Tyk leaders share their reading recommendations

Did you know that adults who read for 30 minutes each week are 20% more likely to report greater satisfaction with their lives? Reading can be a pleasure, an escape, an inspiration… and a valuable tool for business success.

Tyk taking its business from a concept designed to solve a single problem to a successful international venture didn’t happen overnight. Nor did developing that initial project idea into a comprehensive API experience occur without plenty of rumination. Tyk’s two founders located on different sides of the world also meant that business structures and processes needed additional thought.

Thankfully, Tyk’s senior leaders are all avid readers. This meant they had a wealth of diverse viewpoints at their disposal when forming Tyk, building the team, developing products and progressing the company into the international success it is today. It also meant they had a way to down tools mentally and explore other worlds, eras and experiences.

With that in mind, we asked them which books they would recommend as essential reading.

Martin Buhr, CEO

It’s fair to say that Martin is a little obsessive about books. As he revealed in this candid interview, he doesn’t just collect old and rare books; he even has his library catalogue system, with everything indexed and tagged.

While Martin is unlikely to loan out his first-edition Dickens or second-edition Pope, he does recommend Children of a Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The book is the third of a sci-fi series about post-humanity. He got hooked on the author after reading Tchaikovsky’s latest trilogy – The Final Architecture – which Martin describes as “balls-out epic action science-fiction with some wonderfully designed characters.”

Reflecting on times past, Martin has also thought about which book he would recommend to his younger self. The answer is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Martin comments:

“It won’t help with your career, but it’s just such an audacious book. I mean, the main character is literally named ‘Hiro Protagonist’!”

James Hirst, COO

James read Snow Crash after a recommendation from Martin and is currently re-reading one of Stephenson’s later books, The Diamond Age, which he recommends as a great holiday read to lose yourself in. He also recommends Agency by William Gibson, observing that both books are “sci-fi, fun and thought-provoking” – just what you need from a holiday novel.

James has previously revealed his love of The Great Gatsby and For Whom the Bell Tolls, which he re-read time and again during his teenage years. These days, he also recommends Exhalation by Ted Chiang to anyone and everyone. Exhalation is a collection of short stories tackling big concepts in astonishingly creative ways. James comments:

“Wildly, having read the stories, it’s impossible to believe they haven’t existed for centuries; they feel like timeless fables or parables. I can’t recommend Exhalation too highly.”

Emma Kriskinans, VP Global Marketing 

Right now, Emma is reading books in both English and Spanish. In English, she’s delighting in The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell. The story is inspired by a portrait of Lucrezia de’ Medici, a Renaissance noblewoman who was married at 16 and died within a year. This painting is also said to be the inspiration for Browning’s poem My Last Duchess. The story flicks between the year of her marriage (and death) and the events leading up to her purported poisoning at the hands of her much older husband. Emma has been delighting in how the tale “manages to drum up mystery and suspense around this very specific, short, factual moment in history, even as you know what’s coming.”

In Spanish right now, Emma is reading El Último Sueño – a collection of short stories by renowned director Pedro Almodovar. Emma comments:

“This could be the first Spanish book I actually finish! My favourite so far is the title story. It’s only a few pages long, and again, it covers a very specific moment in time: the last dream of his mother right before her death and the questions it leaves him with. It’s very moving.”

In terms of recommending a book that everyone should read, Emma suggests The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Emma first read it at a milestone moment when she moved to London after university. She recalls:

“I was already a self-proclaimed feminist aged about 12, but this cemented it and underlined how lucky I was to live in the 21st century instead of the 19th. The book has a devastating ending. It’s still relevant, sadly.”

Ahmet Soormally, Head of Research 

You can usually find Ahmet skim-reading a technical book, absorbing information about different topics at an impressive pace. One that made a particular impression on him is Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin (colloquially known as Uncle Bob Martin). If there were one book that Ahmet could recommend to his younger self, this would be the one.

Work aside, Ahmet recommends Lewis Caroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He is currently reading this to his daughter, who loves the fantastic world and fascinating characters that Alice discovers when she tumbles down the rabbit hole.

Sonja Chevre, Group Product Manager

Sonja’s current reading choice also has a family focus – she’s working through Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. It’s the latest in a stack of parenting books Sonja has read since having children. She observes:

“Raising children is a big challenge, and it can bring out the good and tough parts of you. Nowadays, life is really busy with too much stuff, too many choices, and not enough time. This book is all about helping kids find balance in their lives so they can do well in this busy world.”

With work in mind, Sonja highly recommends Pioneering the Future of High-Performing Organizations by Matt K. Parker. The book spans organizational science, psychology and sociology, examining how today’s successful and fast-growing businesses operate without the traditional burdens of bureaucracy, bosses or unnecessary complexity. Sonja comments:

“These radical enterprises are places where colleagues come together naturally based on their motivation. People manage their commitments to each other without being pushed by managers, and teams innovate and launch new products without being controlled by traditional leaders. It’s eye-opening to see the success stories of companies breaking free from old command-and-control cultures.”

Andrew Murray, Chief Change Officer 

Derren Brown fan Andrew currently has his nose deep in Notes from a Fellow Traveller, which is Brown’s first magic-themed book in almost 20 years. The book sees Brown passing on 30 years of wisdom in performing magic on stage. Andrew is loving it so far, particularly as the book features insights into mistakes and successes and advice on how to better connect with an audience – lessons that resonate with several areas of life.

To others, Andrew recommends another Derren Brown: Tricks of the Mind. He comments:

Tricks of the Mind is a book I often refer to. It’s packed full of honest talking and practical, powerful techniques that are easy to pick up. If you want to learn some fascinating new party tricks, this is definitely one to check out.”

Learning never stops

Reading can be a powerful tool, not just for expanding your mind (and your magic trick repertoire). A Demos study report entitled A Society of Readers found that reading books significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, while other studies have shown that reading enhances empathy and self-understanding, as well as the ability to understand others’ identities.

Of course, reading is also a great way to learn about new technologies, concepts and views. If that’s the headspace you’re in right now, why not dive into our guide to navigating opinions and hot topics in API management?