At LightCastle, we highly value reading habit as it aligns with our vision of fostering a knowledge-based economy that impacts businesses and improves lives. Our book reviews written by consultants can appeal to entrepreneurs, development professionals, and college students, potentially motivating them to continue learning.
This is the last part of the four-part series of what our consultants have read in the past year. We covered 22 book reviews from our team in the previous three parts. In this part, we present six more reviews to you. We hope you enjoy reading about our best reads in 2022.
Author: John Grisham
Reader: Fahmid Kaiser, Business Consultant, LightCastle Partners
This book showcases the polarizing emotions of the public toward an innocent man of color accused of murder, while the real killer confesses to his crime. An interesting book to understand the different views of individuals from distinct vantage points.
The author explains how a criminal can have a change of heart while perceived perceptions can cement the thoughts and views of individuals. He adeptly portrayed how falsified intel backed by the majority can overpower the truth.
The scene where the mother of the innocent man on death trial made him dream of having a better life while his execution was inevitable. It showed how the closest individuals would provide support in the direst of states.
The repeated exposure of falsified intel can create an illusionary truth effect and cause hindsight biases. Decisions taken based on it can essentially have an unintended impact.
Author: Darrell Huff
Reader: Raidah Morshed, Business Analyst, LightCastle Partners
The book summarizes why proper presentation and interpretation of statistical numbers are necessary to gain accurate information and insights from data.
This was my first book on “data literacy,” and it is a solid basis for any advanced techniques with data. Unfortunately, data literacy is not taught in-depth in most data science courses or books. This book is an insightful yet hilarious introduction to the concept.
We work heavily with data in most of our tasks at LightCastle Partners. This book fascinated me as it dissected how easy it is to miscommunicate and misinterpret data. Parts of it are quite basic concepts for anyone with experience working with data, but I think most books on data are often filled with intimidating jargon. The reason I enjoyed it is that the examples in the book are hilariously written, and the author presents his cases in a very fun and digestible way. It’s a great book that talks about statistics in a manner that any layman can understand and enjoy.
“Even if you can’t find a source of demonstrable bias, allow yourself some degree of skepticism about the results as long as there is a possibility of bias somewhere. There always is.”
Author: Henry Miller
Reader: Priyo Pranto, Business Analyst, LightCastle Partners
The autobiographical novel chronicles the author’s experience living with contemporary bohemians in Paris.
In this novel, the author explores the human condition by chronicling his experiences in Paris through the themes of homelessness, hunger, squalor, and loneliness.
Frequently recurring instances of music and dance are woven intermittently throughout the book.
Even the most gritty and visceral experiences can be made palatable through the lens of internal prose.
Author: Brad Stone
Reader: Tariqur Rahman, Digital Marketing Specialist, LightCastle Partners
This book is the first of two books written by journalist Brad Stone about the rise of Amazon, one of the world’s most ambitious and innovative companies, and its quirky, relentless, and charismatic founder, Jeff Bezos.
The best thing about this book is that it functions as a biography of both the company and its founder. It charts the emergence, development, and meteoric rise of both. And that’s extraordinarily insightful because, in the world of start-ups, it’s often hard to separate the vision and the inner workings of the company from the vision and the personality of its founder(s). So had the author not delved deeply into the personality, views, and values of Jeff Bezos as a person, this book would have felt incomplete.
Thankfully, the author doesn’t make this error of omission, and this book provides a full picture of both the company and the man behind it from their earliest years up to the period immediately preceding the publication of this book in 2013.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to everyone interested in business, start-ups, entrepreneurship, and biographies of visionary leaders and companies.
There are many excellent insights to be gained from this book (but more on those later). At its heart, this book tells a great story and tells it marvelously; the narrative seldom gets monotonous, boring, or too difficult to understand for a lay reader.
I loved all the parts (and several throughout the book) where Bezos sticks to his guns despite many around him advising him otherwise. Moreover, his customer-centric attitude was tremendously inspiring (he would famously keep a seat empty to represent the customer in board meetings). I could go on about all the interesting bits in the book that still ring fresh in my mind. But let me just end with one more.
I found the story of the development of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) business quite fascinating. This development was completely unrelated to the company’s main eCommerce business and was initially undertaken to solve some internal bottlenecks. But this has become a significant revenue-generating business unit for the company and has paved the way for it to go from “The Everything Store” to “The Everything Company,” as one reviewer put it.
The biggest lesson that I have drawn from this book is that it pays to have courage in your convictions and sticking with your long-term vision/goals no matter what the short-term cost happens to be.
Author: Victor Hugo
Reader: Nazmul Kabir Al-Mehmud, Senior Business Consultant, LightCastle Partners
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a story of Quasimodo, a deformed hunchback, and deals with themes of love, acceptance, and injustice. The novel explores social injustice, particularly concerning the treatment of the poor and marginalized, and features several love stories. It also examines the actions of selfless and compassionate characters versus those who are selfish and cruel.
Quasimodo and Esmerelda are both likable protagonists help me remember them. They are both victims of persecution in different ways and are shunned by a culture that values uniformity over difference. Sounds recognizable? Maybe this is what gives this novel its enduring appeal. Even with the little twist in conclusion, the abuse these people experience doesn’t detract from their good nature.
“Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame imparts important lessons about accepting and valuing people for who they are, regardless of how they appear on the outside or where they fit into society. The work also emphasizes the perils of passing judgment on others based solely on their appearance or social standing and demonstrates the unifying and unifying power of love. It also shows the value of standing up for what is right, even when doing so is difficult or unpopular, and the ability of forgiveness to reconcile and heal. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an all-around compelling and thought-provoking book that imparts important insights into the human condition.
Author: Cal Newport
Reader: Omar Farhan Khan, Senior Business Consultant & Project Manager, LightCastle Partners
This non-fiction book argues that the ability to perform deep work (i.e. focused, uninterrupted work on a cognitively demanding task) is becoming increasingly valuable in today’s economy and that those who cultivate this ability will thrive. The book provides strategies for developing the discipline to focus and achieve deep work and discusses how to overcome distractions and maintain focus in a world of constant interruptions.
Cal Newport explains how focused and deep work can add value and create progress. It shows ways and processes to stay distraction free and produce outstanding results. Professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits in almost any profession. He then presents a rigorous training regimen as a series of four “rules” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
Deep work is focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep—spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.
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