Henry Medine, Co-Founder of Space Jam Data, Talks About His Favorite Books
Space Jam works as a crowdsourcing tool that allows professionals to connect with their local consumers, and measure their desire for certain types of retailers. It collects raw data, converts it and synthesizes into an insightful data visualization platform, that allows retail real estate professionals to make more locally informed decisions.
We had the chance to connect with Henry, one of Space Jam Data’s co-founders, and pick his brain.
Keep on reading to find out all the details about his reading habits, what book made him decide to major in entrepreneurship, whose words help him assess investment decisions, and what other books had an impact on him.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Business – Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan. This book is written by an early core member/lead engineer from Google. Chade does a fantastic job proving the reader reasons why soft skills like emotional intelligence, acceptance, and empathy matter in a work environment. The book is great for any business person who wants to establish a strong company culture that promotes longevity, employee empowerment and self confidence. Chade reveals how soft skills that typically get lost in the sea of performance metrics of work culture really do matter. This book provided me with confidence to lead with my emotional skills and I carry many of the mindfulness practice techniques he outlines to this day.
Non-Business – The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Loved this book, had to read it twice! Dostoevsky is recognized as one of the most accomplished writers + philosophers ever. What appeals to me most in The Idiot is how deep and consistent Dostoevsky gets with his protagonist character, Prince Lev Nokolayevich Myshkin. Myshkin is constantly put through challenging moments where he is lied to, manipulated, stolen from but remains compassionate through it all. The stubborn consistency of Myshkin’s compassionate character opened my mind to what it means to building strong character, to remaining constantly good when everything around you is chaotic.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Whenever I am assessing an investment decision I refer to Howard Marks (Oaktree Capital Management) The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. He lays out explicit techniques for reaching second level thinking and outlines particular questions any investor should ask themselves before making an investment decision. I paraphrased the lessons I found most useful and refer to them whenever I am looking at an investment opportunity. Anxiety and stress have always burdened me. Several books have provided me with temporary relief and more importantly tools to refer back to for the long run. I look at these books as foundational, they help me develop a broad perspective and solidify my core beliefs. I I’d suggest: Total Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh. The Zappos story opened my mind to Entrepreneurship and business building. I read this book in high school and it probably had something to do with my choice to major in Entrepreneurship at Babson College. I met my co-founder while at college and am subsequently building a technology start-up as we speak. We try to deliver happiness everyday and customer centricity is a pillar of our business.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
I promote range and diversity. Thus, I recommend readers to expose themselves to as many different topics as possible. I usually have 2-4 books I refer back to at any given time. They range in topics from management, art, spirituality and philosophy. Trying to get the engineering thing going but don’t much of a mind for science.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel
The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker
Principles – Ray Dalio
Wherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
The Originals – Adam Grant
Lectures by George Soros
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankyl
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I try to read one book a month but I’ve averaged 20/year for the last couple of years. For books – I only read print, occasionally do Audible. I save digital for articles and video for conferences/talks.
How do you make time for reading?
I consider reading a core value that helps develop a moat. Ideally our efforts in work should have compounding growth potential to help us grow personally/professionally as fast as possible. The meaning that I assign to reading books makes it a compelling necessity, I must find time for it. I don’t see it as a vocational hobby rather as something that reinforces my growth and makes me better at what I do. I try to read at nights before I sleep. Sometimes I get to my office early to read for an hour before tending to operations.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
Yes. I use a great note taking application called Quip. I keep track of every book I read and I try to write a small summary after every completing a book. I typically consolidate the summary to lessons and actionable insights but sometimes I just use it as a creative outlet to write.
How do you choose what books to read next?
In order of effectiveness for my choosing of books: Word of mouth recs. Influencers who I follow. References from existing books. WSJ+Blogs.
Links where you can follow Henry Medine or find out more about his projects:
- Henry’s LinkedIn profile
- Henry’s Crunchbase profile
- Space Jam Data
- Email him at: henrymedine at gmail dot com
All books mentioned by Henry in this interview:
- Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan
- The Idiot by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
- The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks
- Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti by Jiddu Krishnamurti
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
- The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
- Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
- The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University by George Soros
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho