"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, because it changed my understanding of people for the better.
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard Feynman, because it gave me a model for how to enjoy life.
"Models" by Mark Manson, because it helped shape my understanding of heterosexual relationships.
"An Introduction to General Systems Thinking" by Gerald Weinberg, because it illuminates the general laws underlying all systems.
"Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A Heinlein, because it showed me a philosophy and "spirituality", for lack of a better word, that I could agree with.
"The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, because they showed me how human systems break, and they provided human models for how to see and live in, through, and past those broken systems.
"Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" by Eliezer Yudkowsky, because it set the bar (high) for all future fiction, especially when it comes to the insightful portrayal of the struggle between good and evil.
Absolutely everyone should read this book. I wish it had a better title. "Understanding People" would be an excellent one.
Does the book go into anything actually useful later on?
Others are born with a brain more ready to understand math, or writing screenplays, or software engineering, or business management - and bumble their way through communication, getting a lot wrong, not knowing where the lines are between their successes and failures, and generally having a miserable time.
Books like these define specific scopes to focus on as worth investing time and energy in, with the promise that understanding in these areas will definitely bring reward, as unintuitive as this may seem [to these people].
I wouldn't mind similar ones that explain learning how to learn, on a related note.
Although... now I think about it... when I'm anxious (I have reasonably mild but fairly broadly scoped anxiety), I can become more emotional/instinctive/reactive to things, and my ability to reason can be greatly impacted as well.
So I do think there is some indirect correlation, in practice.
Someone who is emotional is not displaying emotional intelligence at that moment.
Often when I feel certain ways, I don't have reference points to mentally articulate how I'm feeling - if I even have the ability to consciously distinguish the feeling and highlight it. That shuts down a lot of internal dialog and analysis before it has the chance to take place.
When I'm anxious, my thinking is clouded across the board, which makes this weakness all the more apparent.
I wonder if there are any books out there that specifically help to instil an understanding of the nuances in emotional processing.
Look at the writings of Dr. Barbara Oakley or at https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn.
I found someone uploaded all of the videos to YouTube!
Unfortunately I don't have the disk space to download them at this exact moment (been saving for several months for a couple new disks, not quite there yet) so I've base64-encoded the following YouTube playlist URL to heighten the chances the videos stay up til I can grab them (both to archive them and also because I download videos to watch them - old computer).
I also found https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCojOYrwehhFpaJfYG3DziHA/vid..., which has some related videos (that I think were placed on YouTube explicitly).
I once had a neighbour tell me "I have a name, you know" and it seemed a crazy thing to say, of course they have a name! It wasn't until reading the book that I understood they were offended that I never used their name in conversation.
As an example, do you have a normal bar, restaurant, or coffee shop that you go to? When you go in, I'm sure that they greet you as most places do, and you probably toss of a "Hi" or a "Hey" and that's about it, even if you know their name. Try this next time. When you walk in and they greet you, give them a big smile like you're happy to see a friend and actually address them by name with a "Hey Mark! Can I get a Miller Lite" or "Hey Deb, table for four tonight". It doesn't really take much effort, but it really builds a connection.
WARNING: I'll toss this in as a warning. Don't fake knowing their name if you don't. A sincere "Hi" with a smile is still good. An "Oh hey...(looks at name tag) Jill..." comes off as fake. However, if they go ahead and give you their name ("Hi, I'm Jill and I'll be your waitress this evening") then by all means go ahead and say "Hi Jill" and address her by name throughout the evening.
The section on names is Chapter 3, ending with the principle "Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
The chapter itself rambles on a bit and claims the success of US presidents & Andrew Carnegie is their ability to memorize thousands of first names... I think that's an exaggeration. But there's an element of truth to it, if you keep it in the back of your mind and try it yourself, memorizing people's names & using their name when you next meet them. (Especially at nightclubs, which is where I probably learned/used it most.)
Think of it as the difference between a letter addressed "Dear Ozovehe" vs "To Whom It May Concern". The latter shows they haven't even tried to get to know you personally. And now you'll notice when email / internet marketers try to use your name for just that reason....
I truly believe you can. I feel the issue is most of the time that we don't want to care. That we value our own ideas and issues higher than those of others. For me the practice of deep listening  really helped me to better relate with people with whom I didn't really relate beforehand. Yes, it's exhausting and yes, I fail still often enough but it shows me that we have a choice.
The book helped me a lot.
Then again I do know I am being too honest, but that's mostly a deliberate choice and not lack of empathy. I can refrain if needed.
Added to clarify: I'm German and so some of my (our) attributed directness and terseness is apparently at odds to some American forms of communication, and if you look at the book in this light it makes more sense. Also, I'd still encourage everyone to read it, I just don't buy the awesomeness :)
He gives each of them an expensive cigar and says something like "I'd appreciate it if you guys smoked these outside."
Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You
Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.
Enable you to make friends quickly and easily.
Increase your popularity.
Help you to win people to your way of thinking.
Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
I constantly see places where an idea from the book is relevant and I want to make people read a chapter of it. Examples include insights into evolution, artificial intelligence, morality, and philosophy. There's a short section on how people tend to argue about the definitions of words and how unproductive this is, that I always find relevant. There's a lot of discussion on various human biases and how they affect our thinking. My favorite is hindsight bias, where people overestimate how obvious events were after they know the outcome. Or the planning fallacy, which explains why so many big projects fail or go over budget.
The author's writing style is somewhat polarizing. Some people love it and some people hate it, with fewer in between. He definitely has a lot of controversial ideas. Although in the 10 years since he started writing, a lot of his controversial opinions on AI have gone mainstream and become a lot more accepted than they were back then.
It presents some of the ideas from "Rationality" but from the point of view of Harry who is portrayed as a rationalist.
In-fact the first chapter is titled "A Day of Very Low Probability" where Harry tries to think probabilistically about the new magical world he is being introduced to when he is still living with Aunt Petunia.
I recommend the audiobook because the voice actors have done such a good job with it. I can't help smiling at Harry's pre-pubescent ten year old voice.
Find it here : http://hpmor.com
Both books suffer from the same problem, the lack of an editor. They could be half the size and it would make them a much more convincing and entertaining read.
Guess I'll give this book a read.
On Writing by Stephen King. This a biography masquerading as a book on writing advice... Or its the other way around. Whichever it is, I think it's a great book for any aspiring writer to read. King explains the basics on how to get started, how to persevere and through his experiences, how not to handle success. Full of honesty and simple, effective advice.
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari. Most people agree that the War on Drugs is lost and has been lost for decades now. But why did we fight it in the first place? Why do some continue to believe it's the correct approach? How has it distorted outcomes in society and how can we recognise and prevent such grotesque policies in the future? This book offers some of those answers.
Only if you're Indian - India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha. Sadly almost every Indian I've met isn't well informed about anything that happened in India after 1947, the year India became independent. History stops there because that's the final page of high school history textbooks. An uninformed electorate leads to uninformed policy, like "encouraging" the use of a single language throughout the country. If I were dictator, I'd require every Indian to read this book.
The way the french author duo paint the then lifestyle of the Britishers, the kings and the common man left me satisfied.
Currently I'm slow reading "India - A History" by John Keay. Another well written book.
Worst of all, I was disgusted by how they derailed the story of Indian Independence by discussing the personal lives of every person involved. (All of them, except of course, the Mountbattens. Lady MBs affairs weren't mentioned ). Could you imagine a book on American Independence devoting reams of pages and ink to who George Washington was sleeping with or speculating if James Madison was gay?
Overall I would say the worst book I have read, on any subject, ever.
You will become a pessimist for a while after reading this, just because it feels like there's no meaning in all this since everything repeats itself and nothing is forever, but when you recover from it you'll find yourself much more insightful about the industry and can make better decisions.
OK, you sold me. Just ordered a copy. Thanks for the recommendation!
I love all the answers in here but please, please answer with more than just a title! I want to know why I should care about a book -- sell it to me, don't just throw it out there and ask me to do the work.
"More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite" https://www.amazon.com/More-Money-Than-God-Relations/dp/0143...
Market Wizards, Updated: Interviews With Top Traders https://www.amazon.com/Market-Wizards-Updated-Interviews-Tra...
The New Market Wizards: Conversations with America's Top Traders https://www.amazon.com/New-Market-Wizards-Conversations-Amer...
Hedge Fund Market Wizards: How Winning Traders Win https://www.amazon.com/Hedge-Fund-Market-Wizards-Winning/dp/...
It's very unimaginative.
Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street's Champion Day Trader https://www.amazon.com/Pit-Bull-Lessons-Streets-Champion/dp/...
Karen Armstrong's A Short History of Myth is a very nice guide into mythology and what that and religion are. It's like a vaccine for any sort of fundamentalism or bigotry, if read with some accompanying knowledge of mythological traditions.
That made me think. What if there is other stuff that could actually be related to secular events and knowledge.
And so I started to read from the beginning.
Genesis is very interesting actually. I noticed it is mostly inspired by earlier literature, like Arthasis, Gilgamesh and the like.
Now I am totally into reading mesopotamia literature and origin stories all over the world. Maybe someday I am done with that and I can backtrack to advance further than Genesis in the bible. Time will tell.
So far it has certainly enlightened my view on early mankind.
Myth and religion are the giants that todays science is standing on.
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." -- Newton
Todays universities where born out of the church. I will just gonna quote wikipedia here:
"These universities evolved from much older Christian cathedral schools and monastic schools, and it is difficult to define the exact date at which they became true universities, although the lists of studia generalia for higher education in Europe held by the Vatican are a useful guide."
Dismissing our past is certainly not the way to go.
just because something had value before doesnt mean it still does.
Taking your example "8-bit processors": it still has value. Even if it is only for learning purposes.
>the bible is required reading for comprehending many the references and various rhetorical modes
I'm sure there are modern book about rhetorics
I was referring to the contents of rhetorical modes (allegories, metaphors, etc.), not their definitions.
It's interesting as a reflection of culture, of which religion takes a prominent part in much of history.
I see it like viewing the works of a renaissance artist. Perhaps not as brilliant but similar in that a lot of works have religious themes but your beliefs, what they may be, look past the religion to consider it as part of the work itself.
> I've asked Muslim friends but they seem adamant that it must be read in Arabic
Not sure if these are practicing Muslims but that's simply wrong.
edit: Saheeh international seems to be a nice translation with heavy annotations, there are pdfs online. I myself will consider this one for my readings.
You hear 'ancient wisdom' on how to lead the good life all the time. These ancient aphorisms came from a time before the scientific method and the idea of testing your hypotheses. Tradition has acted a sort of pre-conscious filter on the advice we get, so we can expect it to hold some value. But now, we can do better.
Haidt is a psychologist who read a large collection of the ancient texts of Western and Eastern religion and philosophy, highlighting all the 'psychological' statements. He organized a list of 'happiness hypotheses' from the ancients and then looked at the modern scientific literature to see if they hold water.
What he finds is they were often partially right, but that we know more. By the end of the book, you have some concrete suggestions on how to lead a happier life and you'll know to the studies that will convince you they work.
Haidt writes with that pop science long windedness that these books always have. Within that structure, he's an entertaining writer so I didn't mind.
Technically this book is about how humans interact with things, but actually it covers a lot more topics that one can think: how humans act, err, how they make descisions, how memory works, what are the responsibilities of conscious/subconscious. Also you'll start to dislike doors, kitchen stoves and their disigners)
Nerdy by endearing is how she put it once I was done.
At least we have the high ground when they stumble over a stair with an offset height.
I don't want to duplicate a lot of text, so I'll link to my Amazon review of it:
TL;DR it's the only bit of literature I've found that's got the real talk, and in data-and-comparison driven ways hackers will appreciate.
Yeah, obviously I'm going through a divorce, but I really think this book should be required reading for anyone before they get married in the US. I don't say that lightly or confer that kind of veneration unto books at the drop of a hat.
The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind, / Julian Jaynes. Hard to tell if crazy or genius, but well worth a read. Read at 38, wish I had read this at 20 or so. Most of us take our inner voice for granted, but should we really? And what if there was evidence supporting the idea that there's another inner voice, but our modern upbringing suppresses it (but it does reappear with some illnesses, under duress, etc)?
Different Seasons / Stephen King. A collection of four stories, NOT your usuall King horror genre; one of which became the movie "Stand By Me". another became "The Shawshank Redemption", the third became "An Apt Pupil", and the fourth will likely never become a movie. All are excellent. I actually read it at 16, which was the right time, but I'll list it here anyway; if you've seen the movies and liked them, it's worth reading - the stories are (a) much more detailed than the movies, in a good way, and (b) related in small ways that make them into a bigger whole than the individual stories.
Management (software/hardware oriented):
Peopleware / Demarco & Lister - read after I was already managing dozens of people. Wish I had read it long before. This book is basically a list of observations (with some supporting evidence and conclusion) about what works and what doesn't when running a software team. Well written, and insightful.
The mythical man month / Fred Brooks - wish I had read this before first working in a team larger than 2 people. Written ages ago, just as true today; A tour-de-force of the idea that "man month" is a unit of cost, not a unit of productivity.
For more about inner voices, you might like this article http://nautil.us/issue/40/learning/a-mental-disease-by-any-o... and the books by Malidoma Patrice Some.
"Science et Méthode" (Henri Poincaré, 1908)
"The Conquest of Happiness" (Bertrand Russell, 1930)
"The Revolt of the Masses" (José Ortega y Gasset, 1930)
"Brave New World" (Aldous Huxley, 1932)
"Reason" (Isaac Asimov, 1941, short story)
"Animal Farm" (George Orwell, 1945)
"Nineteen Eighty-Four" (George Orwell, 1949)
"Starship Troopers" (Robert A. Heinlein, 1959)
"The Gods Themselves" (Isaac Asimov, 1972)
"Time Enough for Love" (Robert A. Heinlein, 1973)
IMO you won't really understand the nature and limitations of fiction until you've read JLB. His work won't change your life, as such, but it will divide it into two parts: the part that took place before you read him, and the part that comes after. You'll always be conscious of that division.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. One of the most inspirational stories I've ever read. A strong reminder to remain true to yourself in the face of all sorts of challenges and adversity.
Mastering The Complex Sale by Jeff Thull. I don't claim to be a great, or even good, salesman. But if I ever become any good at selling, I expect I'll credit this book for a lot of that. I really like Thull's approach with is "always be leaving" mantra and focus on diagnosis as opposed to "get the sale at any cost".
The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon. Like Thull, these guys deviate from a lot of the standard sales wisdom of the past few decades and promote a different approach. And like Thull, a core element is realizing that your customer aren't necessarily fully equipped to diagnose their own problems and / or aren't necessarily aware of the range of possible solutions. These guys challenge you to, well, challenge, your customers pre-existing mindsets in the name of helping them create more value.
The Discipline of Market Leaders by Fred Wiersema and Michael Treacy. A good explanation of how there are other vectors for competition besides just price, or product attributes. Understanding the ideas in this book will (probably) lead you to understand why there may be room for your company even in what appears to be an already crowded market - you just have to choose a different market segment and compete on a different vector.
How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard. It's pretty much what the title says. This is powerful stuff. Explains how to measure "things" that - at first blush - seem impossible (or really hard) to measure. Take something seemingly abstract like "morale". Hubbard shows how to use nth order effects, calibrated probability estimates, and monte carlo simulations, to construct rigorous models around the impact of tweaking such "immeasurable" metrics. The money quote "If it matters, it affects something. If it affects something, the something can be measured" (slightly paraphrased from memory).
I wish I'd read each of these much earlier. Each has influenced me, but I'd love to have been working of some of these ideas even longer.
I have developed several habits:
a. Writing a Gratitude Journal
b. Going to Gym in the morning
c. Programming in the morning
d. Reading in the morning
I copied some of my highlights here:
I tried to have a morning routine more than once, but the trade-offs where two big to keep it going. Two things stand out for me:
- It works only in the summer. The absence of natural light at 4.30 in the morning is a big no-no for me. I can't get productive on artificial lights only. Sounds weird, I know.
- Social life goes to hell. I live in a big city. Keeping up with friends, even if it's just a small circle of those I really want to keep around me, is basically a evening side-job. To get up at 4.30 every day I would probably have to cut this drastically, and I'm not sure the balance would be positive for me. I'm also single, so you know, some nice encounters are usually a matter for the nights.
From my experience, this is a daily schedule that may fit a family person, a short sleeper, a monk or a hermit.
It's about tidying up, but also about making your living space harmonious without clutter. It's not one of those get a box and put your pencils in it and then label it.
On top of that, some of Tim Ferriss' stuff on accelerated learning. Learn how to learn first, then learn everything else.
Amazingly powerful read. It is simultaneously completely saddening to read what some humans are capable of doing to others, but also inspiring to see those who were victims of the holocaust and how they looked out for their fellow man during times when they themselves had absolutely nothing.
A tale of the absolute worst and best of humanity.
Turns out the creator of Dilbert was at one time a mid-senior level manager in Corporate America, who attempted several failed entrepreneurial ventures over the years. He's also a brilliant writer. Totally hooked by Chapter 3: Passion is Bullshit > http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17859574-how-to-fail-at-a...
High Output Management
The Master Switch
Thinking Fast and Slow
Each one had a significant positive impact on my life. And both a free online!
I did read it fairly early and it had an quite an impact on my life and thinking. It put into words a lot of my discomfort with a life focused on materialistic success. And it was inspiring seeing an intelectual combining so many of the thoughts and topics he developed during his lifetime into one coherent and approachable book.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman
What Do You Care What Other People Think? - Richard Feynman
Crime and Guilt: Stories - Ferdinand von Schirach
The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
Bulldog: A Compiler for VLIW Architectures - John Ellis
Here are some links to more articulate reviews.
 - https://www.amazon.com/Master-Margarita-Mikhail-Bulgakov/dp/...
In high school I was assigned this book but I didn't read it all, it seemed like a waste of time to read 1000+ pages about a silly knight.
A few years ago I got into reading a lot of fiction translated from Spanish and Don Quixote got back on my radar so I decided to give it another try. I was blown away. It's astounding that a book from 500 years ago is still so funny and engaging today. Grossman's translation makes the book accessible and very enjoyable. If you didn't know the history you'd believe it had been published in the last few decades.
I recommend this because it's the best example of how literature can be time travel. When I smile at one of the adventures in the book I know that I'm sharing an experience with readers across centuries. There's almost no other way to get that feeling.
_Feeling Good_ because of the tools it contains to battle self-defeating feelings that lead bouts of sadness or depression. I wish everyone would read that book so that they can build mental immunity against circular, depressing thoughts.
So now, when I hear a switching power supply whine in protest, I will think of it as the squeals of pain of the engineers whose life I turned into a living hell because of my lack of appreciation for P = IV. I’m truly sorry. I wasn’t thinking. (And this is just the first chapter of that book).
80/20 principle, while mentioned in the 4 hour work week, it really has a lot more to offer in the book. How you should go about leveraging your time. There was a real gem in there about how books are really the best way to acquire knowledge and a great way to approach reading in the university.
There was a speed readying and studying book I came across from a friend that owns a book store that really helped me. I wish I had that book before I entered high school. I can never recall the name, but I will try to find it.
Totally changes your perspective towards success.
The reviews seem pretty mixed but I might pick it up just to see for myself.
The first part of the book on productivity is still very relevant. There are a few dated parts in the book regarding testing an idea.
I still recommend it to all of my friends who have not read it as the bigger picture message is one that is still very relevant today.
I found it by working my way through the list of joint nebula and hugo award winners (which is a really fun project, because all of them are amazing books). It is my favorite sci-fi book. It changes the way you look at gender, especially if you haven't questioned the concept much before.
Just happened to notice the email today and thought it might be relevant to someone... if so, enjoy :)
-  https://www.robinwieruch.de/lessons-learned-deep-work-flow/
I've been gathering my own book notes in a GitHub repo  and added a link back to your post for when I read the book.
I read it at 18 and I wish I had read it way earlier. It taught me to be mad, to live life, to get out and see the world. But looking back at it, it also taught me how to be responsible and how to not to be a jerk.
It, above all, showed me what beautiful writing is.
"Getting Things Done" by David Allen. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with bits and pieces of GTD methodology, but I encourage you to check out the full text. There are a lot of great ideas in there there that I didn't find reading online about GTD. I have been a serious GTD user for more than a year now, and I feel amazingly more in control of my life. Everything I've done in that time - from planning my wedding, to projects at work, to completely organizing my house - has gone smoother than I can remember projects going ever before.
Any chance you could give a TLDR?
That said, essentially:
Keep a daily list of all the next actions you want to accomplish, separated by context (e.g., at work, at home, at grocery store)
Break down large projects into next actions. Identify the next thing you need to do to move it forward.
Review your projects and next actions weekly (or more often) to make sure you're not missing anything.
There's other stuff too, but mostly GTD recommends that you write everything down and review it often. Your lists are a way to offload the stuff in your head, so that you can focus on what's right in front of you and not have that nagging feeling that there's something you forgot to do or something more important you should be doing.
It definitely changed the way I approach my day at work, and I feel like I'm able to accomplish a lot more without feeling exhausted at the end of the week.
No more Mr. Nice Guy -- Robert Glover
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand. If you haven't read the book don't judge it by the (awful) movie.
The Liberators: My Life in the Soviet Army. Really opens your eyes to the problems and realities of communism. I love the author's dry sense of humor as he witnesses the absurdity of many of the things he encountered.
Sniper on the Eastern Front, Albrecht Wacker. A view of WWII through the eyes of a German sniper.
Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account, Miklos Nyiszli. A view of the holocaust through the eyes of a Jewish doctor in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
I found this book in a library's junk pile, evidently unread. It has one of those bad 80s covers that suggest it'll be terrible, but to my great surprise, it's great! It's 80 or so one page missives/dictums/edicts that'll take barely half an hour to read through - I re-read it every time I have a job interview coming up or a some kind of major life choice. The author's tone is abrasively direct; this is how it is, not how it should be. And the advice isn't just for wannabe CEOs, it's accessible and attainable for everyone.
If my younger self had read this, I think my course of life would be very much different than it is right now. Just a caution that it might come off as misogynistic ramblings for some readers.
• “Don Quixote” (Cervantes): unanimously considered the best work of fiction in the Spanish-speaking world… and on many lists, even #1 of world literature, ever (!). Often overlooked (at least in Spain) by young folks as it is long, the language is archaic, and its themes appear quaint and silly today at first sight. But there's a reason it has been praised for centuries. It's funny and tender. Themes are also modern, and Cervantes' style is playful and innovative, making use of devices such as meta-references, alternative pasts, removal of the fourth wall, etc. I'm not sure how much non-native audiences can enjoy translations, though.
• “The Lord of the Rings” (Tolkien) for the original epic and touching fantasy. (I know many people devour it in their teens, or in their early youth… But I read it as an adult; quite late. Mainly because it seemed to be the only “difficult” book that many of my friends bothered to read, and that predisposed me negatively towards it. Also, my family hadn't read it, and there was no copy of it in our house.)
• “Brief History of Time” (Stephen Hawking): mind-boggling introduction to (astro-)physics, modern cosmogony, etc.
Despite the title it is useful for learning how to learn in general (not just math). Simple techniques supported by the research. I wish I didn't had to reinvent them in high school, college.
It discusses the intrinsic characteristics of work that lead to satisfaction, growth, mastery, and ultimately happiness. The author is a PhD, worked at a think tank, and quit the white-collar life to go work on motorcycles. He discusses how white-collar work has been hollowed out, transforming "professionals" into "clerks", why so many of us "knowledge workers" feel unsatisfied with our work. The book has helped me figure out how to change my work to be more intrinsically rewarding, and as an IT developer whose technology affects other people's work, it also helps me think more about how to make the end user's life better.
Another great book along these lines is Joanne Ciulla's (2000) "The Working Life", which is a bit more academic and has less motorcycles but is nevertheless very readable.
A highly imaginative, original, and underrated, world setting.
Also had the distinction of having a sequel in the form of a video game, with the game's story written by the book author herself. 
The game (for the PC, Apple II and Commodore 64) was way ahead of its time in 1984:  and I only just heard of it and the books last month! It definitely needs more recognition.
Morris uses his background as a zoologist to examine human beings as a regular animal; many books have come out of this approach. In this one he draws parallels between the city-dwelling human and the caged animal. This sort of perspective gives you self-awareness about your own tribalism and how we as a species deal with the opposing forces of individuality and longing to belong to a group. Also some ideas on the urban-rural divide that has consequences that leave people on either side puzzled (Brexit, Trump etc.)
Ctrl+F these names in this page for rationale.
Is there an "awesome books" repo on Github? I wonder.
Currently noting down the ones on this thread.
Similarly, On Intelligence is an absolutely brilliant book on what 'intelligence' is, how it works, and how to define it.
2) Hooked. Although it's very formulaic, Hooked provides a lot of good ideas and approaches on building a product.
3) REWORK. If you're a fan of 37 Signals and/or DHH, this is a succinct and enjoyable read about their principles on building and running a business.
Currently I'm reading SmartCuts and The Everything Store - both of which are great so far.
It opened my mind to understand metaphors and analogies in literature. It allowed me to peek under the surface of text.
Seriously, every written piece I read after that was different for me than before.
It also gave me more insight in the human mind and psyche.
Being able to read and understand more literature also gave me more perspectives and deeper understanding of the world and place of mankind in it.
Some other nice reads:
"The Way of Zen" - Alan Watts
"The Book" (On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are) - Alan Watts
"Demian" - Hermann Hesse; but I wouldn't want to read it earlier. I think I read at the exact best time for me (in my late 20s).
1. Loosing my virginity (Richard Branson)
- Richard Branson's Autobiography. From student magazine to Virgin to crazy ballooning adventures and space! I keep coming back to this when I feel like I need a morale boost. There isn't an audible version for this book, but there is a summary-type version on Audible "Screw it, Let's do it"- does a good job curating the exciting parts.
2. The Everything Store (Brad Stone)
3. Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
4. Elon Musk (Ashlee Vance)
5. iWoz (Steve Wozniak)
6. How Google Works (Eric Schmidt, Alan Eagle & Jonathan Rosenberg)
7. Dreams from My Father (Barack Obama)
!Business & Management:!
1. The Upstarts (Brad Stone)
2. Zero to One (Peter Thiel)
3. The power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)
4. How to win friends & Influence people (Dale Carnegi)
5. How to win at the Sport of Business (Mark Cuban)
6. Finding the next Steve Jobs (Nolan Bushnell)
7. The hard thing about hard things (Ben Horowitz)
8. Start with the Why (Simon Sinek)
9. Art of the Start (Guy Kawasaki)
1. Hatching Twitter (Nick Bilton)
-Sooooo much drama! Definitely learnt what not to do! Very interesting read.
2. The accidental Billionaires (Ben Mezrcih)
3. The Martian (Andy Weir)
4. Harry Potter Series.
5. Jurassic Park || The Lost world (Michael Crichton)
6. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
7. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
!Other honorable mentions:!
Actionable Gamification (Yu-Kai Chou)
I invented the Modern Age (Richard Snow)
Inside the tornado (Geoffrey Moore)
Jony Ive (Leander Kahney)
Sprint (Jake Knapp)
The lean startup (Eric Ries)
The selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins)
Titan (Ron Chernow)
The inevitable (Kevin Kelly)
The Innovators (Walter Isaacson)
Scrum (Jeff Sutherland)
!Most if not all have an audio-book version!
If you are in a startup or plan to start one soon, reading/listening to books should become a routine. I try to get through at least one book a week, sometimes two.
Should be called How Minds Evolve as Heirarchies of Darwinian Turing Machines ( analagously to Deep Neural Nets (Dennet cites Geoff Hinton and Edinburgh's Andy Clarke).
"working computer models have been developed that can do a good job identifying handwritten—scribbled, really—digits, involving a cascade of layers in which the higher layers make Bayesian predictions about what the next layer down in the system will “see” next; when the predictions prove false, they then generate error signals in response that lead to Bayesian revisions, which are then fed back down toward the input again and again, until the system settles on an identification (Hinton 2007). Practice makes perfect, and over time these systems get better and better at the job, the same way we do—only better" p.178 
"Hierarchical, Bayesian predictive coding is a method for generating affordances galore: we expect solid objects to have backs that will come into view as we walk around them; we expect doors to open, stairs to afford climbing, and cups to hold liquid. These and all manner of other anticipations fall out of a network that doesn’t sit passively waiting to be informed but constantly makes probabilistic guesses about what it is about to receive in the way of input from the level below it, based on what it has just received, and then treating feedback about the errors in its guesses as the chief source of new information, as a way to adjust its prior expectations for the next round of guessing."
Which echoes Richard Gregory's concept of vision (or perception) as a hypothesis continually tested against input.
This is Paradigm shifting; weltanschauung shattering stuff. Dennet very clearly lays out a methodology for how all aspects of minds can evolve using heirarchical compositions of wetware robots or :
"Si, abbiamo un anima. Ma é fatta di tanti piccoli robot!
(Yes, we have a soul, but it’s made of lots of tiny robots!)" p.24 
I'm 30 now. I wish I had read this when I was 20. It would've made dating in my 20s so much easier. I came across it last year and it's probably the single most important book I'll ever read in my entire life, for the sole reason that understanding women will allow me to have a successful marriage one day. I cannot recommend this enough.
 Free online: https://www.scribd.com/doc/33421576/How-To-Be-A-3-Man
For me the reason is simple - it's just the daunting number of pages and it is a shame that I have not read/finished these books.
The fifth discipline (Peter Senge): This book is one of the systems thinking references and it helped me to learn more about hidden dynamics in the world around me. I truly wish I've read this when I was junior in college.
1. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
because it's so beautifully written and made me experience a flood of emotions.
2. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Again, a very touching, charming book about a little kid's world(universe?) view, told through his adventures.
1. The subtle art of not giving a F*ck - Mark Manson
Opened my eyes to what I was possibly doing wrong with my life.
2. Radical Acceptance - Tara Brach
Still currently reading it, but I wish I'd found it earlier.
This book is a detailed research on what's wrong with the world and what can be still done. The chapter II brings inputs from various culture on approaches that could improve from ground up. Must read book for us and future generations.
Can someone suggest something similar to this book?
Saving the Appearances: A study in Idoltary by Owen Barfields
You won't regret it.
I would add more but I think these volumes will keep you busy for awhile ;)
I've collated the ones with interesting reasons for reading them here --> http://shelfjoy.com/sia_steel/books-hn-wished-they-had-read-...
- So Good They Can't Ignore You
- Deep Work
- Hackers by Steven Levy (perhaps my favorite book)
- Learning How To Learn
- The Person and the Situation
- The Art of Money Getting
- Make It Stick
- The Algorithm Design Manual
- Moonwalking With Einstein
- Extreme Ownership
It was the first time I read someone who was thinking about the mind like I am and was able to put into words some of my own more vague thoughts.
It's definitely going to leave you thinking.
We live in a world of thieves masqueraded as leaders.
The Mythical Man Month && Design Of Design by Fred Brooks
Hitchhikers Guide (Existentialism does not have to be edgy)
The Foundation Series (Bureaucracy and Institutionalization will never undermine Ingenuity)
Dune Series (Plans within plans)
Germs guns and steel. Jared Diamond
Influence, the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini
Justice: what's the right thing to do. Sandel
All of Feynman lectures on physics
The hard thing about hard things. Horowitz
Al muqqadimah. Ibn khaldun
Start With Why
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Think Like a Freak
Edited for fat-finger syndrome.
How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Think and Grow Rich.
The E-Myth Revisited.
The Science of Selling.
(stuff about stoicism)
This is a very interesting book that emphasises how small persistent things matter in life. Changed my worldview for good.
Stoicism is by far the best philosophy I've ever encountered. Some people call it "the best operating system for the mind", and I very much agree with that statement.
It changed my life more than any other corpus of ideas. I can't overstate how much better I feel now that my brain is running on a 'Stoic OS', especially on an emotional level --which was the hardest to deal with as I'm rather hyper-sensitive; now my emotions have truly become an almost entirely positive force in my experience of life, regardless of their nature, good or bad, of said emotions; in fact I no longer even qualify emotions on this scale; and the same goes true for an overwhelming majority of my thinking.
This book is the personal journal of one of the greatest roman emperors, leader of the (western) world at the time. A rare enough occurrence in the history of leaders, he was deemed 'worthy of his position' on a human and philosophical level by most people who knew him.
A couple remarks: "philosophy" as seen by ancient authors and thinkers is not a strictly intellectual or abstract endeavor, not a scholarly matter, at least not at its core. Philosophy is the closest equivalent they had to what we'd call "self-development" today. It's very down to earth, 'life recipes' of sorts, simply to educate and help people deal with this elusive brain of ours. Seneca's and Epictetus writings are also excellent food for thought, food for one's mind. Imho, philosophy, litterally the "love of wisdom", is something we should deeply reappropriate, both as individuals and whole societies.
Relatingly, Stoicism used to be taught from childhood throughout most of human history in the western world (and it could be argued that Asia has its own equivalent philosophies). For some reason, we ceased teaching philosophy to children around the turn of of the 20th century, which leaves most people with a lack of means to deal with their emotional circumstances. I'm one of those who consider this to be a dire pity, especially in our day and age. I think it sorely shows in public discourse and interpersonal relationships, and the end result is too much suffering that is entirely preventable.
Meditations is easy enough to read, but if you want something more modern, I found The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday to be a very good introduction to Stoicism.
As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. It's as short as it is good for the mind, the building/making of one's persona. Well worth a read at least once in your life, there are many 20th and 21st century self-development books (e.g. How to Win Friends and Influence People) that I believe drew some of their teachings from this 1903 classic.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Regardless of where you find the information contained in this book (there are many works on the topic, both modern and throughout history), this book helps understanding that living in the present moment is critically important, and a key to happiness. Notwithstanding the 'wu-wu' aspects of Tolle's particular take, it just works. If you find yourself constantly dwelling on the past, or being a 'nostalgic of the future' (as I both used to do), knowing the value of living 'in the now' may be the difference between chronic depression and a fulfilling experience of life. It certainly is for me.
Remembrance of Things Past -- I'm still reading this, as it's a massive stream of consciousness book, but I wish I'd started it when I was younger so that I'd be done with it by now. It's just so weird to read it and experience the writing that I enjoy it for simply being different. As you read it just remember that every ; is really a . and every . is really \n\n.
Van Gogh: The Life -- I absolutely hate the authors. They're great at research, but I feel they had a vendetta against Van Gogh of some kind. Throughout the book, at times when Van Gogh should be praised for an invention, they make him seem like a clueless dork. Ironically, their attempt to portray him as a dork who deserves his treatment ends up demonstrating more concretely how terrible his life was because he was different. I think if this book were around when I was younger I might have become an artist instead of a programmer.
A Confederacy of Dunces -- Absolutely brilliant book, and probably one of the greatest examples of comedic writing there is. It's also nearly impossible to explain to people except to say it's the greatest example of "and then hilarity ensues".
Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar -- After a terrible guitar teacher damaged my left thumb I thought I'd never play guitar again. I found this book and was able to use it to learn to retrain how my left hand works and finally get back to playing. Mickey Baker's album also brought me to the Bass VI, which got me thinking I could build one, and then I did and now I've built 6 guitars. I play really weird because of this book and I love it. This book also inspired how I wrote my own books teaching programming and without it I'd still be a cube drone writing Python code for assholes. If I'd found this book when I was younger it most likely would have changed my life then too.
Reflections on A Pond -- It's just a book of this guy painting the same scene 365 times, one for each "day of the year" even though it took him many years to do it. All tiny little 6x8 impressions of the same scene. I learned so much about how little paint you need to do so much, and it's also impressive he was able to do it. I can't really think about anything I've done repetitively for every day of a year. I've attempted the same idea with self-portraits but the best I could do was about 3 month's worth before I went insane and started hating my own face.
Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting -- Instructionally this book isn't as good as How To See Color, but as a reference guide it is about the most thorough book on painting there is. It's so huge it's almost impossible to absorb all of it in one reading, so I've read it maybe 5 times over the years.
Ordered a copy, thanks!