2023 Reading List — Part 1

Peter Zalman
3 min readMar 22, 2023


I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to this quarter, but I still managed to sneak in a few titles during the evenings. The ChatGPT summary is hilarious, and often, I don’t even know why I am attracted to the themes I want to learn more about.

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory

David Graeber

This is an enjoyable and amusing read. For those working in a large organization, the question of whether a random stranger in the hallway or cafeteria is a critical resource keeping the company alive or just a box ticker may arise, depending on the organization’s size. Bullshit jobs are an intriguing phenomenon related to the current concern of AI taking our jobs. It may have occurred a decade ago, but that does not imply we will work less — the total time spent at work remains the same.

Alza: Příběh firmy, která si do toho nenechala mluvit

Miloš Čermák

Czech language read about the humbling beginnings of one of the largest e-commerce players in the region. It also takes me back to the late 90s when we used to assemble our first PCs from components. This reminds me of my first job in Prague, where our roles were defined similarly to Alza. We did not have elaborate job descriptions; there was just work that needed to be done, and people were motivated to do it.

Split Decision: Life Stories

Ice-T, Spike and Douglas Century

Similar to Raekwon’s ‘From Staircase to Stage,’ hip-hop legend Ice-T presents a split narrative with one of his best friends about their diverse life journeys. This book offers not only a journey into Ice-T’s musical history but also insights into the racial tensions in America that are hard to comprehend from an outsider’s perspective.

Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine

Thomas Hager

As all of our friends on social media have turned into epidemiologists and vaccine experts, this book serves as a good reminder of the history of the most famous pills and how the pharmaceutical industry is transitioning from chemicals to biologically active substances. The book covers controversial themes such as the opioid crisis and research financing, providing a non-confrontational and insightful overview.

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story


Another musical memoir, this time from Bono, who is well-known for his political activism, sometimes more so than his music. However, this is not a negative aspect of the book. I was particularly surprised by Bono’s engagement with presidents, as well as the story of the RED brand and the friendship with Steve Jobs and Tim Cook.

The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential

Wim Hof

It is impossible not to notice the hype around the “Hof” phenomena across social media, but it was not just the involvement of celebrities that sparked my interest in the book. Wim shared fascinating insights into his private life and upbringing in the Netherlands, as well as explaining the benefits of cold exposure. Still, a significant portion of the book consists of testimonials from people who were magically healed, without any scientific evidence. This became a bit tiresome to read, as I did not sign up for a messiah transformation journey, but rather simply wanted to learn about Wim’s story. Nevertheless, challenge accepted, and cold showers have been re-established in my routine.



Peter Zalman

I am crafting great ideas into working products and striving for balance between Design, Product and Engineering #UX. Views are my own.