What TNW is reading (week 5)

chandler reading

Ah, welcome welcome. I see you enjoyed last week’s edition and are back for more. Well we won’t disappoint. For the uninitiated (go back and start at post one, please) the team at TNW has made a New Year’s Resolution to read a bit more. So every week, a select number of our team will be sharing with you what’s currently living on their nightstand, or saved in Pocket, or is sitting in that browser tab begging to be read.

This week we have pearls of wisdom from Peter Thiel, Russel Brand sort of, kinda, maybe has an idea for how to change the way we live and an autobiography on Spain’s greatest matador shows how sometimes the old ways are the best.

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Zero to One: notes on startups, or how to build the future – Peter Thiel

I recently finished reading Zero to One, a definite recommendation for any entrepreneur and professional. In short, it’s about creating something new, going from zero to one. This book describes multiple ways how to get there.

One of the most eye opening chapters in this book in my opinion is Chapter four – “The Ideology of Competition”. Many of us are taught in our high school economics class that competition is healthy. Peter disagrees and says, “competition is an ideology, that pervades our society and distorts our thinking. We preach competition, internalize its necessity and enact its commandments. As a result, we trap ourselves within it, even though the more we compete, the less we gain.”

This is only one example of PayPal’s and Palantir’s Co-Founder looking at things differently. This book is full of other theories and insights on how to take the first steps in creating a monopoly and eventually becoming successful.

-Derk van Lomwel, Business Development Manager.

Revolution – Russel Brand

A bloody fucking awesome book. Or is it? It’s easy to fall in love with Brand’s witty, funny, authentic ramblings about everyone and every institute that is fucking with our lives. But while Brand is perceptive about what is wrong, he doesn’t have a very clear solution on what we need to change. Brand attacks corporations that dominate us but leaves out the details of what exactly is going on and what might have caused it.  

“De-centralization” and “meditation” are part of his vague alternatives. It looks a little bit like Brand can get away with avoiding details in respect to the phenomenally witty celebrity that he is. I’m totally in love with the guy for his voice, guts and looks. He’s definitely able to shake up people but will he also lead a movement? And does he really want to lead a global revolution?

Honestly, I didn’t expect Russell Brand to produce a work of deep thought. Given this, the book didn’t disappoint at all. It is partly autobiographical (his past has had a big influence on his own breakthrough in political and spiritual thinking) and partly based on other people’s work. He refers to basic ideas about freedom and revolution that he says are now reaching a bigger audience, which can only be a good thing.

– Sophie Op den Kamp, Mrs X

Killer of Bulls, Juan Belmonte – The Autobiography of a Matador – Juan Belmonte

Juan Belmonte, Killer of Bulls is a splendid biography of Juan Belmonte, renowned bullfighter in early 20th century Spain. The book narrates, in the best tradition of the Spanish picaresque novel, the journey of the ​matador​ from the days of hunger of his childhood to the great successes of his long career.

What really impressed me was Juan Belmonte’s personality. It was full of dignity, wit and sensibility. His character allowed him to deal with all the ups and downs of his life – and he had a great deal of both. A real life lesson from the kind of person that I’m afraid doesn’t exist anymore.

– Pablo Román, CTO

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine – Michael Lewis

You might have heard of the movie, which is nominated for several Oscars and is quite good but that wasn’t my reason for picking up this book.

Michael Lewis is my favorite writer and a genius. I fell in love with his writing when I read Moneyball. He is skilled at exposing the human side of really complicated, technical topics.

It’s the insider perspective of The Big Short that makes it so especially appealing though. Lewis was party of the Solomon Brothers when the seeds of the financial crisis were planted, and he wrote another awesome book called Liar’s Poker about it.

The Big Short helps you to understand the kinds of things that drive the economy that’s affecting our every day life. Spoiler alert: It ain’t pretty.

– Esther Cohen, Social Media Editor

This is a #TNWLife article, a look into the lives of those that work at The Next Web.

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