One thing we’ve found in common among a lot of the entrepreneurs and startups we’ve spoken to is that they look to books for deeper inspiration and thinking. Here is the first of a series of book recommendations our startup interviewees were kind enough to share. If you have thoughts or books you would like to share yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out on  

Tak Lo, partner at Grit by Angela Duckworth

I finished reading Debt: the first 5000 years by David Graeber as well as a autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew. But right now, I am reading Grit, from a professor named Angela Duckworth.


What does it take to do really well in life? The answer, says psychologist Angela Duckworth, is not innate talent but grit – something she learned the hard way. Subtitled The Power of Passion and Perseverance, the text is the fruit of years studying the psychology of success. Swimmers, chefs, army cadets, telesales executives … Duckworth examines them all, and what she finds is that natural talent – the genius prized by her father – does not make humans disposed to succeed so much as the qualities she sums up as “grit”.

 Read the full review on the guardian here.

Mei Yi Yeap, General Manager, Asia at Peatix: God’s Chinese Song by Jonathan Spence

 My happy place is when I'm completely immersed in a book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Because I'm a history buff, I tend to graviate towards reading a lot of history books. The book I’m reading right now is called God's Chinese son. It sounds really iffy, but it's actually written by a very prominent historian called Jonathan Spence about the Taiping civil war.

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Jonathan Spence’s book recreates the spiritual world that nurtured one of China's most remarkable megalomaniacs. Hong Xiuquan was the founder of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the rebel movement that seized a power base in southern China in the mid-1850's and provoked the ruling Qing Dynasty into a terrible, decade-long struggle. The Taiping Rebellion, which cost something like 20 million lives, was the largest war of the 19th century, a war whose duration and dimensions dwarfed the nearly contemporaneous civil conflict in the United States.

Read the full review on the New York Times here.

Anshuman Mihir and Mohit Rajpal: One Minute Manager

The “One Minute Manager,” co-authored by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is a parable; it reads more as a story than a textbook, or as Blanchard has called it, “a kids’ book for big people.”

It is an easy to read book that reveals three very practical secrets of managing people: one minute goals, one minute praising and one minute reprimands. The theory was to keep it simple so that the complex information would be easy to digest and to put into practice.

Read an article celebrating the 30th anniversary on here.

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