Coursera Founder shares his books and practices to be Innovative and Creative
Innovation and creativity can be learned – how ?
It can be done by reading as well as talking to enough experts. It is said that chances of achieving success are more when the person holds enough of experience but this cannot be held true for the beginners who try to seek courage to do something new. So, for all those people who are coming forward to try new things can prefer two options – either they may talk to experts or they could read good books . Talking to experts is always a great help but not everyone has contacts with enough of experts . But the second option is available for one and all – Books.
The Founder of Coursera, a website that made learning from the best universities possible to everyone, and Founder of Google Brain project, and presently Chief Scientist at Baidu, Andrew Ng seconds the same belief as he puts it:
In my own life, I found that whenever I wasn’t sure what to do next, I would go and learn a lot, read a lot, talk to experts. I don’t know how the human brain works but it’s almost magical: when you read enough or talk to enough experts, when you have enough inputs, new ideas start appearing. This seems to happen for a lot of people that I know.
I read a lot and I also spend time talking to people a fair amount. I think two of the most efficient ways to learn, to get information, are reading and talking to experts. So I spend quite a bit of time doing both of them. I think I have just shy of a thousand books on my Kindle. And I’ve probably read about two-thirds of them.
One of the biggest levers on your own life is your ability to form useful habits. I find it much easier to do the same thing every morning because it’s one less decision that you have to make. It’s the same reason that my closet is full of blue shirts. I used to have two color shirts actually, blue and magenta. I thought that’s just too many decisions. [Laughter] So now I only wear blue shirts.
So here is the list of some books focusing on creation of new things, new businesses along with new technologies, that have substantially influenced Andrew Ng’s intellectual development and that he highly recommends everyone.
For people who are trying to figure out career decisions, there’s a very interesting one: “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” That gives a valuable perspective on how to select a path for one’s career.
Another good book is “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, that gives an overview of entrepreneurship and innovation.
The first is “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” – The Do-it-Yourself Guide to finding and fixing usability problems. If you want to build products that are important, that users care about, this teaches you different tactics for learning about users, either through user studies or by interviews.
Entrepreneurship can be either B2B (“business to business,” i.e., businesses whose customers are other businesses) or B2C (“business to consumer”).
For B2B, I recommend “Crossing the Chasm.” For B2C, one of my favorite books is “The Lean Startup,” which takes a narrower view but it gives one specific tactic for innovating quickly. It’s a little narrow but it’s very good in the area that it covers.
Then to break B2C down even further, one favorable book is “Talking to Humans,” which is a very short book that teaches you how to develop empathy for users you want to serve by talking to them.
Then finally there is “The Hard Thing about Hard Things.” Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup.
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