent.Read More »

Nancy Andreasen on Secrets of the Creative Brain

I read an excellent article in The Atlantic today, by the neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen, in which she details her life-long study of trying to understand where creativity comes from, and why some people have that spark of genius and others don’t. For example, does a higher IQ prove more conducive to creativity, or does it not matter? Does upbringing – nurture over nature – play a bigger role? Do exceptionally creative people have a family history of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or depression?

Nancy is still in the process of conducting her research with exceptional individuals, so this article serves as a mid-way discussion around what has been learned so far, and what questions are arising. Her article is fascinating in parts; below I’ve copied some of the key pieces.Read More »

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

Creating a culture that has a thirst for and thrives on innovation is the holy grail of business today. But it’s not as tangible, nor as easy, as creating processes, borrowing best practices, and funding innovation initiatives. Managers across the globe sit and weep in their offices, because this problem … is all about … people. The one darn thing their MBA didn’t teach them about.

Google is perhaps one of the best examples of an innovation-driven culture – or at least their culture appeals to me, so I was keen to read a new book on the subject by long-serving Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg. In How Google Works, we get a glimpse into what really makes their environment so different, and so innovative compared to most companies.Read More »

Getting Things Done by Dave Allen

getting-things-done

Productivity is a hot topic, and with good reason – we have less time it seems (it’s debatable), and more things to divide our attention on. I find myself luridly drawn to those Inc. and FastCompany articles that appear almost daily, telling us how to get a grip on our time management. But recently I read the big Kahuna of personal productivity. Here’s what I got from it.

Dave Allen’s book Getting Things Done is considered the modern day bible for productivity and personal effectiveness, and not only because of its widespread influence upon knowledge workers and executives of the 21st Century, particularly those based in Silicon Valley, but also because of its comprehensive and fastidious nature. It’s an epic.Read More »

How to add The Great Courses video downloads to your iPad

The Great Courses is well, great. Except for one thing – you can’t easily download the lecture videos to your iPad from the website or the iPad App, you can only stream them from there. This is a bit of an oversight, since the iPad App is very useful, but you’re likely to be travelling when wanting to use it, and have no connection to stream the lectures. So instead you need to download the lectures, then get them added to iTunes, then sync to your iPad. Here’s how it works for me (this is Windows, but Mac should be same):Read More »

A modern canon of literature

A good friend of mine, Michael Avis, used to be a literature professor in Denver. So I asked him to throw together a modern canon of literature. This is what I got back, and I’m slowly working my way through. Does Michael’s list represent a good modern day canon?

Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
Bright Lights Big City – Jay McInerney
Prayer for Owen Meany – John IrvingRead More »