Books I've Read
Lost and Founder
Extremely transparent and valuable perspective of a 15-year startup CEO who has been through it all.
Software should be optimized for the domain it is performing in, or else it will turn into an unmaintainable nightmare for both developers and domain experts.
Tons of great stories and actionable takeaways from the founding and growth story of Nike, right from the source. Really, really good.
The Dream Machine
How the modern computer came to be, courtesy of the visionary JCR Licklider. Incredible. None of this was an accident.
How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents
Fantastic and relatable storytelling about the Asian-American experience for someone who rejects the lawyer/doctor/engineer career path.
Mistborn: The Final Empire
Mistborn is a great fantasy read. Incredible world-building. Really enjoyed the magic aspect and the descriptions. Would recommend to fans of Harry Potter-like stories. Only nitpick is that the main character (Vin) is a bit of a Mary Sue.
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fantastic story, turning the seemingly mundane into something wonderful. One of Obama's favorite books he read in 2017.
Half memoir, half writing advice from one of the great modern fiction writers.
Show Your Work!
If you want people to see your work you have to put it in places where they can find it.
The moving story of two French sisters during World War II.
The Pragmatic Programmer
Collection of somewhat common sense but well-stated programming advice.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
How to drive behavior change: Direct the rider. Motivate the Elephant. Shape the path.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Pino Lella's story as a young Italian man during World War 2. Slightly worse than The Nightingale but great story nonetheless. Starting to warm up to war story genre. Strong characters.
Best text on diagnosing and dealing with dyslexia, from a top researcher.
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
Accounting of the partnership between Amos Tversky and Danny Kahnemanm, interwoven with their greatest hits both individually and as a pair. Equal parts informative, interesting, personal.
Effective Java, 2nd Edition
Very good grab bag of tips and tricks for Java. Many were immediately applicable. Explained at the perfect level of abstraction for me.
The Only Rule Is It Has To Work
Entertaining story of what happened when two stat-heads advised an independent pro baseball team for a summer.
The Inner Game of Tennis
Great insight into overcoming mental hurdles to perform better both in pressure and non-pressure situations. Your brain should be an asset not a liability. Good stuff.
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
A case for the five parts of learning and thinking critically: deep understanding, failure, questions, the flow of idea, and change. Plus a helpful mnemonic!
Breakfast of Champions
My first Vonnegut book. Definitely a ride. Not sure I 'got' everything I was supposed to.
The Surrender Experiment
A memoir about finding enlightenment through Buddhist meditation, and how that brought fortune to the other areas in the author's life. Well-told, but I wasn't able to fully get past my initial skepticism.
The Defining Decade
Mostly anecdotes and stories about how the 20s are high-stakes but not treated appropriately by people going through them. Entertaining read, not much actionable. Wish there was more data. Good reminders to get my ass into gear.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Adapts the story of Harry Potter by attempting to explain wizardry through the scientific method. I don't think I was smart enough to read this.
Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days
Playbook for launching a side hustle. I really need to work on the fear part of launching things.
Draft No. 4
Master-class on long-form nonfiction writing (books, newspaper articles), with personal narrative interspersed. Not super applicable to me (editors, publishers, etc.) but extremely well-written and engaging nontheless.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The trials of a racecar driver named Danny, told from the perspective of his dog Enzo. Fine story, just wasn't super feeling it.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Christopher is a child who lives with some degree of autism which makes his thoughts and life quite different. He sets out to solve the mystery of who murdered his neighbor's dog.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The history of the universe and humanity. Half science, half history. The science parts were much more interesting than the history parts to me. Potentially outdated? (17 y/o)
Memoir of a female plant biologist from Minnesota with a one-track mind for science. No BS.
Training the Best Dog Ever
Outlines a five-week program to get all of the basics trained into your dog. Giving this program a shot, seems promising but quite a commitment. Author clearly knows what she's talking about.
Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
Solid set of backbone concepts for enterprise applications. Many of his ideas have developed a lot since this book was released in 2002 but it strengthened my understanding to see them explained firsthand.
The Unseen World
Coming-of-age story for Ada Sibelius, home-schooled her whole life by her eccentric father but forced to grow up when he comes down with Alzheimer's. Enjoyed it.
Bayesian Methods For Hackers
The simplest explanation of Bayesian methods and probabilistic programming I've come across. Says a lot about the field that this book was still extremely difficult to get through.
Core Java Volume 1 -- Fundamentals
More of a reference book than a read-through book. Goes through the Java core API. Already knew most of it
Story of a kid named August who has a disfigured face who goes to school for the first time. It's definitely a kid's book. I appreciated the message a lot and it was well-told, but I think I would have enjoyed it much more 10 years ago :)
The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory
How modern pop music became the way it is today. Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, etc. Turns out I'm not actually that interested in the music industry.
The Wisdom of No Escape
Series of Buddhist-centric talks about life given by Pema Chodron. Generally too hand-wavy for me but good reminders of how to behave and live. Not heavily religious.
The Social Skills Guidebook
Mostly common sense advice on how to navigate social situations. Honestly reassured me about my own social skills more than anything else.
Read quickly during Easter service. Story of a loyal daughter-in-law who helps mother-in-law cope with loss of husband and sons.