My Most Important Reads of 2020

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Jan 1 2021 | Entrepreneurship, Reading

A collection of readings I did in 2020 that's deeply influenced my thinking and approach towards work.

Introduction

I felt compelled to write something, anything really, to mark the end of 2020. Personally, this year has brought a ton of learning and growth for me and I wanted to reflect that in this article.

I thought about writing on milestones and what I've achieved so far this year, but in the end, I decided to compile a collection of readings I did in 2020 that's deeply influenced my thinking and approach towards work. Hopefully they'll be of value to you too.

From books to Twitter threads and essays, themes include startup and business strategy, principles, mindsets, as well as more specific topics such as growth, sales, product management, the passion economy, and the monetisation of creativity.

This is geared towards the creative and entrepreneurial but is by no means only for those folks. Whatever domain of work you're in, you can take and apply the principles from these resources to the work you do.

I've broadly arranged the list so that the content goes from high level principles and works its way down to specific domains and practical examples.

The List

1. How to Get Rich

How to Get Rich by Naval Ravikant. The title is a misnomer, 'How to Build Wealth' is probably a more accurate title. There are some very practical things like career strategy, self awareness, skill building that anyone can take from this important collection of tweets.

2. How To Be Successful

How to be Successful by Sam Altman. This page-long article complements 'How to Get Rich' well and is a much shorter read.

3. Essays by Paul Graham

Paul's blog is a treasure chest full of wisdom. Pick and read any of his essays to sharpen your thinking and be reminded of the fundamentals in business.

4. Zero to One

This is a classic read for anyone in the world of startups. Going from one to two or more is easy, going from zero to one is hard.

5. The Startup of You

I love the idea of applying the principles of a startup to you, an individual. The first chapter: All Humans Are Entrepreneurs. Anyone can benefit from applying these principles whether to work or life in general.

6. Visualize Value

The Visualize Value brand. One of my favourite businesses (and I'm a happy customer of VV products), Visualize Value is the brainchild of designer Jack Butcher, a unique combination of design, philosophy, commerce and technology.

7. Passion Economy essays

Li Jin has written plenty about the passion economy, though here I will highlight just two of her essays which I think provide an excellent overview to the passion economy. The first one, The Passion Economy and the Future of Work and the second, Enterprization of Consumer.

8. How to Monetize Creativity and Solo-Preneurship

Sahil Lavingia is the founder of Gumroad. I found this podcast where he talks about monetizing creativity compelling. For those who prefer notes instead, here's Podcast Note's summary of it.

9. Principles of Product Management

Incredibly high quality yet easy to digest Twitter threads about principles of Product and Product Management from an industry leader Shreyas Doshi. I've learnt a lot about product thinking from Shreyas' tweets. I suggest scrolling through his Twitter timeline to get lost in some deep Product Management principles.

10. The Sweaty Startup

Nick Huber's Sweaty Startup YouTube channel. Nick has spent almost 10 years building and growing his storage facility business. I became drawn to his message because I'm hearing it from someone who is doing what he's preaching in real time. I highly recommend his sales videos, especially if sales isn't your strong point.

11. Better Than Free

Here are Eight Generatives Better Than Free by Kevin Kelly. I think it's essential for anyone in any sort of internet business to understand these principles on the value of information in the internet age.

12. 1 or 2 person successful companies.

The tweet: "@ShaanVP and I are highlighting the most interesting, profitable, and successful 1-2 person companies. Comment here. Tell story, give links. . ." If you're curious and want examples of 1 or 2 people businesses that are succeeding, reading the responses to this tweet would be a great starting point.

If you liked this or have something to share, feel free to reach out on Twitter.