What to read on the beach: InsurTech edition
July 20, 2017 George Hanks
Last summer we posted the Oxbow Partners team recommendation for ‘what to read on the beach’. This year, we asked InsurTech leaders what they recommend reading on the beach.
We asked InsurTech leaders for their go-to ‘business bible’ and their favourite ‘fun’ book. Their recommendations cover the literary spectrum, from the expected (How to Build the Future by startup legend Peter Thiel) to the unexpected (Open by Andre Agassi).
Here’s the full list – enjoy one of these reads over a Pina Colada on the beach.
Brains vs Capital by Prof. Dr. Günter Faltin (Fabrice Gerdes: Grün Versichert – Bitesize profile here)
Fabrice recommends reading Brains vs Capital, as it serves as a reminder that “thanks to the internet, it has never been so easy to found a successful company.”
Getting Real by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Matthew Linderman (Miles Tinsley: Claimable)
According to Miles, “this book is about bringing a web app to market by focusing on creating a tangible and real product, rather than obsessing over thoughts, plans and ideas that merely represent the real thing.” This idea resonates with him as it “reflects the approach we take in building Claimable”.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (Erik Abrahammson: Digital Fineprint – Bitesize profile here)
As described by Erik: “Ben Horowitz from the VC-fund ‘a16z’, shares his uncensored perspective on what it takes to succeed in entrepreneurship.”
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Phil Reynolds: Britecore)
Phil told us that, Thinking, Fast and Slow exposes how “emotion and passion ultimately drive much of our decision making.” This, he says, is important to remember, as much of his time is spent managing human relationships.
Why the West Rules for Now by Ian Morris (Benno von Buchwaldt: Liimex – Bitesize profile here)
Though not strictly a business bible, Benno recommends this book as, “it explains why our customers, businesses and institutions are where they are and (here is what makes it a bible) how they might develop”.
Zero to One Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel (Chris Cheatham: RiskGenius – Bitesize profile here and Dan Woods: Socotra)
Chris recommends Zero to One as it taught him that “A.I. will augment humans, not replace them, which is core to RiskGenius’s model.” Dan also recommends this book as a knowledge source – “it’s a good read for anyone thinking about technology’s impact on our lives and a must-read for anyone wanting to profit handsomely from technology entrepreneurship.”
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch (Ed Pugh: Red Crake)
According to Ed, “the book’s focus is the well-known, but often overlooked, principle that 80 percent of all our results in business and in life stem from a mere 20 percent of our efforts”. Ed recommends this book as it “challenges us all to make better use of our time.”
Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith (Miles Tinsley: Claimable)
“This book debunks common aviation rumours and answers aviation questions with hard fact and a good dose of humour.” A must read for anyone who, like Miles, loves flying.
The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind People’s Gestures and Expressions by Barbara Pease (Dan Woods: Socotra)
“Did you know that if someone is bouncing their heel, it means that they want to stand up (usually, to leave)? Or if someone is touching the side of the face while listening they’re listen intently UNLESS the hand is providing actual support to the head, in which case they’re bored.” For Dan, this book reminded him that “people are animals” and caused him to “never view human interaction the same way again”.
Es wird um Rückerstattung des beiliegenden Sohnes Hermann gebeten by Bernd Ellermann (Fabrice Gerdes: Grün Versichert – Bitesize profile here))
According to Fabrice, these are “a collection of funny letters written by customers to insurance companies.”
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt (Matt Poll: Neos – Bitesize profile here)
In Steven’s own words -” This classic reminds the reader that the world is not as scary as people would have us believe.”
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (Benno von Buchwaldt: Liimex – Bitesize profile here)
According to Benno, “His Dark Materials combines modern physics, philosophy and the theodicy in an exciting and light-hearted fashion.”
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Phil Reynolds: Britecore)
According to David, this book “captures the humour, irony, struggle and beauty of the smallest moments”. He also recommends listening to the audiobook as it is read hilariously by the author himself.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (Erik Abrahammson: Digital Fineprint – Bitesize profile here)
The FBI’s top hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, teaches the reader how to apply negotiation techniques tested in extreme real-world situations in any type of negotiation. According to Erik, it is particularly interesting as each chapter starts with a real hostage situation the author experienced. He then explains the tactics and principles used in the example.
Open by Andre Agassi (Chris Cheatham: Risk Genius – Bitesize profile here)
Chris recommends this book as it serves as a reminder of the rewards to be found in overcoming adversity – “Business can be a slog, just like tennis was a slog for Agassi. But then he found enjoyment and contentment. Our InsurTech reminds me of this journey; we are finally hitting the fun part.”