I love history, so I tend to read books that look at issues from a historical point of view. I don’t know why, but this list of books I read in February demonstrates that.

I guess it’s because I have a strong interest in exploring the impact of history on various aspects of our lives, including technology, brands, politics, and societal progress.

I’m also drawn to books that challenge conventional wisdom and explore the less talked about aspects of the subjects they cover.

For instance, “Civilized to Death” and “Cobalt Red” both offer critical perspectives on modern society and its reliance on progress and technology, while “A Secret History of Brands” uncovers the unsavoury histories behind some of the world’s most well-known brands.

At the same time, I seem to be interested in learning about the strategies and impact of powerful entities like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, as seen in “The Four” by Scott Galloway. Finally, “Leading From The Outside” by Stacey Abrams offers a more personal perspective on leadership and equity, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the pursuit of a more just society.

Overall, this month I’m more interested in exploring the hidden and often overlooked aspects of history and contemporary society, in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of the world around you.

Here was my reading list for February:

1. Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress by Christopher Ryan

In this book, Ryan challenges the notion that progress and civilization are always good things, arguing that modern society’s relentless pursuit of these ideals has come at a high cost.

Ryan suggests that our current way of life has led to a loss of community, meaningful connections, and even happiness.

He uses examples from various cultures and time periods to argue that living a simpler, less “civilized” life might actually be better for human well-being in many ways.

2. A Secret History of Brands: The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love by Matt MacNabb

This book takes a closer look at the origins of well-known brands and logos, exploring the often-dark history behind them.

MacNabb delves into the stories of companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple, revealing the unsavoury actions and motivations that helped create some of the world’s most recognisable brands.

By shedding light on the less-than-glamorous pasts of these companies, MacNabb encourages readers to question their loyalty to certain brands and to consider the impact of their purchasing choices.

3. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway

In this book, Galloway examines the four major tech companies that dominate much of our modern world: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

He argues that these companies have fundamentally changed our lives in ways that we don’t fully appreciate.

Galloway explores the origins, strategies, and business models of these companies, as well as their impact on society as a whole.

He also considers the potential downsides of their dominance and the need for more regulation and oversight.

4. Cobalt Red: How The Blood Of The Congo Powers Our Lives by Siddharth Kara

This book focuses on the mining of cobalt in the Congo, which is used in the production of many of the world’s tech products, including smartphones and electric cars.

Kara examines the human cost of this industry, including the widespread exploitation and abuse of workers, many of whom are children.

He also explores the environmental impact of cobalt mining and the role that corporations and governments play in perpetuating these abuses.

5. Leading From The Outside by Stacey Abrams

This memoir by Abrams, a black woman who has been involved in politics for many years, offers a unique perspective on leadership and equity.

Abrams shares her personal journey, including the challenges she has faced as a person of colour and a woman in a predominantly white, male-dominated field.

She also shares insights from her work promoting voting rights and fair elections in Georgia and beyond.

Throughout the book, Abrams emphasises the importance of diversity and inclusivity in leadership and the need for systemic change to achieve a more just society.

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