The COVID-19 pandemic is still going on and this is the time to enjoy the winter season, explore, and read books, in our comfortably cozy rooms, especially the book lovers.
As most of the people are still working from home and gaining knowledge from different modes of gadgets, we are going to introduce some of the books that are recommended by the blockchain leaders.
So, here is a list of non-crypto-related book recommendations from the biggest thought leaders in the blockchain space:
(1) “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (recommended by Denelle Dixon, the CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation)
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. Many literary critics consider The Great Gatsby to be one of the greatest novels ever written.
Denelle Dixon said that this is one of her favorite books and shared that the opulence and beauty Fitzgerald conveys in this novel is countered by the ugliness of class dynamics and the utter lack of true love.
“The story feels desperate, even as it attempts to capture fun and excitement. I am drawn to it because I have been drawn to Fitzgerald’s own personal story which is tragic at best. The cover of the book itself is haunting and the story is one that beckons me back to read on an annual basis. I don’t finish the story feeling good about where it ends, but it does remind me of the importance of being true to yourself — a trait that most of the main characters lack.”
Dixon further stated that the book is a story of class struggles, showing the dedication of what one character does to grow and pretend to be a part of a class that he wasn’t born into.
“It is in many respects the failure of the American dream of ‘growing into prosperity’ and being accepted as ‘prosperous.”
(2) “The Secrets of Spies” by Heather Vescent, Adrian Gilbert and Rob Colson (recommended by Brian Behlendorf, the Executive Director of Hyperledger)
This book recounts thrilling tales of spies from the ancient world of Sun Tzu to the latest cyber threats. The Secrets of Spies sheds light on the mysterious life of the spy, explaining the real-life origins of spying, examining some of history’s most notorious spies and spycatchers, and revealing the role espionage plays today in business, politics, and everyday life.
Filled with lavish illustrations and hundreds of full-color photographs, this book provides hours of fun and entertainment for any reader. Narrated in an engaging, compelling style, The Secrets of Spies is a thrilling, in-depth global investigation of the hidden history of espionage. From ninja assassins to computer hackers, the book uncovers the tools, tricks, and techniques that make up the daring art of the spy.
Behlendorf said that this novel recounts tales of spies from all the way back in ancient times to today, focusing on major historical events.
“People need to think more like a hacker thinks when designing things to make them resilient against failure, and so it’s fun to read about how spies and spycraft represented some of the first hostile-environment thinking that hackers later adopted and blockchain design really benefits from.”
(3) “Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline (recommended by Tim Draper, the Venture Capitalist and Bitcoin investor)
Ready Player Two is a science fiction novel by American author Ernest Cline released in 2020. It is the sequel to his 2011 debut novel Ready Player One.
Draper said that he enjoys reading science fiction by noting that Ernest Cline’s Ready Player Two is one of his favorite books. The New York Times bestseller was released this year and is the sequel to the worldwide bestselling book Ready Player One.
The novel focuses on a new technology called “ONI” that allows users to record their experiences in real life. While revolutionary, this book demonstrates the dangers of addictive technology, alluding to what an artificial-intelligence-driven future could look like.
(4) “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paolo Freire (recommended by Sheila Warren, the head of blockchain and DLT for the World Economic Forum)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a book written by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, first written in Portuguese in 1968. It was first published in English in 1970, in a translation by Myra Ramos. The book is considered one of the foundational texts of critical pedagogy and proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society.
Warren said that she came across this novel in law school while working on a project with the now-defunct Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue.
“This novel completely changed the way I think about power. Among other gems, the book outlines a framework for thinking about promoting dialogue, anchored in cooperation, unity, organization, and cultural synthesis. I’ve found myself revisiting this book over and over again, and it was the first thing I thought of when I first read the Satoshi whitepaper. My other suggestion is Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, because being a better writer never hurt anyone!”
(5) “Truman” by David McCullough (recommended by Alex Tapscott, the co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute)
Truman is a 1992 biography of the 33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman written by popular historian David McCullough. The book won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. The book was later made into a movie with the same name by HBO.
Tapscott said that this is his favorite book of 2020, even though it was released years earlier in 1992.
Tapscott noted that unlike during Truman’s time, this change is being wrought by technological acceleration rather than the end of a devastating war.
“Still the effects are similar: it is upending the economy, our traditional systems of government, old alliances and more. In 1945, we got lucky when a yet-unproven Vice President stepped into the biggest shoes and proved himself an able leader. We are in want of strong leadership today. Who will step up?”
(6) “Providence” by Max Barry (recommended by Paul Brody, the Global Blockchain Lead at Ernst & Young)
Providence is the sixth novel by Australian science fiction author Max Barry. It was published in March 2020 by Putnam.
Brody said that the book he read within the last year that had the biggest impact was Providence by Max Barry. The twist is that the characters discover they are not the crew but rather the cargo.
“I am a huge history fan, but most of that I get from articles and summaries, which I think really condenses matters nicely. I read books for escapism and to immerse myself in alternative lives and worlds and for those I go entirely for fiction, with a big helping of science fiction. I enjoy fiction because I love to think about how the world will change or can change. Fiction forces the author to really think about how a regular person would experience the impact of technology.”
(7) “When Money Dies” by Adam Fergusson (recommended by Caitlin Long, the founder and CEO of Avanti Financial)
When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nation’s currency depreciates beyond recovery. In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 marks), the German republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved.
Long said that she will always remember this book because it taught her to spot patterns applicable to any currency collapse.
“Economists tend to look at currency collapses on log charts, but log charts obfuscate the ‘rip your face off’ and ‘it’s finally over’ rallies along a currency’s path to collapse — it never happens on a straight line, and log charts smooth over huge underlying volatility. In Weimar Germany, the amplitude of market movements toward the end became staggering. At first the currency moved 2% intraday, then 5%, then 10%, then 20% and eventually 50% — intraday moves — relative to the value of stocks, and relative to more stable currencies, peppered with many head-fake rallies along the way. The ‘tipping point’ for a currency seems to be when society realizes en masse why prices are really going up — namely, that the denominator of a price (the currency) is going down in value. All prices are just ratios, expressed as the value of the good (numerator) in terms of the currency (denominator).”
(8) “Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla” by John J. O’Neill (recommended by Alex Mashinsky, the founder and CEO of Celsius Network)
Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla is a 1944 book by John Joseph O’Neill detailing the life of Nikola Tesla.
Mashinsky said that this is his favorite book and he commented:
“Tesla created a network that is even bigger than the internet — our global alternating current electrical grid. He is as much a lesson about what to do and how to create as he is a lesson on how not to do things.”
(9) “Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace” by Gordon MacKenzie (recommended by John Wolpert, the Technical Steering Committee Chair for Baseline Protocol)
This book uncovers the professional evolution MacKenzie underwent to learn about fostering creative genius. The book explains how innovative organizations can quickly become a “giant hairball,” or a tangled mess of rules and systems, which ultimately leads to mediocrity.
“This is a great story about how to keep creativity alive inside companies and how to harmonize one’s intentions with the intentions of the organization and community.”
(10) “The Box” by Marc Levinson (recommended by Alistair Rennie, the General Manager of IBM Blockchain)
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger is a non-fiction book by Marc Levinson charting the historic rise of the intermodal container (shipping container) and how it changed the economic landscape of the global economy.
“It’s an excellent story that gives great insight into how such systemic change transpired including insights into standardization, patents and regulatory impact — leading to tremendous economic gain. The Box really connected with me as I executed on TradeLens — a blockchain based system to transform how data is shared and leveraged across the ocean shipping ecosystem.”
Thus, they all shared their favorite books by demonstrating how their worldviews and perspectives have been shaped through literature.
*The idea of writing this article has been taken from Cointelegraph.