Some of my favorite reads in architecture, fiction, and business, respectively.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.jpg
Some of my favorite reads in architecture, fiction, and business, respectively.

by Abeer Sweis
January 10, 2019
A friend asked me recently what my favorite architecture book is. At first, I couldn’t think of a single one because I don't read them, I flip through them and look at the pictures! But after a moment of thought I realize I do have a favorite. This conversation about reading inspired this article about my favorite books in architecture, fiction and business, respectively.

Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino, is both a strangely and beautifully written book that blends real and imagined details into a series of tales. Although it contains no pictures, it is written with such vivid description you would swear it was illustrated. Reading it is like traveling to 55 different cities in 165 pages while engaging in philosophical conversations along the way. These cities are not constructed from concrete, steel, or glass, but of ideas. Invisible Cities inspired my thinking in relation to the concepts of living in a city, a home, and the larger concept of belonging.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is both an easy and entertaining read and yet has the power to change the reader forever. It is about a shepherd named Santiago who yearns to travel the world in search of material treasures. He begins his travels from his hometown in Spain to Tangiers where he meets the alchemist. He continues his travels with the alchemist through the desert, all the while the alchemist sharing his wisdom about the world. It’s a magical story about the human journey, about the learning along life’s path, and more importantly about how to listen to our heart and follow our dreams. This is a novel that I related to and inspired me.

Good to Great, by James C. Collins, was recommended to me by a business associate; I have read it several times since over the years. Using research collected over a 5-year period, the book presents data onhow 11 companies made the leap from good to great. The 11 companies that make the final cut are household names, and it is fascinating to read about their path to greatness.

This book discusses how our success heavily depends on the people we surround ourselves with. It also describes the idea of the flywheel, the notion that it is at times incredibly difficult to move in the direction you want to go, but day by day you build momentum, and one day the flywheel will move with very little effort. It is a reminder that we can create lasting change in our companies as well as in the world at large. So not coincidentally, these amazing and highly successful companies didn’t initiate change for the sake of fortune, but because of a vision for making a difference.

I am interested in your thoughts on these selections, and please share some of your favorites. I look forward to spend a lazy Sunday in the backyard with a new favorite book!
 
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