Summer reading - 2021


Picture of The Code Breaker book.

As many of my readers know, I am using the Lindy Effect as a filtering heuristic to help me decide what to read in 2021. The basic rule is not to read any books published in the past year, and, for the first six months of 2021, I have gone even further and spent most of my reading hours focused on rereading books. Additional time has then been spent writing book notes to assist my memory and help me to remember more of what I read (check out my system for recording book notes and why). I can now easily search notes from 27 books rather than hoping to find what I am looking for on my bookcase. Welcome to the future 😊


And yet, with any rule, there should always be exceptions. I am so happy that I broke my own rule and read Walter Isaacson's The Code Breaker. I couldn't think of a better time to read this excellent book than the time in between my first and second vaccinations against COVID-19.


The Code Breaker is the story of the virus-fighting teams led by the pioneer Jennifer Doudna. The author talks about how the inventions such as CRISPR and the "plague of COVID" will hasten the transition to the life-science era. The story, masterly woven by Isaacson, provides many leadership and productivity lessons that I was pleased to see are as much at home in medical and research laboratories as business meeting rooms:


  • The pro's and con's of in-person meetings versus conference calls and Zoom meetings

  • Asynchronous collaboration methods to reduce the time taken to complete projects

  • Self-interests competing with altruism

  • Egos and positional bargaining slowing down collaborative efforts and reducing trust

  • Developing innovative ways to approach adaptive challenges

  • Experimenting, taking risks, learning from mistakes and being flexible


So that is my recommendation for your summer reading. And, of course, make time to reread some of the classics in the genre you find most interesting.


Enjoy the summer, and let me know what you are reading and listening to!


And don't forget to check out the RYse Journal, a self-coaching notebook to help you organise your thoughts in a world of doing more with less.



If you want to discover more of what I have been reading, then check out:



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