Brain Chemistry

Brain Chemistry

One time Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot used to say that elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending fifteen minutes a day reading from a collection of books that would fit on a five foot shelf.

The first collection of the Harvard Universal Classics was published as Doctor Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf in 1909. THere has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, so whilst we thoroughly endorse Dr. Eliot’s original choices we thought we might make some selections of our own and share them with you,

It’s not a definitive list, just what we have been watching, reading and listening to recently. We don’t think he would mind the update, he originally started out with a rhetorical three foot shelf himself.


How I Built This

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.

Impact Theory

Tom Bilyeu gets inside the mindset of the world’s highest achievers.

Cautionary Tales

Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist, tells true stories about our mistakes and what we should learn from them.

Read (we read a lot)

The Infinite Game

Simon Sinek applies game theory to explore how great businesses achieve long-lasting success. He finds that building long-term value and healthy, enduring growth – that playing the infinite game – is the only thing that matters to your business.

Good to Great

After a five-year research project, Jim Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great while other organisations remain only good.

Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense

To be brilliant, you have to be irrational

Why is Red Bull so popular – even though everyone hates the taste? Why do countdown boards on platforms take away the pain of train delays? And why do we prefer stripy toothpaste? We think we are rational creatures. Economics and business rely on the assumption that we make logical decisions based on evidence.

But we aren’t, and we don’t.

Invisible Women

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences. Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the profound impact this has on us all.


“A manual for thinking clearly in an uncertain world. Read it.”

Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

“One of those books that covers stuff far more fundamental than the title suggests.”

Mick Lock, Chief Product Officer The Chemistry Group

How to Measure Anything

This insightful and eloquent book will show you how to measure those things in your own business, government agency or other organization that, until now, you may have considered “immeasurable,” including customer satisfaction, organizational flexibility, technology risk, and technology ROI.


By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.

The Obstacle is the Way

We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Wait But Why: The Story of Us


An Introduction to Modern Product Discovery with Teresa Torres

The Algebra of Happiness: A Stern Interview

Escaping a Fixed Mindset: The Backwards Brain Bicycle

Because you made it this far in the list, you deserve some balloon animals in your life…

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