Technology is an industry of constant change. To survive in a field that invents, pivots and adopts at lightning speeds is difficult, and as such, the importance of continual learning is paramount. Reading is a quick and accessible way to knowledge, and a powerful book has the ability to challenge and inform the way we think.
We caught up with some of the women leading NYC’s tech scene to find out the books that had a significant impact on them. Here are the results:
Kelly Peeler, Founder and CEO of NextGenVest, recommends...
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
“In the book Kahneman goes over a variety of experiments where the anticipated time it takes to do a task dramatically increases the likelihood of procrastination. According to Nobel Laureate Kahneman, deeper and more analytical thinking requires more energy (known as 'System 2') as opposed to our fast, automatic, and intuitive mode of thinking (known as 'System 1'). Ultimately if a task is too difficult or appears to take too much time, users won't do it. This has broadly shaped the way I think about building products for 'Gen Z' and how the medium, the language, and images all save my user time. At NextGenVest we help Gen Z make student loan decisions which overall feels very overwhelming. Even replacing a few sentences with a GIF or meme because it's easier to recognize could be the difference between action or procrastination.”
Shanna Gregory, Dean at Grace Hopper Academy recommends…
Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing by Jane Margolis
“I really loved reading Unlocking the Clubhouse. It was recommended to me by one of the Fullstack founders — I read it over the holidays last year and it was a great book to kickstart the first cohort of the Grace Hopper Program last January. Unlocking the Clubhouse takes a look at female undergraduates in computer science and the effects poor peer culture has on students. It's useful to have interviews with these women on discouraging social aspects of studying CS, which is followed up with global consequences of lacking diversity in engineering teams. I'm hyper-aware of the stereotypical characteristics of a programmer and how that sways women away from tech — this helps us bring more women into Fullstack and Grace Hopper who don't think they are a 'fit' for engineering!"
Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest recommends…
The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse by Mohamed A. El-Erian.
"During my time on Wall Street I witnessed both high and low times. If you want to understand the modern global economy, you should read this book. El-Erian is an incredibly clear thinker and explains complex ideas in an articulate way that is understandable to the financial novice while engaging to a seasoned industry veteran. Although no one can predict the future, this book comes close."
Bonus: Krawcheck's own book, Own It: The Power of Women at Work, also comes out next week.
Tiffany Pham, Founder and CEO at Mogul recommends…
Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl
“David Pham, Founder of Mogul X, recommended it to me, and to this day, I am so grateful as it enabled me to teach myself how to code Ruby on Rails step by step. It was on this foundation that I built the Mogul platform, the very first version that then launched to a million users. It was the book that changed my life.”
Camille Hearst, Founder and CEO of Kit
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
"I remember reading this book a few years out of college, and it had a big impact on my life. Malcolm goes through a 'human revolution,' completely evolving his world view. His journey is inspirational and amazing to follow. In reading his story, we learn how he evolves his views on basically everything -- on fraternity, religion, humanity, and more. This book inspired me to expand my world perspective, to take a long view on life, and to continue to push ever-forward."
Marah Lidey, co-founder and co-CEO of Shine recommends...
Influence by Robert Cialdini
“It has been one of my favorite books for years. Early in my career, I remember the leader of a start-up I was working for quoted this book once or twice a day as a tool he used to optimize his communication. Reading it myself when I was fresh on the start-up scene, was an incredibly helpful way to understand the power of persuasion as a communicator and eventually as a business leader.”
Naomi Hirabayashi co-founder and co-CEO of Shine recommends…
Quiet by Susan Cain
“I'm reading (and loving) Quiet by Susan Cain. People who know me may laugh, because I qualify as pretty extroverted, but that's why this book is so powerful -- Susan beautifully navigates the nuance in our society around the terms extroversion & introversion and acknowledges it all exists on a spectrum. As a co-founder and co-CEO, there's a beautiful message of presence & active listening — being more thoughtful about how you make an impact on someone beyond just being 'outgoing' or 'charismatic' — pulling lessons from our roots of being a culture of character versus a culture of personality.”
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