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Book-talk with Bill Liao, General Partner at RebelBio,

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The interview you’re going to read today is with Bill Liao, a serial investor, entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, and author.

Bill’s a General Partner at SOSV, a venture capital firm that operates startup accelerators all over the world, supporting, mentoring and investing in companies at all stages of growth.

He runs RebelBio, a startup accelerator focused on entrepreneurs that build technologies related to life sciences.

In 2011, he co-founded CoderDojo, an open source, volunteer led community formed to help children learn how to code – a skill that will prove to be valuable in the future.

Another project co-founded by Bill is WeForest, a non-profit organisation with a mission to reforest stripped land, in order to reduce the effects of global warming. In the past years, WeForest planted more than 16 million trees around the world.

And, also, more importantly to us, here, at The CEO Library, he was – through SOSV – the main investor in MavenHut, the gaming company Bobby co-founded in 2012.

And this is only a small portion of his projects, as he invested and supports many more (you can find out more from the contact links at the end of our interview).

We reached out to Bill, curious to find out what books influenced him and what reading he recommends to young people interested in following a similar career path, so keep on reading!

And yes, that’s Bill in the photo, sitting on the actual set of Game of Thrones. 😀


What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

I have no single favourite book unless you call Wikipedia a book then that would be my favourite!


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

The Book “Made to Stick” combined with “Poetics” by Aristotle really helped me to see the power of telling great stories with surprises in them and every time I meet a start-up I can always make a contribution to their pitch.


What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

The Order of Things” by Foucault literally changed my life forever as it demonstrated to me that language is how we make the world.


What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

The Book of Five Rings
The Art of War
The Prince
The Talent Code
Taming Toxic People
Just Listen
Save The Cat
The New One Minute Manager
Made to Stick
The Elements of Eloquence
Barbarians at the Gate
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
The Black Swan
The 5 Second Rule
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Secret Life of Plants
Anything by the Dalai Lama
The first ten pages of The Power of Now
The Bhagavad Gita
I Am That
The Expanse

The human world occurs in language so best get good at it!

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I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I read all the time at least a couple of hours a day.

I use a Kindle Oasis and about half my reading time is done using Audible on it.


How do you make time for reading?

Audible when driving and I don’t fly.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

I synthesize what ever I really like and test it on others.


How do you choose what books to read next?

Goodreads and friends recommendations.


Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

No and no I listen to what people say about a book rather than who they are.


Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I am currently reading Midnight Line and I am expecting a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery.

Links where you can follow Bill Liao or find out more about his projects:

Books mentioned by Bill Liao in this interview:

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