I quit my job the next day.
This was the beginning of the end. Like with all drugs, there is a slippery slope. You start with marijuana, and you move onto heroin. In my case, I graduated to:
"Formal Methods of Software Design": http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~hehner/FMSD/
After that I read: https://www.amazon.com/Predicate-Calculus-Program-Semantics-...
Now in general I am quite depressed:
* I am very judgemental and look down upon most HN posts, especially the ones that praise Alan Kay, natural language programming, or view programming as a "craft" rather than a "science"; my favourite HN feature is the "hide" button
* I am disappointed with my math education, and tired of all the rabbits being pulled out of hats in my textbooks
* I wish I had enough will power and discipline to write a programming language that is nothing more than predicate calculus, but I don't
I foresee that as a result of these readings, I will die alone, sad, and depressed...oh AND penniless.
I wish I was joking.
That's a pretty huge impact.
Get out of the house.
The post surely sounds like a joke, the way it's exaggerated.
Followed by sam carpenter's work the system. I think if you're a programmer trying to make it as a business person those two books are the most invaluable.
Edit: about the how part.. Before reading and understanding these books I was always in a kind of firefighting mode. It was like a constant pain in the neck that something was somewhere needed me. Sure i was making money but I was not enjoying it and felt stressed all the time. Plus I wasn't scaling my business because of the constant need of attention from everything. Then I learned the systems thinking and it all started to change.. It was like I felt I had wasted 10 years of my life being stupid before. I'm telling you these two books can forever change your life both professionally and personally if you aren't already doing it.
I read it every few months, and I have gifted it to family and friends, and most of them loved it as well.
It’s not the writing, nor the story per se that stand out, it’s not just about how it beautiful highlights and highs and the lows of the Johns’s symbiotic relationship and their accomplishments, it’s not even about how their skills, strengths and weaknesses play into their success and failures (which I am sure is typical of most co-founders stories).
It’s about empowering the reader to believe that everything’s possible, and how smart, hard-working people can build technologies that affect the lives of many.
This book works wonders for when I am going through burn-outs, or I am not motivated enough to pursue a problem or a project.
When I am done reading the book, I am excited and eager to get back into the game. I can’t recommend it enough.
If anyone is interested in a more modern introduction to stoicism A Guide to the Good Life is a worthwhile read: https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/0195...
Convinced me that I absolutely wanted to do backbone ISP network engineering on a grand scale. It's taken a while to get to the level of knowledge where one is trusted and confident working on circuits that can take whole countries off the internet if you fuck up, but very much worth it.
I kind of love the idea of hacker tourism, and I wish I could find more journalism of this type. A character somewhere between enthusiast/gonzo/reporter on a seemingly obscure quest that leads to unexpectedly deep reflections on the world we inhabit.
At the risk of being ridiculed, I'll venture to say this: There's a big part of us that we don't fully know. All of us are trying to different things to find happiness. Above book proposes that Meditation has answers to most of the questions and talks about various Yogi's. This triggered a deep desire for me to know more. I learnt Meditation from a different organization and am very happy at where I am. This book started that journey.
Warning: There will be a bit of mysticism in all this. Take what your gut says and leave the rest.
I am a non CS guy who learnt C++ programming in order to do simulation for my final year project in mechanical engineering. I ended up creating a wonderful GUI (MFC) simulation complete with the diagram of the engine etc. For the next 5 years or so as a freelancer developer assisting professors and the like, I created pretty hot shot applications with nifty graphics, UI etc. I began to see myself as a master programmer and thought how easy it is for CS guys compared to Mech guys. Then I picked up this book. I had never known any of what it talked about. The very first example of union find was a revelation. My ego was completely thrashed. I was thoroughly humbled.
As for non technical, it would be The Count of Monte Cristo. I first read an abridged version of it as part of high school curriculum. As a young teen, I was instantly enamored by revenge and adventure. I still long to own a yacht and sail the oceans, if not get imprisoned, or find a treasure, or kill people. I am reading it again at bedtime and Dantes just got locked up at Chateau d'if.
My 3rd grade class had a set, and I devoured each one. They turned me into a nerd thanks to a teacher who told me to never stop reading.
I did my first reading in high school and it was absolutely brilliant. I never expected so many twists and turns where characters melt into one another and plots jump from world domination conspiracy theories to self discovery and awakening.
Decades later, I am now looking more into Robert Anton Wilson's other work (in particular Maybe Logic) and am seeing some very interesting applications, especially in software quality and artificial intelligence.
If you've never checked out RAW'S audiobook "Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything", I highly recommend it. Lots of meandering talk about most of the concepts that occur again and again in his books.
I haven't checked out Maybe Logic yet, but now I'm curious.
It was the relationship between biology and intelligence that got me, too, not really on the disability and how he was treated, which was mainly what they focused on in school.
Really made me reflect afterwards. Totally worth it, one of my favorites, and I'm way overdue to reread it again.
The short answer is to acquire and maintain an interior peace, no matter what the circumstances. This allows the grace of God to act through us. The book develops this idea from several angles, in about 100 pages.
Also, FWIW, while Harry Potter is complete fiction, the former is at least partly a history lesson as well.
That said, I enjoyed both and I think some concepts are easier to grasp in Harry Potter.
Edit: I also want to mention "Language in Action" by S.I. Hayakawa. I read it too recently to say that it has had the most impact on my life of any book, but it opened my eyes to orders of magnitude more cases of imprecision in our language than I had ever noticed before.
On a professional level The Mobile MBA by Jo Owen, because it explained to me - the programmer - valuable management skills in no bullshit way (I can not stress this enough), thus allowed me to grow in my career.
It helped me realize (along with other things), that no, the world isn't getting worse. Things are much better than they've ever been for most people, and they're only getting better, faster.
It showed me that the questions I'd always had were real, and finally let me break free :)
- Discourse on the Method , to become a healthy criticist of everything (perfect for your 15's-20's development)
- Beyond Good and Evil , a definition of the 20th century craziness by the crazy genius Nietzsche (perfect for your 30's burnout)
- The Praise of Folly , to realize that life is just a game (perfect for your 40's post-burnout rehab)
- Propaganda , because you want to play the game too (perfect for your 50's meteoric rise to fame & success :).
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse  for contributing to helping me come out of excessive questioning of everything (philosophy) to science that helps towards actually answering the questions answerable.
Feynman Lectures in Physics  and Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman , with no need to explain "how". :-)
The Ghost in the Atom  for explaining varied views on the nature of science, especially Quantum Mechanics, and what goes in the minds of the top-notch scientists working on these problems.
Parsing Techniques by Dick Grune  for teaching me the fundamentals of computer science and helping me proceed with my deep interest in Artificial Intelligence.
Defined "Outlaw", a philosophy for dope folk.
I crafted my first computer from cardboard :) and learned to type and code using hand drawn keyboard :)
This is the book that inspired me to start in the world of business.
I've been obsessed with productivity and mindfulness ever since.
Don't be sad by dr alqarnee
because the pace of half the book so closely resembles my life, decisions, alternative histories and the limited time we have in the world. not sure how much more I can say without spoilers.
It showed how big a role chance plays in our lives, and how to make the most of it.