SEED’s Summer Reading List 2023


10 August 2023



Great books inspire us to change the way we think.

In our Summer Reading List of 2023, SEED Faculty and Coaches recommend some of their favourite books in different topics from company culture, advanced leadership practices to the future of AI/MI, decision-making skills, history and other interesting topics.

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters – Portfolio Publishing, April 2018  •  John Doerr
Hungarian edition: Mérd ami számít – HVG Könyvek, 2020 

For many years I have been very cynical about the practice of regular goal-setting for employees. I had seen too many companies where people worked half-heartedly to reach objectives they didn’t even believe in, just to earn their yearly bonus.

However, in his excellent book John Doerr gave me a fresh perspective on the topic of setting goals and measuring performance. Using many practical examples and best practices this book showed me and how OKR (Objectives and Key Results) can become a true source of motivation for people working in an organisation.

In fact I am so inspired that I have already set my personal OKR for the next quarter. 🙂

Review and personal recommendation by
Eszter Avar (SEED Faculty Member)

‘You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!
– Döntéshozatali csapdák

Original edition: Little, Brown and Company, July 2020  Olivier Sibony
Hungarian edition: Döntéshozatali csapdák – HVG Könyvek, 2021

Our brains are programmed to make the 30,000+ decisions we face every day as quickly and easily as possible. The problem arises when we need to make well-thought out, conscious decisions – and we continue to think in “automatic mode” in the same way. Olivier Sibony’s book shows a way out of this trap.

Being aware of the 25 cognitive biases and the suggestions that are highlighted, decision-making unpredicability could be made “predictable”.

Review and personal recommendation by
Sandy Vaci (SEED Faculty and Editorial Reviewer of the book)

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

No Rules Rules – Penguin Press, September 2020 • Erin Meyer – Reed Hastings
Hungarian edition: Az a szabály, hogy nincs szabály – Barecz & Conrad Books, 2020

It was really an uplifting experience to read this book, I liked its out-of-box and bold approach to organizational taboos like expense reports and holiday.

In today’s extremely complex business environment, simplifying or even abandoning on certain rules and on strict processes may unleash innovation and increase employee engagement.

Reed Hastings created a very successful organizational culture in Netflix, which promotes flexibility, employee freedom and innovation instead of error prevention and rule adherence.

Review and personal recommendation by
Leitner György (SEED Faculty Member)

BetweenBrains: Taking Back our AI Future

Original edition: GTPublishDrive, May 2020  Omar Hatamleh & Dr. George Tilesch
Hungarian edition: Mesterség és intelligencia, Libri Könyvkiadó, 2021

As the role of the digital technologies and MI is more important than ever, “Between Brains” book arrives at the right time for the readers.

This book highlights the similarities and the future possible differences of the human and artificial intelligence, its limitations and also gives the readers an insight into the world’s powers’ increasingly fierce struggle for supremacy in artificial intelligence.

At the same time, the authors provide answers to how the widespread use of AI will affect our everyday work and leisure.

Review and personal recommendation by
Dr. György Beck (SEED Faculty)

The Silk Roads / The New Silk Roads

The Silk Roads – Bloomsbury Publishing, August 2015  •  Peter Frankopan
Hungarian edition: Selyemutak, Park Könyvkiadó, 2022

The New Silk Roads – Bloomsbury Publishing, June 2019  •  Peter Frankopan
Hungarian edition: Új Selyemutak, Park Könyvkiadó, 2021

The Silk Roads captivated me with its unique perspective: putting as the „heart of the world” the are between the Mediterranean and the Pacific and focusing on history (and its lessons!) from this point of view is completely different from how history was taught to me in school in Central Europe.

Besides learning an awful lot about peoples and empires I had never heard of before (it might be my bad, not just my schooling …) the approach the book took was also illuminating: instead of focusing on specific events (battles, deeds of kings and emperors, etc.) it sheds light on how things are connected and what cause and effect relationships shaped the course of events. E.g. how the Boston Tea Party was a logical consequence of what was happening in India at the time…

The New Silk Roads explores the reemergence of the same region today after a (brief, on historical scale) period of Western (i.e. European and American) dominance. It is exciting but also a little bit frightening to think about the consequences of what Frankopan puts forward in the book.

Review and personal recommendation by
Róbert Huszár (SEED Faculty Member)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Ebury Publishing, August 2018 • Greg McKeown
Hungarian edition: Lényeglátás, Bagolyvár Kiadó, 2020

As the results of his work and research with teams and corporate executives, Greg McKeown shares exciting experiences on what makes people, leaders and teams thrive on the long term.

How does normative conformity impact our long term well-being? What can we learn from the stories/decisions of Michael Phelps, Rosa Parks, Stephen R Covey or Peter Drucker? What activities help you develop the skills you need to run a successful business and at the same time live longer, according to brain research?

It reminds me to focus on why I do what I do, and have the courage to filter out what is ‘not for me’.

Review and personal recommendation by
Beáta Barkóczi (SEED Coach) 

How to Make the World Add Up

How to Make the World Add Up – Little, Brown Book Group, May 2020 • Tim Harford

Tim Harford, he of „Undercover Economist” fame, has produced another entertaining yet profound book. In essence, he defends the science of statistics from all-too-easy claims of being unreliable and misleading.

Through a series of thought-provoking examples, Harford demonstrates convincingly that you can decide for your own when to trust statistics and when not to. All you need to do is follow some pieces of advice. These are grouped as rules in the book, from the first one, „Search your feelings” (yes), to the last, simple but powerful one: „Be curious”.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to well understand facts and data.

Review and personal recommendation byTamás Bernáth - Faculty on SEED Business Leadership Program
Tamás Bernáth (SEED Faculty Member) 

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Team of Teams – Portfolio, May 2015  •  General Stanley McChrystal – Tantum Collins – David Silverman – Chris Fussell

Can you imagine that your team is fully empowered in a military operation to make decisions? This is exactly how General McChrystal transformed his previously top-down command driven military operation in Iraq to be able to successfully fight against Al Queda.

In today’s world of technology, things can change in an instant. So how can you prepare your business for such events?

The book brings numerous exciting historic and contemporary examples, it’s an eye-opener to read.

Review and personal recommendation by
Leitner György (SEED Faculty Member)

Business Burnout Biblia
(The book is available only in Hungarian.)

Business Burnout Biblia – Kreatív Kontroll Kft., November 2020 •  Bíró Bence Péter

Recommendation in Hungarian:

Mostanában a “burnout”, a kiégés az egyik leggyakrabban előforduló menedzser betegség a vezetők körében. Ennek a fő okozója leginkább a stressz, amit legtöbbször a túlzott elvárások vagy az olyan feladatok okoznak, amit a vezető nem kedvel vagy nincs rá eléggé felkészülve.

A kiégés hatására nagyon gyorsan és könnyen el lehet veszteni a motivációt, sokszor a “tulajdonosi szemlélet” átfordulhat “alkalmazottivá”, ami nagyon gyorsan aláássa a vezető munkakedvét, munkájához, csapatához való viszonyulását, ezeket jelentősen elmozdítja negatív irányba.

Egy nagyon érdekes könyv arról, hogy vehetjük észre a közelgő kiégés első jeleit magunkon, kollégáinkon, mik a tipikus jegyek és jó néhány receptet is találunk az időben történő megállításra. A könyvben sikeres üzletemberek osztják meg személyes tapasztalataikat a kiégésről, és az ellene történő védekezésről nagyon érdekes riportok olvashatók többek között Gerendai Károllyal, Hegedűs Évával és Kürti Tamással.

Recommendation in English:

Burnout is now one of the most common managerial diseases among executives. The main cause of this is stress, mostly caused by excessive expectations or tasks that the manager does not like or is not prepared for.

Burnout can very quickly and easily lead to a loss of motivation, often turning the ‘ownership mindset’ into an ’employee view’, which very quickly undermines the manager’s work motivation, attitude towards his/her work and team, and shifts them significantly in a negative direction.

A very interesting book on how to spot the first signs of impending burnout in ourselves and our colleagues, what the typical signs are and some recipes for stopping it in time. In the book, successful businessmen share their personal experiences of burnout and how to protect themselves against it there are very interesting personal interviews among others with Károly Gerendai, Éva Hegedűs, Tamás Kürti.

Review and personal recommendation by
Dr. György Beck (SEED Faculty Member)