Tagged with nonfiction


Peter Attia, M.D. -- How to Live a Longer, Higher Quality Life

Great actionable advice on health. Will definitely try and read more of Attia's work.

#48 - Brian Christian on better living through the wisdom of computer science

Optimal shopping. Multi-armed bandit. Really great parallels between CS and life. Will be picking up the book.

The Starter Manager Guide

Getting started guide for new managers, especially in the context of startups

#1212 - David Goggins

Crazy dedication coming from a very rough childhood. Listening to him will make you want to run through a wall.

Putting Mental Models to Practice

Get the most out of using mental models by applying them deliberately.

Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide

Thoroughly-cited and comprehensive baselines for health. Recommend to everyone.

Dissect Season 2: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West

MBDTF: rightfully considered one of the greatest hip hop albums ever, even more so when put into context.

355. Where Does Creativity Come From (and Why Do Schools Kill It Off)?

Creativity stems from early-life circumstances. How can these circumstances be replicated?

Chinese Businessmen: Let Reality Be The Teacher

Trial and error > business theory!!

The Psychology of Money

Really really good blog post about fallacies people commit with money and in life

Dissect Season 1: To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

Incredibly detailed analysis of To Pimp a Butterfly. Incredible music with a purpose

Teaching Tech Together

Learn by constructing mental models where you can put the facts related to the domain

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.

The Dream Machine

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

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code

Incredible story about the sharks of horse betting

Where Jonathan Haidt things the American mind went wrong

What's wrong with safe spaces and how they're hurting more than they're helping this generation

Software as a Service, as a Business

The SaaS playbook, from one of the experts.

Read Citations

Rant/description of how some 'pop-psychology' results have been warped from the original studies. Some is a stretch, some is legitimate.

On Writing

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

An interview with Patrick Collison

Narrative deep-dive on one of my favorite startups and pair of founders.

Getting Your First Ten Customers

Getting started with sales. It's a necessity for entrepreneurs. It'll be uncomfortable at first but it's completely doable.

The Mental Model Fallacy

The mental model fallacy is that it’s worth it to read descriptions of mental models, written and aggregated by non-practitioners, in the pursuit of self-improvement and success.

285. There's a War on Sugar. Is it Justified?

Sugar is addictive and toxic. People generally support some type of regulation, but not an outright ban.

A Nuanced Take on Preventing Burnout

Don't get burnt out. It's not worth it. Scientific literature suggests how.

Freakonomics Radio Live: The World's a Mess. But Oysters, They Hold it Down.

Oysters, soda tax, beer empire. Pulled the important concept of hypo- and hyper-cognition out.

Sam Hinkie -- Data, Decisions, and Basketball

Rare and very well-done interview with one of my heroes

Java Design Patterns

Design patterns implemented in Java. Really good reference. All designs should be as simple as possible.

Effective learning: Twenty rules of formulating knowledge

SuperMemo creator gets deep into best usages of SRS

How Psychedelics Can Expand Your Consciousness, With Michael Pollan

Psychedelics are tools. They should be researched and used more.

A New Dyslexia Reading Method and Visual Correction Position Method

Recent and big-if-true paper proposing a visual rather than cognitive fix for dyslexia. Need to keep it in mind when doing further research

Kendrick Lamar on What Drives Him and the Album That Changed His Life

Well-crafted profile of my favorite artist.

Why Are Enterprises So Slow?

Great visibility from a technical process perspective into why the enterprise is slow.

Chinese Businessmen: Superstition Doesn't Count

Chinese businessmen are superstitious yet still successful because maybe 'rationality' isn't all that.

#47 - Catherine Olsson & Daniel Ziegler on the fast path into high-impact ML roles

OpenAI and Google Brain engineers on their unconventional paths into AI and the impactful work they're doing

Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post

Entry point for Mr. Money Mustache's work

Don't Take Generic Business Advice From VCs

VC's incentives are not the same as entrepreneurs', don't delude yourself into thinking that they are.

#1189 - Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold is a big wall free solo climber. Good insight into the mind of someone who is crazy but also rational.

The SaaS Learning Curve

People > tech; SaaS = Service as a Software

354. How to Be Creative

We need more field experience and tests on creativity to really get to the root of it.

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.

How to Read Self Help

Treat self-help as craft. Only listen to practitioners. Test everything.

Show Your Work!

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

The Playlist of Awesome: Putting Perceptual Exposure to Practice

How to use perceptual exposure to improve your subconscious processing.

What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?

The Gender Pay Gap for Uber drivers is 20% explained by when and where drivers drive, 30% explained by experience, and 50% explained by driver speed.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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

How Do We Learn? A Zine

ncase always publishes great stuff. We learn by making deep connections!

Where Jonathan Haidt things the American mind went wrong

Digital minimalism

#471: Using Mental Models to Make Better Decisions

Argument for using mental models to improve thought processes

Surprising Implications of Treating Self-Help as Art

Developing technique in the wild is better than reading self-help.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

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

Keith Rabois - If You Can't Sell Them, Compete With Them

Mental models from an investor who has held senior positions at big companies.

Coolest Things I Learned in 2018

Assorted snippets from the author of Monday Musings

#1213 - Dr. Andrew Weil

Combining 'scientific' and 'holistic' medicine. Interesting perspective.

The Yoda of Silicon Valley

Profile of Donald Knuth, author of the Bible of CS

360. Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?

Protestants working harder might be a function of their religion. It's still up in the air. Circumstantial evidence points to the fact religion might have an effect.

Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla's Production Hell

Success comes at a cost. Does Elon Musk cross the line when it comes to how he treats the people around him in pursuit of his huge goals?

The Friendship That Made Google Huge

Jeff Dean + Sanjay Ghemawat: MapReduce, TensorFlow, etc. Engineering royalty.

Just Fucking Ship

Title says it all. Techniques for getting around the emotional barriers to shipping a product.

#102 - Andrew Kortina

Founder of Venmo and Fin. Future of work.

#1022 - Eric Weinstein

Managing director at Thiel Capital. Really smart, wide-ranging discussion.

The Lazarus Drug

Narcan and Naloxone have saved thousands of lives, but they might actually encourage dangerous drug use.

Killing Your $1000 Grocery Bill

Price-consciousness when it comes to food is all about $/calorie

Chinese Businessmen: Maybe Strategy Matters

Strategy might matter for growing massive, but it is less important at small scales.

The Friendship Cure

5 great friends > many shallow ones

#449: Faster and Cheaper Alternatives to College

Why college is the way it is today, and why that makes it a suboptimal choice for a lot of people

The Chinese Businessman Paradox

The success of Chinese businessmen under 'poor' business practices should make us question accepted Western wisdom.

353. How to Optimize Your Apology

Considerations when apologizing: don't wait, don't give context, apologize for actions not misunderstandings, identify your victim, express remorse, provide restitution.

The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon, and Facebook

Narrative deep-dive on one of my favorite startups and pair of founders.

How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Will Make You a Better Man

Gracie family member on the origins and modern usages of BJJ.

Jeremiah Lowin - Machine Learning in Investing

Investment theses of a top ML investor.

90: Jonathan Haidt | The Danger of Good Intentions and Safe Spaces

What's wrong with the bubble of college campuses.

You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

Changing perspectives on long-term relationships have changed the nature of marriage.

Boyd and Bronwyn Varty - Track Your Life

Human connections to nature from the South African Safari. Parallels in business and life.

Live Episode! RXBAR: Peter Rahal

Peter Rahal overcame dyslexia to build a $600M health bar company in half a decade.

The Bitter Regrets of a Useless Chinese Daughter

Bitingly relatable narrative on the experience of an Asian American

341. Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)

Preparation --> execution.

Overcoming Dyslexia

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

How to Hire Your First Engineer

Triplebyte founder with actionable advice on engineering hiring at early-stage startups.

How my role as CTO has changed as we've grown to 100 engineers

From building the product to managing 100 people and everywhere in between. Good roadmap and point of reference for me.

Nike Says Its $250 Running Shoes Will Make You Run Much Faster. What if That's Actually True?

Quantitative Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% effects on marathon running performance.

#405: The Power of Team Captains

On the importance and misconceptions surrounding team captains in sports, and how the principles can be applied to the rest of life.

52: Cal Fussman | How To Ask Big Questions for Big Answers

Cal Fussman is a really good writer and interviewer. Good insight into his processes.

How to negotiate the long, slow, SaaS Ramp of Death

Interview covering the lifecycle, pitfalls, and possible solutions of starting and running a SaaS business

Ash Fontana -- Investing in Artificial Intelligence

A top AI investor gives his perspective on the industry and his investment thesis

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 Bill Gates Line

The distinction between platforms and aggregators is important! Platforms are a much better model.

Annie Duke | How to Make Decisions Like a Poker Champ

Annie Duke (have heard her on other podcasts and have her book on my reading list) discusses the relative roles of decision quality and luck in producing life's outcomes.

306 - Breaking Bad News

SPIKES system for breaking bad news: Setting Perception Invitiation Knowledge Emotions Strategy

Evolution, Accelerated

CRISPR/CAS9 gene editing is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

Will Storr on why you are not yourself

Nothing we own today is ours. This is sobering, but we can fix it.

The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted

Truly global healthcare is "the most ambitious thing humans have ever attempted", but there are reasons for optimism.

Here's Why All Your Projects Are Always Late--And What to Do About It

Projects, especially big ones, are always late. This is due to optimism bias, coordination neglect, the planning fallacy, and (in the case of government) planners not being around for consequences.

Does Early Education Come Way Too Late?

Parenting is so high-pressure. Seems like you can create a big gap if you're not super diligent even in the first two to three years!

#382: The Secrets of Greater Endurance

Endurance is much much more elastic than you might think. It's also trainable!

#376: When to Copmete, When to Cooperate, and How to Succeed at Both

Assortment of advice and knowledge on human power dynamics

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.

Local Governments Power Up to Advance China's National AI Agenda

China local governments propose aggressive plans totaling $400bn in AI money by 2030!

Look for the Duct Tape

How do you find things to work on? Find the duct tape and soften the edges. Requires talking to people!

How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes or Less

Bud Winter designed a program in WWII to help fighter pilots sleep whenever, wherever. Relax physically then relax mentally.

Keep Your Identity Small

The fewer things you keep in your identity, the stronger your identity becomes and the more fruitful discussions you can have about things outside your identity.

The Founder's Guide to Selling Your Company

How to handle getting acquired

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

Conventional wisdom sucks. Reason from first principles to pick a career for yourself.

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.

#387: Think Like a Poker Player to Make Better Decisions

Trust The Process. Poker-sourced advice is pretty similar to DFS.

#1070 - Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson, champion of many people against 'neo-liberal' ideas, is quite persuasive and an engaging speaker.

#87 - Elad Gil

Be ruthless about cutting and be flexible about scope. Set hard deadlines.

Writing copy for landing pages

How to write high-conversion copy for landing pages

Building an Inclusive Code Review Culture

Clear communication and good practices keeps code quality high and people's feelings happy.

120: Molly Bloom | The One Who Makes the Rules Wins the Game

Really smart woman who took a pretty unconventional path of running underground poker games, lost it all, and has come back strong.

EuroPython 2018: How to Ignore Most Startup Advice and Build a Decent Software Business

Lifestyle business, a counterpoint to VC-backed businesses.

#71 - Chris D'Elia

Don't be a cuda.

Google AI Chief Jeff Dean's ML System Architecture Blueprint

Lifestyle business, a counterpoint to VC-backed businesses.

Malcolm Gladwell's 12 Rules for Life

Pull the goalie.

Lab Girl

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

60: Todd Kashdan | The Bright Truth about Your Dark Side

Channelling anger and frustration positively

Submit Checklist

List of 100 startup directories to submit startup for publicity.

Career Moats 101

Summary page of CommonCog's first year of writing on Career moats

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.

No Cow Founder On Growing From One-Man-Show To General Mills-backed Company

21-year-old entrepreneur in Colorado who overcame a lot of mistakes to build a successful business

151: Dave Asprey | Biohacking the Way to a Bulletproof Life

Dave Asprey biohacking

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 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.

337. How to Build a Smart City

City-scale growth and management is extremely intricate and difficult.

Pricing low-touch SaaS

Low-touch SaaS pricing guide with case studies

51: Shane Snow | How To Work Together Without Falling Apart

Snippets of advice on how groups can succeed.

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.

335. Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?

It's inconclusive which way the seesaw of Corporate Social Responsibiliy vs. moral licensing tips.

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.

Convert a Bird Scooter to a personal one with $32 kit

Buy a Bird at police auction and replace motherboard with custom part. Would like to try this at some point. Maybe when it gets warmer.

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.

How to Kick Ass, With Mel Robbins

Life hacks and advice from author Mel Robbins.

How Exercise May Help the Memory Grow Stronger

Exercise -> stronger synapses -> stronger memory, stronger brain actions

Feedback Friday | How to Charge What You're Worth

Not much to see, just one resource and one nugget.

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

5 Psychology Terms You're Probably Misusing

Bystander apathy, hardwired brain, statistically reliable, personality type, and steep learning curve are all commonly misused.

#402: Why Honor Matters

What is honor? It still has a place as a part of civilization.

Nepotism: When Hiring the Best Just Won't Do

Nepotism is the practice of hiring family members who might not be qualified for the job. It has a long and checkered history.

126: Matthew Walker | Unlocking the Power of Sleep

Really smart woman who took a pretty unconventional path of running underground poker games, lost it all, and has come back strong.

#462: How to Tell Better Stories

Moth winner says storytelling is easy. Just pick something and run with it. Stop trying to be perfect.

AMA with John Doerr

The most important thing in building a company is its people.

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.

YC's Series A Diligence Checklist

What you need to have ready once you sign a Series A term sheet.

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)

Mr. Robot

Report on Geoff Hinton and his capsule networks

Suze Orman: From Waitress to Personal Finance Wizard

Suze Orman is another example of stubbornness and hustle helping someone break into an industry.

Will Storr | Avoiding Self-Obsession in the Age of the Selfie

Don't compare yourself with other people. Evaluate against your own inner barometer.

Duana Welch | The Science of Jealousy and How to Manage It

Jealousy is rooted deeply into our psychology but there are ways to carve out the bad parts and leave the good.

#391: Micronutrients, Genetics, and Preventing Age-Related Diseases

Micronutrients are essential for health. Magnesium, folate, etc. Also goes into intermittent fasting.

#388: Why Group Culture Is So Important to Success

Leaders create strong cultures by providing vision, purpose, and connection, freeing members to engage in "deep fun"

David Deutsch on the infinite reach of knowledge

Futurist and optimist. Humans are significant because we have knowledge.

Nina Jacobson: How to Make a Hit in Hollywood

Big failures can be handled by pushing forward and believing in your core values.

What is Harvard Trying to Hide?

Best article on Harvard racial discrimination lawsuit

Ask HN: What do you do in your 1-on-1s with your direct reports?

Wisdom of the crowd for 1-on-1s

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Reading should be taught methodically beginning with phonics, not by putting books in front of kids and telling them to read.

Muscle Over Motor

Manual labor > electric labor for the able-bodied. Also need to consider opportunity cost of time

Quitting my job has been the best thing I've done for my career

Interesting account from a software developer who quit his job and how it helped his life.

#22 How to find your big idea

Look, look, look, then act.

#384: What It Really Means to Be Self-Reliant

Self-reliance is maintaining sovereignty over oneself in a connected civilized world.

The Best SaaS landing page examples I've seen

SaaS landing pages should have a great header, social proof, a great call to action

From Research to Startup, There and Back Again

Decades of experience in Silicon Valley with John Hennessy (current chairman of Alphabet)

108: James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results

Reducing effort to make habits second-nature.

SYSK Selects: How Grief Works

Grief isn't as easily described ('5 stages') or widespread as you might think

The One Management Hack That Will Help You Keep Your Sanity

The secret to prioritizing is getting really good at evaluating management tasks.

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!

Is the FIRE Movement a Good Idea?

You need money so you don't have to worry about day-to-day living, but you may not want to actually retire early.

Why Conduct One-On-Ones When They Take So Much Of Your Time?

One on ones help prevent blowups, build trust, give and receive feedback, spread culture, and hold on to subordinates

How to Study: A Brief Guide

Summary of study tips from Philosophy + Computer Science professor at University of Buffalo

Advice For First Time Founders

Answers from YC founders about three big startup questions

346. Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet

Wizards and prophets offer two different perspectives on the fate of humanity.

The Bad Show

Are bad and good black and white? How do you evaluate the gray area?

#434: Legendary Coach John Wooden's Secrets of Leadership

Takeaways from one of the most accomplished coaches ever.

#380: How to Be Braver

What bravery really is and how to apply it.

Switching From Engineering to Management

Ease the transition by changing your mindset, getting rid of some habits, and improving on others

How to Fail as a new engineering manager

Stop coding. Care about people. Express yourself.

#464: What's Causing the Sex Recession?

Kate Julian says fear or emotional connection is causing less physical connection.

The elusive formula for great hiring w/Workday's Aneel Bhusri

Advice on hiring. Bhusri personally interviewed first 500 employees at Workday.

#377: 12 Rules for Life with Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson speaks more on his worldview and new book.

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.

Atlassian Retrospectives

Run retrospectives: setup, what went well, what went wrong, action items/next strps

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.

358. Yes, the Open Office is Terrible -- But It Doesn't Have to Be

Use small team offices or WFH or individual offices to address the issues with open offices.

Ryan Michler | Why Man Is His Own Worst Enemy

Title misleading. Just a chat about processes that help you maintain sanity

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.

Computer Science as a Lost Art

'Curmudgeonly' take on computer science vs. programming

Why Being a Perfectionist is An Obstacle (And How to Beat It)

You're a work in progress that will never be perfect. Accept that and keep getting better.

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.