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What I’ve been reading while travelling through South America

I’ve been on the road in South America for nearly 2 months now. Actually, I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find time to read whilst travelling (excluding travel guides!). Most of my time has been taken up by travel experiences, organising, and the inevitable socialising. But for better or for worse, the long bus journeys in South America have proven to be the saviour of my reading.

This is what I’ve read so far:

Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh

by Helena Norberg-Hodge
This must be the quintessential travel book. It’s the story of the Leh tribe in the Ladakh area in the Kashmir region of northern India, which was documented over 16 years by Norberg-Hodge. She made extraordinary efforts to get to know the people and their culture, which included learning their language, and she watched the impact as they went from minimal contact/trade with the outside world, to mass tourism and western-style development. The book raises real questions about the nature of western-style progress, especially regarding life satisfaction and happiness. Everyone should read this book.

Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving broken promises, violated expectations, and bad behavior

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny), Ron Mcmillan, Al Switzler
This is a book all about how to safely confront people… you know, what most of us try to avoid doing, because it’s usually easier to avoid, and/or because most of us do it poorly. The book offers a lot of great, practical advice with plenty of examples. Everyone should read this book.

Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier

by Suelette Dreyfus with research by Julian Assange
This is a book co-authored/researched in the late 90’s by Julian Assange, of Wikileaks fame. I found out about it when researching Assange’s background; it’s a book about the underground hacking scene in the early 90’s, which he was involved in. The book is meticulously researched and brought back a lot of memories for me of the computer scene that existed back then, a time when as a 15 year old I could think of nothing more fun then messing around on my Commodore Amiga 500 (why didn’t someone tell me?!). Fittingly, this was the first book I read on my Kindle. (Not everyone should read this book.)

How To Win Any Argument: Without Raising Your Voice, Losing Your Cool, Or Coming To Blows

by Robert Mayer
My friends may find this amusing given how much I love a good, err, discussion, but the book isn’t exactly as one would expect from the title. It’s about how to put forward persuasive arguments, either in writing or verbally. It covers subject matter such as the techniques used in marketing and politics: very useful if you want to learn how to build a case using techniques that professionals use, and/or further understand how products are marketed to us and how politicians manage to win us over!

30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset

by Dragos Roua
This book was recommended to me by a former colleague of mine, and I also read it on the Kindle. Firstly, this isn’t one of those <groan> “how to become a millionaire” type of books. It’s more a set of rules for a successful and healthy mind-set, with details on how to action change, if required. A lot of the rules are just common sense and some are down-right simplistic, but some are really inspiring. One might suppose this book could be opposite to the ideas presented in Ancient Futures (mentioned above)… I would say, diplomatically, yes and no… 30 Sentences, to me, seemed mostly about how to avoid common traps in a Western, consumer society which are to the detriment of your well-being, and instead to seize back your time and money and use the system to your advantage.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing

by Benjamin Graham
(Reading right now). As the title might give away, this book is THE classic book for value investing, written by Benjamin Graham, the mentor to billionaire investor Warren Buffet. Everyone who wants to be a successful investor should probably read this book. I must admit, it’s a little dry to read while travelling, though…

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