The Best Books I’ve Read in 2017

Juvoni Beckford@juvoni
February 24th, 2018 7 min readAnnual Updates,Best Books

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah Wow! What a life! (thus-far). Trevor Noah, shares stories of his childhood growing up in South Africa during the tail-end of apartheid. Being born, half black, half white, he was Born a Crime under the racist laws of apartheid. The lessons on the journey finding one's identity and cultivating craftiness and ingenuity through numerous hustles from a young age to survive were very relatable and inspiring. You can do a lot with a little, but you need a little to start with. You can teach a man to fish, but if he doesn't have a fishing road, he can't fish, Noah beautifully communicated reflecting on the huge gaps between rich and poor in his country. Because of his mixed race, he was classed as "colored", which made him an outcast, but slight privileges he would find. What connected him with many people was that he learned to speak many different languages.“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.” Born a Crime has so much richness and depth to it. It was funny, wise, outrageous.crafty and fearless. Much of Noah's story, was shared with the story of his mother, Patricia. In this story, they both grow together, like partners, it's a coming of age them against the world.

“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.” ― Trevor Noah

Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card A thrilling and intelligently crafted book. My favorite Science Fiction read thus far. A mix of strategy, technology, philosophy, psychology and examination of human nature; all of my areas engagingly written following the story of Andrew "Ender" Wiggins a child prodigy, who is drafted into the military at the age of 6 for his strategic brilliance and seemingly limitless potential. The earth is in danger, and a group of gifted children are trained with games to practices for a future war to come. The interactions and relations with his sister, Valentine and Brother Peter, who are also geniuses bring additional life, emotion, and purpose to the story and drive Ender to stay the course and move beyond his limits.

“Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” ― Orson Scott Card


by Chris Burniske & Jack Tatar Cryptoassets is a groundbreaking and approachable book explaining the what, why and how to invest in cryptocurrencies exploring blockchain based technology using top cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, ripple, monero, dash, and zcash as case studies. I felt a similar excitement and mind-opening bliss reading this, to how I felt reading the Intelligent investor years ago. The new era of innovative investors can consider cryptocurrencies as an alternative asset class to invest in using a disciplined and principled approach. The early internet ushered in a new wave of companies and innovations and cryptocurriences are positioning themselves to do similar. However, with the web, most of the value was captured in the application layer from the companies that built on top of the shared protocols of the internet (TCP/IP, HTTP, SMTP, etc). With blockchain, most of the value is captured on protocol layer, i.e the Bitcoin network, which reward participants in the network a share of the network value via cryptographically secured and accessible tokens.

"We would not classify the majority of cryptoassets as currencies, but rather most are either digital commodities (cryptocommodities), provisioning raw digital resources, or digital tokens (cryptotokens), provisioning finished digital goods and services. A currency fulfills three well-defined purposes: to serve as a means of exchange, store of value, and unit of account." — Burniske, Chris.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk

by Al Ries Marketing is a game of perception. The laws of marketing attempt to uncover marketing principles, most of which are standing up well against time, as the book was published over 20 years ago, looking at the marketing failures of some major companies and identifying the marketing laws in which they violated. Reading this has changed my “perception” of marketing, developing and selling products. It’s an overall great business and marketing book which is worth re-reading.

“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” ― Al Ries

Models: Attract Women Through Honesty

by Mark Manson Models encourages confidence through vulnerability and non-neediness, opening up yourself to share more while still holding onto your values and being self-reliant. Models is based on good intentions, as opposed to some other opportunities and manipulative dating books, so I resonated much more with Mark's principled approach, that aligned much strongly with personal development. The structure of the book was very easy to go through, with a blend of new and old topics that emphasize the core parts of relationship building, and I felt myself finishing and wanted to immediately go back through the book.

“The less you talk about your shame, the more of it you have.” ― Mark Manson

The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

by Howard Marks One of my top investing reads. A solid primer on principled investing creating a framework around understanding value and risk, while developing a second-level thinking mindset to have awareness around your decision-making skills, the difference between luck and skill and understanding the behaviors and actions of other investors. I wish I would have read this book years ago, and the foundational knowledge can guide you into becoming a more thoughtful investor cultivating reason over emotionally triggered decisions. There was great commentary across the memos of the skilled investor Howard Marks that added a lot of perspective. I'm always surprised how simple principles get lost in complexity and the desire to bring about certainty in a probability world.

“I like to say, “Experience is what you got when you didn’t get what you wanted.” ― Howard Marks

The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

by Alan Watts This book shook up the way that I look at the world. Watts examines the concept of “I” and “Self” and explorers his learnings from eastern philosophy in a western voice to create a bridge that explains the concept of universal consciousness. The Taboo he says we avoid talking about is the nature of being human, and that we are not as different from other parts of nature as we believe we are."The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.” We feel that we are unconnected from the universe and have a tendency to focus on contrasts, black and white and things that are different when the answers can come from removing the divisions and focusing on what connects us to everything. Instead we look at it as viewing the outside world and we want to become masters of it, breaking things about trying to understand the smallest units when we should be looking at the whole. These beliefs around isolated and disconnected beings impact all aspects of our life, relationships and even how we develop technology and understand science.

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.” ― Alan W. Watts

What were some of your favorite book?

#22 immutable laws of marketing #born a crime

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