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Sergey Sapelnyk, the Co-Founder of Society Socks, About the Books that Improved His Career

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Did you know that socks are the least donated, but most needed clothing item? That’s because homeless shelter only accept new socks, so it’s more difficult to donate them compared to other used clothing.

Today’s book-talk is with Sergey Sapelnyk, the co-founder of Society Socks, a men’s funky sock subscription business with a social cause. With every pair of socks sold, they donate another pair to charity – a small stepping stone towards greater change!

Society Socks was formed in 2015, while Sergey and Filip Pejic, his co-founder, were studying for their second year final exams at the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce school. They were searching for ways to experience entrepreneurship and put what they were learning into action. They saw Society Socks as an opportunity to start a business with a product they enjoy crafting, at the intersection of two things they’re passionate about: style and social impact.

Keep on reading to find out more about the books that had an impact on Sergey, how they influenced his professional life and expanded his perspective on the world.

Estimated reading time for this interview is 7 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

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

So many to choose from it’s hard to define which books are my favorite. Many books have the opportunity to have a profound impact on your life. Here are my top business and non-business books:

Business – The most impactful book in recent memory is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It was tremendously eye-opening to realize that our daily lives consist of habits (whether positive, or negative). After reading this book, I began thinking of most of my professional (and partially personal) life as a series of habits that I’ve built over years. Given that your career will likely span hundreds of years, creating and reinforcing positive habits will make a drastic difference over time (much like the principle of ‘compounding’ in finance). This book kick-started a different thinking process for me, centered around optimization of the time I have in a day.

Non-Business – A non-business book that’s one of my favourites in the past year is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Chernow distilled the impact that Alexander Hamilton has had on our world in a fascinating and intriguing manner. Hamilton is a thought-provoking individual, since he had such a tremendous impact on North America during his lifetime. It’s quite inspirational to learn about Alexander Hamilton’s effect on politics and economics, and the manner in which he made this impact.

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

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss has many practical tips that can generally improve your life or career. I particularly enjoy how he combines the two to provide a general ‘playbook’ on improvement. For example, I particularly enjoyed his interview with Marc Andreessen (Partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz), where he discussed his approach to decision making (‘Strong views, loosely held’). Another example is the numerous interviews Tim Ferriss has conducted about fitness, health, nutrition, etc. Plenty of great advice in his books/podcasts!

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

Noah Harari’s Sapiens is a book I enjoyed recently. As someone who reads a significant amount of business books, I feel like it’s easy to disproportionately read books that have a direct impact on your career/job/company etc. Reading Sapiens was interesting and different from what I typically read, and it was a thought-evoking book. Harari tries to explain all of humanity in 400 pages, and how humans have come to thrive throughout history. Although Harari has some disagreeable assumptions, it was overall a reading experience that expanded my perspective on the world.

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

PEAK by Anders Ericsson phenomenally explains how experts develop their skills. The author makes a profound claim: you can get significantly better at almost anything. This includes your job, a specific skill, or a hobby. From a career perspective, in most instances, the only barrier to personal development and success is effective effort. This book isn’t specific to a career, however it’s highly applicable to any career.

The idea of this book is a meaningful one, since it suggests that many goals are achievable and doable. The key differentiator between someone who achieves these goals or does not, is the amount of calculated effort that’s exerted on this task. I think this book will reinforce to young people that nearly any career path is feasible given that a focused effort is made. Aiming to consistently practice and work on your craft, is a very fundamental mindset to personal growth.

You can learn more about Society Socks from their blog or this interview on IndieHackers.

All books mentioned by Sergey Sapelnyk in this interview:

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