Mid-year book reviews

books

Over the last one year I’ve been getting back the habit of reading books. I can’t stress the importance of this habit enough.

Honestly this is one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting in my blog lately. There’s just so many things I want to read.

A book is a crystallization of someone (or people) who have spent years and even decades in mastering a certain topic. Consider it an accelerated course or a cheat sheet. It helps you doing the right thing without having to spend years testing it yourself.

Here I’d like to share with you the top 5 books I read in the last 6 months:

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How risky should you be to start a business?

risky

There is always this assumption that starting a business is risky. But I like to think that risk is just a matter of perspectives.

1. Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing

Do you think racing in F1 is risky? Well, yes if you’ve never driven a race car before. But not if you’re Lewis Hamilton.

Do you think investing is risky? Of course if you’ve got no clue on how to pick fundamentally strong stocks. But not if you’re Warren Buffet.

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Less is more – why minimalism is not just a trend

VPN app by Dea_n - via Dribbble

VPN app by Dea_n - via Dribbble

Over the last few years minimalism has persistently been a growing topic in design. It is nothing new actually. But with the rising trend of flat design, the two become somewhat interchangeable, especially to non-designers.

They’re not.

Minimalism is not just about having fewer elements or less 3D-ish buttons and backgrounds. It’s about having the perfect balance of purpose and features.

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On broken resolutions – why willpower is not so powerful after all

empty-resolutions

Have you ever been in a situation where you decided to do something yet nothing has been done? Remember those new year resolutions that never made it past the first month? How about that side project you’ve been putting off for months or even years?

We’ve all been there.

It’s human nature – we like to settle.

But deep down you know that those resolutions and decisions are very important that you have to do them. But the thing is, we always think there will be a better time to do it in the future.

In case you’re thinking this post is about setting time limit and announce it to your friends… it’s not. Those have their own merit in doing, but what I want to tackle is something more profound.

It’s about your willpower.

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The university of Relentless Self-Education

sky-clouds-garden-school

I hated school.

There, I said it.

Let me be clear. I am pro education – but against education system.

You see, our education system is broken. Not convinced? Do a quick survey. Out of your friends who graduated from university, how many is actually working in the similar field as their degree? How about after 3 years? Better yet, how many of those said that the school curricula actually helped them in their career? I bet it’s less than 5%.

I too was a ‘victim’ of this system.

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Designing for better app experience

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

For most people, they think design is akin to art. Some will even think they are exactly the same. But it’s quite dangerous to think this way, especially when you are building an app.

Design ≠ Art

Designers are easily swayed by the current trend to come up with more ‘pop’, ‘slickness’, ‘freshness’, and so on. With the rise of Dribbble and similar portfolio sharing platforms, it feels like you have to make people say “Wow!” in order to justify that your design is indeed good. If we don’t try to see beyond, this fad is doing more harm than good.

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The best idea is NOT in your head

whiteboard-idea

Have you ever met someone and he told you that he’s in the middle of starting something up?

Probably a lot.

Now, when you casually asked them about their new ventures, they would say: “oh we’re in stealth mode now, we can’t really share much but it’s gonna be big!”. Sound familiar?

It seems very normal to hide your new product/service. You might even at one time had this grand idea and was very secretive about it yourself. I know because did that too. But over the years, I came to realize that it’s actually a bad move.

Why?

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