A fellow Xoogler recommended to me the book Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat. I just finished it and thoroughly enjoyed it. While the last chapter on "intelligent design" may seem the most controversial, the rest of the book is grounded on (much less controversial) science and simple practical tools for happiness. The book covers mental biases, getting over fears, using meditation, and presents many other techniques and ideas that can help bring peace and happiness to everyday life.
I identified a lot with the author as he is an engineer and Xoogler. The story of the loss of his son and the many associated anecdotes related to that were gut-wrenching; it's amazing that someone who has lived through that can write a book to help others be happy. There are so many good lessons in this book, and I highly recommend it. My main notes and takeaways are below.
I recently finished reading Startup Studio Playbook: For entrepreneurs, pioneers and creators who want to build ventures faster and with higher chance of success. Master the studio framework and start building. by Attila Szigeti. I was interested in reading it because I was exploring opportunities related to startup studios and wanted to read more about their history and best practices.
While this book had some quality/language issues, it was still overall very helpful, especially in its detailed case studies. It would've been nice to have more case studies included of US-based studios, but the non-US based ones were still informative.
I learned that many studios begin as consulting/web development agencies first and then get into studio/company creation work later once they've stockpiled some capital. And they raise money usually after some early demonstrated successes.
The book discussed several model process flows that various studios have used successfully. It was also interesting to learn about some of the techniques they use for ideation like hackathons and the role of EIRs.
This is definitely a good resource for anyone looking to get involved with or start a startup studio.
My main highlights from the book are below.
The pandemic has hit my reading rate hard. It's been a really busy few months as I've had way more responsibilities to deal with at home, which has meant less free time daily for reading unfortunately. It was also timely that I had started reading around this time The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler, which I just finished.
I had actually received this book for free as part of an Authors@Google talk I attended when I worked there (which you can watch below if you're interested). I don't know why it took me so long to read the actual book after the event.
I did take a lot of good notes and learned a lot from the talk I listened to, but that was before I had my own child. Reading it now as a father gave me a lot more actionable information. I found the book insightful and action-oriented, and I'd love to dig into its many examples and primary sources sometime in the future.
I came away with a lot of good ideas to experiment with and implement in my own family in the future. My full notes on the book are below the video.