There were many non-fiction books that readers discussed besides the classics and fiction discussed (Check Parts 1, 2 and 3)
Sudharsan read War Plan Red by Kevin Lippert, a book that begins with British rule in Canada.The book is about the secret cold war between the United States and Canada. Some motives for the plan: capturing all the world’s supply of maple syrup, ice hockey players and natural resources. The conversation veered to the upcoming elections in the US.
Madhu Sagar talked about a non-fiction book by US journalist Daniel Coyle. The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving your skills. This book takes you all around the world in search of the greatest talent. It’s a manual in a world where performance is rated highly and it’s not self-help. The handbook contains scientifically proven methods that can help improve the skills of a child and an organization.
There are two kinds of skills- hard skills are acquired by repetitive practice and soft talent is more organic and fluid. Madhu read out a couple of tips to us. For instance, if you want to have a genius in your home, you don’t need to get the child air conditioning. Spartan existence is conducive to innovation as necessity is the mother of invention. So we have thinkers like Ramanujan who wrote reams of theorems in his head because of an acute shortage of paper. And Russian coders who coded in their head. Watch Hackers wanted to understand this better.
Ajay got a biography titled Roman by Roman Polanski. The world famous director of great movies like Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown vindicates himself by writing his side of the story. “Polanski writes in a very matter of fact style and there’s absolutely no self-pity,” Ajay says. He went on to narrate how Roman the boy who lived in Poland lost his mother and sister to the extermination camps. He survived as did his father with whom he reunited much later. But tragedy followed him even later when he was a director in the US. His wife and unborn child were murdered by the gruesome serial killer Charles Manson. Polanski later was charged with statutory rape and he fled the country. If you are a fan of this controversial director and want to hear his side of the story, this book is a must read.
Nilesh picked up The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurs. This book is based on his popular blog and talks about the stuff that business school won’t teach you. In the book, Horowitz shares insights and anecdotes about the problems running a startup involves.
“I completely agreed with the author when he says that most of the advice that we get is not applicable. Horowitz provides simple solutions that are really not simple. For example, there is a misconception in companies that if you come to the manager with a problem, you need to bring in a solution as well. This makes absolutely no sense,” Nilesh said.
That was the business book of this BYOB party.
Sumaa went by the recommendations of her friends and chose a highly unconventional bestseller called Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. This illustrated version of the KonMari method deconstructs the cleaning process with how to clean everything from folding socks to organizing pictures. “What worked for me is that the book is not preachy. It doesn’t touch on over-consumption, feng shui or spirituality. For Kondo, cleaning should create joy. You keep only what you need and what gives you joy. She also traces the emotional journey of many of her clients. It’s an unusual book and inspiring.”
What a list of books! Can’t wait for the next BYOB Party…..what are you reading now?