The Pew Research Center has reported that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in 2013. No books at all. Not a paperback, an eBook, or even listened to an audiobook. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978. People in general are just reading less, which is a shame because books offer us the opportunity to escape to other worlds. Sometimes we find ourselves in dystopian futures, others a classroom with an industry expert dissecting their every decision and tactic.
Fiction or non-fiction, reading allows us the opportunity to broaden our own horizons, something we should always be chasing. So, on the hunt for some book recommendations, we asked some Hamilton YPs about their favourite books; which ones inspired them, motivated them, or were just plain good. Here are their top picks!
Huzaifa Saeed – Policy & Government Relations, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
Despite being a frequent consumer of thousands of words of news media, MOOCs and other “on trend” developments, I am sure I am in the same boat of uncertainty as other young professionals. My role with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, in particular, gives me the privilege of engaging with some of Canada’s top business leaders. However, these existential questions still keep me up some nights: Will my education still be relevant a decade for now or do I need to go back to school for more? Will my job and intended career itself exist a decade from now? Am I adequately prepared for all the world has in store?
Enter Alec Ross and his excellent Industries of the Future. Alec was Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation when she was Secretary of State, and helped craft a widely recognized open internet agenda. The book offers an introspective and well-referenced view of where the world is headed, finding a great mixture between utopia and dystopia that writers in the futurism genre often find trouble balancing. The book covers the gist of what we can expect from the future of robotics, currency, the “singularity”, human genome and how both societies and individuals can adapt and cope.
Throughout the book and in particular the last chapter, Alec goes over a “How would I prepare my kids for the world of tomorrow.” His advice covers the need to avoid rigid professional and academic labels and instead focusing on personal competencies, recognizing coding will permeate more industries than today, encouraging scientific self-discovery and dissolution between “professionals” and “entrepreneurs” and cultural empathy.
Jessica Rose – Social Media Coordinator, YWCA
Recently, I read Birds Art Life, a memoir by Canadian author Kyo Maclear. Birds Art Life brings readers to nature trails and city parks as Maclear searches for inspiration and beauty in the wake of a difficult year. She finds this solace in birds; however, Birds Art Life isn’t about birding, it’s about appreciating the small and seemingly insignificant things around us. It’s about reconnecting to the natural world. As a young professional, this highly engaging memoir acted as an important reminder to take pause. As so many of us balance jobs, volunteer work, committees and boards, families and friends, it’s often difficult to prioritize the small, seemingly insignificant moments like taking a walk in a park or sitting to watch the world go by. Birds Art Life is a reminder that sometimes taking things slow and being a careful observer is important for both the body and the soul.
Kristian Borghesan – Marketing Director & Co-Founder, Bruha
Two books come to mind: An old one I read called Blue Ocean Strategy, a marketing/strategy book. I enjoyed the book because it opened my mind and taught me to think in a different context when growing a business and developing strategy. Rather than always worrying about competing and one-upping your competitor it teaches you to look at the things they are not doing and even look across different industries from a cross-sector approach to see what’s working and why.
The other book I actually just started reading is called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book’s premise is about old school mentality when it comes to establishing relationships and how to leverage social media to do so. Rather than the instant gratification our society is so hung up on today, the philosophy he teaches is about actually building foundations with others and then hitting them with the right hook (compelling, creative content) to convert them.
Amber Lindsay – Research Coordinator, McMaster University
I just finished reading Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel, this month’s pick for the book club I’m part of. I always enjoy a good escapist novel, but this one provides a fresh take on a classic dystopian story. Interweaving narratives of several main characters describe the aftermath of a deadly plague, and the struggle to preserve the memory of art and culture following the collapse of civilization. It’s also anchored by the story of a famous actor and his legacy in the tabloids, which somehow manage to survive the apocalypse and are part of what has preserved the memory of the civilized world – a fact which made me feel less guilty about my Hollywood gossip guilty pleasure.
Toni Shelton is the Communications Manager at Collective Arts Brewing. She has a diploma in Public Relations from Mohawk College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Media, Information and Technoculture from Western University. When she’s not working, tweeting, or drinking craft beer, you can find her indulging at one of Hamilton’s amazing coffee shops or restaurants. She sits on the CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society) Hamilton board, and is eager to expand her knowledge through Hamilton’s many opportunities for YPs.