Reading List

I love to read because I’m curious, I love learning,and I love getting lost in a good story. I pick out books by looking at their covers and titles, wandering around bookstores, checking out the staff picks at the New York Public Library, typing random words into the library search box, looking at the reviews on the back of books (always lists other authors and books) institutional and NY Times book lists, and through word of mouth referrals. I love reading print even though digital is ubiquitous because I enjoy turning the pages.
Startup/Business/Entrepreneur books
Likeable Social Media -David Kerpen
Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
Startup of You -Reid Hoffman
With Patience and Fortitude, a Memoir -Christine Quinn
The Corner Office, Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed-Adam Bryant
Startup Playbook-David Kidder
Escape from Cubicle Nation, From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur- Pamela Slim
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to MBA Basics -Tom Gorman
Ethics 101 -John C. Maxwell
How Successful People Think -John C. Maxwell
How Successful People Lead -John C. Maxwell
Five Levels of Leadership -John C. Maxwell
Trump Card -Ivanka Trump
Power, Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t -Jeffrey Pfeffer
Inside Apple,How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works -Adam Lashinsky
Competitive Strategies for Dummies -Richard Pettinger
Hacking Your Education -Ditch the Lectures, save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More than Your Peers Ever Will -Dale J. Stephens
Creative Distruction of Medicine How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Healthcare – Dr. Eric Topol
Predictably Irrational, The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions-Dan Ariely
From Good to Great, Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t -James C. Collins
Creating Room to Read, A Story of Hope in a Battle for Global Literacy -John Wood
Reality Check- Guy Kawasaki
Steve Jobs -Walter Isaacson
Lean Startup -Eric Ries
Startup Owner’s Manual -Steve Blank
Linchpin -Seth Godin
Business Model Generation -Alexander Osterwalder’s
4 Hour Work Week, Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich -Timothy Ferriss
Think and Grow Rich -Napolean Hill
Mastering the VC Game -Jeffrey Bussgang
Outliers -Malcolm Gladwell
Getting Past No -William Ury
Winston Churchill, CEO, 25 Lessons for Bold Business Leaders -Allan Axelrod
Gandhi, CEO, 14 Principles to Guide & Inspire Modern Leaders -Allan Axelrod
Drive, The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us -Daniel Pink
Good to Great- James Collins
Do More Faster, TechStars Lessons to Accelerate your Startup-Brad Feld and David Cohen
Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking -Susan Cain
Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose -Tony Hsieh
Innovator’s Dilemma, The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business -Clayton Christensen
Innovator’s Prescription, A Disruptive Solution for Health Care -Clayton Christensen
Running a Food Truck for Dummies -Richard Myrick
Rework -Jason Fried
Built to Last- James Collins
Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? -William Poundstone
The Generosity Network, New Transformational Tools for Successful Fundraising -Jennifer McCrea
The (honest) Truth about Dishonesty -Dan Ariely
The Startup Game, Inside the Partnerships Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs -William H. Draper
Playing to Win, How Strategy Really Works -A.G. Lafley
Onward, How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul -Howard Schultz
World Changers, 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It -John Byrne
Designing Interactions -Bill Moggridge
Against the Gods, The Remarkable Story of Risk -Peter Bernstein
The Intelligent Investor, the Classic Text on Value Investing -Benjamin Graham
Play Like a Man, Win Like A Woman, What Men Know About Success that Women Need to Learn -Gail Evans
Tribal Leadership, Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization -David Logan
David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants -Malcolm Gladwell
On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work and Life -Arianna Huffington
Media Training 101, A Guide to Meeting the Press- Sally Stewart
The Girl’s Guide to Kicking Your Career into Gear -Caitlin Friedman
Why We Buy, the Science of Shopping -Paco Underhill
The Signal and the Noise, Why So Many Predicitons Fail, and Some Don’t -Nate Silver
Conscious Capitalism, Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business -John Mackey
Venture Deals, Be Smarter than Your Lawwyer and Venture Capitalist -Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson
Startup Communities, Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your Community- Brad Feld
Hooked, How to Build Habit-Forming Products-Nir Eyal
Never Eat Alone- Keith Ferrazzi
The Everything Store, Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon-Brad Stone
Automate This, How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World-Christopher Steiner
Smart People Should Build Things-Andrew Yang
Big Data, A Revolution that Will Transform How We Think, Work, Live-Victor Mayer Schonberger
There’s No Crying in Business, How Women Can Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries- Roxanne Rivera
The Intelligent Investor- Benjamin Graham
Trump-Style Negotiations, Powerful Strategies and Tactics for Mastering Every Deal- George Ross
The Innovators- Walter Isaacson
The Intel Trinity- Michael Malone
Only the Paranoid Survive! – Andrew Grove
Shark Tales, How I Turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business- Barbara Corcoran
Data Science, Learn the What, Where, and How of Data Science-Sandya Mannarswamy
Data Science for Business, What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking- Foster Provost
Doing Data Science- Cathy O’neill
Data Analysis with Open Source Tools – Philipp Janert
Zero to One, Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future- Peter Thiel
The Hard Thing About Hard Things-Ben Horowitz
How Google Works -Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
Planet Google, How One Company’s All-Encompassing Vision is Transforming Our Lives-Randall Stross
Hackers, Heroes of the Computer Revolution-Steven Levy
Mike Bloomberg, Money, Power, Politics- Joyce Purnick
Data Analysis with Open Source Tools-Phillip Janert
Introduction to Private Equity -Cyril Demaria
Lessons from Private Equity Any Company Can Use- Orit Gadiesh
The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital -Robert Finkel
Private Equity at Work, When Wall Street Manages Main Street- Eileen Applebaum
Venture Capital and Private Equity, A Casebook -Josh Lerner
Bloomberg by Bloomberg- Michael Bloomberg
The New Tycoons- Jason Kelly
The Four Agreements -Miguel Ruiz
Cleopatra, A Life -Stacy Schiff
The Last Chinese Chef -Nicole Mones
No Reservations -Anthony Bourdains
Yes, Chef -Marcus Samuelsson
Cooked -Michael Pollan
Shanghai Girls -Lisa See
Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Adventures in the World of Chinese Food -Jennifer Lee
Bootstrapper, From Broke to Badass on A Northern Michigan Farm -Mardi Link
Wrestling with Moses, How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City -Anthony Flint
Hack- How I Stopped Worrying About What I What to Do with My Life and Starting Driving a Yellow Cab- Melissa Plaut

Columbia Health Tech Assembly, a boon to the NY digital health/life science community

Last week, I attended a meeting of the Columbia University Health Tech Assembly ( which brings together students from Columbia’s business, law, engineering, and medical schools for health-focused entrepreneurial endeavors. The event featured NYC-based health incubator Blueprint Health and Venkat Gullapalli M.D., the founder of pharma marketing platform (and Blueprint porfolio company) Medikly.
The idea for the Assembly started last year and its goal is to bring together people from different disciplines who are interested in building digital health and life science companies. What the founders of the Assembly recognized was that clinicians are often the ones who recognize problems, engineers are able to develop solutions, and the MBA’s recognize the link between problem-solution and possible monetization.
Full disclosure, I’ve been to Blueprint many times before for meetups, demos (including Medikly’s) and digital health events as I am an active member of NY’s life science, tech and digital health community and I have met the Blueprint founders before. The Blueprint speaker spoke about what the incubator looks for in companies that are accepted into its classes and this includes 1) a strong value proposition (translation: what does your company do and why is it relevant and of value to people using it) 2) Market (translation: what/who is the market and what are they willing to pay for your product/service). 3) Stage (translation: Where are you in developing the company? Ideas stage, seed stage, growth stage). In exchange for access to resources and its mentor network, the incubator takes a percentage of common equity. In looking at its porftolio, and as was mentioned at the event, enterprise companies rather than wearables tend to have more preference. And like any investor, incubator or firm, team is incredibly important.
Dr. Gullapalli spoke briefly about Medikly, which streamlines marketing to physicians and is rapidly growing. What was most interesting to me, was his founder insights. He talked about generating insight vs generating data as well as knowing yourself well, inclusive of your passions, strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, entrepreneurship is an upward climb into often unchartered territory and requires commitment and the ability to tolerate risk.
I think that the Assembly is a really great addition to the NY digital health and life science ecosystem. The timing is right, as healthcare is undergoing a digital transformation and an unprecedented era of innovation and open collaboration. I also like the university element of the Assembly as it will give the students the ability to collaborate and gain real world experience while still in school as well as leverage the resources the university has to offer (, alumni network, venture fund, research facilities.) Life is a very good teacher, but she tends to give the test first and the lesson later. Plus, it’s always helpful to be connected to individuals who are actively working in the field; for example in my field, there is a large experience gulf between a practicing physician and a med student.
The Assembly attracted students who were just interested in what it was about and had an interest in health, to people who already had ideas and product proto-types in the pipeline. At my table, I had a computer scientist, MBA student, engineering students, and a PhD, who were all at different stages. What’s great though is that the Assembly has 2 tracks, an Explorer track for people with ideas they would like to develop and get feedback on, and a Launcher track for those who are ready to start building viable companies.
I think that the Assembly reflects what you need when you build a life science or digital health venture. When I look at companies, I look for domain expertise, a business/marketing person, and a technologist because it’s hard to do it all and do it well. In addition, each domain has its own language. For example, these are word associations and titles written in my usual tongue-in-cheek style ;P
JD: IP, Delaware, Disclaimer
MBA: Market share, Market cap, Use Case
MD: ICD-10, ACA, meaningful use
CS: Pivot, Disrupt, JAVA, HADOOP, RUBY, UX/UI
One of the questions that was asked during the Assembly, was what kinds of companies/trends are there in the field? It’s pretty much the same as in general tech: Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, Social. Enterprise is especially hot because of the market and monetization potential and because it is helpful in streamlining and cutting costs in an often inefficient and broken system. A lot of non-health companies in enterprise could apply their technology to healthcare and do very well with some tweaking. I would also look at HIPAA-compliance and HIPAA in a box, hardware and 3D-printing, security measures and cryptography, pricing transparency,actionable data analytics, building out platforms, information curation as relevancy in terms of time and content are important, communication (which is a core component in healthcare), companies that incorporate outcome and cost-effectiveness measures).
My advice to people starting healthcare or life science companies is to read as much you can and really try to take the pulse of what’s going on in terms of policy, new platforms, and client pain points. Whenever possible, pilot, test and be open to feedback and questions -especially the hard ones. Failure can be a good thing in that it can get you closer to where you want to be…. Don’t make design an after-thought, because it’s incredibly important. When I helped design and do product development for the upcoming NYS patient portal (, I really thought about clinical experiences and the needs of the people who would be using the portal (visual/hearing impairments, languages spoken), their demographics, digital access, and what features were available in the consumer markets that could be applied to enterprise and would make the product easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and something people would really like using…Last, build for the present and the future. Think about what people need and use today, and what they will need and potentially use in the future, because as we’ve seen desktops gave way to laptops to tablets to smartphones.
Entrepreneurship can be hard in terms of time commitments and financially (not getting paid and watching your savings drain), but it can also be incredibly fulfilling when you see people really benefit from and enjoy what you’ve help build.
Good luck to you all and I look forward to future HTA meetings.

Blog post Alicia Keys, EMPOWERED, Greater Than Aids, HIV/AIDS, and Harlem

Congratulations to the Creative Arts Team at the Research Foundation of the City University of New York on being one of the grantees of the EMPOWERED community grant program. More info here:

Empowered is a campaign effort sponsored by Grammy award-winning singer Alicia Keys and Greater than AIDS to educate and empower women on HIV/AIDS.

I had the pleasure of attending a joint event by Alicia, Greater Than Aids and Harlem Hospital last August, which was a frank and open community discussion on HIV/AIDS in Harlem, a neighborhood where HIV diagnoses are 4-5x that of the national average and the disease disproportionately affects women of color. Speakers on the panel included Ms. Keys who is also a co-founder of Keep a Child Alive and a UN Global Ambassador, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Vin Baker, Minister of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Dr. Helene Gayle CEO of CARE USA, Stephanie Brown who is an ambassador of EMPOWERED, Denise Soares who is the Executive Director of Harlem Hospital, hip hop mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons and moderater Jeannine Amber, Senior writer at Essence Magazine. The event was held at Harlem Hospital and was attended by community organizers, physicians and other health care providers, HIV/AIDS activists, members of the Harlem community, and a number of young people.

Ms. Keys talked about her experience in Africa as a global ambassador as well what she has learned about the disease and the people it affects here in the US. Black women in particular are disproportionately affected and she sees education as a way to empower young women and the community. Dr. Gayle spoke frankly about how the stigma and misconceptions surrounding HIV (often related to it being classified as a “gay man’s disease”) are driving people away from information and treatment. I thought that Ms. Brown, who is openly HIV positive,was inspiring, especially when she talked about how she is not willing to be hampered by her status and that she is using her life and her story to educate others.

As a clinician who has taken care of patients with HIV/ AIDS and as someone who went to school in Harlem, it was inspiring for me to see such frank discussion about HIV and also to hear the community’s questions and concerns, as well as ideas on what can be done to address the issues that surfaced during the discussion. At one point during the discussion, the window period of HIV/AIDS testing came up and there was a stir in the crowd as some people were not aware of the window period (a time when an infected person can still transmit the disease to others but their antibody test might say undetectable). It is clear that an education initiative is needed so that people, especially young women, will be informed of the facts and empowered by that information.

One of the things that Ms. Keys said is that we no longer see people dying from the disease but it’s still here and it is affecting a lot of people. Indeed, that is true and reflects the disease’s change from being extremely acute to being a chronic disease that can be managed with medications. Instead of dying of AIDS, people are living with HIV. Just the same, it is important to have discussions about it because as she pointed out, complacency can kill.

I have long been a fan of Ms. Keys music having seen her perform at Nelson’s Mandela’s birthday celebration on Mandela day and very recently at the Global Citizen event to fight poverty, but I am an even bigger fan of her humanitarian work and education efforts. Good luck to her, EMPOWERED, the Creative Arts Team at CUNY and the citizens of Harlem on their efforts.

Blog post: Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at City College of New York, 40th Anniversary

This month, my alma mater, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education (, a 7-yr BS/MD program at City College in Harlem celebrated its 40th anniversary and I was able to attend the Homecoming and Research Symposium which featured research conducted by both Sophie students and faculty and featured amazing and venerable speakers like Dr. Jack Geiger, Dr. Thomas Haines, and Dr. Nirav Shah, New York State’s current Health Commissioner.

It really was a homecoming for me to be back at City College, which Forbes rated as #1 amongst New York State Public Colleges and Universities, and specifically Sophie Davis. I spent 5 years at Sophie and it is a place that helped shape me not only as a student but as someone who wants to make an impact in healthcare and in the world.

I like to think of Sophie as one of New York’s best kept not so secret secrets. What’s special about the school is that it and its student (who come out of high school) make a commitment to practice primary care and serve the underserved in NY. I was able to meet a lot of the students and talked to them about their research which ran the gamut from studying the macro and micro effects of stress on health to studying sex education and pregnancy in Brazil as part of the Mack Lipkin Broader Horizons Fellowship. (While I was there, I was a Rudin Research Fellow). I also talked to them about why they chose Sophie as school, as some of the students even turned down admissions to the Ivy Leagues to attend, and it was really inspiring to hear what they said. The students talked about recognizing the shortage of primary care doctors, the need and the want to serve people who may not have had access to good care, and being leaders in their communities (as some of the students come from underserved areas). In his speech, Dr. Shah commended the students for their commitment to primary care in light of what is happening in healthcare at this time.

As someone who is passionate about public health, primary care and digital health, I in turn was able to talk to the students about some of the exciting developments that are happening in healthcare right now. They were really interested and excited by the intersection of technology and healthcare and I can tell that in the future we might see some of them work on projects related to public health, and use or develop technology to do research, as a tool for patient education as well as their own medical education, and in their practices in a very high touch high tech way. The future looks really bright for them and I look forward to what they will continue to accomplish

NYU Stern Urbanization Project event: Conversations on Urbanization with Richard Florida and Fred Wilson

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Conversations on Urbanization with Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Richard Florida of NYU and the Atlantic, with MBA students from NYU Stern. It was a really interesting conversation for me as a native New Yorker, tech enthusiast, supporter of STEAM education, and recent attendee of the evening session of the Atlantic Cities City Lab event.

There were a number of conversation points that were thought provoking and compelling:

1. The World Wide Web as the most important factor in the shift from electical engineering to social engineering.

I have definitely seen this shift. There was a time when you had to have specialized knowledge, skills, and access in order to build web sites and create and share content. Now, you can set up a web site or blog in a matter of minutes as long as you have an Internet connection. The ease of being able to access and share information naturally leads to such a shift and acts as a platform which helps connect people and their ideas in real time.

2. The importance of art and artists to innovation

There was a lot of discussion on how many entrepreneurs have artistic talents and interests and how innovation often happens where artists hang out. Mr. Wilson talked about how technologists and artists are similar in that they create things and can show people their work. Mr. Florida talked about how the combination of art and cities can lead to innovation.

In my view, art and innovation go hand in hand. Art is about expression and getting people to see the world as you see it. Art is about creating things. Art is about challenging the status quo and it may not necessarily be subversive, it could be a change in the use of a medium or existing platform or technique. Mr. Wilson talked about the application of what has already been built, that Edison didn’t build the parts of the lightbulb but he was able to build upon what already existed. What comes to mind for me is how software engineers build apps on platforms or how companies like Square, Breathometer and AliveCor have built onto mobile phones.

At a PEN World Voices festival in NYC that I attended a while back, Salman Rushdie spoke about the idea that artists live at the edges, that they push the boundaries. I believe that innovators do the same thing and that in many ways artists and innovators are not only alike, they often exist within the same entity. It’s all about creating something, adapting and reacting to what is going on in the world, and doing something different, something that causes people to stop and think in wonder, delight, or even confusion lol.

3. How cities can attract startups- talent and quality of life (esp culture, safety, transportation,)

All startups are looking for great talent and to a certain extent, in the growing creative economy obtaining and keeping great talent has less to do with compensation and more to do with compelling mission, life goals, ability for growth and quality of life. I’m a proud New Yorker, and I have to say our city has it all.

New York’s communities have gone through a number changes over the past 20 years. I remember Time Square in the pre-Disney Lion King era (it was a *cough* very different and shall we say a more adult playground). Mayor Bloomberg and others have said it too, that safety has played a role in New York being an attractive place to live and start a business.

In terms of culture, we have museums, academic institutions, concert halls, restaurants. New York is very much a walking city and every turn can lead you to a new adventure. Life happens at the intersections and in New York you can always come upon something or someone new, interesting, exciting. I think that the interesections not only make life interesting but can also foster innovation as people who speak different languages, work in different field and have different experiences get together and talk.

Mr. Florida mentioned the idea that cities are great at surfacing problems and that startups that come to cities don’t just builld things that are purely technical but that often interact with the city and its people. I think about this a lot. The city as a source of inspiration and as a lab to test things out. Really love the NYC Big Apps initiative. What are ways that we as citizens can address issues that are affecting our city? What are the issues? (no one would know better than the very people that live here).

4. Real estate, startups and Brooklyn

I am very much a Brooklyn girl. I have lived there for many years and most of my education has been in Brooklyn. I love the distinct neighborhoods and the friendliness of its people. Mr. Wilson talked about how “Brooklyn is going to be fascinating…and I would move to Brooklyn in a heartbeat” which was pretty awesome. He talked about the changing neighborhoods (i.e. Crown Heights) and how startups have moved to the outer boroughs because of quality of life that can be found there as well as the fact that many of a startup’s employees may live in the outer boroughs so the move there makes a lot of sense.

I think that the NYEDC is doing a great job in terms of helping startups on the real estate front and in supporting co-working spaces/incubators/small businesses. Landlords too are starting to understand the nontraditional needs of growing companies which is great.

Brooklyn is fascinating. It’s home to chefs, tinkerers, Makers, artists, technologists, musicians and it’s a really interesting and inspiring milieu to float in, there’s always something interesting going on from Googa Mooga in Prospect Park, to what’s happening at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and NY3DP/Building 92, to the waterfront to the Bushwick Open Arts festival to Brooklyn winery, Brooklyn Brewery, Kings County Distillery and Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, or pizza celebrations in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge. What I mentioned is only a fraction of what’s happening out here and I thought Mr. Florida’s mention of a Jane Jacobs quote was funny but also true, “When a place gets boring, even the rich people leave.”

5. Transportation and the waterfront

I just finished reading “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck and transportation in the form of bikes, taxis and trolleys were cited as important pieces of a walkable city. Mr. Wilson mentioned the idea that we could be doing more with the city’s waterfront and its potential as a “Central Park”.

I agree that we should look into expanding transportation and water fun/activities. I have a map of NYC at home and we are very much surrounded by water. Ferries connecting Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Governor’s island have been very popular and they are inexpensive and might help relieve commuter congestion (anyone who has ridden the L train from 7pm to 2 am on a Saturday night or between 6-10 pm on weeknights knows what I mean by that). Plus, you can bring your bike on board.

Boats are nice to be on in the summer and I know that many tourists really like that they are able to see many different parts of our city by boat. Part of me hopes that one day there will be ferries that take you from Manhattan to say Bay Ridge or Coney Island as well because it’s far if you drive or even if you take the subway.

6. Change in public education

The topic of changing education has come up in many of events that I have gone to over the past couple of months, from events with city government candidates, to a talk given by Dr. Margaret Honey of the NY Sci Hall at a LiveatAppNexus event, to a NY3DP roundtable to City Lab.

Education, health, poverty, are all inter-related. What I would like to see is an education system that gives our children a diverse set of tools and life and career-building skills that they can build upon. I think that we need a system where children are encouraged to ask questions and one that doesn’t necessarily slot them into a straight path but enables them to think critically, learn, grow and adapt. Instead of teaching them something that could be potentially irrelevant if the technology changes, let’s encourage them to create the technology or to come up with solutions.

7. Regulatory relief

Regualory relief was mentioned as something that could be addressed in helping to foster an innovation environment. I think that rules and regulations can be both hurtful and helpful. I support the ones that make practical sense. Plus, rules and regulations can be changed or amended to adapt to what is happening in our time. I often think about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they were written many years ago but reflect what has happened over time and have lasted til our present day. Remarkable and a source of national pride.

Had a great time at the event and really appreciated that NYU Stern UP made the event open to the public. Looking forward to hearing about the Startup Project being undertaken with Endeavor.