8 books on impact, innovation, and investing
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8 books on impact, innovation, and investing

Milly Shotter
Written by
Milly Shotter
Posted on
February 3, 2022

The BGV team share the books that have shaped their thinking on tech for good.

At BGV one of our principles is ‘understand the problem’. We seek to understand the big challenges faced by people, society and the environment. Arguably nothing can beat a well researched, well written, and well timed book for learning about these problems.Here we’ve curated eight books that have had a big influence on how the BGV team thinks about impact, innovation and investing.

1. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is an oldie but a goodie; I tend to geek out on behavioural science and psychology books the most. While it may not be directly related to VC, so much of what we do is building relationships and making decisions with limited information. Bethany Greer, Investment Manager

2. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez really shaped the way I think about tech services and products. The book explores the “gender data gap” and the ways in which the modern world has been designed with less consideration for women. From transportation, to tax structures, to everyday consumer products. This was both an eye-opening and infuriating book for me, which is now on our must-read list for BGV founders. Nelly Lavielle, Portfolio Manager

3. Blockchain Chicken Farm is a fascinating book by author Xiaowei Wang telling stories of tech in China’s countryside. Through interviews, travel stories, and some funky recipes, it reveals new truths about globalisation and the power dynamics behind “innovation”. I've been raving about it a lot. Dama Sathianathan, Networks and Communities

4. Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice Is Failing Women has profoundly impacted how I view social issues, particularly intersectional feminism and justice in the UK. The book breaks down and questions problematic but normalised behaviour and provides context behind some disheartening statistics. For example, women’s childcare responsibilities impact their ability to comply with their community sentences, which contributes to 84% of inmates in female prisons being held for non-violent offences. Olivia Wasson, Communications and Events Associate

5. The Man Who Solved the Market has had a big impact on how I think about investing. It hammers home the consequences of not thinking about the impact of the way you make investments. Jim Simons is a thoughtful progressive but he held that separately from the way he thought about investing and ran his firm Renaissance. The book charts how Renaissance made huge amounts of money through pioneering ‘quant’ investing but it doesn’t have a happy ending. There’s a direct chain of events that many would say culminated in the storming of the Capitol in January 2021. Paul Miller, CEO and Managing Partner

6. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert was introduced to me when I was studying environmental sciences at university. It’s a frightening yet compelling account of how our way of life is leading to the demise of those with whom we share our environment. It wasn’t until I read this book that I was able to look at the climate crisis in totality and how we find ourselves on the brink of causing irreversible damage. Aish Moothan, Programme Associate

7. Factfulness by Hans Rosling was transformative in how I think. I believe that having a solid and data-driven understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve is the first step in creating a positive impact.  The book is a great introduction into the biases that tend to distort our perspective, particularly in the field of public health.Yumi Tsoy, Operations and Insights Manager

8. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer had a big impact on how I think about social and environmental issues. I read it as a human rights law student over a decade ago and everything I already knew came together neatly and hit me like a tonne of bricks. I still eat animals, hopefully more consciously and sustainably. Cansu Deniz Bayrak, Head of Fundraising

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