In 2013, I decided to set a goal: read more books that were outside my curriculum’s required readings. Suffice to say, that came crashing down as I yielded once again to the insane workload of university, extracurricular commitments and anything that was mentioned in this post.
But as December rolled around, and the date of my surgery loomed, I realized that five-seven days in a hospital room was going to drive me insane. I mean, I need something to do – you’re talking to someone who tried to teach himself German to kill time. Anyways, I decided to catch up with my 2013 goal.
I learned from my Europe trip eBooks were the best solution for a light pack; I had downloaded The Great Gatsby & The Art of War (I have varying tastes, ok?) for the long plane & train rides. So, with my Samsung Tab 3 by my side, I decided to plow through a ragtag list of eBooks, pulled from bestsellers’ lists and reviews. Since leaving the hospital, eBooks have proved invaluable – I can read on both my tablet & my phone (thanks, Google Play!) and I’m able to reduce space in my small bad that is readily replaced by snacks and lunch.
Looking back on the books I read this December, I found a common theme running through all these random titles I had been recommended to read: leadership, leaders & underdogs.
The titles above proved to me that leadership isn’t always the most obvious choices. One of the things that stood out to me was in Gladwell’s analysis – albeit seemingly a bit hurried and sometimes grating in its over generalizations (a criticism he’s addressed), Gladwell points out that innovators, besides their strong work ethic and openness, are necessarily disruptive. Isn’t that something to think about? It’s almost something to wonder whether the conditions of our modern society has led us to stifle innovation – can innovation be as prolific at the hands of corporations, red-tape bureaucracy and the standardizations demanded from today’s education system? Gladwell’s analysis certainly plays into the history and facts behind the other two books, both strong female leaders: Empress Dowager Cixi and Malala Yousafzai. If you’re looking for modern, water-cooler reads, Gladwells & Yousafazai’s books are unlikely, but great companion pieces – Malala certainly fits the role of the underdog, fighting against a stiflingly patriarchal system. Chang’s biography on Cixi challenges many misconceptions many have had of one of China’s most unexpected monarchs, and is a look into the beginnings of China’s industrialization and modern interactions with foreign powers.
Following this month’s reads, I endeavour to continue reading – any ideas on January’s theme?