Back in November, this Twitter prompt for a book recommendation got me thinking.
I wanted to suggest to Josh of Passion Bicycle an unconventional choice, preferably a piece of fiction, certainly out of the usual cycle of startup-themed books.
Alas, I could not think of any on the spot. A few weeks later, having given it some thought, here is my selection.
Sports book was bound to make it on the list, given the clichéd parallels between the two domains. This one is different, though.
Like so many startup stories, this too is about success and failure. It is also about hubris, transition management, co-founder dynamics. Most of all, it's about picking your battles wisely.
Besides, you already know I what I think about Clough and product lessons.
Definitely a Berlin choice. Every time I walk past Eberswalder Straße, I still get the sense of feverish, Prussian-brand Futurism feel of the place just under 100 years ago.
Granted, the book was first published over a decade after the Second World War, still making it prescient enough.
The point, however, is not its prescience but the reminder of the potent nexus of technology, finance and power.
Type is essential. Yet not easy to get into. The classics, like Bringhurst, are often too dense. The popular volumes are often too trivial.
This one is just right. Great visual guide to start looking at the typography. Just enough of witty, opinionated commentary from the experienced practitioner.
I almost went for Kevin Kelly's "What Technology Wants", but for its ecclesiastical outlook.
George Dyson's Turing's Cathedral shades it in the longue durée genre.
Part the genealogy of the computing, part ode to von Neumann. Most of all, wonderful reminder that design decisions, contingencies and pure accidents over time become set in stone. A great reminder whenever tempted to engage in startup cargo cults.
The year-long reportage from within Ferran Adria's El Bulli kitchen. Creativity, innovation, execution and team dynamics within high-achieving teams - in a startup or in a kitchen.
Another reminder that tech startups are not as unique as it seems and that you can pick up inspiration from many places.
Also, I've heard of family meal in this book. I've heard about the same approach to communal eating in other industries too.
I 'd like to try it out one day in my shop. If I ever do, consider yourselves invited.