Must-read books as recommended by the Slush team
Upper row: Elmo, Anna, Markus
Lower row: Pauliina, Rasmus, Natasha
Some of the deepest conversations within our team often revolve around recent reads. We have an ever-growing library, and a newly founded book club – which has, by the way, turned out to be a great way to keep up the casual interactions while social distancing. In case also your everyday life is upside down right now and you are in need of inspiration, encouragement, or perhaps a way to spend the time you’d normally use for commuting, it might be a perfect time to pick up a book – or plug in your AirPods. To help you to find a title for every occasion, we asked Slush’s own bookworms to share their current top-picks and hidden book-gems with you.
What we asked
- What is the book in your nightstand right now?
- What book has changed your outlook on life the most?
- What book does everyone need to read, at least once?
Elmo Pakkanen, Strategy & Insights
- The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joël Dicker. I don’t usually read crime novels, but Dicker has a way of writing that makes the books very addictive and it’s really hard to put them down once you have started.
- Hooked by Nir Eyal changed my perspective on tech products and how they are specifically designed to take advantage of very primal human psychology.
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck. My all-time favorite book. East of Eden explores the nature of good and evil in humans. Are people born the way that they are, or do the events in their life drive them to do certain things?
Anna Brchisky, Head of Communications and PR
- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. As someone working in the startup field, with communications and public relations from a social science background, I feel like I’m the very definition of a generalist. I got recommended this book by friends for quite a few times – and for now, it seems just the right pep talk for people like me.
- Can I say every history book ever? I’m a firm believer in history being our most valuable source to learn where not to go as humankind. For example, a book called On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, is a frightening example of how societies often blindly make the same mistakes as before when it comes to extremist movements, human rights, freedom of speech, capitalism and equality.
- Educated by Tara Westover. Educated is a deeply touching (and teaching!) story of how belief systems bring people together (and separate them) and how parents actively teach their worldviews to kids. It dives deep into an experience far from my own and paints a worrying picture of the current polarisation happening in countries around the world. This book hopefully opens your eyes as much as it opened mine (and Bill Gates’s) eyes too.
Markus Nyberg, Head of Investor Relations
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I heard that it gives you an insightful journey back to our roots and the world as a whole. After I saw the play adaptation at the Finnish National Theatre, I knew that I had to read it. Now that I’m halfway through the book, I can tell that the praisers were right.
- What you do is who you are: How to create your business culture by Ben Horowitz. The book really transforms how you think about your organization’s culture. Mr. Horowitz dives deep into cultural examples from the Japanese Samurai culture and prison gangs, and how modern companies have and should have utilized those learnings.
- For founders and others interested in the early-stage landscape, I’d recommend reading Venture Deals by Jason Mendelson & Brad Feld, or the High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil. They are super hands-on pieces about venture capital and running a company. For entertainment, I really enjoyed Red Notice by Bill Browder.
Pauliina Suominen, Soaked by Slush, Editor-in-chief
- Copywriting by Mark Shaw. I guess I’m like most writers: I’ve written copy for years, yet never studied it. I’m curious to see whether a book can teach the art.
- Anton Chekhov’s plays and novels have somehow made me see people, relationships, and the meaning of work more clearly. His characters are like mirrors. My favourite one is The Seagull.
- A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. It beautifully catches something that touches us all: the complex, repetitive nature of time, and the weight of the previous generations. Furthermore, this is magical realism at its best, and opening yourself to the magic in the world is always a good idea. Netflix is currently producing the first film adaptation ever, so you want to read the book now.
Rasmus Ekholm, Head of Product
- Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker. Chose the book because it’s been praised by great minds like Bill Gates, Richard Dawkins and Yuval Noah Harari. A quote from the book that has stuck with me so far: “If old truths are to retain their hold on men’s minds, they must be restated in the language and concepts of successive generations”
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The book has helped me look critically at my dystopian beliefs on the state of the world. There has never been a better time to live than now, and still, we are deep down in doomsday predictions.
- Both of the above mentioned – in the age of information, we are fed with negativity to a level where it’s hard to even see the world in a positive light anymore. These books illustrate what humans are capable of doing when we unite to reach a common goal. When the UN set its Development Goals for 2000, who would have thought that the goal to cut the global poverty rate in half would be reached 5-years ahead of schedule?
Natasha Salmi, Team Lead in Strategy & Insights team
- Histories by Herodotus. Fun fact, Histories is considered the first history book ever. I’m rolling into university starting fall, and they ask all the first years to read it. I’m trying to get ahead of the curve and dive into it already now.
- Istanbul by Bettany Hughes. The book was a visual journey through different cultures, time periods, and the formation of modern religion. I love learning about how people different from me live.
- The Bible’s Book of Job. No matter what religious background you are from, it raises incredibly important critical questions about religion. I’m an atheist, and I found it absolutely fascinating.