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Books in 2018

Gazettabyte has asked various industry executives to discuss the books they have read in 2018. Here, Valery Tolstikhin and Alexandra Wright-Gladstein give their recommendations.

Valery Tolstikhin, president and CEO of Intengent, a consultancy

I read too many technical and business texts during the day so I leave my bedtime for more human reading.  

This year I wasn’t too lucky with fiction books but I did read some great non-fiction ones: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

All three titles are bestsellers and do not need an introduction, but still. 

Harari’s book - the second in the series, and there is a third already published - encourages you to think of the big issues by detaching yourself from everyday routines and trivia. 

Peterson’s book is about how to make yourself comfortable with these very routines and trivia while remaining at peace with the big issues. The book is also music to the ears of conservatives.

Isaacson’s book is as much about Leonardo da Vinci as it is about human’s aspiration for harmony, which extends from the arts to physics theories to iPhone design. 

I highly recommend all three.


Alexandra Wright-Gladstein, co-founder of Ayar Labs 

I'd recommend Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs, by John Doerr, and Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening by Manal al-Sharif

Measure what Matters is a great overview of how several of the top companies of our time use the management method known as OKRs (objectives and key results), first developed by Andy Grove of Intel, to motivate large teams to accomplish impressive goals. 

John Doerr learned the method early in his career while at Intel. Then, when he became a VC investor, he started teaching the method to the companies he invested in, including Google. 

It is great that the method is now available for the rest of us.

Daring to Drive is just a wonderful story, a page-turner I could not put down. It is the autobiography of a woman who was raised in a conservative part of Saudi Arabia, who eventually revolted by driving a car (an illegal act for women in Saudi Arabia) and putting a video of her doing so on YouTube. 

The book came out last year. This year we felt the impact of her life's work and the book when the Saudi government legalised driving for women - an incredible win for Manal and her community.

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