After the positive feedback from the previous “On the NONA Bookshelf vol. 1” post I couldn’t wait to gather more reviews of what NONA people were reading for this, the second volume. These posts encompass two of our core values at NONA — to be generous with our knowledge and to work on continuous improvement. We’re always chatting about what we’re reading during lunch, by the coffee machine or even in meetings so we thought it would be nice to share these with the greater business, development and design communities.
Volume 2 was a happy accident. All three books focus on self-knowledge — exploring your ‘why’, deciding what to give a f*ck about and (most terrifying of all) personal finance. The trend is possibly due to all 3 reviewers — Dominic, Divan and myself — being in their early to mid twenties; but that doesn’t mean these books aren’t relevant to people of all ages and they come highly recommended!
“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
Reviewed by Dom
This book is based on a talk given by the author Simon Sinek (which I highly recommend watching).
The core idea is called ‘The Golden Circle’. The circle consists of 3 layers. On the outermost layer we have the ‘What’. In the middle there’s the ‘How’ and in the centre is the ‘Why’. He maps ‘The Golden Circle’ to our brains. The ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ are part of the Limbic System (the part of the brain that doesn’t rationalise — it’s where gut feelings come from. You can’t exactly articulate that something is a bad idea but you somehow know without a doubt that it is). The ‘What’ is part of the Neocortex (the part of the brain that results in rationalising thoughts, the thinking part of the brain).
Sinek makes his point throughout the book by comparing companies. Apple is his prime example of a company that knows its ‘Why’, i.e. the reason for its existence. The ‘Why’ connects people to the company. It develops the cult like following we see today — Apple fans queuing outside Apple stores across the world in rain, cold, wind etc. for a new launch of a product. In contrast, a company such as Dell has no real ‘Why’ besides beating competitors on price. Hence you never see a massive cult following for the next Dell release — people don’t resonate with the brand they merely use the technology.
Dell excels at ‘How’ to build computers and Dell will gladly show you ‘What’ specs the computer has, however, you never really know ‘Why’ you should choose Dell over another brand besides the price point. Apple, on the other hand, may not be as great as the rest of the options out there (think of the initial iPhones). That’s because people are connected to Apple’s ‘Why’. It resonates with them on a fundamental level.
The book essentially comes down to this — ‘What is your ‘Why’?’
And the best way to answer this is probably answering ‘Who am I?’
“I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi
Reviewed by Divan
I’ve been following Ramit Sethi’s content online due to the allure of living a rich lifestyle. He believes you shouldn’t compromise on things that matter to you while being very frugal in areas that aren’t as important to you. This is a very interesting take on money and a reprieve from a lot of the financial advice suggesting cutting out small luxuries like coffee and avocado. I finally got a copy (thanks Cam) and put aside some time to read his book I will teach you to be rich. This was my take on the book.
As someone who’s near the beginning of their financial journey, I’m still trying to learn the do’s and don’ts of personal finance. This book has catapulted my knowledge and understanding of money to the next level. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re doing the right thing with your money, read this book.. Ramit gives some very practical advice that you can easily follow along step by step.
Although much of the information is based on US funds and accounts it’s still practical and you’ll easily be able to find local alternatives. For example, the author mentions a great savings vehicle that is specific to the U.S market — a Roth IRA. As a local alternative I opened a Tax Free Savings Account or TFSA. While slightly different, both of these funds are long term investments that benefit from decreased taxation. This means that if you are saving long term (think retirement) you will see greater returns that help grow your money towards your savings goals.
Ramit gives a great step by step plan making it easy to follow along and improve your financial life along the way. There is some advice in the book that is not for everyone, for example, credit card rewards plans. You might not share Ramit’s views on some aspects of personal finance but there are many principles in this book that are tried and tested, as with many books like these, you should apply what works for you.
I am still on my journey to being financially literate. This means I can’t endorse all the financial recommendations mentioned in the book but it’s a great place to start if you’re still on your way to financial freedom, whatever that means to you.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson
Reviewed by Laura
If you find yourself in a bookstore from time to time, you probably recognise this book cover — it’s bright orange and has a swear word on it in bold text (hard to miss really). After seeing it over and over again in the real world, on Pinterest and Goodreads I finally decided to pick it up.
I won’t lie to you, there are paragraphs in this book that had me rolling my eyes as Mason is clearly trying (very hard) to ‘speak’ to a millennial audience. At times the F bombs became a little overused and the boastful ‘bro’ stories a little high school for my liking. Think Buddhist philosophy from a YouTuber (essentially what this is if you take a blunt look at it). But I managed to get past this and ended up enjoying large chunks of it.
What I liked was the overarching idea to stop giving so many f*cks to the unimportant things and focus your energy on the things that matter to you or form part of the you that you’d like to become. The following quote sums it up really well:
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice — well, then you’re going to get fucked.”
Throughout the book Mason touches on ideas of positive and negative experiences and how it’s negative experiences that we often gain from the most. He applies these ideas to many aspects of life — from work to personal relationships — and I really found his ideas and approaches to be useful.
If, like me, you’re a little obsessive and overthink everything then I can highly recommend this book. It’s been a big reminder to take a step back to look at what I’m spending my thoughts and time on. Most importantly, to make adjustments so that I’m not wasting my life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little NONA reviews. Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations for us to add to our shelves?