All Things Upwork

Looking for a new book to help you pass the time during holiday travel? Or are you looking for a book to give as a gift? The oDesk team may be able to give you some ideas — it turns out we are quite a literary bunch. Here is a quick glimpse into what the oDesk team is reading right now!

The most popular:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This biography has captured the attention of readers around the world, and our team is no exception. Four different team members are either reading this book or just finished it (interestingly, three out of four are on the marketing team). Here are some of the reasons why our team has not been able to put it down:

Erica: “Apple is leading the industry in innovative products, so I wanted to get more insight into the man that was the genesis of those products.”

Mollie: “I think he created brilliant products and customer experiences. I’m saddened by his passing, and want to know more about him.”

Not your typical business books:

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

As you can imagine, here at oDesk we are all quite interested in the Internet and its potential. Keith from our product team is reading a book that certainly reflects this — it discusses how personalization (specifically, personalized filters) can control the information that we see, consume and share online. According to author Eli Pariser, this can impact online privacy and even the way we view our world.

Dancing Corndogs in the Night: Reawakening Your Creative Spirit by Don Hahn

While some members of our engineering team are reading books like High-Performance JavaScript (I’m talking to you, Yiota!), Jeff — our VP of Engineering — breaks the mold by reading this book by legendary Disney producer Don Hahn. Jeff said it has some very interesting insights into creativity, from one of the most creative people of our time — Hahn produced “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” among others.

Not your typical parenting book:

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

This book got quite a lot of attention this year for its controversial parenting methods. While marketing team member Shareen is not sold on becoming a tiger mom, she loved it because “all parents wish there was a formula for raising perfect kids.”

For the food lover:

Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen by Donia Bijan

Our CEO, Gary, is currently reading this memoir by award-winning chef Donia Bijan. She tells of her family’s escape to California from the Islamic revolution in Iran and recounts her journey to chef stardom. Interspersed throughout the book are thirty recipes from her childhood and her culinary career. Not only is it a “well-written” and “uplifting” story, said Gary, but he also happens to know Bijan and can attest to her culinary prowess.

For the informed reader:

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

While Michael Lewis’ baseball tale Moneyball is currently captivating movie audiences, his best-selling account of the U.S. financial crisis has enthralled Subha from our product team. She called it “fascinating” and said “she can’t put it down,” mostly because “it is just amazing the stupidity of some of the decisions that were made, and the fact that this all happened in our time.”

The time machine:

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

This novel, set in New York City in the 1930s, is already a favorite for Jaleh, our VP of Marketing. “The writing is exquisite, and I felt like I was in the 1930s reading it. It captures the era in a stunning way,” she said. This is a great choice for readers who like being transported back to another time, as well as those who “love really good writing for its own sake,” she said.

The classic:

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

One member of the marketing team, Monica, went back a couple hundred years to find her current read. She is revisiting this classic by Elizabeth Gaskell, which she loves because it reads like a combination of two of her favorite authors: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

The grown-up comic book:

Y the Last Man by by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Hayden, one of our graphic designers, stuck to graphic storytelling for his recommendation. In this comic series — which comes highly recommended by Hayden — only one man (and his monkey) survives the simultaneous death of every male mammal in the world due to a horrible plague.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list? Let us know 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