A certain Instagram ad has been nagging me for months now to "swap doomscrolling for microlearning". While I agree with the sentiment, why stop at "micro"?
To kickstart this year, here are four book recommendations - not necessarily new titles. I have recently found these titles fascinating as each has definitely kept me from doomscrolling while immensely improving the following life/work skills:
1. The Art of Negotiation.
"Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss
I'm currently re-reading this book I originally read 5-6 years ago. A mind-blowing guide by a former FBI hostage negotiator showing how to win any negotiation: from buying a house to a pay rise. From winning new business to winning an argument with your partner.
Active listening, haggling, mirroring, tactical empathy, labelling. It's all there. Just incredible stuff.
Genuinely, one of my all-time favourites.
2. Understanding what never changes.
"Same as Ever" by Morgan Housel
In the age of AI, fast-changing technology, and forecasting that is getting harder and harder, this book is based on a very simple premise: what will be the same ten or a hundred years from now? Understand this and your understanding of opportunity or risk improves immensely.
3. Seeing the world in a much more positive light (through data)
"Factfulness" by Hans Rosling
If, like me, you do the test on page 3 of this book and - based on the results - you realise that your perception of the world is skewed towards "OMG, the glass is almost empty, is there a LEAK?", do two things.
One, take a deep breath, most things are actually much better than we think. Two, get this book.
4. Finding a way to live longer
"Ikigai" by Héctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles
This book feels good in your hands. It's small - just the right size - and simply, but beautifully designed.
But it's also very inspiring when you realise its subjects - a bunch of Japanese centenarians - have a set of very simple rules that have allowed them to feel fulfilled and live very long lives. One of them said: "The trick is just to live."
And living according to them means cultivating good habits, eating in moderation, maintaining friendships, moving and generally not giving a damn about things you cannot control.
Well, January might be a good time to try.