Reading life

What I Read in November

#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso

What the cover says:  In the space of ten years, Sophia Amoruso has gone from high-school dropout to founder and Executive Chairman of Nasty Gal, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.  Sophia’s never been a typical executive, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success.  Filled with brazen wake-up calls, cunning and frank observations, and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that success doesn’t come from where you went to college or how popular you were in school. Success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.  Inspiring, motivating and empowering, #GIRLBOSS will give you the kick up the ass you need to reach your potential.

Why I picked it up:  This was this month’s Rebel Read.  The theme was Women, Leadership and Work – right up my street!

What I thought:  Despite being really excited about this month’s theme, I am remarkably ambivalent about this book, although I was rather vocally against it at the Book Club meetup (this book seemed very popular, however, amongst the 30-odd year old men).  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.  I read it quickly enough but Sophia’s story and voice just didn’t quite seem to resonate with me.  The only thing I really took away from the book is a realisation that people start things without ever really knowing where it’s going to end up – you don’t have to have a grand plan to be successful and taking small steps every day can be just as effective as big leaps of faith, which is quite reassuring for someone who has no idea where she’s heading!!

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

What the cover says: Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.  Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo DeusWar is obsolete – You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict.  Famine is disappearing – You are at more risk of obesity than starvation.  Death is just a technical problem – Equality is out – but immortality is in.  What does our future hold?

Why I picked it up: I absolutely loved Sapiens.  I devoured it whilst I was on holiday back at Easter so I was very excited to go and see Harari speak at an Intelligence Squared event a few weeks ago.  I hadn’t bought Homo Deus at that point and ended up ordering on my phone within about five minutes of him starting to speak!

What I thought: Unsurprisingly, I totally loved this book.  It wasn’t quite what I expected having heard him talk about the ideas in the book, which almost made me enjoy it more.  Harari discusses the science behind consciousness, whether we have a soul and what that means for our current beliefs in individualism and liberalism.  He examines our relationship with animals (he is a passionate vegan, which is evident from his descriptions of the awful conditions many domesticated animals are kept in) and how this could read across to the treatment of normal humans by the new ‘super humans’.  It’s another hefty book – the kind you have to be sitting down for and using both hands – even so, I read it in a little over a week, I just couldn’t put it down!

Night School – Lee Child

If you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you’ll know that I am a huge Lee Child fan so will not be at all surprised that I had this on pre-order!  Devoured in three days – work rather annoyingly got in the way – this is another classic Jack Reacher thriller.  Exciting plot twists, action, and Reacher saving the day; sometimes, you just need to read for the simple fun of it!

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