“Revolution comes from people that derive insights that sit outside of the normal bounds of their specialties” James Gleick

The more I learn the less I seem to know. This page tracks the books, podcasts (episodes), articles and other sources that have taught me something profound and greatly influenced my thinking and writing.

I believe there is a lot founders can learn from physicists, biologists, engineers, mathematicians and so on. My aim is to look for insight in these non-obvious places and synthesize it, so it can be usefully applied by founders in their ventures.

How to read the references below: Format | Source & Link | Key takeaways

Complex Systems

Book | Thinking in Systems | A useful and accessible introduction to complex systems, explaining the role of stocks, flows, feedback loops and delays on outcomes.

Book | Why Information Grows | Information is physical and brings order to chaos. Our ability to accumulate information determines the arrow of growth.

Podcast | How Information Makes Sense of Biology | Information allows a system to predict. Irrelevant data is not information, it’s entropy. Information is contextual, how well a system fits its environment reflects information the system has about a specific environment.

Podcast | What makes us intelligent? | Intelligence is making hard problems easier. Three dimensions of intelligence: strategy; representation (information); and inference (computation).

Video | Rugged and Dancing Landscapes | Importance of exploring your environment to achieve the best outcome. A smart encoding of your environment can help you develop a winning strategy faster.

Video | Explore Exploit Tradeoff | Every living organism, including businesses face a dilemma - how much should they explore their environment vs. use what they’ve already learned.

Business Strategy

Book | The Halo Effect | Most pop business books and much ‘research’ on business performance is bullshit. Very useful guide to know which books to avoid.

Book | Good Strategy/Bad Strategy | A business as a chain linked system. Strategy as design.

Book | Only the Paranoid Survive | Strategy emerges bottom-up as well as imposed top-down. Disorder is useful for learning, and necessary to navigate inflection points. Information flows and stocks are critical to identifying inflection points and overcoming them.

Book | Seven Powers | Overview of what provides businesses with market power. A useful compass to help point a business in the right direction in the long run.

Book | Mobilizing Invisible Assets | Strategy as fit. Accumulated information as a key determinant of successful strategy. Growth comes from the movement towards fit, which requires periods of over-extension and a lack of fit.

Book | Working Backwards | Work backwards from the customer experience. Input metrics > output metrics. Single threaded leadership > breaking down silos.