Good reads this hol­i­day sea­son

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - BUSINESS - Jill Sch­lesinger

If you are seek­ing in­ter­est­ing books for the hol­i­day sea­son, con­sider the fol­low­ing op­tions that have stuck with me through­out the year. If you want a deeper dive, you can lis­ten to the in­ter­views I con­ducted with the au­thors on my pod­cast, Jill on Money.

“Dig­i­tal Min­i­mal­ism: Choos­ing a Fo­cused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal New­port

If you have tried to turn off no­ti­fi­ca­tions or limit your email check-ins to a set pe­riod of each day, you may have felt as though those ac­tions don’t go far enough to take back con­trol of your tech­no­log­i­cal life. New­port’s book helped me dis­cover a more thought­ful and pur­pose­ful method to de­cide what tools to use, for what pur­poses and un­der what con­di­tions.

“When: The Sci­en­tific Se­crets of Per­fect Tim­ing” by Daniel H. Pink

Draw­ing on a rich trove of re­search from psy­chol­ogy, bi­ol­ogy and eco­nom­ics, Pink shows us how to use the hid­den pat­terns of the day to build the ideal sched­ule. He also tack­les larger is­sues, like the ideal time to quit a job, switch ca­reers or get mar­ried. Pink’s prac­ti­cal take­aways pro­vide com­pelling in­sights into how we can live richer, more en­gaged lives.

“What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Mil­lion Busi­ness Against the Odds” by Rae­gan Moya-Jones

This is a tell-all and bru­tally hon­est tale that of­fers ad­vice to en­trepreneur­s, es­pe­cially women, about how to suc­ceed de­spite all odds. Moya-Jones doesn’t hide from her own short­com­ings and digs into top­ics most en­trepreneur­s shy away from, even the prick­li­est of things like parental guilt, butting heads with in­vestors (or co-founders), what to re­ally do when you’re run­ning out of money and how to leave with your head held high.

“Range: Why Gen­er­al­ists Tri­umph in a Spe­cial­ized World” by David Ep­stein

In an ex­am­i­na­tion of the world’s most suc­cess­ful ath­letes, artists, mu­si­cians, in­ven­tors, fore­cast­ers and sci­en­tists, Ep­stein dis­cov­ered that in most fields, es­pe­cially those that are com­plex and un­pre­dictable, gen­er­al­ists, not spe­cial­ists, are primed to ex­cel. Ep­stein ar­gues that peo­ple who think broadly and em­brace di­verse ex­pe­ri­ences and per­spec­tives will thrive. “The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Mar­kets, and the Frac­ture of So­ci­ety” by Binyamin Ap­pel­baum

As obit­u­ar­ies and words of re­mem­brance flowed af­ter revered econ­o­mist and Fed­eral Re­serve Chair­man Paul Vol­cker’s death, I thought about this en­gag­ing jour­ney through modern eco­nomic history. Ap­ple­baum traces the rise of economists who be­lieved in the power and the glory of free mar­kets. Their poli­cies trans­formed global gov­ern­ments and busi­nesses, though in the end, they have failed to de­liver on their prom­ise of broad pros­per­ity.

“Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Be­trayed Its Found­ing Principles — and All of Us” by Rana Fa­roohar

It’s been a long time since tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies have lived up to the found­ing phi­los­o­phy “don’t be evil,” es­poused by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Fa­roohar fo­cuses on dom­i­nant com­pa­nies like Google, Face­book, Ap­ple and Ama­zon, who have es­sen­tially fig­ured out how to mon­e­tize our data and our at­ten­tion, sidestep­ping out-of-date reg­u­la­tions along the way. Fa­roohar also pro­vides fixes to the cur­rent state of play.

Jill Sch­lesinger, CFP, is a CBS News busi­ness an­a­lyst. A for­mer op­tions trader and CIO of an in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory firm, she wel­comes com­ments and ques­tions at [email protected]­lon

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