Here at Simplicity 2.0, we love books. We love our electronics, too, and will forever commemorate October 31, 2013, as the date we could continue using our electronics on planes even during takeoff and landing. But there’s still something about a book. Maybe it’s all the nights spent curled up under the blanket with a flashlight when we were supposed to be sleeping.

That said, it’s a time-honored tradition in December to compile a list of books of the year that we should either have read, or at least pretended to have read. That way, we can make conversation during the holiday cocktail parties.

The Circle made lots of best lists, including Gizmodo’s, which said about it, “Beyond the social critique, it's also just good read, a nimble plot guided by a more than capable craftsman. Yes, it can be heavy-handed at times. Then again, so can Google+.” Of course, we were ahead of the curve and reviewed it earlier this month.

Naturally, a lot of people suggested The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, and Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, about the founding and success of Amazon and Twitter, respectively. In particular, a number of business leaders had The Everything Store on the Bloomberg list of “best books of 2013,” while Forbes said  that Hatching Twitter showed that Twitter had as much backstabbing and infighting as any other company.

How could we not mention Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, which made the Washington Post’s list of 2013 books every leader should read? The book was critiqued by some; as the Post itself says, “It was not without controversy: The book was criticized for putting the onus for change on women rather than institutions and society, among other things.” But it was enough of a talk-show staple that it entered the zeitgeist for the year.

Bill Gates, whom we already know is quite the reader, listed Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday. We’re always happy to read anything Diamond publishes, and this one — basically “best practices from hunter-gatherer societies” — is particularly intriguing. For example, in what he calls traditional societies, dispute resolution doesn’t just involve a lawsuit, but also ways to repair the relationship between the two parties — something our own system not only leaves out but actually works against.

As with Diamond, you can’t have a “best of” book list without Malcolm Gladwell. His book this year was David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. “Gladwell’s latest documents ways in which successful people turn their disadvantages into advantages, resulting in an inspiring, and surprisingly moral, call to arms,” writes the Globe and Mail, which put it on its list of top 10 books of 2013. It, too, has come under criticism for a lack of rigor, with the New Republic calling him “America’s best-paid fairy-tale writer.” (Don’t have time to read it? Read this hysterical 600-word summary instead.)

A number of lists, such as the annual list from the Highlands Forum, included Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. “[Authors] Mayer-Sch

Simplicity 2.0 is where we examine the intricate and transitory world of technology—through a Laserfiche lens. By keeping an eye on larger trends, we aim to make software that’s relevant to modern day workers, rather than build technology for technology’s sake.

Subscribe to Simplicity 2.0 and follow us on Twitter. If what we’re saying piques your interest, head over to where you’ll see how we apply the lessons learned on Simplicity 2.0 to our own processes, products and industry.

Machine Learning

Learn how machine learning can be the driving force for digital transformation in your organization.

Listen Now

Related Articles

By David Chen, November 16, 2017

Digital transformation and artificial intelligence? As it turns out, they're two great tastes that taste great together. Here's how they help your company.

Read More

By David Chen, November 02, 2017

Customer experience includes the “journey,” the path customers take to interact with a firm. Digital transformation lets you streamline this journey.

Read More

By David Chen, October 19, 2017

Nearly everyone will tell you that to be successful in business, you need to be innovative. But what does being innovative really mean?

Read More