All Things oDesk
April 10, 2012 by Jenna Weiner

It’s been a few months since we’ve checked in with the oDesk team here in California about what books are on their nightstands and Kindles. oDesk employees from all departments have been busy with novels and nonfiction, but this time we have added a new category of recommended reading: blogs! Here are some of their book and blog recommendations:

Best Business Picks

Malcom Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success was a popular pick among the marketing team — both Shareen and Adrian just finished it. “I really liked how it emphasized the fact that you actually have to work hard to be good,” Adrian said. “It showed that often the people who are the most successful are the ones that work the hardest.”

Our Director of Communications, Shoshana, is reading both Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes. “I love learning about spawning data and trends, and getting insight into what the future will hold,” she said. “It also serves as inspiration for how we can use oDesk’s own data as it points to the future of work.”

Meanwhile, Matt — our Director of Business Development — is reading The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by LinkedIn Cofounder and Chairman Reid Hoffman. He said it provides an “interesting perspective on bringing a startup mentality to your overall career.”

Brianna, also in the business development department, likes her business reading to be real-time and tech-centered, so she makes a point to read TechCrunch every day. “It has the most updated information on IT companies in Silicon Valley, and has very intelligent posts,” she said.

Best Historical Books

Several oDesk employees have traveled back in time for their current reads. Laura, our Senior Copywriter, is reading The Autobiography Of Eleanor Roosevelt. She calls it a “really interesting snapshot of a crucial, formative part of history.”

Shreeraj from the product team prefers the historical fiction route, and is reading the classic Around the World in Eighty Days for the second time. What keeps him reading are the great glimpses of destinations around the world, and the insight into what life was like in the 1900s.

Meanwhile, on the marketing team, Mollie was captivated by The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of a woman whose cells have been used for hundreds of medical discoveries, yet they were taken without her knowledge or consent. “This woman had such an impact on scientific research and discovery of cures, yet no one knows anything about her,” Mollie said. “It is definitely thought-provoking regarding ethical and moral questions.”

Expert Recommendations

Many oDesk team members naturally gravitated towards reading about their areas of expertise. One of the most fascinating was QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, which our Labor Scientist Greg Little is reading. Author Richard P. Feynman “does a great job of explaining physics in layman’s terms,” Greg noted.

Several design blogs also emerged as popular reads — our Art Director, Lorena, is an avid follower of Design*Sponge, while Shipra, one of our Interaction Designers, is a fan of Design Staff, which is dedicated to helping startups design great products. “My friend writes for it and he has really good insights,” she said.

Do you have any great books to recommend, or blogs you couldn’t live without? Please share them in the comments section below!


Jenna Weiner

Content Marketer

Jenna Weiner is the former content marketing manager at oDesk and was the editor-in-chief of the oDesk blog. With a background in business and technology writing, she specializes in content marketing and strategy, public relations, and branding. Before joining oDesk, Jenna was a writer and editor for Monitor Group’s marketing department (now Monitor Deloitte) and was the Business & Technology Section Editor for Brafton Inc.… read more