Have you ever read a book, and halfway through you realize that everything you’ve read so far could have been summed up in 10 minutes? For me, it is one of my biggest pet peeves, because I would so much rather have read an article or listened to a podcast episode than endured the boredom of an entire book where nothing happened. The books on this list all had good content, but they dragged on for far too long, and I feel the material could have been summarized in many fewer words. This is an anti-book recommendation list.

Game Changer: How to be 10x in the Talent Economy

This book was the impetuous for this list. I enjoyed the content, but I thought it got fairly repetitive and I found that I’d absorbed the necessary information by page 10. If you’re looking for a book to teach you to value yourself in industry, specifically tech, I would recommend this one, but know that it’s a bit boring.

Authors: Michael Solomon, Rishon Blumberg and Daniel Weizmann

My Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Business advice

Goodreads Summary: Highly skilled 10x talent brings at least 10 times the value to your organization. By understanding how to attract, manage, and retain these sought-after individuals, your business will become more agile and innovative and experience transformational growth. 

10xers can tackle a company’s thorniest problems, improve their strongest assets, and blaze a path to success. With the rapid digitization of every conceivable product and service, the environment has transformed so fast that every organization must be equipped with these phenomenally gifted employees to keep up.

Game Changer provides proven strategies on how your company can create the right environment for top talent and breakthrough success by upending traditional business practices. It also reveals how individuals can evolve from good to great to 10x, and enjoy the many perks and rewards this status brings.

With this book, you’ll learn:

How highly skilled talent is transforming companies of all sizes and industries through real world stories and first-hand testimonies from top executives and entrepreneurs.
Ways managers can become coaches that empower their team to accomplish amazing results.The unconventional business environment 10xers need for massive productivity, including deep flow states, greater autonomy and ownership, and work time flexibility.
How to see yourself as both talent and management and become comfortable switching these hats.
For any reader who wants to make an impact at work, become a highly skilled, phenomenally gifted employee, and experience the rewards and satisfaction of being 10x, Game Changer shows you how.

The Happiness Project

I got this book from one of those “little free library” shelves that they have in cities, and once I was done I put it right back in a different one. I appreciated the sentiment of what Rubin was trying to say, but at the end of the day I felt that she dove too much into the specifics of her highly unique situation. Cleaning for your husband rather than making him pull his own weight might have worked for Rubin, but it would never work for me or many of the other people reading this book. If she had just distilled the message down into a 30 minute podcast, we all would have been better off.

Author: Gretchen Rubin

My Rating: 2 stars

Genre: Self Help

Goodreads Summary: Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. 

The Leader’s Compass: A Personal Leadership Philosophy is Your Key to Success

Maybe it’s cheating to put this book on the list, because to be fair it was already quite short. However, I still think it could have been even shorter. The Leader’s Compass was almost certainly an article that some guy realized would make more money if he stuck it between a hardcover and added another 100 pages. The concept might have been there, but it was so dull that I had to give it 2 stars.

Authors: Ed Ruggero and Dennis F. Haley

My Rating: 2 Stars

Genre: Life / Business / Leadership advice

Goodreads Summary: “It is a rare organization that does not have some sort of mission statement, organizational philosophy or values proposition to guide members and focus their work. Most leaders recognize that developing these clearly articulated statements is time well spent; they help keep the organization on track and pointed toward clear goals. A written leadership philosophy, which we call “The Leader’s Compass”, achieves the same thing on a personal level; it lets people know what you expect, what you value, how you’ll act, and how you’ll measure performance, with the additional benefits of making the workplace less stressful and more productive. And, like a compass, it helps to keep you, the leader, on course”.

How To Be a Woman

I hated this book for lots of reasons, not the least of all because it was way too long. Moran could have saved herself many of the bad takes she had if she stopped trying to be so verbose and just stuck to the core of the stories she was trying to tell. Much of her message was obscured by the (oftentimes offensive) tangents which sidetracked the feminist message she was trying to present.

Author: Caitlin Moran

My Rating: 2 stars

Genre: Feminist Memoir

Goodreads Summary: Caitlin Moran puts a new face on feminism, cutting to the heart of women’s issues today with her irreverent, transcendent, and hilarious How to Be a Woman. “Half memoir, half polemic, and entirely necessary,” (Elle UK), Moran’s debut was an instant runaway bestseller in England as well as an Amazon UK Top Ten book of the year; still riding high on bestseller lists months after publication, it is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. Now poised to take American womanhood by storm, here is a book that Vanity Fair calls “the U.K. version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants….You will laugh out loud, wince, and—in my case—feel proud to be the same gender as the author.”

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

This is one of those books that I think is necessary for everyone to read, but that doesn’t mean I like how long it is. You could read the first 3 pages of every chapter in this book and not miss out on any important content. I fully believe in the growth mindset, I just don’t think she needed nearly this many pages to get her point across to the audience.

Author: Carol S. Dweck

My Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Life Advice / Psychology

Goodreads Summary: After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset — those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love — to transform their lives and your own.