Last summer I changed jobs. I’ve moved from working remotely to a position onsite, after almost three years remote. One of the biggest changes was having to commute and to spend almost one hour on public transport. I had two hours every day to either listen to music and podcasts, take a look at Instagram or try to read a book. On the bright side, it was a great opportunity to read the books I had on my shelf.
Earlier in 2019, my wife and I went on a journey from Berlin to Copenhagen by bike and while visiting the city, she bought The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World’s Happiest People which was the first book I read while commuting. The Little Book of Lykke is a charming and easy-to-read book. It’s a non-fiction, self-help book about happiness written by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. He draws some analysis of the level of happiness between countries around the world and how we perceive and achieve happiness. It might sound cheesy, but sometimes it’s a good idea to stop and think about the purposes of what you are doing. Does it make you happy?
The second book I got was Sapiens: A Brief History of The Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, also a non-fiction book. This book got super popular a couple of years ago and I just had the chance to read it last year. The author has similar new books that I’m interested to read as well. Even though the topics of this book are complex, it was written in a way that facilitates the understanding. The book adds at the end all the references that Yuval got to write it, and if you want to have a deep understanding, you might want to take a look at that list as well – I didn’t. It’s a long book, almost 500 pages, so it took some weeks for me to finish it. In my opinion, this book worked for me as a guide to understand humankind: Humans for dummies.
The third and last book I read during this period was It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson from Basecamp. It’s a short book. It’s more like a collection of blog posts, I’d say. Anyway, those blog posts are great. If you follow the work they both do at Basecamp, by reading their tweets or their books, you already know what this is about: how to run a calm company. I liked it. It’s nice to know that there are successful companies running in a non-traditional way and being profitable. It has brief texts from how to make decisions to feedback and performance management (in a way). It was funny that, in a way, this book had a strong connection to Lykke.
It’s funny that I read three non-fiction books in a row. Usually, it’s nice to take a break between them and read something more relaxing instead. I don’t have to do this commute anymore as I left that job four months later. In my current job, I have a 25 minutes commute, pretty happy about it. Although with a short time to commute, doesn’t worth taking a book to read. Since the last book, I’m struggling to finish both Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman and Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
We can’t have it all, can we?