Books I've Read


The Dream Machine

How the modern computer came to be, courtesy of the visionary JCR Licklider. Incredible. None of this was an accident.

Shoe Dog

Tons of great stories and actionable takeaways from the founding and growth story of Nike, right from the source. Really, really good.

Lost and Founder

Extremely transparent and valuable perspective of a 15-year startup CEO who has been through it all.

Domain-Driven Design

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.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

How the human mind fails the people it is supposed to support

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.

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.

A Gentleman in Moscow

Fantastic story, turning the seemingly mundane into something wonderful. One of Obama's favorite books he read in 2017.

The Nightingale

The moving story of two French sisters during World War II.

Show Your Work!

If you want people to see your work you have to put it in places where they can find it.

On Writing

Half memoir, half writing advice from one of the great modern fiction writers.

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.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

How to drive behavior change: Direct the rider. Motivate the Elephant. Shape the path.

Overcoming Dyslexia

Best text on diagnosing and dealing with dyslexia, from a top researcher.

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 Pragmatic Programmer

Collection of somewhat common sense but well-stated programming advice.

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 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.

Everything I Never Told You

Lydia Lee, a 16 year old in Middletown, commits suicide. Her family grapples with how this could have happened. It turns out everyone, including Lydia, has their own internal demons that don't come out until it's too late.

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.

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.

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!

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

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)

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.

Breakfast of Champions

My first Vonnegut book. Definitely a ride. Not sure I 'got' everything I was supposed to.

Lab Girl

Memoir of a female plant biologist from Minnesota with a one-track mind for science. No BS.

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 Book Thief

A German foster child named Liesel Meminger is The Book Thief. The story of her experience during the war. Maybe I'm just numbing to all of these WWII novels but I couldn't muster up as much relation to these characters as the ones in The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky

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.

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.

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.

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.

Software Estimation: Demystifying The Black Art

More of a reference book than a read-through book. Goes through a lot of software estimation techniques. Meat of the book was in the first section.

Wonder

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.

Ruth

Read quickly during Easter service. Story of a loyal daughter-in-law who helps mother-in-law cope with loss of husband and sons.