The value of critical thinking could probably never be understated in our industry.
I’ve found that many of the sharpest minds and best leaders I’ve encountered in fire protection are avid readers and relentless learners. Reading regularly is an incredibly valuable tool to broaden our perspective and grow our own limits.
This week I’m taking a step aside from the technical content a putting up a summer reading list for books I’ve found interesting and helpful for professionals in our arena.
#1 Talking to Strangers
Accomplished author Malcolm Gladwell offers an extremely timely perspective of our natural tendency to overestimate our ability to judge others and underestimate our own ability to be understood. Published just in Fall 2019 this book explores major storylines of the last few years and breaks down the misunderstandings we carry when talking to strangers.
This is a powerful and timely read, especially after the events of the past couple months. | Link
#2 The Future is Faster Than You Think
If you’ve followed some of the prior book summaries I’ve written you know that the advancements we have coming our way in the near future is something I take great interest in. This book is a continuation of my favorite book of all time (next), by Peter Diamandis.
Every innovation we’ve achieved has been from a mixing of ideas that are at the cusp of the technology at any given time. We have witnessed more technological advancement in the last one hundred years than our entire history before it.
While we naturally tend to think the present will continue into the future (without major innovation) for the next decades, our history is saying the opposite; the time gap between major innovation has shortened (think major disruptions like internet and cell phones). Due to “convergence” of a wide variety of innovations in transport, medicine, AI, and a host of other developments, these time gaps are getting shorter. If our history has shown us anything, its that the pace of change is increasing and the near future will see major advancements that will reshape how we view the world. | Link
#3 Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
I’ve written on this one before, but I continue to circle back to it and never finish the book without a sense of hope for the direction our world is heading.
If you follow the nightly news its easy to see that the world is shattered and on the verge of complete collapse… except that’s a microview.
Stepping back and looking at trends across history, its clear that we’re in store for a better, cleaner healthier future that is backed by data. A phenomenal read. | Link
#4 Design is a Job
This is a surprisingly brash and straightforward book of guidance on how to market, sell and support a design-related business.
While the author is in the programming and graphic design industry, so much of the discussion in this book applies directly to the architectural/engineering space.
A very interesting and refreshing read about the nuances of working in a design-related field. | Link
#5 Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World
This is the first time I’ll mention it, but it won’t be the last. The long-term vision for going starting this website and going independent is to try and make the world a little better each day. Water doesn’t just fight fires, it’s the single most important need we have as humans. This book takes a very personal transformative story of a nightclub promoter turned major nonprofit co-founder. The more interesting and encouraging part of the story is about the positive impact that providing clean water to the developing world does. The long-term MeyerFire vision is pointed directly at the most fundamental need we have globally and we’re saving towards some exciting goals on this front. More to come, but as for the book it’s an impact read. | Link
Those are five of my most impactful reads recently. What have you read that you'd recommend? Comment here.
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Joseph Meyer, PE, owns/operates his own Fire Protection Engineering practice in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.