Books that made my 2020

If there’s one thing in my 2020 bucket list which I could proudly tick off is to develop a reading habit. I read many titles in 2020, thanks to lockdown but listed below are the ones which stood out to me in some way or other. So, here goes my list of top 7 books:

  1. Animal Farm: A rather small but great novel by George Orwell which talks on the topic of communism and capitalism through the lens of farm animals. While reading this book, I found it tough to stop myself drawing parallels of the characters with actual politicians around. However, given that it was written in 1945, I am certain that those people were surely not the influence behind the characters.
    I’m not a fan of fiction books and rarely recommend one, but that being said — this book is on top of my list. Do read.
  2. Hit Refresh: An autobiography of the current CEO of Microsoft — Satya Nadella. Satya’s story is not full of life-changing events per se, but the incidents narrated in the book which led him to embrace empathy were heartwarming. This book talks in detail about the cultural change advocated by Satya in Microsoft which is a complex topic for a company of that scale and history. However, I personally felt that the term ‘cultural shift’ was used so many times that at some point, it started feeling like propaganda book. Also, I would’ve loved to know a bit more about the personal life of the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world which weren’t well covered.
  3. Humble Pi: This book by Matt Parker dedicated to the comedy of mathematical errors was something I was looking for long but never knew existed. It talks about database systems, calendars, geometry, binary systems and many more similar topics. So, this is a wonderful and enlightening read if you’re a true Maths (or logic) nerd. If not, then there are sections which could be rather heavy to absorb.
  4. The Ride of a Lifetime: This is by far one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read. It gives an honest and raw account of the life of the current CEO of Disney — Robert Iger. This book has beautifully covered all aspects of Iger’s life, challenges in early life, decisions and their outcomes. While most books of such genre talk about the brilliance of the person, this book balances it with luck and dedication. You know a book is honest where it even narrated an incident of the early life of Iger where he was shown a pe**s at his workspace.
  5. Big Billion startup: This book is dedicated to Indian unicorn startup — Flipkart and the story behind it. The book began with an account of the life of Bansals (Founders of Flipkart) which was rather eventless before Flipkart happened. In the first few chapters, the author Mihir Dalal tried to cover every aspect of their life but still couldn’t manage to convince (to me at least) that there’s any story worth telling. However after Flipkart was started and received some funding, the story felt like a drama serial. One CEO sidelining the other founder and firing another top candidate to finally getting sidelined himself and getting replaced by the other founder to both getting pushed out of the company by the third guy! phew. Around the end of the book, the senior management team at Flipkart was changing at every 4 pages. There were more senior people getting fired and coming back than people coming back to life in an Ekta Kapoor show. But one thing I must credit the author for is the detail of each event narrated.
  6. The Design of Everyday Things: I heard people referring to this book as the bible for designers. After reading this, I can only confirm this. If you’re a designer and haven’t read this, go get yourself a copy and read it. period.
  7. A Promised Land: This is one of the most talked-about books of 2020. An autobiography of Ex-president of US — Barak Obama. Although I’m still reading this one so not in a position to write my review, still this account of the life of Obama as a president, as a husband and a father is narrated in a very straightforward and honest way, which is a characteristic to personality to Obama.

If you have some book recommendations for me in 2021, please share :)



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Vaibhav Gupta

Vaibhav Gupta

Designer & storyteller. I write whatever I’ve learnt so far about design, development and other things I care about.