All my life, the one thing that has remained constant has always been books. Reading is so much a part of my life that I really don’t think I can go anywhere without my laptop (for articles) or my Kindle. So when I realized I haven’t been blogging as regularly as I used to due to lack of content that I can make public, it only made sense to extend it to my bookshelf. 🙂

My first pick of the month was A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions by Muhammad Yunus, the economist who invented microcredit and founded Grameen Bank.

One of my greatest realizations this month in thinking about new businesses was that I don’t want to run charities as I think they are not sustainable and ultimately go against what capitalism is about. What I am interested in, however, is running a social enterprise where the social cause sits within the flow of capital, therefore benefitting not from goodness of heart but from a sustainable, profitable business model. The idea isn’t new but it does take a lot of research before I can draw up anything, so I’m hoping this book will give me a good introduction to the topic.

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My second book of the month was a fallback on comfort reads: Conn Iggulden’s Khan series.

I love being regaled by anecdote after anecdote of Genghis Khan, one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen, a man whose word is “iron” and was a judicious, if ruthless, ruler. Oftentimes I think tales of the past give me case studies through which to practise thinking through ethical models — if nothing else, at least I’ve discovered exactly how much of a consequentialist I am.

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The one book I’ve already completed this month is Empress Orchid by Anchee Min, which is an old favourite and one that I started re-reading because I was watching TVB’s The Confidant (大太監), also one of my favourite Cantonese dramas of all time.

Emperor Wu Ze Tian and Empress Cixi have been two of the most intriguing historical figures I actively read about, and a lot of their histories inform the way I process leadership today. The importance of your word having honour, being judicious, all these are concepts I got from books and dramas, believe it or not. The tales of eunuchs of olden days also interest me greatly, and I’m waiting on the book The Last Eunuch to be able to dive deeper into that topic.

As for why I’m re-reading so many books — I guess good historical fiction in my areas of interest is difficult to come by. I’ve found a few safe favourites that I re-read very often, but even then, I do crave new reads! The fiction usually signals a tiresome month when I need a break from my mind thinking about business all the time, which is exactly what this month has been. More on great reads next month!

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