Enjoying the scorching summer in Europe with some great books is a relaxing way to unwind. In this short post I'm quickly sharing a couple of books that I have read and enjoyed throughout the past year. You might find some of these books interesting, and if you do, I hope that you will enjoy the new perspectives, thoughts and ideas of one of these experienced authors.

   
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

In the past I ordered my books from Adlibris, but I now use an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader to carry my books with me. As a long-time user of this device, I can recommend it if you feel like carrying your heavy brick of a book wherever you go is not your thing.

New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development

Author: Mike Weinberg

Reviews:

  • Goodreads: 4,3 / 5
  • Amazon.com: 4,8 / 5

I found this book to have a very direct and engaging way of writing. While being inclined more towards professionals working in the American market, I still found it to include great tidbits of information and some fascinating stories that I could use for myself. Mike Weinberg is a hardcore sales guy and if you want to know why salesperson's work includes a preparation stage for an all-out assault, then I recommend you to grab this book!

Review from Goodreads user Michael Sennett:

An interesting book where Mike provides a structured approach to gaining new business. The ideas within the book, if followed verbatim, would clearly lead to a strong growth in business but would have a disruptive influence on the internal organisational house keeping activities, e.g. attending meetings as the "sales rep", responding to "for your information" e-mails and reading pointless internal reports. Mike suggests, and I agree with him, that if organisations want strong new business growth, the sales team needs to be at the heart of the company's business strategy and strongly supported.
A great read for all sales professionals, whether a hunter or a zoo keeper.

The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return

Author: Mihir Desai

Reviews:

  • Goodreads: 4,1 / 5
  • Amazon.com: 4,5 / 5

In the current economy, finance rules everything. It is a responsibility for each of us to be financially literate, no matter our role or position in the society. Mihir Desai's book is a great and thought provoking piece of common finance related topics explained in a simple, relatable and an understandable way. I really love the genious examples and perspectives that Mihir shared in this book and recommend this to anyone who wants to brush up their understanding of the common finance-related aspects of our personal, as well as business lives.

Review from Goodreads user Jason Furman:

The Wisdom of Finance is worth reading if only to marvel at Mihir Desai’s amazing mind, wide range, and exciting set of insights. The book undersells itself, claiming to use a range of novels, movies, music, TV shows, philosophy and history to better understand and illuminate finance. And it certainly does that, covering the full set of topics: insurance, asset pricing, corporate finance, principal-agent problems and bankruptcy among other topics. But the book is about much more, including better understanding literature and our own lives.

To give one example that illustrates the astonishing range of Desai’s understanding, consider his illustration of leverage by comparing George Orwell (who went into semi-seclusion for years to write 1984) to Jeff Koons (who at his peak employed 150 people to produce his ideas). He uses this not just to understand the role of leverage in the financial system but also to introspect about his own life where he is on the Orwell-Koons spectrum, and how that relates to happiness.

And did I mention the astonishing range? We have gotten used to Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy showing up in economics books. But everything from ancient Greek tragedy to Kanye West? All effortless incorporated in many cases with interesting juxtapositions, like the Orwell-Koons example.

If this enjoyable and thought provoking book does not convince you of the wisdom of finance it will at least convince you of the wisdom of Mihir Desai.

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

Author: Nathaniel Popper

Reviews:

  • Goodreads: 4,1 / 5
  • Amazon.com: 4,6 / 5

Great summer reading from a journalist author and a deep-dive into the chronological history of the first truly decentralized currency. This book gave me a jaw-dropping look into what was exactly happening at times when I only recall to have read disparate and unclear news from way too many sources. It is an exciting and detailed investigation into the people and their thinking before the technology went mainstream. It only makes you wonder, what will happen next.

Review from Goodreads user Doing Dewey:

If you’re like me before reading this book, you’ve heard of the digital money called Bitcoin only when it’s gotten negative press. Honestly, after hearing about many people losing the money they’d invested in Bitcoins, I thought this experiment was dead. I was still fascinated to learn about it though and especially about the people behind Bitcoin. As the subtitle indicates, this group included a wide variety of people, from millionaires to social revolutionaries, from hackers to drug dealers. Like most narrative nonfiction I love, it was the way the author told these people’s stories that made this a great read for me.

The author had interviewed many of the people involved in the creation of Bitcoin. This meant that he was able to share direct quotes and snippets of their personal communication. I felt that he also presented the many different views on Bitcoin and its possible uses in an unbiased way. I particularly loved the variety of people involved in Bitcoin. Learning about them meant learning about many different subcultures and careers that I previously knew nothing about. I was also impressed by the way the author explained the technology behind Bitcoin. Within the text, he presented the fewest technical details necessary for the story to make sense. These bits were all explained very clearly and referred readers to the appendix for more, equally well explained, technical information.

For those of you who are curious, it turns out that not only is Bitcoin alive and well, Bitcoins are currently accepted by a number of retailers. The Bitcoin currency has two main advantages: Bitcoins can be transferred anonymously and they don’t need to go through banks, making even international money transfers fast and free. After reading Digital Gold, I see a few downsides to the currency as well. First, like every other currency, the wealthy are likely to gain wealth the fastest. Many wealthy individuals were the first investors in Bitcoin, concentrating the wealth in a few hands, and today, special hardware is required to earn new bitcoins. Secondly, the mining (computational work done to create new Bitcoins) has been made artificially more difficult to limit the rate at which Bitcoins are created. This means a lot of electricity and computing power that could be used to do useful scientific work are being wasted. Personally, I don’t want to support that and will probably never invest in Bitcoins, but whatever your stance on the currency, it’s origin story is an interesting one.

During these hot summer months we wish you to have some good times with your friends, family and loved ones. So far the weather has been great and the drinks have been enjoyed cold. If you have your own book suggestions, drop a comment below and let us know!