Insightful books, articles and online resources that really changed my thinking

Thomas Harsch, has joined Polymath Ventures as a Business Designer after working as an Entrepreneur in Residence for several Berlin -and Barcelona- based tech companies. He is currently Elenas‘ Co-Founder and CEO and has also launched Startup Notes, a podcast blog targeted at aspiring entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips from Europe’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and investors on how to successfully start a company.

From his entrepreneurial experience, he has shared with us readings that have inspired him. “Reading is one of the most powerful tools for life-long learning. I wanted to share a list of books, articles and other online resources that I’ve found very insightful and that changed my thinking.


  • Sapiens – A short history of humankind (Yuval Noah Harari): One of the best books I ever read. Goes over the last 70,000 years of human history and explains how culture, language, money, etc. developed
  • Influence (Robert Cialdini): Highly recommended. Great to understand the psychological foundations of persuasion, decision-making, marketing & sales
  • Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse): Spiritual, great to reflect. The story of Siddhartha on his quest to find happiness.
  • How to win friends and influence people (Dale Carnegie): Although the title is foolish, great, simple lessons for life and business
  • The Happiness Advantage (Shawn Achor): Harvard lecturer Shawn Achor shares seven core principles of positive psychology that help to improve performance
  • Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond): Explains why certain regions in the world developed earlier and faster than others
  • Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell): Brilliantly written. Answers the question What makes high-achievers different?
  • The hard thing about hard things (Ben Horowitz): Super hands-on book on the challenges one is faced with when leading a high-growth startup
  • Give and take (Adam Grant): Explains why givers are ultimately more successful at work than takers
  • Industries of the future (Alec Ross): Shows what changes are coming in the next ten years in areas such as robotics, cybersecurity, genomics, big data and blockchain technology
  • The power of habit (Charles Duhigg): Explains why habits exist and how they can be changed
  • When breath becomes air (Paul Kalanithi): Inspiring true story of a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and explores the questions of What makes life meaningful?

Also published on Medium.

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