When it comes to reading, everyone has their own preferred style. One such technique is speed reading – the process of rapidly recognising and absorbing phrases or sentences on a page all at once, rather than identifying individual words. It’s an ideal method for those who love reading but have a lot of other things on their plate.
Indeed, it is the preferred approach of Gege Gatt, CEO of Maltese tech company EBO.
“I set aside an hour for speed-reading on a daily basis and double that on the weekend,” he says, adding that he spends half an hour a day reading to his children, who he says love Dr Seuss’s The Lorax.
For Gege, reading is a ‘safety net’ that allows people to develop by resting on the shoulders of those who have endured experiences that can be learned from.
“Learning from the mistakes of others is crucial, as you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself,” he says.
Gege also sets a reading target at the beginning of every year, while also subscribing to a few magazines (both digital and print) and audio-books.
Zeroing in on which books have left the biggest impact on his work life, Gege mentions that he recently read Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things, a book that offers essential advice on building and running a startup.
“It’s a great tech-entrepreneurship story I relate to,” he says.
“Verne Harnish’s ‘Scaling Up’ is one of the best books which breaks down the science of acceleration. Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is possibly the best insight into the socio-economic realities of our digital era. Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence is a good dystopic book about the dangers of AI that should be weighed against the many advantages it brings. Daniel Kahnemann’s Thinking Fast And Slow is an intellectually satisfying book about human rationality, and Payal Arora’s The Next Billion Users is an anthropological examination of the online lives of cultures very distant from our own.”
As for his favourite books of all time, Gege cites several well-known fictional classics.
“There are so many masterpieces which should be on this list. To name a few: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude reminds us of the tragicomedy of humankind and its incessant search for peace and truth. Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty-Four remains a superb cautionary tale – prophetic in many ways – about the dangers of totalitarianism and mass surveillance. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a stoic’s staple diet and a great read. With these titles perhaps one must also mention Machiavelli’s The Prince, Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time and a few deceivingly lighter titles such as Saint-Exupéry Le Petit Prince, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.”
Finally, asked what book everyone should read, Gege suggests Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, which he calls “a gift to humanity”.
“It reminds us that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
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