Serial Entrepreneur & Investor Fabrice Grinda Reads Almost 100 Books Per Year
With over $300 million in exits and 300 angel investments, Fabrice Grinda is one of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs and investors.
He has served as CEO for three multinational companies and was as an early investor in Alibaba, Delivery Hero, BrightRoll and many others.
Fabrice is currently investing in startups and building companies through FJ Labs, which he co-founded with Jose Martin, his business partner.
He was the co-founder and CEO of OLX, one of the largest free classifieds sites in the world. Fabrice started it in 2006 as a Craiglist alternative for the world outside the US and became one of the largest websites in the world, with more than 200 million unique visitors per month. It was acquired by Naspers, the South African media group.
Prior to that, Fabrice co-founded Zingy, one of the largest media companies in the Americas, and Aucland, one of the largest auction sites in Europe.
In his free time, Fabrice likes to read, travel, play tennis, and write on his blog (you can follow him on FabriceGrinda.com).
Keep on reading to find out more about the books he recommends, why and how he reads almost 100 books from every genre per year, and his reading routine:
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
I am a voracious reader. I read almost 100 books per year and love books in every genre – from the seemingly trivial like science fiction soap operas to biographies.
I don’t have an absolute favorite book. There are books that are meaningful to me at a given point in time. Right now that book is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The book is incredibly ambitious. It covers the history of humanity starting with modern cognition. It covers everything from why Sapiens ended up on top relative to other hominids, to gender roles, the agricultural revolution, the history of currency, empire and capitalism. It analyses recent developments and speculates as to where we might be heading.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
I am a believer in gestalt. By reading so many books in so many different genres it helps me get analogies across categories to get a better understanding of how things work.
In terms of specifics, I use behavioral economic tricks as presented in books like Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely in product design, negotiations and presentations.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
I read books for fun. It just so happens that they often are also insightful, but I would not say any specific book had a huge influence on me.
Some biographies like Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow are inspiring, but it’s not as though they changed my career path. I knew I wanted to be an Internet entrepreneur from a very young age.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I have lots of books to recommend, but they are not related to my career path. The only one that is remotely related is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.
That said here are books I would recommend:
- What if
- Letters to a Young Contrarian
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
- SuperFreakonomics by Levitt & Dubner (and Freakonomics)
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely; Read Predictably Irrational first if you have not yet.
- The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor–and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! by Tim Hartford
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (I don’t buy the premise, but the tips are great)
- The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis and The Greatest Trade Ever by Gregory Zuckerman
- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
- How to live: a life of Montaigne
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- Waking Up by Sam Harris; very well thought through analysis of spirituality without religion
- Being Wrong
- Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
In terms of “beach” reads and page turners:
- The Martian
- Gone Girl
- A Year in Provence
- Star Force by BV Larson
- Ready Player One
- Last Days of Night
- Circling the Sun
- We are Legion (We are Bob)
- Infinity Born
- Bill the Vampire
- The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant
- The art of racing in the rain (if you love dogs and car racing)
How do you make time for reading?
Reading is my bedtime routine. I read almost every night from 1 am to 2 am. I also read while in transit in cars, trains and planes which is a lot given how much I travel.
Links where you can follow Fabrice Grinda or find out more about his projects: