Looking for some beach reading this summer? These three books are perfect for relaxing while providing some great food for thought.
For many of us, summer has finally arrived. It’s that glorious time of year when we take a week or two to leave our jobs behind and enjoy the company of friends and family.
It’s also the perfect time to recharge our internal batteries. And what better way to do that than through a bit of reading? I’ve just started on three books that I’m finding highly enlightening and informative, and think you may be interested in them, too:
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
by Walter Isaacson
Collaboration is at the heart of virtually every historical achievement, and nowhere is that more evident than in the invention of computers and the Internet. That’s the inescapable conclusion from this book, written by the bestselling author of biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. The Innovators details how the most important digital advances of our time have been the result of not individuals, but teamwork.
The book devotes plenty of time to the industry’s many geniuses, beginning back in the 1840s with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming. It also probes the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution – everyone from household names, such as Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Larry Page – to the not-so-famous but equally important.
The author has a knack for translating complicated industry jargon into plain, everyday language, and the book paints a fascinating picture of how teamwork and collaboration are integral to innovation and success.
My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
by Nikola Tesla
The nameplate on the sleek Tesla Model S cars found on our roads in increasing numbers is a nod to Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, the brilliant scientist who forever changed the scientific fields of magnetism and, quite fittingly, electricity.
In this engaging, humorous and somewhat eccentric biography, Tesla recounts many of his inventions, from his first – a childhood device for catching frogs – to his greatest, A/C current, which powers our homes, televisions and computers. At one point he describes a “World-System of intelligence transmission for exclusive private use” and “musical distribution, etc.” Nearly 100 years before its invention, Tesla had already predicted today’s interconnected web of computers commonly known as the Internet.
Despite other dreams that also came to pass, including radios and cell phones, Tesla’s story has until recently remained largely unknown, which is truly unfortunate. His autobiography is a fast read that illustrates the power of hard work and big dreams.
Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
by Shawn Achor
Happiness is a state of mind we all strive to achieve, but only occasionally attain. And it’s not for a lack of trying. A web search of “finding happiness” returns an amazing 103 million results, and thousands of self-help books have been written on the subject.
But only two have been written by Shawn Achor, a former Harvard researcher, leader in the field of positive psychology and expert whose TED talk has been viewed more than 34 million times. In this, the follow-up to his first book, the author blends psychological research, facts, personal anecdotes and entertaining stories to offer suggestions for reaching the elusive goal of achieving happiness. Among his advice: do something for others, use a treasure map to chart your path toward success, use exercise to eliminate noise and distractions from your life and find humor everywhere.
Despite its weighty topic, it’s an enjoyable read, and an important one. Achor’s discussion of how even a simple adjustment in thinking can make a big impact on our outlook and how we’re perceived is a can’t-miss.
I hope my summer reading list have inspired you. Feel free to leave your suggestion on must-read book this summer in the commentary field.