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Branch's Recommended Reading List

Spring is on the horizon but it’s still cold enough to get excited about staying inside with a good book. That’s why the Branch team has compiled our top ten recommendations for books you and your colleagues won’t stop talking about.
Branch's Recommended Reading List
Here at Branch, we love suggesting new and enticing reads to each other. So we thought we'd pass along some of our most recent recommendations that have our office abuzz. These ten books are ideal reads for everyone from founders to office managers, and provide valuable lessons in everything from leadership to contrarian thinking.
 
Each read offers something completely different, but the thread that weaves between them all is a focus on evolving your mindset in way that enables you to evaluate how you can better develop yourself both personally and professionally. That's something we should all be doing, and it's what this list is meant to help you with.

From Greg Hayes, CEO/Co-founder

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth - "A book about how important perseverance and passion are to successful outcomes in life. A bit academic, but full of really interesting anecdotes and statistics about the role perseverance plays in succeeding in almost any field at any age. It’s a great reminder that the most successful people are not necessarily ivy league grads wearing suits to work….they are hard workers who find a passion and will stop at nothing to achieve success."
 
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - "My favorite book and underdog story. Effectively an extended anecdote on Angela Duckworth’s theory in Grit."
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth - "A book about how important perseverance and passion are to successful outcomes in life. A bit academic, but full of really interesting anecdotes and statistics about the role perseverance plays in succeeding in almost any field at any age. It’s a great reminder that the most successful people are not necessarily ivy league grads wearing suits to work….they are hard workers who find a passion and will stop at nothing to achieve success."
 
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - "My favorite book and underdog story. Effectively an extended anecdote on Angela Duckworth’s theory in Grit."

From Sib Mahapatra, Head of Product/Co-founder

Exhalation by Ted Chiang - "I mostly read fiction, and it feels critical to my startup diet; one of the coolest parts of being an entrepreneur is crafting a compelling vision of how the world should be different and asking other people to believe it.
 
In Exhalation, a collection of nine short stories by Ted Chiang, we experience a series of "what if" scenarios that wrap human questions of real significance within dazzling narrative conceits: what happens when we can meet versions of ourselves in parallel universes who made different choices? What do you do when your artificially intelligent pet gets lonely because the platform on which they run is approaching obsolescence? In the depth of his commitment to realizing these worlds and exploring their implications on how we live, Chiang represents the best of the science fiction tradition – combining spectacle with meaningful speculation about what life might be like in futures not too far from where we stand today."

From Verity Sylvester, Head of Operations/Co-founder

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – "An awesome book (especially for founders & executives) in which Horowitz gives us a candid glimpse into his experiences as a founder, manager & CEO. I enjoyed this book because it was less abstract and theoretical than other management books that I had been inundated with throughout business school - making it easier to digest and more relatable. Horowitz makes no attempts to glamorize the ups and downs of starting and running a company, and the lessons shared throughout the book have stayed with me throughout the founding of Branch!"

From Stella Park, Operations

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey – "Some say that it’s the ultimate book on sports psychology but it goes well beyond tennis. I like the book’s broad applicability in ways to control the ego, self-doubt, and anxiety that pervade the modern life. "
 
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear – "James Clear is a prolific writer/entrepreneur and this book is a culmination of his craft over the years. While most of us were taught to set specific and measurable goals, Clear proposes creating an identity and performing habits that align with that identity, which I thought was a refreshing perspective."
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey – "Some say that it’s the ultimate book on sports psychology but it goes well beyond tennis. I like the book’s broad applicability in ways to control the ego, self-doubt, and anxiety that pervade the modern life. "
 
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear – "James Clear is a prolific writer/entrepreneur and this book is a culmination of his craft over the years. While most of us were taught to set specific and measurable goals, Clear proposes creating an identity and performing habits that align with that identity, which I thought was a refreshing perspective."

From Lisa Rosenblum, Sales

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso - "As a millennial woman interested in the intersection of fashion and sales, I found this book to speak to my inner #girlboss! I loved learning about Sophia's story - how she was a scrappy entrepreneur who sorted through thrift clothes and then learned how to navigate the rise of e-commerce (a.k.a Ebay) to create a business that was born in her bedroom. She connected with customers online to build her brand, hustled to do all the logistics herself, and grew her company to do over $100 million in annual sales. I felt inspired by her encouragement of women to believe in themselves and to be tenacious in their goals!"

From Torin Rittenberg, Growth
 

Essays: Against Everything by Mark Greif – "I've always enjoyed contrarian thinking, and have been trying to practice it more in my everyday life. In this collection of essays, Mark Greif shows how to be contrarian without being a cynic. He finds the perfect balance between criticism and reason while debating some of our most commonplace thoughts on basic activities, such as eating and exercising, to more existential ideas that are followed by many, like having happiness as one's main goal in life."
 
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino – "This book also happens to be another collection of essays, but differs in that the critical light it shines is more targeted towards millennial- and pop culture-related topics and trends in society. Everything from our addiction to social media to the commercialization of engagements and weddings. She is an incredible young essayist who publishes in the New Yorker frequently, and group chats and Twitter are always abuzz when she publishes a new piece. She's definitely one to follow, with this book serving as a great introduction to her work before diving deeper."
Essays: Against Everything by Mark Greif – "I've always enjoyed contrarian thinking, and have been trying to practice it more in my everyday life. In this collection of essays, Mark Greif shows how to be contrarian without being a cynic. He finds the perfect balance between criticism and reason while debating some of our most commonplace thoughts on basic activities, such as eating and exercising, to more existential ideas that are followed by many, like having happiness as one's main goal in life."
 
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino – "This book also happens to be another collection of essays, but differs in that the critical light it shines is more targeted towards millennial- and pop culture-related topics and trends in society. Everything from our addiction to social media to the commercialization of engagements and weddings. She is an incredible young essayist who publishes in the New Yorker frequently, and group chats and Twitter are always abuzz when she publishes a new piece. She's definitely one to follow, with this book serving as a great introduction to her work before diving deeper."

From Adam Goldstein, Operations

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – "This book is about finding your purpose and leading your life through it. Sinek talks about the differences between what we do, how we do it, and, most importantly, why we do it. While mostly written from a business perspective, the book highlights how purpose can be attributed to nearly everything in our lives. The why tells us the reason you have for doing something and the compelling result you're going after.
 
For example, Branch's purpose might be to create incredible office furniture solutions by relentlessly seeking efficient and effective processes. On a personal side, I found that using my purpose - to be a champion for the best ideas by creating an environment for them to thrive in – helps me a lot in professional scenarios where we're trying to work through potential solutions. By asking questions, challenging assumptions, and thinking outside of the box, I'm able to bring my purpose to life for the teams I work on."
 
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – "This book is about finding your purpose and leading your life through it. Sinek talks about the differences between what we do, how we do it, and, most importantly, why we do it. While mostly written from a business perspective, the book highlights how purpose can be attributed to nearly everything in our lives. The why tells us the reason you have for doing something and the compelling result you're going after. For example, Branch's purpose might be to create incredible office furniture solutions by relentlessly seeking efficient and effective processes. On a personal side, I found that using my purpose - to be a champion for the best ideas by creating an environment for them to thrive in – helps me a lot in professional scenarios where we're trying to work through potential solutions. By asking questions, challenging assumptions, and thinking outside of the box, I'm able to bring my purpose to life for the teams I work on."
 

Torin Rittenberg | February 21, 2020