On Writing Well (Harper Colslns)

This is a classic that I have just discovered. The book was written many years ago, but has been updated.

It focuses on non-fiction writing and has lots of great guidelines plus great advice.

My favorite piece of advice was – if you are having difficulty with re-writing a sentence, try deleting it and see what the effect is.

The basic tenet of the book is that writing is re-writing. No one gets it right first time, so be prepared for re-writing and re-writing.

I know from personal experience that I can improve existing writing – but a blank page is hard to edit.

It has specialist sections on most popular types of non-fiction writing. I skipped a few that I don’t write about e.g. Sport.

Highly recommend.

If you are interest in fiction writing check out Stephen King’s (yes THE Stephen King) classic – On Writing.

Talking To Strangers (Penguin Books, 2020)

Written in his typical storytelling style, Malcolm Gladwell examines a police incident to see why and how we struggle to understand and relate to strangers.

Its not as straight forward as you think.

The book covers a lot of ground in many different areas. It is interesting and confronting.

If you liked his previous books then this one is worth reading.

Your Music and People (Hit Media, 2020)

I first heard about Derek Sivers on Tim Ferris’s podcast and now have three of his books.

His back story is amazing and covered in a previous book.

This book is written about music and musicians, but it really applies to any creative endeavor.

Good ideas to help you get your music (or creative work) out there.

Short read – recommend.

Available from his website – link below.

https://sive.rs/

 

Hell Yeah or No (Hit Media, 2020)

I first heard about Derek Sivers on Tim Ferris’s podcast and now have three of his books.

His back story is amazing and covered in a previous book.

This book is about identifying and doing what’s important.

Lots of short ideas to help kick start your important work.

It is a short read and I think only available from his website – link below.

https://sive.rs/

 

The Practice (Penguin, 2020)

Another great book by Seth.

It is written in bullet point form and has lots of pearls of wisdom to help you get your work out there into the world.

Seth looks at things a bit differently and that can help you focus on what you need to do and get it done.

The Art of Possibility (2002)

A great book to help you think about things a little differently and hopefully act a little differently too.

Some great ideas and stories, highly recommend.

Many examples relate to music and musicians, but the practices apply to everyone.

I listened to the audio book version which had the added benefit of music.

Atomic Habits (Random House, 2018)

A new book that covers how you can make small incremental changes over time that lead to large results.

Atomic means small, as in atoms.

I have followed James’s Blog (link below) for a number of years and this book covers topics from the blog plus new material.

James Clear’s blog

His back story is interesting and inspiring.

It is a practical book and he provides ideas to increase your good habits and reduce your bad habits – useful strategies to do both are included.

Habits are automatic and many times unconscious, so the more automated and intentional you make your habits the more time you have for other important things.

You may need to read it a couple of times to get the most out of all his suggestions.

Highly recommend.

Storytelling with Data (Wiley, 2015)

A great book to help you create better charts/graphs. (Note: I call them charts because I use Excel – graphs may be the correct term.)

The book explains many visualisation concepts and backs it up with step by step examples of improving charts.

The before and after charts speak for themselves.

The book also places emphasis on identifying the message you are seeking to convey to the reader of your chart and making sure you are using the best chart to get that message across.

With dashboards being the buzz at the moment learning how to best display your information is a good skill to have.

This quote was used in the book and encapsulates many of the recommendations. Highly recommend this book.

 

Essentialism (Virgin Books, 2014)

Essentialism is a great concept and well explained and described in this book. Lots of examples and ways to include it in your life.

It is a different mindset and will take a while to implement and incorporate.

I read this book with Deep Work by Cal Newport they compliment each other.

Highly recommend.

Deep Work (Piatkus, 2016)

A good book to encourage and motivate you to focus more.

Social media and the internet are designed to keep your eyeballs on the screen. This doesn’t get the worthwhile work done.

Moderation is tough in anything and with the dice loaded against you its hard to limit time on the net.

Some good suggestions and ideas to help you get more great work done.

I read this book with Essentialism by Greg McKeown. they compliment each other.

Highly recommend.

 

Peak Performance (2017)

Some great practical advice on areas to improve on.

Applies to many different areas of life.

Basic premise is simple, but some great suggestions on how you can improve in all areas of your life.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree (2017)

Eric has blogged for many years and this book follows on from his blog.

His writing style is relaxed and it is an easy read.

A book that turns some common advice on its head and confirms others.

Lots of studies are examined some of them conflicting, so you may need to experiment yourself with some of the practical suggestions.

 

Tribe of Mentors (2017)

Another great book from Tim Ferriss.

This has lots of short advice about life from successful people from all walks of life.

Its a smorgasbord – you can open it randomly and learn something new.

It follows on from his podcast and the Tools of Titans – another great book.

Many of his podcast questions are answered by people who haven’t been on the podcast.

 

Financial Modeling in Excel for Dummies (Wiley, 2017)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to review.
This book is a great introduction to Financial Modeling.
The content is easy to follow and gets you started on the right foot with lots of best practice advice.
The only downside of the book is the screen shots tend to include the whole screen rather than zoom in on the important part of the screen – many images are hard to read.
The book is a great primer for Danielle’s first book which allows you to learn even more about financial modeling.

The Happiest Refugee

Highly recommend.

This book has it all, humour, drama, intrigue, family secrets and running jokes throughout.

Plus its all true. Anh is a nice guy and a great comedian and he writes well. I didn’t realise he had done so some many things, and done them successfully.

It shows the impact of a new country on refugees. A great read!

I heard it might be made into a movie – look forward to it.

Sapiens

A must read.

It will get you thinking about how we have progressed and whether it has been progress or regress.

Have the lives of sapiens improved over the thousands of years?

What about the planet and the other animals on the planet, (the ones we haven’t killed off any way) are they better off?

Tools of Titans (2016)

It has lots of great ideas, concepts, tricks and tips. Highly recommend.

Tim is famous for the 4 hour work week book, but more recently his podcasts have become legendary.

The book is based on the people Tim has interviewed and had on the Podcast (not all the podcasts are interviews). I am a big fan of the podcast and the book delivers.

Great to have so much information in one book.

In the introduction Tim says to skip stuff that doesn’t interest you. I have skipped over a lot of the “supplement” chapters as it isn’t my thing.

But there are still lot of gems in this book no matter what your stage in life.

The kindle version has lots of internal links within the book.

Definitely worth your money, time and effort.

Rework

A short book with short chapters meant to get you thinking differently about work.

Much of what the book covers goes against the “common” advice out there.

It gets you thinking (sometimes differently) and that’s one thing a good book is all about.

David Heinemeir Hansson has recently been featured on two Tim Ferris podcasts – two excellent episodes.

 

The Checklist Manifesto (2011)

It is amazing that a such a simple concept can be so effective.

Easy to implement and adapt to different situations.

Good insights into what makes an effective checklist.

It works in aviation and medicine.

Most accountants have a month-end checklist. Can you apply it to other areas?

I use a checklist for all my webinars.

Worth a read.

 

M is for (Data) Monkey (Holy Macro! Books, 2015)

Don’t be put off by the title, this book is full of gold. It is chock full of tips, tricks and traps.

Power Query allows you to automate data cleansing operations on all sorts of Excel data – both internal and external.

Power Query can replace copying and pasting. No need for formulas and macros to get the data right.

Well worth purchasing – it will save you hours of work.