MERU's 2018 Holiday Reading List



We're happy to be back with our second annual Holiday Reading List. None of us feels like there is ever enough time to read for pleasure, and we're sure you feel the same way. If you're able to pick up a book over the holidays, maybe one of our recommendations will lead to you something worth your time. If you have your own suggestions for your favorite books, audiobooks, or podcasts from this year please reply to this email and we'll post the responses on our LinkedIn.

Wishing you a happy holiday and new year,
The MERU team

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Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (Buy on Amazon)

Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, tells the story of how he started one of the world’s most famous and successful brands. What started as “a crazy idea” for a running shoe in 1962 developed into an industry-altering empire. Knight shares his deeply personal account of setbacks, triumphs, and lessons learned during his experience of taking Nike from just a business school assignment to the global powerhouse it is today. His story is an inspirational example of how far an idea can go with dedication, a bold vision, and the right team of ambitious people. – Samir




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Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb (Buy on Amazon)

Provocative as ever, this is Taleb’s next iteration of his Incerto cycle about uncertainty, randomness, bullshit, and who to believe. Taleb’s central argument builds off common knowledge about the power of incentive alignment to making a case for the social justice of “skin in the game” – wearing your own risks. His appreciation of those who walk their own talk is matched by his scorn for traders who take risks with other people’s money. As a co-founder of this firm, where alignment is one of our core values, the lessons of this book resonated strongly with me. - Kyle







Sneetches & Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (Buy on Amazon)

'Tis the season to spend time with your family. As busy as we are as professionals, let us not forget the most important things in our life. I’ve loved reading this book to my kids this year. It’s a classic with a great message that is very relevant for this day and age. - Nick


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Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink (Buy on Amazon)

Extreme Ownership leverages Jocko’s experiences as a Navy Seal to demonstrate how strong personal accountability can drive world-class performance in teams from the battlefield to the boardroom. The Extreme Ownership framework has been a great personal journey that has pushed me to strive to be better in every venue of my life! – Chris


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Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (Buy on Amazon)

Why are some people like Warren Buffett, Yo-Yo Ma, and Chris Rock so incredibly accomplished at what they do, while millions of others in those same fields never rise above mediocrity? Geoff Colvin argues that greatness is the result of practice honed over a decade of perseverance rather than a product of DNA. This is a rare business book that will (i) prompt you to think, (ii) inspire you to act, and (iii) realize that high achievement isn't reserved for a preordained few, but that it is available to us all. - Mihai


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The Storm Before the Storm by Michael Duncan (Buy on Amazon)

The Roman Republic, one of mankind’s greatest governmental achievements, was able to expand from a small Italian city-state into the dominating master of the known world. But such vast expansion began to prove too much for the Republic as it began to face a widening economic gap, increasing political strife, the privatization of the military, endemic social prejudices, rampant corruption, endless military campaigns, and a ruthless aristocracy. These stresses that would ultimately lead to the fall of the Roman Republic closely parallel those facing the United States today. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” - Austin


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Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull (Buy on Amazon)

In Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull provides an account of how his love of animation fueled him into creating Pixar Animation Studios with Steve Jobs. Catmull raises the curtain behind the creation of some of the most successful animated films of our time. He shares insights on how to manage a business that runs on imagination and how to cultivate creative culture through thoughtful leadership. - Sarah


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How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Buy on Amazon)

Though first published in 1937, Carnegie’s advice on how to connect with others and grow relationships is timeless. Written as a practical guide on human relationships, Carnegie dives deep on the fundamentals of communicating and connecting with others through simple guidelines and illustrative storytelling. Carnegie argues that both our personal and professional success depends upon our ability to communicate and manage personal relationships effectively. A quick read, Carnegie’s approach has already paid dividends on working relationships and communication style. - CJ


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Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Buy on Amazon)

A small, forgotten town deep in the forest puts the hopes of a brighter future on their recently successful junior ice hockey team. With a shot at winning the national semi-finals, the fortunes of an entire town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Such a heavyweight becomes the catalyst for a vicious act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in chaos. An interesting look into how sports subculture can affect a small town and the courage of a young girl. - Ian