Friday Reads with Alex Caccia, Animal Dynamics CEO

Over the past five weeks, we have been posting a book a week that compile a list of Alex’s top 5 reads. All books have influenced his thinking and Animal Dynamics in some way, whether it be related to entrepreneurship, the inspiration behind our work or environmental responsibility, or our fondness for making things. In case you missed it, we have complied them all into the below list.

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  1. The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers, Adam Nicolson

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This award-winning book tells the story of seabirds and their incredible journeys and navigation abilities, only discovered in full extent by scientists in the last couple of decades. Most profoundly, it warns of the potential global loss of these amazing creatures as a result of our destruction of the planet earth. 

“A wonderful book, capturing the incredible flight and range of seabirds, and the tragedy unfolding as our destruction of the oceans is dragging these species to extinction."

- Alex Caccia

At Animal Dynamics, we use animal biomechanics as engineering inspiration in order to design more efficient systems. Efficiency is inherent in nature due to the strong evolutionary pressures to do things as using as little energy as possible to increase survival. 

 

2. The Messy Middle, Scott Belsky

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When 9/10 start-up businesses end badly, this book argues that the middle part of the process is the key to success.

“Generally, I’m not a fan of “business help” books, but this one is different – full of useful notes from experience, combining operational and investor perspectives; much wisdom there.”

– Alex Caccia

This book has influenced how we are building our company, particularly the notion of building “a culture that values alternative viewpoints rather than seeks to reward those that support your own".

 

3. Inferior, Angela D Saini

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Inclusion, diversity in the workplace and equality are concepts that we feel passionately about at Animal Dynamics. This book looks back on past research and culture that told us that men and women are different, to provide a view of a new society in which men and women are both included in science.

“This is an important book that shatters gender stereotypes and evidences a need for equality and diversity in science”

– Alex Caccia

As an engineering company with deep roots in zoology and biomechanics, we aspire towards a gender equal, diversity-welcoming field.

 

4. Mechanical Devices and Components, Robert O. Parmley

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Different to the rest of the books on our list, this handbook is our ultimate resource for using machine elements for a range of applications.

"A constant reference to those of us who like to make things, with one of my favourite chapter headings: “A fresh look at Rubber Grommets”, because we should all take a fresh look at the small things we take for granted."

- Alex Caccia

This book was essential for us during our early phases as a company, back when we were a handful of engineers working out of someone’s workshop garage. And it is still relevant to the work we do today.

 

5. Half-Earth, E.O. Wilson

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The final book in our list, Half-Earth tells the tale of us humans, a “lucky accident in primate evolution” and how we are the most destructive species on planet earth. It highlights where we are now, the sixth mass extinction event, as a result of our activities and their effects on the biosphere.

“This book is an absolute must-read for anyone. We are destroying our ecosystem and it’s about time we took responsibility and stopped acting like we own the planet.”

– Alex Caccia

The book suggests that we still have time to reclaim biodiversity, but it must be done so with urgency. Our vision of “a world in which the systems we use reduce impact and create energy surplus to ensure the earth’s sustainability” is greatly influenced by the urgent need to act now to maintain the wonderful biodiversity on planet earth.