I’ve come to the realization that one of the most dangerous things in life is not giving yourself the time and space to think deeply; a classic tale would be getting by your day-to-day job without thinking about if that is the right career for you and end up regretting it 20 years later. How frightening!

It is fitting to start the new year with things that help you do some thinking and self-reflection. These are the 3 books that I constantly go back to whenever I need a ‘reset’ in life. I recommend you pick at least one of them up.

Managing Oneself — Peter F. Drucker

A classic 72-page book by Peter Drucker that hits on all the important points about managing and developing oneself. You probably would feel underwhelmed at first by the lack of the usual verbose for this kind of book (some even complain about wasting money but let’s be honest about how much money you’ve spent on lattes or green juices), but trust me, you will see everything you read channel through in your life.

It’s also a good book to pick up, again and again, to see which area you want to develop and read more about, depending on what your life is like at that moment.

Quote from the book:

“ Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at- and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do at all”.
Managing Oneself — Peter F. Drucker

The TAO of Charlie Munger — David Clark

This book is a compendium of quotes from Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the longtime business partner of Warren Buffett, whom Bill Gates calls the ‘broadest thinker’ he has ever encountered.

It covers a wide range of topics from investing, business, economy, to the pursuit of happiness, and they are true words of wisdom if you are interested in those topics.

Quote from the book:

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads — and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”
The TAO of Charlie Munger — David Clark

Antifragile — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Per the name of the book, Taleb described the concept of antifragile, things that benefit from volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressor, things with unlimited gains and limited loss. Antifragile is the antidote to the unpredictables in life, the way to live happily in a world we don’t understand. Taleb shows the reader what it means and how to achieve it.

Unlike the previous two books, which are both short and sweet, this one is very lengthy, and admittedly unnecessarily so. This “stream of consciousness” is simply Taleb’s writing style, you need to take your time with it, it will be worth your time. I’ve started my blog, my Etsy shop, and my other side businesses because of this book.

Quote from the book:

“Man-made smoothing of randomness produces the equivalent of John’s income: smooth, steady, but fragile. Such income is more vulnerable to large shocks that can make it go to zero (plus some unemployment benefits if he resides in one of the few welfare states).”
Antifragile — Nassim Nicholas Taleb