5 Must-Read Books to Get Inspired in 2018

Our users inspire us. Since sharing is caring, we’ve asked them to inspire you. They said: “Yes. Let’s do it!” And we’re not surprised. We deal with them every day. We know perfectly well what incredible people we develop Droplr for.

In this blog post they tell what books have inspired them recently. Feel free to add them to your must-read books list and… enjoy the read! 😉

1. How to be a Stoic

‘How do you handle a meeting that goes sideways? How do you keep the wheels from falling off of that nightmare project? What skills should you develop or strengthen this year? Could the framework to help you navigate your personal and professional life be … Stoicism?

If you’re like me, philosophy books don’t rank high on your reading list. You just don’t have the time for a laborious and esoteric reading experience. However, Massimo Pigliucci’s How to be a Stoic is different.

Reading what ancient Stoic thinkers like Epictetus wrote often makes me think “Wait, what does that even mean?” So I loved how the book’s conversational tone made abstract concepts easy to understand. It’s also practical and offers examples I could relate to. Through that conversational tone, 2000-year-old texts are applied in a way that helps me handle all kinds of situations I find myself in today – from working with a product team to having my luggage lost.

How to be a Stoic isn’t about cross-armed, emotionless suffering and endurance. It’s more about how to live your life maximally in the face of inevitable obstacles you’re sure to encounter. Check it out.’

Aaron Weyenberg, Director of Research & Development, TED

Aaron serves as Director of Research and Development at TED, working with the sharp minds in TED’s Technology team to deliver ideas worth spreading to a growing community of inquisitive souls. Prior to his role at TED, Aaron consulted for startups and was an art director at ESPN, where he advanced UX development practices and helped pioneer now industry-standard live sports apps. Aaron loves travel, coffee, and books. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. Follow him on Twitter.

2. Judge This

What if you could get inside the mind of one of your favorite designers? That’s what Chip Kidd lets us do in his diminutive but delightful book, Judge This.

Kidd, a visual problem solver extraordinaire, is known mostly for his book covers. He’s possessed of the incredible ability to distill fiction and non-fiction works alike down to simple, bold, sometimes wildly enigmatic visual punchlines. His covers tug and punch at you. Sometimes they foreshadow, but just as often they inspire curiosity that’s satisfied only when you’ve read the book they’re protecting.

What’s his secret?

Turns out, there is no secret. Kidd is simply a keen observer of his surroundings. No, he’s more than that: he’s a scrutinizer. He judges everything from the mundane to the extraordinary, and then finds ways to synthesize those observations into visual puns and metaphors, stories and allegories.

Judge This packs dozens of bite-size, humorous observations, proclamations, analyses and judgments into a breezy read. It’s both demystifying and inspiring. Any designer — or really anyone — curious about how one very creative mind works should spend a few hours with Chip Kidd. Since he’s probably unavailable, read Judge This instead.

(Disclosure: Judge This is a TED imprint and I though work for TED, I have no direct connection to TED Books. My recommendation stands on its own.)’

Michael McWatters, Director of Experience Design, TED

Michael is Director, Experience Design for TED. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin 8-year-old boys. He writes about autism, design, tech, and almost anything else that pops into his brain.

Follow him on MediumTwitter, or check out his autism blog, ASD Dad.

 

3. Travel in an Age of Permanxiety

‘Permanxiety’. A phrase travel intelligence platform Skift coined, explaining it as ‘a near-constant state of anxiety that exists around the world…exacerbated by hyper-connected citizens using social platforms to create a state of permanent frenzy’. 

Being too connected makes us fall into the trap of being too focused on ourselves. We become too fixated on our own image, and how our own life appears to others, rather than worrying about what we can do to help others and be more considerate of them. In 2018 take a leaf out of the diaries of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, from back in the early 50’s. Heinrich was driven by his ego at first, but spending seven years amidst the ‘roof of the world’ towards the end of WW2, and coming to know the Dalai Lama personally, taught him an invaluable lesson in selflessness. 

After seeing the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ many moons ago, a friend passed me on a copy of the book to read when he and I were on an overland trip in Namibia last February. I finally got around to reading it and was touched by the essence of the book. No offense to Brad Pitt, but reading Harrer’s own words it really underlined (more than the film) how we can change as people for the better through our travels and by properly immersing ourselves in – and being accepting of – another culture.’

Sebastian Neylan, Director of Online Marketing, Lonely Planet

An avid traveller, Sebastian became part of the Client Solutions team Lonely Planet’s Melbourne office in 2012, driving the production of various campaigns for global partner brands. He made the shift from his hometown across to the (more winter-y) streets of London in 2013, to look after Lonely Planet’s social channels, and now as Director of Online Marketing, overlooks traffic growth efforts for lonelyplanet.com and downloads of Lonely Planet’s mobile apps (Guides and Trips)…whilst occasionally daydreaming about his next holiday.

Follow him on Twitter via @swobba.

4. Do the Work

‘My pick is, definitely, Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. This small book packs a big punch. An absolute must-read for anyone who creates new stuff. Steven gives you a right old kick in the butt that you need to help you get out of your own way and make sure you get a project from START to FINISH. His basic premise starts with the fact that with any creative endeavor you always face the same enemy… resistance.

Whether you are writing a new piece of music a new book or even starting a tech start-up, resistance will always be there to haunt you. As Steven says, the first step is to consciously acknowledge the existence of resistance – it happens to everyone, even the best of us like the main man Pablo Picasso faced resistance.

Steven then goes into a manifesto of how you can successfully deal with the daemon of resistance, or like he calls it, how you can slay the dragon and get sh*t done. But don’t be fooled, resistance is always there every single time we challenge ourselves to start up something new, the key is to put your head down and “Do the Work”. Just read the book, you won’t regret it!’

Gari Nickson, CMO & the Co-founder of Geniebelt

Gari Nickson is passionate about construction and expert in the application of artificial intelligence in construction. He’s an entrepreneur, co-founder of GenieBelt and advisor to Construction Profit System.

5. Show Your Work

‘I have two modes of work: Monk Mode and Publishing Mode.

When I’m in Monk Mode, I have a tendency to go dark to the outside world. All of my working hours are spent with my keyboard, some books, my team, and a whiteboard. I don’t publish much to my websites, nor do I update Twitter or Instagram all that much.

But when I’m in “Publishing Mode” then it’s somewhat the opposite. Most of my working hours are spent publishing things to my sites, tweeting, etc. But I’m not focusing on any particular project or product.

A goal of mine has been to operate in both of these modes simultaneously.

I bought Show Your Work by Austin Kleon in response to that challenge. I’ve read through it twice now, and I love how light, easy, and approachable Austin’s writing is.

You can read the whole book in a single evening after dinner, or on a lazy Saturday morning while you drink your coffee. It’s fun and easy and quick to read, yet full of things that make you think.

Read it with a notebook handy. Austin does a great job at moving you past your doubts and objections and giving you easy ideas for ways you can show your own work.’

Shawn Blanc, Entrepreneur 

Shawn Blanc is a writer, small-business owner, productivity coach, and creative entrepreneur living in Kansas City with his wife and three sons. You can find his daily writing and list of projects at shawnblanc.net.

 

Thank you, guys, for being generous and sharing your inspirations with us. I already have my picks to add to my reading list. I hope that you, dear reader got a little bit inspired to read, too. Let’s make 2018 a reading year! And remember – sharing is caring! So, you know what to do with this post, right? Share! 😉

I'm a service designer and a digital marketer, passionate about human-centered design and storytelling. To my own surprise, I frequently find myself writing about motivation and organizational culture. Why? This could be the human factor at play...

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