I read far fewer books in 2020 than in any year for at least a decade. Partly this was a conscious decision to shift my reading away from books, as I discussed last year, but mainly the pandemic was to blame. Pre-COVID I read books mostly while commuting and travelling — both of which disappeared this year (I also learned that if the first baby reduces your free time, the second obliterates it…) Nevertheless, there were some gems, which I’m excited to recommend.

My top three non-fiction books were:

  1. Who Will Govern Artificial Intelligence? by Jade Leung
  2. Albert Speer: His…

As we’re about to enter a new decade, I decided to look back at which books that I first read since 2010 (ignoring publication date) stand up as my favourites (For reviews of the last five years, see 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019).

My top five in fiction are:

  1. War and Peace: it sounds silly to say that War and Peace is underrated, but I think it is. …

2019 was a good reading year, with several books among the best I’ve read this decade (see here for a separate post on my favourite books of the decade; my reviews of the last four years are here: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).

It turned out, though, that finding time to read books with a one-year-old at home is no easier than doing so with a baby (unless you count books for him… his favourite is Ten Little Monsters), so it’s another lighter year by volume.

As usual, I’ll split the list into non-fiction and fiction, starting each with my top…

This year was a slower reading year for me (my previous annual reviews here: 2015, 2016, 2017). Partly it was because work was very busy, partly because I started writing a weekly newsletter which took up a lot of reading time, but mainly because we had a baby in January… and it turns out babies and uninterrupted concentration are a tricky combination!

Nevertheless, I finished 36 books and at least a couple became all-time favourites. To make this easier to read, I’ll start with my top five fiction and top five non-fiction and then briefly run through the others.

Top five fiction


Companies from Entrepreneur First’s third Singapore cohort (EF SG3)

Entrepreneur First is the world’s leading talent investor. We back exceptional individuals before they have a company and then support them to build a globally ambitious startup from scratch.

As we reach the end of 2018, we wanted to report some of the highlights from our busiest year yet…

Taking our mission global

Bangalore by Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Today we’re excited to announce Entrepreneur First Bangalore. Applications are open now.

Entrepreneur First (EF) exists because we believe that the world is missing out on many — perhaps most — of its best founders.

We believe that there are at least thousands of people who could start world-changing companies, but don’t because of where they grow up. For some, starting a company just isn’t on their radar at all. For others, it is, but there are too many barriers that stop them reaching their full potential — from finding the right co-founder to meeting the right investors.

When we…

Image by Benh LIEU SONG, used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Today we’re excited to launch Entrepreneur First Paris.

It’s the fifth EF office and the third we’ve opened this year, following Berlin in January and Hong Kong in March.

When people ask me how EF decides which cities to open up in, my answer is very simple: we want to be wherever the world’s most talented and ambitious people congregate.

Paris is one of the world’s great cities and it has been a magnet for extraordinary people for centuries. Today it enjoys one of the most impressive concentrations of technical and entrepreneurial talent anywhere in the world.

Not only is…

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Today we announce that Entrepreneur First is opening an office in Hong Kong. The first programme there will kick off in July and we couldn’t be more excited. You can apply here.

When we announced our latest funding round in September, we reiterated that our mission is global: the world is missing out on some of its best founders — and it’s our job to find them and provide them with the environment that enables them to build world-class companies.

We know that we’re going to find lots of these exceptional individuals in Hong Kong. As we’ve spent more time…

By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51186340

We’re delighted to announce today that we’re opening a Berlin office and will be kicking off our first programme in April. You can apply here.

As I’ve said before, Entrepreneur First’s mission is a global one: the world is missing out on some of its best founders. We want to EF to be accessible to every ambitious individual in the world — and we can’t think of anywhere better than Berlin to bring this closer to reality.

Berlin is a thriving startup ecosystem — with multiple unicorns and great investors. It’s a magnet for people who want to build things…

Matt Clifford

Co-founder of Entrepreneur First — investing in the world’s most ambitious individuals to build companies from scratch

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