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Ask HN: Books you read in 2016?
414 points by rwieruch on Dec 22, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 321 comments
I'd like to know which books HN read in 2016. Which of these would you recommend? Which of these surprised you, because they are not the usual suspects.



Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country, which led me to the non-fiction book Sundown Towns by James W. Loewen. I'm reading the latter right now and blowing my mind.

My understanding of the American history of racism was basically that it was generally getting better over time. Slavery, Civil War, Jim Crow, and then the civil rights era. What this leaves out was that things got rapidly better after the civil war for a few decades, and then got substantially worse. And that it didn't get worse in the south; all over America white people drove out non-whites from their towns. They created "sundown towns", places where African-Americans weren't allowed after dark.

This is an era that goes unmentioned in most official local histories, and I never heard about it growing up white. That was the case even though it was happening all around the area I grew up. E.g., not far from where my family lived was a major vacation area built by and for well-off African-Americans because they were kept out of the white ones:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idlewild,_Michigan

I had literally never heard of the place, let alone known its history, even though I know the name of almost every town an village nearby.


I'm going to have to read that one. I recently had the same realization myself. As you learn about African-American history, racism looks less like a vanishing relic of the past, and more like a looming spectre over America that keeps re-appearing and wreaking havoc in every generation.

The thing that really made the difference for me was visiting the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. I actually was there for a wedding but ended up touring the exhibit anyway.


Ta-Nehisi Coates has a bibliography and suggested reading order for books that informed his incredible Case for Reparations (worth reading even if you come to disagree with his conclusions).

You'll find a ton about the Jim Crow and the racism built into federal housing policy: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/06/home-is-...


"It Can't Happen Here", a novel by Sinclair Lewis.

It was written in 1935 during the rise of totalitarian regimes in Italy and Germany, but before WW2. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that the American democracy was immune to the disease of dictatorship.

The novel speculates how a populist figure could manipulate people through fear, racism, corporatism, local militias and bald-faced lies.

He wins the popular vote and turns the US into a totalitarian dystopia.

It's fascinating to get a glimpse into people's understanding of the world before WW2 broke out. I pictured a series of catastrophes that were surprises to most people. But it's clear from this book that the horrors were anticipated in advance.


You should check out "I shall bear witness" by Victor Klemperer.


While we're on the category of "just before the shit hit the fan," there's "Defying Hitler." [1] It's the story of the early years in Germany as Hitler was first coming to power, when the war was first beginning. Very insightful.

[1]http://dannyreviews.com/h/Defying_Hitler.html


The War of Art - Steven Pressfield (unsure how I felt about this one, but it's short so worth a read)

Deep Work - Cal Newport (recommended)

Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Gilbert (recommended)

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals - Heidi Grant-Halvorson (lots of great stuff in here, highly recommended)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley (I really like biographies and Malcolm X was a pretty interesting person. recommended)

Making It in Real Estate: Starting Out as a Developer - John McNellis (meh)

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (I'm not big on sci-fi, so this book surprised me with how good it was. recommended)

Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl (I'm not sure how much I got out of it, but worth it just for learning about Frankl's unique experiences and perspectives. recommended)

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (meh)

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture - David Kushner (One of those books that makes you want to lock yourself in a room and program for hours. Carmack's dedication and intellect is especially awe-inspiring. recommended)


+1 (+2?) for Deep Work and Ready Player One. Read both this year, and both are excellent. Also really liked The Martian.


I also read Ready Player One this year and thought it was excellent. Since then I've been searching for more books that pull me in like that one did. Way of Kings is pretty good so far.


I tried to read it a couple of years ago and was unimpressed by the long lists of 'references' to 80's pop culture. I only made it about half way through before I abandoned it. Is it worth going back to finish it if I didn't enjoy the first half?


It's worth finishing I think — I enjoyed it, but that's not much to go on — but it is definitely the type of book that should remain unique in your collection. The eighties pop reference angle is interesting for those of us who had parts of their childhood in the eighties, but it is not something you would want to see repeated in a second or third book. A gimmick that works well once.

Reminds me of House of Leaves (Danielewski), which employs typography and layered (fictional) authors in a very compelling and unique manner. I can't imagine ever reading another book like that though (although I know I'll enjoy rereading it in the future). Any copy-cat would seem like cheap clone compared to the original.


There's less of it in the second half, but really at this point I'd just say wait for the movie to come out, which will likely do a better job of telling the story anyway (I say that mainly because I was thinking the entire time "I hate this guy's writing style, but this would probably make a fun movie").


I also found them a bit annoying but yes, it's worth going back to it.


I loved Way of Kings. Definitely recommend reading the second book in the series as well, 'Words of Radiance'


something similar would be "Off to be a Wizard" - would absolutely recommend it


I realize this is probably not what you meant when asking for book suggestions on HN, but since you didn't specify: If you're into 2D action / sci-fi / dystopian fiction (or to be honest, if you're into fantasy/sci-fi at all) check out the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.

I went in expecting nothing and almost abandoned half way through the first book as it seemed like a Hunger Games / Divergent rip off (and I didn't even like either of those particularly), but holy crap after about half way into the first book I was hooked. I powered through all three in a week and a half. The books are pure fun. Didn't make me think too much, and had plenty of action, politics, twists, broken friendships, violence, sex, rape, torture, etc. Not exactly YA I would say, but then again the material isn't exactly complicated either.

All in all, if you need a break from serious reads and enjoy sci-fi / fantasy, check this out. The books were absolutely written to be made into a movie trilogy at some point and I can't wait for it.


I second this my goodman. Fantastic "story" books, not really literature. But amazing books nonetheless.


The books in the Red Rising trilogy were some of the best that I read this year as well.


I'm currently reading Red Rising and would totally recommend it.


I ripped through Red Rising and Golden Sun last month based on a buddy's recommendation. Morning Star is my early Christmas gift. It's an absolute page-turner of a series.


Just finished the first book this week. The best of escapism, wish fulfillment action adventure sci-fi page-turner. Would recommend.


Two standouts:

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, by Matthew B. Crawford. This is Crawford's second book, and I recommend his first, Shop Class as Soulcraft, even more highly. This is modern philosophy, intense and grounded in the history and conventions of philosophy, but not unreadable if you're patient. Crawford started working at a Washington think tank, and bailed for a more honest life as a vintage motorcycle mechanic. He walked away from wealth and "success" in favor of ethics and peace. His focus is on the intellectual and moral value of working at a craft, using your hands and your mind in concert to create and maintain things of lasting value. When you work with the physical world, you must shape yourself to the physical world, as much as you bend the physical world to your will. In this book, he talks less about the value of work, and more about the structure of society. It has some fairly extensive critique of the Enlightenment philosophy that molded American government and ethics, and pretty brutal takedowns of many of our institutions today, which he considers wrongheaded and actively interfering with a good life. He'll make you think, for sure.

The second book is Drift into Failure: From Hunting Broken Components to Understanding Complex Systems, by Sidney Dekker. The subject is how we analyze failures in very complex systems (such as airplane crashes, bridge collapses, etc). Such systems are built extremely carefully and at great cost, with extensive engineering for safety and reliability, and regulatory oversight. Yet sometimes, they fail anyway. Analyzing such failures can take years and is never (honestly) reduceable to some single-sentence cause. Yet that's what we try to do. Dekker argues that the reductionist approach of the scientific method, our entire way of doing rigorous thinking, is inadequate for complex systems, because there are too many interactions. Scientific method depends on reducing variables, and sometimes, variables can't be reduced. Again, this is fascinating stuff that will really change how you think.


Here is my full bookshelf: http://www.kirubakaran.com/books-read.html

Books Read in 2016:

1. The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge - Poundstone, William

2. My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos - Schechter, Bruce

3. One Summer: America, 1927 - Bryson, Bill

4. The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1) - Liu, Cixin

5. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit - Godin, Seth

6. At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bryson, Bill

7. Kings of Kings (Hardcore History, #56-58) - Carlin, Dan

8. Blueprint for Armageddon (Hardcore History #50-55) - Carlin, Dan

9. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal - Klaff, Oren

10. William Shakespeare: The World as Stage - Bryson, Bill

11. So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love - Newport, Cal

12. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles - Pressfield, Steven

13. In a Sunburned Country - Bryson, Bill

14. Cannery Row - Steinbeck, John

15. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers - Weinberg, Gabriel

16. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World - Newport, Cal

17. Starship Troopers - Heinlein, Robert A.

18. No Touch Monkey!: And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late - Halliday, Ayun


> 1. The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge - Poundstone, William

Wonderful, I have never once in my life encountered another person who has read this book. I first read it as a student in the '90s and, like "Godel, Escher, Bach" and "QED", it made such an impact on me.

Strangely, just yesterday I found myself recommending it to someone who is currently reading the new John Conway biography and had questions about the Game of Life.


Thanks, I liked it a lot too! Two similar books that I'm currently reading are:

• From Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

• The Computational Beauty of Nature - Gray Flake

I'd love to hear your thoughts on them if you've read them.


Nope, haven't read these but thanks for mentioning them. I'll have a look for sure.


"The English and Their History" by Robert Tombs. This isn't simply another "here's what happened" history book. Rather, it focuses not simply on what happened and why it happened, but more so on the stories the English tell themselves about their own history and how that formed and continues to form their complex ethnic, national, and historical identity. For example, the Henry V that impressed itself on the English imagination was not so much the real, historical Henry V, but rather the hero of Shakespeare's "Henriad": Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V. (Cf. the St. Crispin's Day speech: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers," etc.) Dr. Tombs is the Professor of French at Cambridge. Ironically, after devoting a lifetime to studying the civilization on the opposite side of the Channel, he has written a masterpiece on the history of his own people.

If you're looking for a book on the British Empire, this isn't it. Of course, the Empire is an essential topic in the book; however, Tombs focus remains centered on Britain, and, more specifically, England itself. For example, when discussing the Seven Years War, Tombs emphasizes how events abroad affected domestic politics without going into great detail about the international events themselves.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in English history.


- Introductory Statistics with R by Dalgaard, Peter. A solid introduction to stats, don't be scared by R bit in the title - it contains plenty of maths/theory so that knowledge is widely applicable. Brilliant introductory for everyone who wants to do something stats related. It's amazing how much can be done with no fancy deep learning algorithms, just plain simple stats.

- Statistics Done Wrong by Alex Reinhart. Plenty of gotchas with real world examples from academia. Well written and easy to read.

- The Circle by Dave Eggers. This one was scary. About imaginary corporation (a blend of Facebook and Google and Amazon) and probably not too distant future. If you liked Black Mirrors, you will love this.

- Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous. Classic novel with interesting thoughts about engineered society, where every human is assigned class, purpose in the society and feature at birth.

- Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Bilton, Nick. Read this book in a weekend, really well written and well researched about the inception of Twitter.

- Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Tetlock, Philip E. A study on people with above average ability to forecast feature events (mostly geo-political). Talks about measuring predictions and improving them.

- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Brilliant book about overlooking rare events which have dramatic consequences because 'it's unlikely to happen'.


The Circle by Dave Eggers. This one was scary.

I enjoyed it and would recommend it, but at the same time, I felt a little disappointed in it. I think I expected a bit, more, somehow, given the premise. I dunno, it's hard to explain, but I just felt like there was more that could have been done with the setting and the premise.

Still, worth a read for sure.


I actually thought it was horrible and lazy. I thought of Eggers as a "literary" author, but the writing quality was low, and the plot unimaginative. It was like reading a thin script for a bad action movie.

I also read Ed Catmull's "Creativity Inc." this year, and one of the things he talked about was research trips for artists. He said that even if the audience of Ratatouille didn't know what the inside of a high end French kitchen looked like, it would come through in the movie that the ARTISTS did know. He emphasized the importance of these trips in the book.

Having worked in Silicon Valley, it felt like Eggers basically read a bunch of newspaper articles about it and then wrote a book, rather than visiting the place and talking to people. If you want to write a dystopian novel, this area is certainly rich with possibility. I remember that 10+ years ago I was astounded at how well "Microserfs" captured the mood and motivations of people... I'll have to go back and read it again.


It felt to me as if it were written in a rush.


I wasn't a huge fan of The Circle. It did a decent job of presenting the creep of surveillance powers that come along with ever more useful social media features. But it didn't have a coherent argument against them. It was sort of left to the reader to see (or maybe just feel) how dangerous The Circle was getting, because most of the characters themselves didn't. Even the ones who did couldn't explain why.

Maybe I just went into the book expecting an examination of the types of tradeoffs we make when interacting with social media, and instead got a thriller. The Circle works pretty well as a thriller to be honest, its just that there is still room for a more serious novel on its subject matter.


Regarding the first one (Introductory Statistics) what would you say the pre-requisites are? I'm not much of a mathematician, in fact I might even need to brush up on high school math by now, but I've thought about statistics for a while now. Is it approachable or would I have to study up to college level?


It is very approachable. If you know the difference between mean and median then you know enough to study the book.

It is written as a textbook for graduate biology students to help with their research, so it doesn't assume much mathematical knowledge. It also contains exercises (with answers) at the end of each chapter, really helps to consolidate the newly acquired knowledge.


Does it start from first principles? E.g., does it explain the central limit theorem in depth?


Thanks!


The Black Swan seems really good, would you say it's entertaining for non-maths nerds?


The way I think of Black Swan is "making money with philosophy" as opposed to "making money with mathematics". It's not mathematical in the quantitative sense; it's more about fallacies and misapplications of statistics.

One thought I've had: If you look the wealthiest guys in the industry and the world, they are more philosophical than mathematical, like Peter Thiel or Paul Graham. An exception would be someone like James Simons (hedge fund guy).

Warren Buffett says he basically just does arithmetic, and the rest of it is critical thinking and controlling your emotions. I was pleasantly surprised to see his partner Charlie Munger talk a lot about cognitive fallacies, which are in the realm of philosophy.


Read the black swan and thinking fast and slow after, I think the combination is life changing. It was for me anyways. They really complement each other.


Many of the studies quoted in Thinking Fast and Slow, turned out to be spurious: https://twitter.com/BrianNosek/status/811952178592026624


Not a math nerd. Reading it now. Totally enjoyable. Could not recommend it more.


>- Introductory Statistics with R by Dalgaard, Peter.

If one is new to R, would this text be a good intro to the language?


Yes, the first chapter or two is dedicated to the basics of R (syntax, etc).


Great; thanks, will add it to the reading list. I took a statistics course this past summer, but it was poorly taught and used Minitab as a package. Hopefully self-study with this text will be better.


I read almost all of Brandon Sanderson's novels. I'd heard of him before, but I was hesitant to jump into his huge universe. I'm really happy I did, though. In roughly 2 months I binged on all the Cosmere novels and Steelheart.

He's creating a truly magnificent universe with the Cosmere. As I understand it, he expects it to reach 32+ books total. It's all centered around Stormlight Archive, which is an ongoing 10 novel series.

The killer detail that helped win me over as a big fan was the fact that he communicates with his fans. He's a fast writer, but he still gives updates. After a few years of following GRRM, having an author that so openly speaks with his fans is a breath of fresh air. I think everyone is usually aware that estimates are never truly accurate, but at least it gives you an idea of what the author expects to accomplish. If he says he's hoping to get the next Stormlight Archive book by the end of next year, I know that doesn't mean it's definitely going to happen. But that's fine, at least he's being open and communicating with his followers.

Honestly, I think Stormlight Archive has blow away pretty much everything else I've read.

This year I discovered a genre called LitRPG [0] and picked up all the major books in the genre. It's very light reading, for when you just wanna go off on a brief adventure. I enjoy videogames but I tend to find myself too tired or busy to want to go into the grind myself, so this made for an entertaining proxy.

[0] http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/28/11801040/have-you-heard-ab...


Can confirm. All of Sanderson's books are great, but Stormlight is the one that truly stands out.


I'm hoping to finish up the Wax and Wayne trilogy before the end of the year. Sanderson's books might not be quite the best fantasy, but he is consistently good and his writing output is insane. I am eagerly awaiting Stormlight 3.


I recommend Stormlight to everyone new to fantasy. Such interesting yet easy to read books. With Sanderson writing, reading is fun.


1. Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham 2. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

3. Tribes by Seth Godin

4. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

5. The Industries of the Future by Alex Ross

6. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews

7. The Science of Getting Rich: Financial Success Through Creative Thought by WALLACE D. WATTLES (The Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reads)

8. Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins

9. Principles by Ray Dalio

10. Como Ganar Amigas e Influir Sobre las Personas by Dale Carnegie

11. Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian

12. Tribe by Sebastian Junger

13. Sapiens A Brief History of Humanity by Yuval Noah Harari

14. This is Water by David Foster Wallace

15. How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg

16. Walt Disney By Neal Gabler

17. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

18. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

19. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

20. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

Out of all these, I would recommend only a few:

- Sapiens

- The Rational Optimist

- Walt Disney By Neal Gabler

- How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking.

- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy


>> 20. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

I read this book twice in 2016 and hope to read it again in 2017.


Yes! I think I left the best for last! Loving the book and it's practicality. I look forward to writing about it in the coming year.


I started Jan 2016 jobless, I still am. hence the long reading list! Apart from these I've read lots on AngularJS, React, Redux, Python.

* The Short Drop (The Gibson Vaughn Series) - Matthew FitzSimmons

* The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

* Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution - Neil deGrasse Tyson

* Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future - Ashlee Vance

* Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries - Neil deGrasse Tyson

* The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest To Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind - Michio Kaku

* An Innocent Client (Joe Dillard Series Book 1) - Scott Pratt

* WIRED - Douglas E. Richards

* Phantoms - Dean Koontz

* Breakthrough - Michael C. Grumley

* Knots And Crosses (Inspector Rebus) - Ian Rankin

* Founders at Work - Jessica Livingston

* The Tumor: A Non-Legal Thriller - John Grisham

* Kick the Drink... Easily! - Jason Vale

* Hide And Seek (Inspector Rebus) - Ian Rankin

* Tooth And Nail - Ian Rankin

* Nexus (The Nexus Trilogy Book 1) - Ramez Naam

* Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow - Yuval Noah Harari

* Biocentrism - Bob Berman


'started Jan 2016 jobless, I still am. hence the long reading list!' A year of pure reading, one of the great, rare, unheralded joys of life... Enjoy it while you can!


Yeah! But I read voraciously anyway. And also I've been working on my own projects this 2016.


Phantoms - Dean Koontz

Good call. Even though he's famous and all, I still sometimes feel like Koontz is very under-rated and doesn't get enough respect.


I read 54 books (might be 56, there's still time!) in 2016. Here's the ones I recommend:

Fiction:

- Owner's Share by Nathan Lowell

I forget who recommended I read the Solar Clipper series several years ago, but I have been following them for a long time and look forward to it. It's part of a series, so start with the first one (Quarter Share) and continue from there.

- Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno

Non fiction:

- Programming Beyond Practices by Gregory Brown.

- Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed by Henry S.F. Cooper Jr.

For the rest of the books I read this year: https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/3965760


(Some of the +below are O'Reilly DRM-free ebooks. Big fan.)

Python:

+Effective Computation in Physics. Probably the most practical full-environment treatment of Python I've seen. Write, test, package, distribute. Third party libs.

Effective Python, Brett Slatkin. Sort of an "N ways to improve your Python." Part of a series edited by Scott Meyers.

Getting my C mojo back:

I left C/C++ 15 years ago. C++ will likely stay left, but I miss C.

+Reading 21st Century C, Ben Klemens. The first half is the development environment, which is great, since there's some new stuff since I left, and lots of stuff I've forgotten or never knew.

Rereading Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets by Van der Linden. The guy's a riot. It's dated but still relevant. The inside baseball stuff on problems seen while working in Sun's compiler group is fascinating.

Rereading C Interfaces and Implementations, Hanson. Hoping this will serve as my C version of Large Scale C++ Design by Lakos. Honestly though, the literate programming style of presentation is off-putting. Are we still talking about that?


I read a few dozens each year. These are the top in my 2016 list.

* Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. If you can read only one book on startup this year, read this book.

* Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

* Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works.

* Alibaba's World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business.

* Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle.

* Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble. You will like or hate this book a lot, but it's surely an interesting read and perspective.

* Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Good book that gives you a framework to become more optimistic.

* Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

* The Three-Body Problem Trilogy. Great, great sci-fi.

* Understanding ECMAScript 6. Best ES6 reference book.

* Node.js Design Patterns. Best Node book for intermediate/advanced developers.

* CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems. Great, great book on advanced CSS tips & tricks.

* Mastering Selenium WebDriver. This is probably the only good book on Selenium among so many bad books on this topic.

* Grokking Algorithms: An illustrated guide for programmers and other curious people. This is a good book but might be too basic for many people. Recommended for those who wants to quickly refresh their algorithms knowledge.


I've read a few of these and agree. Zero to One, I really enjoyed this when I read it. Sapiens was also fantastic, I want to re-read it.

I also got Grokking Algorithms this year. I already have a few denser algorithm books, but I really liked this one for the basics. I bought it as a refresher that wouldn't be as dry as reading CLRS, and because I've been recently helping a friend who is beginning a CS degree.

> Mastering Selenium WebDriver. This is probably the only good book on Selenium among so many bad books on this topic.

I have to work with Selenium a lot, and you're right, there are so many terrible books and articles about Selenium. I'm going to look into this one, thanks.


Not a long list, but I'd recommend these:

- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat ~ Oliver Sacks, 1985. This book contains tales of some of the Sacks's patients. A very interesting read. [1]

- The Mind's Eye ~ Oliver Sacks, 2010. [2]

- Spy Catcher (Autobiography of a MI5 agent) ~ Peter Wright, 1987. [3]

- Applied Cryptography ~ Bruce Schneier, 1994. Approachable and succinate language of this book makes it easier to understand. [4]

[1] http://www.amazon.in/Man-Who-Mistook-his-Wife/dp/0330523627

[2] http://www.amazon.in/Minds-Eye-Oliver-Sacks/dp/0330508903/

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Spy-Catcher-Autobiography-Intelligenc...

[4] http://www.amazon.in/Applied-Cryptography-Protocols-Algorith...


If you like books by Sacks I would also recommend reading "Phantoms in the brain" by S.Ramachandran


Thanks! We had an elaborate discussion on VS Ramachandran's work at uni. last semester. I'd definitely read this one.


- "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke.

I usually can't read a book after seeing the movie or show, but the BBC version was so good and I read reviews that they left out quite a bit. The book definitely had a lot more detail, and was even more entertaining.

- "Flash for Freedom" by George McDonald Fraser.

A part of series of historical fiction starring Harry Flashman, a cowardly degenerate who always ends up admired and revered by all around as a hero. This one is set amongst the 49ers, the Battle of Little Big Horn, and more.

- "Neverwhere" By Neil Gaiman.

Fantasy novel about a regular guy in London sucked into a magical "London below". I thought it was clever writing, and the audiobook read by the author was surprisingly good.

- "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen.

Post-apocalyptic novel about the effects of an EMP attack on the USA.

- "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank.

Another post-apocalyptics novel, about conventional nuclear attack on many sites in the USA.

- "Cibola Burn" by James S. A. Corey.

Part of the Expanse Series that has been made into a show on SyFy. These books aren't page turners for me, but overall they are entertaining enough.


If you like listening to books on tape, the version of Neverwhere read by Gaiman himself, is my absolute favorite one.


I want to plug the series "V Plague" by Dirk Patton if you're into post apocalypse stuff. Linguistically it might not be brilliant but I've not been stuck in a series of books like that since Harry Potter as a kid. They take about 4-5 hours to finish per book.


I had asked a question[0] regarding books a few months ago which ended up in the following list[1]. From those so far I have read the following:

- Elon Musk: Inventing the Future - Ashlee Vance Totally worth to get insight into the Elon. Kinda changes the superhero/good guy image everyone has but you end up with more respect for him whatsoever.

- Thinking fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman Awesome book presenting modern psychology. You'll get insight into how humans work.

- Rework - Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson Nice, albeit small book regarding how the creators of rails manage their company. So very nice insight.

- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Ben Horowitz I started reading this but it was too business centric for me so I stopped, however if you're a business owner it might be worth it.

- Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel - Rolf Potts This is a nice/into book if you're interested into digital nomading, long term travel in general.

- The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb This in my opinion is a superb book if you are interested in statistics/philosophy. He presents the chaotic structure of our world and why extreme events are more common than we think.Definitely suggested.

- The art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin This is a book that presents the Author's (Chess and Tai Chi Chuan World champion) way of learning. Has some pretty useful insight.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12415621 [1]: https://github.com/kostistsaprailis/non-tech-books-for-devel...


Strongly recommend "Art of Learning" There is an interview with Waitkzkin (whose chess talents were chronicled in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" book and movie) in "Learning about Learning" http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2009/01/21/learning-about-le... that gives you a good perspective of his ability to engage in self-debugging: I blogged about this in http://www.skmurphy.com/blog/2010/03/13/recurring-problems-h...


Necessarily an incomplete list, because I haven't kept close track. 2016 was busy and much of what I read was programming language related, which I will exclude here.

In no particular order...

Cixin Liu -- The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest. Good read, as you'll see on everyone else's list.

Neal Stephenson -- Seveneves. Really good but arguably his weakest in some time; I wish the first three-quarters of the book were shorter and the final quarter a book in and of itself.

Cal Newport -- So Good They Can't Ignore You. I found this longer than necessary but an excellent kick in the pants.

Marcus Aurelius -- Meditations. Feels like a good "life reference" rather than a straight-through read.

Roald Dahl -- Boy, Going Solo. These were fun when I first went through them years ago, and they still _are_ fun, but the lens through which I view live has become one increasingly allergic to entitlement, and boy, if you want entitlement, look to the Brits at the end of the imperialist era.

Ed Catmull -- Creativity, Inc. Read this for work. Enjoyable but ehh.

Peter Tompkins -- The Secret Life of Plants (unfinished). I tried but couldn't get past the rampant bad science.

Steve Martin -- Born Standing Up. This was a fun profile of a comic that I appreciate; if you're already a fan it's worthwhile, otherwise skip it.

Derek Sivers -- Anything You Want. You can blow through this in a day and you should.

Worth highlighting, my most influential read this year:

Tara Brach -- Radical Acceptance. I loved this. No: I _needed_ this. Rather than the many philosophy-influenced books you'll find in this thread that are really business books with new buzzwords, this is just about loving yourself and building on that to live life fully. This will not (at least directly) help you build a startup. This will (directly) help you build important relationships.


> Peter Tompkins -- The Secret Life of Plants (unfinished). I tried but couldn't get past the rampant bad science.

I read this book as well when I was younger (in my "new age" period), and I agree with your opinion.


I reread 1984 this year and it gave me trouble sleeping for a few weeks afterward. The writing is so perfectly concise that your mind adds visceral details that fill everything in for you. It makes the environment (political, physical, economic, etc.) and everything Winston goes through so much more real.


You may be interested in Homage To Catalonia, a non-fiction book about some of the real life experiences Orwell went through that inspired him to write 1984. It's available online to boot:

http://www.george-orwell.org/Homage_to_Catalonia/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homage_to_catalonia


Recommendations:

Non Fiction: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

https://smile.amazon.com/White-Trash-400-Year-History-Americ...

It sometimes reads like "A People's History of the United States", but the chapter about Andrew Jackson's election would seem like they were forcing the analogies to the 2016 election if not for the fact that it was published beforehand.

Fiction: American Gods https://smile.amazon.com/American-Gods-Tenth-Anniversary-Nov...

I think lots of people will like this book, but certainly those who are into road trips across America.


I finished up the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. It turned out to be one of the best book series I've ever read. It follows fictional characters inserted into real history from the late 1800s to the late 1900s including both World Wars, the Russian revolution, the Cold War, the Kennedy Assassination, the separation and reunification of Germany, and more. I'm not a student of history, so I learned a lot about these events, and it's told from an individual, human perspective which I found very engaging. The characters in each book are often children of characters from the previous books, so you actually get to see the youthful characters from the first book age and pass on their stories, getting this sense of nostalgia for events from earlier in the story. Highly recommended.


I haven't read the Century Trilogy, but his Pillars of the Earth is a similar multi-generational story (about the construction of a cathedral) which I enjoyed a lot. If you haven't read it, check it out.


I finished The Lord of the Rings! It took me three years of reading it on and off, but once I finished it the movies became significantly less epic.

I also read:

The Martian, Andy Weir --Loved it, but not for everyone

Streams of Silver, R.A. Salavatore --A fun read, disappointing ending

A Clash of Kings, George R.R. Martin --Wonderful

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius --Also wonderful

The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba & John Stevens --Platitudinous bullshit and an affront to O'Sensei


Masters of Doom may well be the only book I've finished this year. I'm currently reading a few novels and The Snowball (Buffet's bio) but it is a slow process because of the overwhelming amount of time I spend reading news, technical resources, comics, and short stories.

I cannot recommend Masters of Doom highly enough to anyone on this website. It's about the rise of Id games and the technological and cultural breakthroughs they made in the industry. Kushner expertly weaves a tale about video games, programming and entrepreneurship in a way that few can. His attention to detail is masterful -- not simply an overabundance of detail, but detail in all the places it belongs. I really felt like I was there with the two great Johns, just as invested in the future of Id as they were.


I maintain a list of my readings triaged by topics: https://github.com/abronan/readings

This year was rough for me as I had to deal with severe symptoms of anxiety that eventually led to panic attacks. I tried to understand the phenomenon and tackle subjects such as anxiety, consciousness and perceptual experience. Three books are especially interesting in that regard:

- The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness - Antonio Damasio - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/125777.The_Feeling_of_Wh...

- Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety - Joseph LeDoux - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398722-anxious?ac=1&fr...

- Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception - John Searle: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22104265-seeing-things-a...

The first two books are dealing with the neurophysiological aspects, with a focus on the brain and the specific areas involved with physical sensory experiences and/or consciousness. It explains how some areas of the brain are linked to fear and anxiety (fear conditioning, fight-or-flight response, etc.). Reading "The Feeling of What Happens" gives you all the necessary knowledge to fully understand the second book which is a tough read. The book "Anxious" also gives you a glimpse on different methods to treat and prevent symptoms of anxiety (Cognitive behavioral Therapy, SSRI, beta blockers, meditation, etc..). The last book is theoretical but comes as a good complement and gives you a broad understanding on the notion of perception (which is central to the first book).

Knowing which parts of the brain are involved with fear and anxiety and how everything fits together helps me controlling my emotions when physical symptoms of anxiety are appearing (the trigger to panic attacks).


Congratulations on head-on tackling such a tough problem! I wish you the best of luck as I"m sure it is not easy. Wanted to comment -- I'm not sure the extent to which this will be useful or relevant (so forgive me if its misplaced). I was interested in meditation (and to some smaller extent, buddhism). This book is short and generally well written from a buddhist perspective but may be of particular interest because the author previously suffered from panic attacks and believe's his use of meditation allowed him to control them: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Living-Unlocking-Science-Happines...


Quite a few... but the best one was "Grit" by Angela Duckworth. It could be categorized as a self help book since it deals with personal growth and persistence - but from the point of view highly regarded researcher in psychology.

I highly recommend this book since it's good on so many levels.

Unlike quackery books into self improvement, her book describes her research and journey into human achievement using the scientific method.


Deep work by Cal Newport, great book on how to develop intense focus to be creative/get more done. Highly recommended.

Race Against The Machine - a concise and informative discussion of the impact of technology on employment, income distribution and macro economics. Highly recommended as well.


Deep Work sure is a great book, but I would recommend people with interest in the material just to go directly to Flow by Mihály Csikszentmihalyi.

Read them one after the other, first Deep Work and then Flow. IF you are going to read both then I would recommend that order. Reading Flow first, then Deep Work doesn't have much to offer.

Those books actually re-fueled my love of programming.


Effectively Deep Work is not bringing much if you already read Flow. This is just a complete book just to tell you that you need to correctly schedule your time to have "Flow/Deep" time and try as much as possible to remove distractions (News, social media, etc.) from your life.

It is even, for a part, totally self contradictory, where he claims that journalists can switch to deep work for 10 minutes at time. Because journalists are super humans not suffering from context switch where the coders are suffering from context switch if they do that.

So, this one is not on my recommended list.


There seem to be two Flow books by the same author :

Flow: The Psychology of Happiness

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life

Which one are you recommending?


not the GP, but start with Flow. Flow is the famous, classic one. Finding Flow is a later expansion/restatement -- it's good enough in its own right, but Flow is the lodestone


I agree with the guy who already answered. Flow is the one I read and found super interesting.


Art & Fear

Of all the books I've read, this one resonated with me the most. It discusses the process of art making, both the personal process of finding your work and learning how to get better, as well as the issues with being judged through your work. If you treat your projects/code more like art than science, I think this book will be an enjoyable and provoking read.


Things I completed:

1. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future

2. The Code Book - Simon Singh

3. Fermat's Enigma - Simon Singh

4. Deep Work - Cal Newport

5. Smarter Faster Better - Charles Duhigg

6. 1984

7. So good they can't ignore you - Cal Newport

8. Distributed Systems for fun and profit

9. Classic Shell Scripting

Things I partially read and hope to complete some time:

1. The music of Primes

2. Traction

3. Founders at work

4. Your Memory: How it works and how to improve it

Things I would recommend: Fermat's Enigma and The Code Book are very interesting reads if you are into Mathematics. They are both written very well and you don't need to know too much of Mathematics to understand it. On the other hand The Music of Primes started of very interesting and then got a bit too heavy for an evening read. If you can chug along I think it would be a good one too.

Of all the self help books I mentioned I think Duhiggs Smarter, faster better is the one that stands out. It is more of an analysis of various teams and people and how they got to work efficiently.

Founders at work is a long read but something that you can read a chapter independently and that's why it is under half read but definitely something to look at.

[EDIT: formatting]


Which Traction did you read?


Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares. The book was quite straight to the point not too many frills.


Out of 32 books I read this year I recommend:

Somehow tech/startup related:

- Spelunky, Derek Yu: book about creating the game of Spelunky + notes on game design

- Disrupted, Dan Lyons: book about "old" guy working in startup

- Hatching Twitter, Nick Bilton: book about Twitter

Non-startupy books:

- A Wild Sheep Chase, Haruki Murakami: modern Japanese novel

- The Hills of Chianti, Piero Antinori: story about wine company and notes on wine making, wine marketing and other stuff from one of the most notable wine company from Italy (700 years old, owned by one family whole history)

- The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clark: scifi classic


Curious if you have read other Murakami?


Yes, I discovered him last year and read about five or six other books and plan on reading rest of his books next year.

I do like "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" and "Kafka on the Shore". On the other side I didn't like "After Dark" that much.


Not the author of the parent post, but...

Murakami is awesome. I've only read After Dark and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, but I'm hooked. I'll definitely be reading Norwegian Wood, Kafka By The Shore and/or IQ84 in the near future.


I read Kafka on the Shore in 2016 and let me tell you, I'm not a big reader (I'm working on it), but it had me thinking about it for weeks.

The book itself is like a dream state, it's magic; There's something about it where even when I think about it again, I get taken off into the lands within the book. I hear other Murakami works are similar in that regard. It is really hard to explain but it had me thinking about my life, who I am as a person to outsiders who meet me, how I see myself and what I feel my purpose in life is, etc.


Nice! Recommend 'Hard Boiled Wonderland' as well. His most tightly plotted and laid out book, if you like that part of his work. His non-fic is great as well. IQ84 is a bit long winded and sort of a 'b-side' IMO, might want to save that for last.


Currently Reading : Goldfinch!

Best Book I read this year : Deep Work by Cal Newport and One World Education by Sal Khan.

Best fiction : Laughter in the Dark by Nabokov.

## Deep Work by Cal Newport

## The life changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

## So good they can’t ignore you by Cal Newport

## Serious men by Manu Joseph

## Strangers on a train

## One world education by Sal Khan (Highly recommend it)

There are several wonderful takeaways from the book which I will try to list :

- The current model of education is broken. The Prussian system was designed to isolate workers from thinkers and factory laborers from office bearers. In an era where we need lots of original and creative minds to solve problems, it just doesn’t work.

- Conventional education system leads to a lot of gaps in learning, which are not addressed. For example, in spite of scoring 90% in math, you might have missed out on a key concept which will come back to haunt you later on.

- The system of homework is broken. It prioritizes quantity over quality and is meaningless.

- The testing system is just a snapshot of the student’s learning and does not says nothing about a student’s potential to learn a subject.

Sal goes on to propose a futuristic schooling system where students would use Khan Academy or an equivalent medium to progress at their own pace and use their classrooms for pursuing creative activities and enhancing his/her learning. Another interesting idea which he proposes is to dismantle age-wise segregation and group them based on the levels they are at in terms of progress made.

I think Sal Khan is a fantastic role model for kids and adults alike. A former hedge fund analyst turned educator is shaking up the fundamentals of our education system and tackling problems which are deeply rooted and slowly turning political as well. Here’s to a bright Sal-led future for education!

Overall, I would give the book 4.5/5. Visionary. Excellent. Ambitious!

## The Invisible Hand

## Disgraced by Ayad Akthar

## Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

## Laugher in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov


Loved The Life Changing Magic, and totally got rid of so much stuff. However, you should check out this year's Spark Joy by Marie Kondo is a lot more helpful because it has illustrations of how to fold things and so forth.


That's interesting - will check it out in 2017. I got rid off a lot as well, but now that the dust has settled down, I am finding it increasingly hard to remember to not accumulate. It's a constant battle in this on-your-face advertising and consumption oriented constructs prevalent in society.


Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury.

Once you realize virtually every conversation with a human is also a negotiation, the need to study it becomes clear.


Read about classic rhetoric. It's a fascinating subject!


Interesting. Any book suggestions?


I too would love suggestions, but I have Cicero's Republic on my list to read.


Not the GP, but I read "Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion" by Jay Heinrichs this year, and consider it an excellent intro to classical rhetoric.


One book that I've read recently that really stands out is Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces by Manfredo do Carmo. It's a bit outdated, and at times hard to read, but it has a lot gems that aren't well know (there is a bit at the beginning on estimating the length of a curve by counting the number of intersecting lines).

I'd recommend it if you're looking for some math reading.


I've read 13, which is half my goal of 24, but it's still more than the year prior so I'm satisfied. The three that stand out to me (recency bias in full effect):

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky - I went back to Dostoevsky because I needed a break from business books... Something to distract me from work in the evenings. Dostoevsky's overly descriptive narrative does a great job of transporting my mind to 19th-century Russia and far, far from my work and other present-day concerns.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and Deep Work by Cal Newport - Pairing them together because they both reminded me the same important lessons: 1) Do fewer things and do them better, 2) Being overly busy is not a sign of success.


I've read 13, which is half my goal of 24, but it's still more than the year prior so I'm satisfied.

I was a little disappointed that I only got through 24 this year. My goal was 75, which would have represented a stretch beyond the 53 I got through last year. But it turns out that I picked a couple of really long books this year, AND I spent a lot more time this year doing stuff like taking Coursera classes and what-not, which cut into my reading time.

All in all, I guess it just shows that a simple number like "titles read" isn't really all that meaningful. :-)

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

I really want to read this. Maybe in 2017.


Here are some of my favorites from the year ( ranked in how much they changed my thinking ):

- The Art of Being Unreasonable ( Eli Broad ) - Alibaba ( Clark ) - The Box ( Levinson ) - King Icahn ( Stevens ) - Expert C Programming ( Linden ) - A Passion to Win ( Redstone ) - Chaos Monkeys ( Martinez ) - A Truck Full of Money ( Kidder ) - The Hidden Wealth of Nations ( Zucman ) - Dead Wake ( Larson )


Loved Chaos Monkeys as well - It's a fun read and very educational at the same time.


Seconding Chaos Monkeys (Martinez), best startup memoir I've read so far.


I've been reading through the Discworld series and I've really liked the commentary on various social structures throughout.


If any of the people here who read Pratchett are interested in paying hommage to him: http://www.gnuterrypratchett.com/

I think some of his writing made parts of who I am, and it's a nice, simple, way of paying him back.


Had some downtime last week and started the "first three books" edition I got over a year ago. Very nice read, already ordered two more that sounded very compelling. The wit and humour is absolutely terrific.


The first three are him finding his feet, and his voice. They really start to become excellent with the fourth novel, Mort. Hopefully you ordered that one!


Enchiridion - Epictetus : the best practical piece of stoic philosophy that I read (Marco Aurelio or Seneca are good too).

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It - McGonigal, Kelly. Great book

The Feynman Lectures on Physics - Feynman, Richard - He is a great teacher, you will love physics even if you didn´t like it.

Stumbling on Happiness - Gilbert, Daniel Todd - Great book about how our mind works

I had to survive - Roberto Canessa: He is a survivor from the the Andes tragedy, half of the book is about that and the other half about what happens next, he become one of the best paediatric cardiologists in the world.


Language in Thought and Action, S.I. Hayakawa

How to Read a Book, Mortimer J. Adler

Gilgamesh

Beowulf

Snowcrash

High Output Management, Andy Grove

Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson

Programming Pearls, Jon Bentley

Walden, Thoreau

Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson

Letters from a Stoic, Seneca

Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein

Tyranny of Words, Stuart Chase

Golden Mean, Annabel Lyon

Disrupted, Dan Lyons

Big Data, Nathan Marz

Practical OO Design in Ruby, Sandi Metz

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, Rainier Maria Rilke

Anatomy of a City, Kate Ascher

Language and Thought by Chomsky

Hero of a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell

Language and Responsibility by Chomsky

Magic, Science, Religion by Malinowski

Meditiations by Marcus Aurelius

Oranges by John McPhee

The Dream of the Enlightement, Anthony Gottlieb

Nonexistant Knight/Cloven Viscount, two novellas by Calvino Italo

Deltoid Pumpkin Seed by John McPhee

Infrastructure by Brian Haynes

I'd recommend almost all of them, but especially the first two, and Autobiography of Red(poetry).


I would recommend most of the books I read this year:

* Born a Crime by Noah Trevor

* Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

* Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Alexievich, Svetlana

* Ex-Formation by Hara, Kenya (best book I read this year)

* A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson, Bill

* Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian (applying algorithm theory to daily life)

* Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Voss Chris (meh)

* Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Knapp Jake (meh)

* All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr Anthony (loved it)

* The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro Kazuo (loved it)


So do you recommend secondhand time? Thinking of getting it as a Christmas present for my Dad. Or is it completely depressing?


A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller (recommended SF classic)

The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis (an old favorite, recommended)

The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco (some interesting parts, but overall a disappointment)

Theology and Sanity - Frank Sheed (recommended; a very written description of the Catholic faith; weaknesses are it's long and it's aimed to a mid 20th c. audience)

Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal's Pensees - Peter Kreeft (recommended; a good exposition of Blaise Pascal's thought)

Catholicism: A journey to the heart of the faith - Robert Barron (recommended; a good explanation of Catholicism for the common person)

His Master's Voice - Stanislaw Lem (recommended; very intellectual look at the problem of first contact)

The Industries of the Future - Alec Ross (the robotics chapter is best; other parts are more light-weight; easy read)

Clouds of Witnesses - Dorothy Sayers (not my favorite Sayers mystery, but enjoyable)

A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle (recommended)

Why Gender Matters - Leonard Sax (recommended; most of the book is based on good science, but he does go out on a limb a time or two.)

Old School - Tobias Wolff (recommended; a world before widespread TV where high school boys actually got excited about literature)

Infinite Space, Infinite God - Karina and Robert Fabian editors (story quality varies; I enjoyed some of them)

The Sign of Four - Arthur Conan Doyle (recommended)

On Stranger Tides - Tim Powers (recommended; I love Powers, but Anubis Gates and Last Call are better. Still, if you like pirates you should like this)

The Art of Worldly Wisdom - Baltasar Gracian (interesting)

Aquinas at Prayer: the Bible, Mysticism, and Poetry - Paul Murray (recommended; this shows a different side of Thomas Aquinas)

Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy - Mortimer Adler (recommended; I almost think this should be required reading)

The Pilgrim's Regress - C.S. Lewis (I enjoyed it, but the ideas Lewis argues against are somewhat dated.)

Edit for formatting


+1 His Master's Voice


1. Nexus (Ramez Naam)

2. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)

3. The Fellowship of the Ring (J. R. R. Tolkien)

4. The Sin of Certainty (Peter Enns)

5. The Bible Tells Me So (Peter Enns)

6. Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations

7. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)

8. Elantris (Brandon Sanderson)

9. A Wild Sheep Chase (Haruki Murakami)

10. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Haruki Murakami)

11. Freedom TM (Daniel Suarez)

12. Lightning (Dean Koontz)

13. Daemons (Daniel Suarez)

14. Foundation and Earth (Isaac Asimov)

15. Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)

16. Fear and Loathing in Las Veges (Hunter S. Thompson)

17. Foundation's Edge (Isaac Asimov)

18. The Doors of Perception (Aldous Huxley)

19. Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)

20. Tortilla Flat (John Steinbeck)

21. The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)


- The Prize, by Daniel Yergin (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prize-Epic-Quest-Money-Power/dp/184...)

It's a history of oil over the last 150 years. Sounds boring. It's not. It's one of the best books I've ever read.

This book has made me realize that the history of the world over the last century and that of oil are almost one and the same.


If you enjoyed that book I also suggest The Commanding Heights by the same author.


Ready player one - Good bit of fun for a gamer/80s enthusist

Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger - I had no idea what was going on, i just know i enjoyed it

American Gods - slow starting but great book

Leviathan wakes - book that the netflix series 'the expanse' is based on

A Song of ice and fire books 1 to 3


One of my favorites this year, particularly in non-fiction, is In Search of Stupidity by Merril R. Chapman [0]. It's an amazing look at the history of microcomputers and the ensuing software market with a particular eye on what made certain companies fail.

Chapman worked for sometime in sales and later product management at MicroPro (WordStar), Ashton-Tate, Novell, etc... so it has quite an "inside-look" feel and the subject matter sounds like it's treated fairly.

The narrative is quite the page-turner for a non-fiction book, but my only qualm with it is that Chapman can be pretty sophomoric and unnecessarily gratuitous in his lampooning and shaming of business leaders or strategies which flirts with undermining the otherwise really insightful analysis.

It's a little dated (Microsoft is still king and Apple the scrappy underdog), but I think it's an important context for anyone following tech today.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Search-Stupidity-Twenty-Marketing-Dis...


The three body problem trilogy .. the greatest science fiction of the last few years


After a quarter of an hour, I keep coming back to two books/audiobooks that have shaped this year. The rest is of no significance in comparison.

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Translated by Gia-Fu Feng (1919–1985) and Jane English (1942–)

Here is the audiobook read by Jacob Needleman, with additional commentary at the end. You can listen to it repeatedly on daily commutes, gives you something to consider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACr-EGYv71k

Dhammapada, The Sayings of the Buddha Translated and edited by Thomas Byrom While Byrom's translation is not generally well received among literary scholars, I enjoy his poetic edits, and believe it is easier to remember the verses in everyday life. I carry it a Shambhala Pocket Classics edition with myself, usually, and read it as a reminder whenever I lose the way.

Again, read by Jacob Needleman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbtSvgL2fEU


Sorry about the crappy/weird youtube videos and titles. It's what I could find. I myself have the audiobooks.


The Complete Fiction -Lovecraft, H.P.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek -Dillard, Annie

The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick -Mandelbrot, Benoît B.

Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories -Blackwood, Algernon

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience -Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly

Death in Venice -Mann, Thomas

Whites -Rush, Norman

The Room -Selby Jr., Hubert

Book of Numbers -Cohen, Joshua

Maggot: Poems -Muldoon, Paul

The Peasant in Nineteenth-Century Russia -Vucinich, Wayne S.

The Mezzanine -Baker, Nicholson

The Museum of Unconditional Surrender -Ugrešić, Dubravka

What Is Life? with Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches -Schrödinger, Erwin

Dictionary of the Khazars -Pavić, Milorad

Honored Guest -Williams, Joy

Martyrs and Miracles -Trickey-Bapty, Carolyn

Noa Noa -Gauguin, Paul

Their Eyes Were Watching God -Hurston, Zora Neale

Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party -Stewart, George R.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale -Melville, Herman

Eileen -Moshfegh, Ottessa

Haute Surveillance -Göransson, Johannes

Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development -Matthews, W.H.

A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret History of Chemical and Biological Warfare -Harris, Robert

Our Lady of the Flowers -Genet, Jean

*The House of the Dead -Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

Current: Black Swan, Nassim Taleb


Fiction, mostly:

- Reamde, by Neal Stephenson. What a let down, very formulaic.

- Vortex, by Robert Charles Wilson (sequel to Spin and Axis). Spin is a must-read, Vortex was quite pleasant and brings a satisfying closure to the series.

- Permanence, by Karl Schroeder (re-read). Lots of awesome tidbits (property, rights, AR, anthropocentrism) scattered through an entertaining semi-hard sci-fi space opera.

- La Zone du Dehors, by Alain Damasio. A spiritual sequel to 1984.

- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (finally!)

- The Affinities, by Robert Charles Wilson

- La Horde du Contrevent, by Alain Damasio (in progress). A fantastic, ontologic, poetic story about the wind.

As well as a couple non-fiction:

- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! This is made of pure awesomesauce and perfectly captures the kind of spirit at the root of hackerdom.

- Pale Blue Dot, by Carl Sagan (in progress). Humbling.

- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. Surprised me in many ways.


I have read and re-read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! so many times over the years. It is a fantastic book.


The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi - Arthur Osborne

Design of Everyday Things - Don Norman

The Prince - Nicollo Machiavelli

Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

High Output Management - Andrew Grove

Elon Musk - Ashlee Vance

Red Plenty - Francis Spufford

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari

The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

The Inner Game of Tennis - W. Timothy Galleway

My Gita - Devdutt Pattanaik

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Istanbul - Orhan Pamuk

The Stranger - Albert Camus


I haven't finished these yet but I'm a college student so it's par for the course for me to be last minute.

   Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs [0]
   The Moon is a Harsh Mistress [1]

Both are fantasitc. SICP on a technical level and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress on a fiction level.

[0] - https://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

[1] - https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein-e...


I just finished The Phoenix Project recently, and I thought it was great. It is effectively a novel about a large software project which is being mismanaged and on the brink of failure, and the steps that the team (and related teams) took to save it from the grips of death. The point of the book seems to be to explain the types of situations that are improved by focusing on devops and agile development.

Personally, this book really hit home, as I had recently left a team/project much like the one described in the book, however I think anyone working on a software project at a decent sized company will be able to relate to many of the problems presented early in the book.


I've created a goodreads list[0] for top-level comment recommendations. However, it appears a user may only vote for a max of 100 books per list[1]. So, additional contributors welcome!

[0] - https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/106689.Ask_HN_Books_you_...

[1] - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1060933-listopia-list-l...


1. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson - A history of technological progress and predictions about the future. Obviously a lot of repetitive jobs will be automated, but Brynjolfsson posits a few interesting potential solutions for the future, such as Negative Income Tax.

2. Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez - A first person memoir about an aqui-hire by Facebook / Twitter. Interesting to learn about the differences in corporate culture and how Ycombinator works behind the scenes.

3. Economics in One Lesson: by Henry Hazlitt - Explains classical economics in a way where I now can understand what politicians are talking about.

4. The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook - How pop music is made. It's surprising how assembly-line it actually is, and how many people work behind the scenes. Google "topline writer," for one.

5. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton - A third-person account of Twitter's origin and subsequent CEO-shuffling. Wow, I can see why the board would want to replace Jack and Ev--they are not management material, which is why it's perplexing that Jack is back (unless it's board politics, again).

6. Disrupted by Dan Lyons - a memoir by a 50-something writer (who now writes for HBO's Startup - he wrote White Hat / Black Hat - the one where Ross had the tequila bottle incident) trying to deal with the culture of a young goofy startup culture in Boston. Another corporate culture book that was interesting, and made me glad I don't have to deal with office politics. Lyons is kind of jerk who doesn't realize it, though.

7. Steve Jobs - by Walter Isaacson. However, it's missing a lot from the "NeXT" time, surprisingly. If you're interested in Chrisann Brennan's perspective, check out her The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs--though be forewarned it's pretty whiney and I really just skimmed over most of it. Her perspective on why he was attracted to Laurene Powell is interesting, though.

8. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance - It's an authorized biography, so there's that, but it's still an interesting read.


This is mine:

- Summae Technologiae by Stanislaw Lem

- The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem (reread)

- Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

- The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

- The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

- Embassytown by China Mieville

- The Vegetarian by Han Kang

- Perchance to Dream (stories) by Charles Beaumont

- Highrise by J.G. Ballard

- In a Glass Darkly and Other Stories by Sheridan Le Fanu

- The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling (checkout my openly annotatable edition https://hc.selectedintelligence.com)

- All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan

- New American Stories edited by Ben Marcus

- This is The Way by Gavin Corbett

It's been a very fictional year. I guess I wasn't enjoying reality enough to read about it.


How did you like 'New American Stories'?


Well I know very little about contemporary American fiction so it was all pretty new to me.

NoViolet Bulawayo was my favourite. Anthony Doerr, Rebecca Lee and Robert Coover I liked. George Saunders made me laugh though I didn't think the story was exceptional. I remember really not liking Sam Lipsyte but everybody I spoke to said I was being unfair.

I'd never read any Don Delillo and I know I'll have nothing but grief for saying so: I thought it felt like something dust-covered from the 80s to me. Like a story set in a world of filofaxes. And not in a good way.

I didn't feel strongly enough about the rest I guess to comment. So a pretty mixed bag - but you know that's contemporary for you...time hasn't sifted the work, so it is bound to be patchy.


I've read all six novels of David Brin's Uplift trilogies this past year. If you enjoy sci-fi written with a sound grasp of ecological issues and an intriguing take on galactic society, have a look at these books.

Also, dolphins in space.

If you are unfamiliar with this author, you may remember him from his essay on a particular persistent trope in sci-fi writing linked on HN:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13040930

I enjoyed the Uplift series (written in the eighties and nineties) a lot, and was pleasantly surprised to learn of a short story bundle that came out just this year. It includes a novelette that takes place in the Uplift universe, wrapping up some loose ends.

The story bundle is named Insistence of Vision, named for the opening story. The name is indubitably a nod to John Varley's (sublime!) short story The Persistence of Vision (also the name of the story bundle it is collected in, recommended for any sci-fi fan). I always find short sci-fi stories refreshing in that they provide a chance to explore more radical ideas and settings that would be hard to facilitate in longer works. Brin is one of those authors who succeeds in titillating the reader's imagination with interesting what-ifs and extrapolations without feeling contrived. Recommended.


* The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The prose was a bit purple for me but fascinating book about the progress of cancer treatment including recent advances. Second half of the book is more interesting in my opinion so don't give up if you find the history of cancer a little do dry.

* Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin. I thought this was a stupid premise (guy travels the universe in a huge ship with cat companions?) but a friend strongly recommended it and I found it stupidly readable and very entertaining.

* Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh. Deeply interesting and humane book about the work of an eminent brain surgeon.

* The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes by Steven Pinker. Strong persuasive central thesis even if though I didn't agree with all his arguments. Very wide-ranging book with many ideas from philosophy and history.

* Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. Informative and scary book about zoonotic diseases. Like a non-fiction cross between the detective, horror and sci-fi genres.

* The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Read this because I felt I should rather than out of pure interest, but it was a good decision: fascinating biography and startling how intelligent and occasionally ruthless Mandela was.



The Bridge on the Drina, by Ivo Andrić. It's about a beautiful bridge over the river of a town near the Bosnia–Serbia border, and tell the story of the people and politics of the region over several hundred years starting in 1300s or so until 1914. Fantastic introduction to the history and culture of the region.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bridge_on_the_Drina


I haven't read a single book in 2016, something for which I hold Hacker News greatly to blame. I have read a good number of Hacker News book suggestion threads mind, and in turn a lot of Amazon reviews, usually up until the first unfavourable comment, which is typically enough to put me off completely. I can but look to Hacker News to make amends, so if anyone has any good advice for what I should do about this in 2017, I look forward to reading it.


Make up your own mind about which books you want to read. Don't go looking for reviews before you pick one up. Give it a chance, and if you realize it's not for you, then move on. You've definitely missed out on reading a good book or two by being so worried that you might have to read a bad book too.


Every book has its haters, and everything on Amazon tends to get a review at some point. Try to keep the reality of those statistics in mind; if 49 people liked a book and two hated it, it was probably a good book.

Alternatively, visit your local independent book store and ask for recommendations, and resist the temptation of looking up the reviews before you've finished the book yourself.

If getting to the point of actually reading a book is a problem, I find that the easiest way is to read a while in bed before you go to sleep. Reading helps relax, and has the benefit of not keeping your body awake like digital screens do.



How did you find 'Rosemary's Baby'? Seems like the novel was eclipsed by the movie and you never hear about it.


2 Highlights:

- "Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison

- "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

These are beautifully written books-- true art. I read intellectually stimulating, non-fiction material every moment of my life. Fiction counterbalances that frenzied information consumption.

I also read 2/3 of SevenEves by Neal Stephenson. Although the first 2/3 were good, I can't recommend the book due to the last 1/3. Those who read the book will know what I'm talking about.


I finished Seveneves today. I agree that there's obviously a huge difference between the first 2/3 and the last - but how can you tell the second part is bad if you only read the first?

Personally I think both parts of the story are good. I think that it could possibly have been split into two different books to give the second part a bit more space. As it is now, the second part is a bit rushed, and ends quite suddenly (in classic Neal Stephenson fashion).


It's not that I didn't read the last 1/3 at all, but that I chose not to finish


Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of the best author I've ever read.


I've read and listened to ~30 books this year, below are the ones I recommend.

Audiobooks (Audible):

Food: A Cultural Culinary History - The Great Courses (if you've ever searched for 'authentic' food, I strongly, strongly recommend this book. It was one of my favorite listening experiences of the year)

City of Thieves - David Benioff (Wonderful storytelling, I recommend the audio version just for the performance)

The Elephant Whisperer - Lawrence Anthony (Another example of great storytelling, highly recommended)

Little Princes - Conor Grennan (Conor does a good job of teleporting you to another world and capturing the inner spirit of being a child anywhere in the world)

The Inner Game of Tennis - Timothy Gallwey (A great paradigm for practice and improvement)

Books:

Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl (For some, this will be life changing. ~3 hour read is all)

Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss (I've only read through one time, but I plan to use this as a sort of reference book. I agree true that you'll enjoy 50%, love 20% and never forget 10%, but what falls under each category is different for everyone)

The Three Body Problem - Liu Cixin (I haven't read any sci-fi in a few years, this was a great reentry to the genre for me)

The Food Lab - J Kenji Lopez-Alt (If you want to know the why as well as the how when you cook, this book is for you)


Managing Oneself - Peter Drucker (recommended--quick read)

The Martian - Andy Weir (slightly more entertaining than the movie)

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results - Gary Keller (great for improving ones focus on the task at hand while having the big picture in mind)

Not Fade Away - Laurence Shames (note to self: it's never too late to appreciate all we have and have had. recommended)

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration - Ed Catmull (excellent stories and a unique POV on Jobs)

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose - Tony Hsieh (a bit higher level than I had hoped for, but still worth a read)

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - Michael Gerber (recommended)

How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (meh, I could take it or leave it)

Tribal Leadership - Dave Logan (applicable tactics and strategies to achieving happiness-- recommended by Tony Hsieh via 'Delivering Happiness'. Highly recommended)

Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore (solid concept, however this was a dry read... for me)

The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs - Ryan Holiday (recommended)

The War of Art - Steven Pressfield (a great way to cure procrastination)

Peopleware - Tom DeMarco (not for me)

So Good They Can't Ignore You - Cal Newport (IMHO this book would have been better as a blog post)

The Lean Startup - Eric Ries (recommended)

As a Man Thinketh - James Allen (quick read, highly recommended)

The Effective Executive - Peter Drucker (terrific book chalked full of wisdom. recommended)

The Magic of Thinking Big - David Schwartz (recommended)

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - Seth Godin (recommended)

Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life - Maxwell Maltz (first published in 1960, this incredible book has been, hands down, the most impactful book I read all year. This book helped me finally weed out pervasive negative though patterns and much, much more. Highly recommended if you're open to it)


I've read about 20 books this year and most of them are fictions. I am a late comer in reading English books. At this stage of period, I still finding joy in reading fictions books than non-fictions. I feel that I should be reading more non-fictions but I can't help.

Some of the books I've read this year and recommend are

1. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi (Found this book through the author's essay (basically, an abstract from the book) in NY Times. I love it. It is the story about the life of the neurosurgeon who was battling with his cancer.)

2. The Bridge to Brilliance - Nadia Lopez (Found this book from Humans of New York page. It is the story about a school principal trying to open up a school, getting school and other struggles along the way.)

3. The Phoenix Project - I think HN audience would know it. Fun read.

4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (This is the book I've been meaning to read but only did it awhile ago. It's beautifully written. It opens up my minds about aging and the struggles that elder people face it. It also reminds me that it is most important that one gets to enjoy life till it ends.)

The other books I read are 5 books of Haruki Murakami. Among them, I really enjoyed Wind Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark a lot.

My Goodreads for "read-2016" (although I am hoping to read a book before end of the year) is at https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/22920556?shelf=read-20....


1. Red Plenty (Francis Spufford) - Fascinating fictionalised account of the history of the USSR. Gets a little tedious at times but worth it.

2. Anils Ghost (Michael Ondaatje) - Drama with a war background. Nice read.

3. Financial intelligence for Entrepreneurs - Very useful now that I have a small company of my own.

4. How to Speak How to listen (Mortimer Adler) - Worth it. I enjoy public speaking and this was well written and quite useful.

2016's been a bad year for me as far as books go.


I read pretty much just fiction: "Daemon", "Dark Matter", "Brave New World", "Armada", "Oryx and Crake" (in progress). They're all pretty great, I heard about several of these on HN.

"Armada" was a nice simple story very much along the lines of "Ready Player One." "Daemon" was surprising -- an interesting 'what if' regarding the evolution of AI.


Daemon was one of the best book series I've ever read. It's one of the few that stuck with me and made me fall in love with "near-future sci-fi". Things at the bleeding edge of technology that are technically possible today, and the book is written in today's world (not tomorrow's), but just hasn't been done yet.

Douglas Richards has a whole series of these near-future sci-fi books as well. Mind's Eye is good (along with it's whole trilogy) and Wired/Amped is decent too. I'd be hard pressed to say if Daniel Suarez or Douglas Richards are the "new Michael Crichton", but I'm glad both of them are writing books.


Hmm -- book series? Is there a sequel‽ Wow I better check it out, I really felt like it could keep going from there.


I'm 4/5 through Oryx and Crake and it's one of the best SF books I've read in recent years.


For my birthday this year some friends got me The Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Marx’s Capital Illustrated by David Smith. I’ve always been at least tangentially interested in political/economic theory and these two books offered an easily accessible new perspective on their respective subjects I hadn’t gotten before. The Dictator’s Handbook I found to be particularly insightful.


Have you heard of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man? It's somewhat similar.


I have not but I will certainly check it out. Thank you for the suggestion


After reading through what people have posted so far, I wonder if we should do a "Recommend one, and only one, book that you read this year".


Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations'. Very old, very heavy, but very eye opening. A must read for anyone interested in economics.


My goal for this year was to read 10 books. Not a huge challenge but I'm happy I managed to complete it. I'm currently at my 16th book - so I might say that's pretty good.

Here's my 2016 reading list:

#1. Zero to One - Peter Thiel - 3.5*

#2. The Alchemis - Paulo Coelho - 3.5*

#3. Founders at Work - Jessica Livingston - 3*

#4. Traction - Gabriel Weinberg - 4.5*

#5. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie -4*

#6. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations... - Frederic Laloux, Ken Wilber - 4*

#7. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work - Mason Currey - 3*

#8. Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosak - 3*

#9. The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs... - Eric Ries - 4.5*

#10. Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly - Bernadette Jiwa - 3*

#11. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future - Ashlee Vance - 4*

#12. Rework - Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson - 4.5*

#13. Anything You Want - Derek Sivers - 4.5*

#14. South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami - 3.5*

#15. As A Man Thinketh / The Path Of Prosperity - James Allen - 4*

Currently I'm reading If This Is a Man / The Truce by Primo Levi - and so far it seems to be one of the top 3 books I've read this year - definitely a 4+* book.


Here is a partial list of the books I read this year. These are all books that stood out to me which I enjoyed:

Fiction Books:

* Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate, Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey

* Homeworld, Out of the Black (books 3 & 4 in the Odyssey One series) by Evan Currie

* Furies of Calderon, Academ’s Fury (1 & 2 of the Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher

* The Aeronaut’s Windlass also by Jim Butcher

* The Queen of Zamba by L. Sprague de Camp

* Giant of World's End by Lin Carter

* Batgirl of Burnside (graphic novel)

Non-fiction Books:

* Here is Your War by Ernie Pyle - the 1st of his books chronicling American soldiers in World War 2

* Vagrant Viking by Peter Freuchen - auto-biography of the Danish explorer/Nazi resistance fighter/writer/film-maker

* Voices of 1776 by Richard Wheeler - the Revolutionary war in the words of people who were there.

The non-fiction books surprised me because I really enjoyed all of them and I usually only read fiction or technical books. The Odyssey One books by Evan Currie also stood out to me because I found the first one for a low price on Kindle and I was blown away by the story.


Most recommended:

- Ted Chiang - Stories of Your Life and Others.

- Lawrence Weschler - Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees. A quality biography of Robert Irwin based on interviews over decades, and helps you learn to appreciate minimalist art to boot.

- Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

- Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

- Burton G. Malkiel - A Random Walk Down Wall Street

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah. Saw myself in several of these characters

- Nikos Kazantzakis - Zorba the Greek

---

Also good:

- Jack London - John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs. Illustrates all of the interesting ways in which a person is tempted to drink: when someone else buys you one, when it's cold outside, ...

- Danny Bowien - The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook. Lots of stories between the recipes.

- David Byrne - How Music Works

- Meg Jay - The Defining Decade

- Ernest Hemingway - A Moveable Feast

- Magdalena Droste - Bauhaus 1919-1933

- Arimasa Osawa - Shinjuku Shark

- Zadie Smith - Changing My Mind

- Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart

- Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray

- Marie Kondo - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

- Haruki Murakami - The Strange Library. A fifteen minute read.

- Tim Ferriss - The Four-Hour Workweek. Good tactics for saving time; bad business advice.

- Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle

- John Berger - Ways of Seeing


Data and Goliath - Bruce Schneier (very good, preaching to the choir in my case though)

Dune - Frank Herbert (been waiting more than 20 years to read this. If you haven't seen the movie from 2001 highly recommended, else not)

The Psychopath Code - Pieter Hintjens (psychology book, highly recommended, allowed me to understand a whole lot more of the "toxicity" in society)

Python for Informatics - Charles Severance (too easy for crowd here, and for me, but quite good for newbie programmers. Note: Python 2.x; not 3.x!)

Ghost in the Wires - Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon (good humor, great suspense, likeable main character)

Kingpin - Kevin Poulsen (a less likeable main character but nevertheless suspenseful)

And a bunch of cookbooks which I won't bother you with, I didn't fully complete any of them either.

I'm very happy that all the books I read were a hit, but did not read nearly as many as I wanted to. To restate, I can recommend all of the above. But they're not all new from 2016 (if that was the intention I apologise).


I finished Keynes, Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics (Nicholas Wapshott), started in 2015.

I read:

* Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders (David Marquet)

* Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun on the Job (Dennis Bakke)

* Ne vous résignez pas ! (Bruno Le Maire - French politician)

* Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (Michael Hiltzik)

* Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (Dan Lyons)

* Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Scott Berkun)

* Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (Thomas Sowell)

* The Success of Open Source (Steve Weber)

* Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Cathy O'Neil)

* Programming in Lua (fourth edition - I read every edition)

I started reading (and will probably finish by the end of the year) Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension (Samuel Arbesman).

As for what I recommend, it depends what you are into, but I would say I really enjoyed Making Things Happen, which is a must if you have any kind of project management to do, and Basic Economics.


  Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Cathy O'Neil)
Whoa. Need to check that one out. Thanks.


The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg (highly recommended)

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson (recommended)

Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari (audiobook recommended)

Boomerang - Michael Lewis (great if you have a light interest in macroeconomics)

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (recommended)

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell (recommended)

Joyland - Stephen King (great, short read)

Creativity, Inc. - Ed Catmull (Parts on the history of Pixar were interesting)


I keep an active list of books I've read, along with my reviews at my book review website, https://books.brianseitel.com. One of the benefits of this is that my favorite books automatically populate on the left. In 2016, I read over 60 books. My top 10 for 2016 (so far) are, in rough order of favorite-ness:

- "All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders

- "The Shards of Heaven" and its sequel "The Gates of Hell" by Michael Livingston (fictional story set in Roman times)

- "The Last Breath" by Charlie Magee

- "The Guns of Empire" by Django Wexler (Book 4 of The Shadow Campaigns series, which I highly recommend)

- "The King's Traitor" by Jeff Wheeler (original take on Arthurian legend)

- "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik

- "End Game" by Lindsay Buroker (Book 8 of her sci-fi series, The Fallen Empire, which is a pretty fun series overall. Short and sweet adventures.)

- "Soulblade" by Lindsay Buroker (Book 8 of her fantasy series, Dragon Blood, which is another great series. All of Buroker's books are good, imo.)

- "Ghost Talkers" by Mary Robinette Kowal (It's WWII, ghosts are real... and they're spies.)

This year I also read books 1-3 of The Expanse, and I think they would also be in this list, except I haven't reviewed them yet. I'm currently reading Book 4, with the recently published book, Babylon's Ashes, in the queue. I fully expect these to make it into the top 10.

Obviously, I enjoy sci-fi / fantasy the most, but across a wide range of sub-genres. For non-sci-fi, my top read was "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi, which really changed the way I organize my finances.


Assholes, a Theory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assholes:_A_Theory

Helped me understand why I object to assholes, and the real damage an asshole does to a group.

The sections on asshole capitalism, aka entitlement capitalism, are fascinating and relevant.


I just started to read more and more, that's why some classics are in my list:

- The Power of Habit - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12609433-the-power-of-hab...

- The Greatest Salesman in the World http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/356896.The_Greatest_Sales...

- Originals http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614523-originals

- The One Thing http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16256798-the-one-thing


I really enjoyed reading "The Disaster Artist" by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. It's about making of the movie "The Room" and it's writer/director/producer/leading actor Tommy Wiseau. It's one of the funniest books I've ever read (about one of the funniest movies I've ever watched) and I would highly recommend reading it to anyone who's curious how this movie came to exist or is just looking for a good laugh.

Other than that I found "1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed" by Eric Cline a very interesting read, especially when it comes to methods described to figure out what happened over 3000 years ago. Contrary to it's title it's not very sensationalistic and it doesn't appear to make any claims it cannot back with some sort of evidence (and it tries to present both sides of the argument if something is uncertain).


These are the ones I read this year that I really loved:

Genghis Khan https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93426.Genghis_Khan_and_t...

Mistakes were made (but not by me) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/522525.Mistakes_Were_Mad...

Sapiens - a brief history of humankind https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23692271-sapiens

A little history of the world https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61505.A_Little_History_o...

That last one I just finished and look forward to re-reading real soon. It's written by a German and from a European point of view.

A few other good ones but not top of my list of recommendations:

The church of fear - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17201748-the-church-of-f...

A brief history of time - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3869.A_Brief_History_of_...

Looks who's back - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17289087-look-who-s-back


Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - The subject is extremely interesting, challenging and thought provoking but I felt like Ashlee Vance (Author) was somewhat inspired by Walter Isaacsons Steve Jobs in terms of his portrayal of Musk as the genius who is somewhat a jerk. Either that or Vance was trying to convey that people like Musk and Jobs often are jerks....(6/10)

Extreme Ownership: Jocko Willink - entertaining listening in the car, perhaps no so much if you tried to read it. An impressive balance of storytelling and principles. (6/10)

Maximum City: Suketu Mehta - as someone who has lived in Mumbai for nearly five years, this book captured the pulse of the supercity as no other has. Able to describe the inherent beauty of modern India without resorting to the typical cliched western neuroses about the place. (8/10)

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics: Carlo Rovelli - Got recommended this book multiple times. Brief and succinct so Carlo must be commended for that. As a pop-science book it kind of paled in comparison to Bill Bryson's "Complete History" (6/10)

Rebels: Aris Roussinos - A raw, honest and powerful book that tells a story about many of the world's conflict zones from the perspective of someone who may get shot themselves. Refreshing and beautifully upsetting all at once. (7/10)

Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis - A broad spectrum of thoughts about meaning and purpose that have obviously been considered for many years and then condensed in a very succinct way (8/10)

Business Adventures: John Brooks - A recommendation by Buffet and Gates, entertaining read with business principles built in (7/10)

Tools of Titans: Tim Ferriss - Obviously written for those of us who have allowed our attention spans to be destroyed by the constant sugary stimulation of the internet, Tim nails the balance of useful thoughts and observations from a broad array of guests while keeping it succinct and entertaining. (7/10)


Here's my whole list for the year in reverse chronological:

- Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

- Tools of Titan by Tim Ferriss

- Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen

- Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction by Chris Sims

- Build Better Products by Laura Klein

- Capital in the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Picketty

- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

- Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez

- Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin

- Grit by Angela Duckworth

- Love Sense by Sue Johnson

- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

- Working Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael Feathers

- Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

- Sprint by Jake Knapp

- Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb

- Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett

- Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock

- The Inner Game Of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

- Design Sprint by Richard Banfield

- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

- The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

- Advanced Swift by Chris Eidoff

- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Some of these books are older and had been on my list for awhile. Some were released this year. Most of these books are very good. I usually stop reading bad books by the end of the first chapter.


You ought to know that Thinking, Fast and Slow has research in it that did not replicate. If you do some googling you'll observe a lot of people had a much more critical second take.

I believe it was the recent rash of replication failures that ferreted this out, so it is worth checking out in case you adopted false premises accidentally.


"The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945" - I was worried that this would be rather dry, but I found it rather engrossing - from the accounts of the various espionage escapades during the Cold War, to the political machinations around the creation of the nuclear fleet (with a surprisingly large input from Hyman Rickover, who was quite a character) to a contemporary account of the "Perisher" command course. Imagine being on an incredibly stressful training course where if you fail you are immediately removed from the environment and not allowed to work in that area ever again!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0171SWRGI


Here is my list of 2016:

- The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

- The 48 Laws Of Power

- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

- Crossing the Chasm

- The Richest Man in Babylon

- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

- Europe: A History

- The Penguin History of Europe

- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Every of the books was awesome. The only thing is that I haven't finished Europe: A History from Norman and read The Penguin History of Europe instead because the Norman book was just too long for me. But It has way more details.

I switch between business-related books and non-business related (it can be everything from philosophy to language history to hardcore science) but I don't read fiction (The Richest Man in Babylon is fictional, but still the focus is on self-development).

Hope you could see some titles that might interest you.


Finishing Europe: A History was a challenge but I really enjoyed it (especially his focus on "outlying" states). Norman Davies's No Simple Victory is also worth checking out. It's probably the best book I've read about World War 2.


The book 'The Richest Man in Babylon' is available to read online at archive.org

https://archive.org/stream/RichestManInBabylon_650/the_riche...


What did you think of 48 Laws of Power? I read a couple pages, but found it to mostly be excuses for being a jerk.

I enjoyed Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Elegant Universe.


These books were my favorites this year:

- Alibaba - The house that Jack Ma built by Duncan Clark https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25817524-alibaba

- Shoe Dog - A memoir by the creator of NIKE by Phil Knight https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27220736-shoe-dog

- Originals - How non-conformists move the world by Adam Grant https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614523-originals


The Diary of St. Faustina, also titled "Divine Mercy in My Soul". Even though I owned it for a few years, I didn't really pick it up until just this year. I know only a small percent of us here are religious, but for those of you who are, well let me just say that I recently told my wife and children that this book is so important and helpful and good, that it ranks #2 (right after the Bible).

What's nice about it is that it's broken up into very small paragraphs, many of them unrelated to the ones surrounding it. So it's easy to read it for 30 seconds and still get value out of it, when you're a busy person like me (whether due to profession or family or both).


I've been raving about two books this year:

1) The Swerve (won the Pulitzer Prize)

A few years old but newly relevant - it made me think, are we at the dawn of a new renaissance or the breakdown of society? Both have happened before... we lost much of the classical era's accumulated human knowledge when papyrus scrolls were burned/destroyed in the Middle Ages. Is computer storage much more resilient than papyrus in the face of social upheaval?

2) Ecotopia

What if Northern California seceded and let its crazy out in a super-green, post-technological, self-sufficient independent state? This book, written in the 1970s, has ridiculous foresight and anyone familiar with the Bay Area will deeply appreciate this thought experiment.


- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

- Rework by Jason Fried

- Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam

- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

- The Martian by Andy Weir

- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman


I set myself a goal to read 20 books; I succeeded. Here's the ones I recommend most:

Kim Zetter - Countdown to Zero (on Stuxnet virus and how it was smuggled into the nuclear facility; very interesting)

Gary Kasparov - Winter is Coming (we should consider Russia a dictatorship by now; though until recently, western politicians treated it as a democratic partner country)

Mark Goodman - Future crimes (wide spanning book on crime in the age of the internet)

Philip E. Tetlock - Superforecasting (how amateurs can consistently beat domain professionals in forecasting all kind of stuff)

Venkat Subramaniam - Programming Concurrency on the JVM (good overview of your options (diy with locking / akka / clojure & STM))


>Kim Zetter - Countdown to Zero (on Stuxnet virus and how it was smuggled into the nuclear facility; very interesting)

I know this is about books, but Alex Gibney's documentary on the subject is also decent:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5446858/

Although they chose to use a method to move the narrative that I wasn't fond of, there are some neat interviews with some of the early researchers.


Thanks, I'll look it up!


Most memorable books I read this year:

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. It took our reading group about six months to read it. Our discussions really added to my understanding and enjoyment.

Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History. From Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics to recently disclosed Russian attacks on American computer systems.

Harry Turtledove, Joe Steele. An alternate history in which Josef Stalin's parents immigrate to the U.S. and their son becomes President in 1932 instead of FDR.

George Dyson. Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. Focuses on John Von Neumann and the computer he built at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.


The view from the cheap seats by Neil Gaiman http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24331386-the-view-from-th... - lots of good content about books, music, comic books history, etc. There's over 80 other books mentioned inside and it makes you want to read all of them.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - because it was mentioned in the previous one and it's amazing how many elements we borrowed / changed / rewritten in the new works compared to the original.


01. The second machine age

02. The Firm: The secret history of McKinsey and it's influence on American business

03. The Simpsons and their mathematical secrets

04. League of denial

05. The Martian chronicles

06. The Sixth extinction

07. Lost stars

08. The Devil in the white city

09. China in ten words

10. The Fourth revolution

11. Red Mars

12. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe

13. Grit: Passion, perseverance and the science of success

14. The Signal and the noise

15. The Third chimpanzee

16. The Willpower instinct

17. The Master algorithm

18. The Emperor of all maladies

19. 1491

And I'm reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Honestly, I really enjoyed League of Denial about all the shady stuff the NFL did around CTE, Lost Stars which is an incredible Star Wars book, The Willpower Instinct, and 1491. Everything else was kind of take it or leave it. I doubt I'll read as many books next year


Are you reading paper books, PDFs on laptops, ebooks on tablets? How do you read?


Audiobooks, this way I can do mindless chores while reading books.


I donned my kneepads and washed my floors by hand two weeks prior while listening to Empires Of Light. Floors never looked better. Now I need another long, drawn out chore(or a roadtrip) to finish as I cannot just sit and listen to audiobooks unless I have a mindless task to keep me physically occupied.

Tesla, Westinghouse, Edison & Morgan. A fascinating bit of history about the people & events that delivered electricity to the world.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/507952.Empires_of_Light


I only read paper books. I like the physicality, and I like being able to write in the margins, if I own the book.


Books I read that I would recommend:

Deep Work - Cal Newport

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise - Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool

The War of Art - Steven Pressfield

Do the Work - Steven Pressfield

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - Ashlee Vance

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike - Phil Knight

The one that surprised me the most was the last one on that list. I don't usually read memoirs but this one was recommended by a few people so I picked it up and found the honesty with which he describes his mistakes refreshing and useful.


- A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression

Will most likely end up being the best nonfiction book I've read all year.

Fiction:

- Limbus, Inc. - Book III (I liked I and II better tho)

- Sleeping Giants (Themis Files) - a sleeper recommendation by a coworker that I KNOW will end up as a movie.

- Underground Airlines (Modern day, but the Civil War never happened)

- The Nightmare Stacks (A Laundry Files Novel)

- Lovecraft Country

I read a LOT more than what's listed here, but these are the noteworthy ones. I read a book every couple of days. Lots of military monster-hunting fiction, zombie apocalypse pulp, manly adventure novels, self-help stuff, etc.


Not many, sadly, but

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and

The Icewind Dale trilogy / Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore.

Ember was a very nice take on post-apocalyptic fiction; a Steampunk city surrounded by absolute darkness that still managed to retain a semblance of normal everyday life. Something about the setting felt very homely despite its inconveniences.

The Drizzt series is of course a guilty pleasure full of good old-school role-playing fantasy tropes. It does a nice job of providing my Dungeons & Dragons fix while I wait for a new video game.


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Be prepared to have your mind blown to hell up. No you don't have to be a geek or hold a doctorate in quantum mechanics to enjoy this book. This is something that you will find impossible to put down or stop thinking about long after you have turned the last page.

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Matter-Novel-Blake-Crouch/dp/110...


Completed books I really really liked - Best first:

- Jeff Hawkings "On Intelligence" (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1561177903 )

- Cal Newport "So Good They Can't Ignore You"

- Cal Newport "Deep work" (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1777252642 )


"The Autobiography of Malcom X"

What a crazy life he led.

"Napoleon: A Life" - Andrew Roberts

A gigantic book that still felt rushed because of how much he did during his life.

"Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization" Kriwaczek, Paul

Interesting introduction but I was hoping for more of a focus on a specific period of time. Instead if covers several thousand years of history.

"Buddhism Without Belief" - Stephen Bachelor

Meh.

"The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment" - Copenhaver, Brian

"The Philosophy Book" - Will Buckingham

Great into to the history of Philosophy

"The Vindication of Man" by John C Wright

Great, great series.


"A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton G. Malkiel. I would recommend it as an introduction to personal finance (or to amateur traders who believe they can beat the market).


Quran, a very superior all in one book, I have never seen a book as expressive as this one, I invite anyone just to "try" it ;)

Freakonomics, is a good one about economy from a new angle of view


I read the first half of the Quran several years ago; I need to give it another try and read the whole thing someday soon.


I'm a historical fiction nut & as it just so happened the Sharpe series from Bernard Cornwell (21 books) had been too long on my wish list, waiting to be read. Finally, got around to finishing it this year.

Usually, I'm real bad at reading & finishing non-software non-fiction; but managed ~10 of those this year.

Enjoyed reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight & I contain multitudes by Ed Yong. I keep going back to Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman quite a bit. Need to read more in 2017.


Here are a few I enjoyed in 2016 by genre:

Business - Making Things Work by Yaneer Bar-Yam

Investing - Charlie Munger The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin

Essays - Michel de Montaigne Complete Essays ($.99 on Kindle!)

Physics - At Home in the Universe by Stuart Kauffman

Software - An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language

Current Events - Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

Fiction - The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Music - Jerry on Jerry (audiobook is a recorded interview of Garcia!)

Biography - Benjamin Franklin An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Autobiography - A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

All of these are highly recomended!


I absolutely agree with your recommendation of "A Confederacy of Dunces", but it is definitely not an Autobiography.


Yes perhaps that part was meant as a joke.


confederacy of dunces is one of the funniest books i have read. should have been made into a movie by now.


Yeah it's basically a modern Don Quixote set loose in New Orleans. Very much character driven, lots of fun.


- Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown

- Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French

- Maya: A Novel by CW Huntington, Jr

- The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young

- Flask Web Development by Miguel Grinberg

- Buddha's Diet by Tara Cottrell

- A Feast of Vultures by Josy Joseph

- Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection by John Man

- Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari

- Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar

- Goliath by Tom Gauld

- This Will Never Happen Again by David Cain

- Cure by Jo Marchant

- If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India by Srinath Perur

- Deep Work by Cal Newport

- Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

- The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

- The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

and a few others that aren't worth recommending; all the above are.


I now I am late on reading this one, but Pragmatic Programmer.

Then there was The Kite Runner Also, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence Then Becoming a Technical Leader by Gerald

I wish I had read more.


Fiction:

Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami (I love Murakami’s novels, recommend starting with Hard Boiled Wonderland though)

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball - Haruki Murakami

The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammet (Surprising just how much San Francisco is in it)

The Postman Always Rings Twice - James Cain

Seveneves - Neal Stephenson (recommended)

Pattern Recognition - William Gibson

The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway (recommended, refreshing language)

Non-fiction:

Running Lean - Ash Muraya

Lean Customer Development - Alvarez

Talking to Humans - Giff Constable

Hooked - Nir Eyal (probably not need the book to get the thesis)

Sprint - Jake Knapp

Juno Beach - Mark Zuehlke

Anti-Education - Nietzsche


- Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari

- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay

- The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer

- Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

- The Passion Trap: How to Right an Unbalanced Relationship by Dean C. Delis и Cassandra Phillips

- The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz

- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

- The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes


My top fiction books this year:

* City and the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke

* The Master Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg

* The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks

* Hunters of Dune - Brian Herbert (in progress)

Non Fiction Pick:

* Command and Control - Eric Schlosser


Non-fiction:

Becoming Steve Jobs / Rick Tetzeli & Brent Schlender

Remote: Office Not Required / David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried

Fiction:

Rum Punch / Elmore Leonard


1. The Harry Potter series

2. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

3. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

4. The Movie Doctors by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo

5. It's Only A Movie by Mark Kermdode

6. Dark Night by Paul Dini

7. Dark Days by Randy Blythe

8. David Fincher Interviews by Laurence Knapp Graphic Novels - Scott Pilgrim Series, New 52 Batman series and Batman/TMNT crossover.

If anyone can recommend more stuff I'd be interested in based on this stuff please go ahead I want to read more this coming year.


One book which I'd like to mention here is:

p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong. Its a well written book on a very complex topic. [1]

[1] https://www.amazon.com/p53-Gene-that-Cracked-Cancer/dp/14729...


I've spent the whole year reading Albion's Seed, a history of four major British migrations to America - each came from a different part of Britain, and went to a different part of America, creating four separate cultures in what became the United States.

Also the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (currently midway through the final book).


Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon, 1963-1972 by David West Reynolds. Good account of one of humanity's greatest technological achievements. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16072775-apollo


- Lord of the Rings - Peace Is Every Step - The Hobbit - A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME - The Andromeda Strain - The Power of Now


It was the second year of my "read books like an adult" effort and there were some great ones:

Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)*

I was blown away by how completely delightful it was to read. I went in to it with a lot of trepidation about its length and esoteric fixation, but found myself completely immersed in the book in a way that I hadn't been since I was kid. I didn't pick up any hard and fast lessons from the book (indeed, its thesis is mostly that life is hard and the easy answers that are out there are toxic), but I definitely came away from it feeling like it was a bit more acceptable to share what I really thought and felt with others. Reading the book is like entering an intimate communion with DFW's mind and it reinforced in me the importance of inter-human connection in that way.

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story (D.T. Max)

DFW's biography, which I read after Infinite Jest. I highly recommend reading after IJ to get more background on where the books idea's came from. Two things I learned: 1. IJ basically took him ten years to write, 2: An incredible amount of it is drawn from personal issues and experiences, his struggles with addiction and loneliness were very real and he greatly downplayed them in his interviews.

The Invention of Nature (Andrea Wulf)

The best historical book I've ever read. Von Humbolt was one of the greatest scientists to ever live and I can't believe I'd ever heard of him before. The book itself does a great job of tying together the ideas of many great thinkers: Humboldt, Darwin, Thoreau, Muir, Goethe.

The Conquest of Happiness (Bertrand Russel)

Great little 'self-help' book from Russel. Perhaps a bit quaint in its datedness and Englishness, but a lot of the ideas still hold true. His thoughts on boredom were the high point of the book IMO.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)

The most 'make an adult of you'-feeling book I read this year. After attending an 'MBA bootcamp' style course, this book was the gritty, personal account that helped me tie all those lessons together. I got a job with a startup shortly afterwards and because I've never studied business (or worked in a real company before), I refer to the lessons in this book a lot.

My Struggle, first volume (Karl Ove Knausgaard)

Still reading this one and not entirely sure what to think. It's entertaining, heartfelt, and provides that sense of communion that good fiction needs. The book's purpose seems totally up in the air, however.


I appreciate the reviews btw, thanks. More useful than just a list.


I am glad to announce that I am almost finished my reading challenge this year, here is the list -> https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/5288302


My favorite books of 2016 was, and I can recommend all of them:

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Honorable mention from 2015: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I have just started Homo Deus and my first impression is that is is a worthy sequel.


When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi (highly recommended, but come prepared)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany (recommended for HP nostalgia)

Elon Musk - Ashlee Vance (recommended)

Shoe Dog - Phil Knight (highly recommended)

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell (meh)

The Gene - Siddhartha Mukherjee (currently reading, recommended so far)


Too Big to Fail: really interesting, but for some reason reading this book stressed me.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: Easy to read and entertaining. I actually had to spend a good 10 minutes going thru the plot to understand what happened, felt great to get it.

(Unfinished) Barbarian Days: a book on surfing


A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B Irvine.

I'm not (and have no intention of being) a Stoic, - my personal philosophy is very different - but I really liked the author's approach in bringing an ancient philosophy to life in modern times.


I've spent most of 2016 chipping away at the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Almost done!


CSS Mastery - Andy Budd

CSS: The definitive guide - Eric Meyer

HTML & CSS design - Jon Ducket

Zero to One - Peter Theil. (Started reading it early this year, still on it.)

I've a self-taught developer coding professionally for 4 years now and I'm looking to fill knowledge gaps and understand how things work under the hood.


David Kushner's ''Masters of Doom'' about John Carmack, John Romero, id Software, Scott Miller and Apogee and the game industry in the 1990s. Well written and, as far as I'm concerned, fascinating part of the hacker culture and history.


Here is list of books i read in 2016 - https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/15676150


I set a goal to read 30 books this year and somehow achieved it: https://jonbake.com/blog/30-books-2016/


An add-on to this question if people dont mind.

What medium are you reading these books on?

Physical, ebooks, pdf, kindle?


I read mostly on my kindle, I also read a few technical books as pdf on my laptop.

I read two physical books this year (~25 on kindle).

I read a lot of books at the same time so I find e-readers to be very convenient because I don't have to carry a lot of books as I used to do before.

EDIT: clarification


Audiobooks while driving. Download for free via a library suscription on hoopla.com. I only commute 10 miles each way but the time really adds up. I went through about 7-8 books last year.


Paperback. I think both hard-covers and e-books are too inconvenient.


Kindle Voyage nearly 100%. Strangely my two teenage daughters will only read on paper, the Luddites.


All physical.


Tech: Relevant Search, Clojure for the Brave and True

Personal: The Subtle Art of not Giving a f*ck

Sci-Fi: Red Rising

Fantasy: Powder Mage, Age of Myth

And a plug, but on topic - book mentions on HN: http://hackernewsbooks.com


Is "The Subtle Art of not Giving a f*ck" good? In what way does it affect you?


I found it really good, if you haven't, just read it and experience it for yourself. For me couple of things really stuck:

- choose carefully what you give a f*ck about, but when you do, do it right

- there will always be problems, deal with them and move on, it's your own responsibility.

- the constant pursuit of a positive experience is in itself a negative experience, acceptance of a negative experience is a positive experience


Progress - Jonah Norberg About why the world is really getting better. https://oneworld-publications.com/progress-hb.html


Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Ask GaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Give and Take by Adam Grant

Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg


Science and the City by Laurie Winkless was a fun read. Some parts of it are a bit hype-y, and some parts are a bit obvious, but overall it's a great read to find out the mechanics behind things we take for granted


I'd like to add "Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned". Even though the book could be shorter and the idea is rather simple, it made me re-think how I search for ideas and how I decide what to work on.


Fiction: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. This was fun and unexpected time travel novel.

Non Fiction: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. This was a great read that resets you and puts things in perspective.


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