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Dante Ludolf - Book Review: Staying Smart

Keep your reading list up to date and your bibliophile brains in shape. We look at some must-read books that will help you stay smart.

Dante Ludolf | Freelance Journalist

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For it … Every Time
By Maria Konnikova

We live in the age of the con, and too many of us lay claim to a story involving fraudulent activity. Conmen are everywhere, looking to zone in on unsuspecting and trusting individuals and take what they can get from them. From big, elaborate Ponzi schemes, to smaller yet still undeniably crippling thefts, we are completely vulnerable and susceptible to the charms of these opportunistic and tenacious thieves. And if we have been hit once, a second hit is even easier to pull off. Or, so I’ve been told.

In this riveting and lucid book, Konnikova delves into why we fall for the tricks we do, and what a series of cons, both large and small, have in common. The result is a book that demands to be read and taken to heart, as it could save you from having to deal with the unfortunate event of having your hard-earned gains taken from you. The Confidence Game excels in illustrating how our sense of truth can be manipulated and used against us by a third party looking to make a quick buck. An incredibly relevant look into the times we live in and how we can deal with the criminal phenomenon that is steadily exemplifying the dangers of the information age.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
By Angela Duckworth


The two-syllable word that is the purpose of every list of dreams and aspirations. We all want it, some experience it and others spend their whole lives pondering its elusive nature.

As a daughter of a scientist who constantly underestimated his offspring’s intelligence and smarts, Angela Duckworth had something to prove. Through her own trials and tribulations, highs and lows, she had only her grit and perseverance to cling to and make things happen. And she did.

A wonderfully inspiring book, Grit is a must-read for anyone that feels demotivated or intimidated by the pressures of having to succeed. The book teaches you to take those feelings and turn them into whatever works for you and gets you to where you want to be. Through the struggling of others and the true testimonies of people who had no choice but to persevere, Grit ushers in a fresh set of perspectives and  guides the reader onto their own path of success.

TEDTalks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
By Chris Anderson

If you’ve read our TEDtalks review, you’ll know that these bite-sized gems of knowledge are shaping up to be the most powerful form of rhetoric in this day and age. TEDtalks inspire and motivate, and many have found great insights and truths from the messages people share via TED. Now, the president of TED has compiled a comprehensive and deeply powerful book that can inspire and guide others to create their own talk and add to the growing corpus of motivational speaking.

Using examples of some of the most famous and revered talks, Anderson shepherds the reader through how a talk should work and how it should be formulated. No two talks can be the same, and your own, idiosyncratic way of dealing with or approaching an issue, is what will help you stand out. Public speaking has never been more powerful, and with the help of this awesome book you can now master the art and improve your communication skills like never before. For leaders, business owners and savvy hopefuls, the TEDTalks book will stimulate your perspective on communication and create new ways for you to go about conducting your business and inspiring your workforce to excel, achieve and succeed.