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Ask HN: What books do you recommend reading once a year?
36 points by kumartanmay 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments



1) Never Split the Difference

Really, this book changed how I view communication and negotiation forever. It will definitely impact your life positively.

2) The Lean Startup

A classic, but worth re-reading. Everytime I read the book, it leaves a greater imprint on how I think.

3) The Obstacle is the Way

How to turn obstacles into solutions. This book is a great treatise on Stoicism via examples. I read the book at the start of the year which to mentally set the right tone for the months to follow. The book "coaches" the reader in the basic tenets of the Stoic philosophy by drawing examples from history and sports, by the end of the book you are left with a more intuitive and practical understanding of Stoicism than an academic one.


I am practising Stoicism and I have heard a lot about Ryan Holiday's Ego is the enemy. Both these books are on my reading list.


The Ego is the Enemy is not a good book IMHO. It is a blog post repeated to fit into a book. The Obstacle is the Way is Ryan Holiday's good work.

Try to read "A Guide to the Good Life" or Epictetus's Enchiredion. Good stuff.


Thanks for your candid feedback. I'm removing Ego is the Enemy from my list.

Stoicism is always a fascinating read.


I just checked Never Split the Difference. The context of the book is intriguing. Thank you so much :-)


Joel on Software - I learn new things every time I read it, but the best part is how insanely funny Joel is when he tells stories about working on the early microsoft products.

Stardust - My favorite last page of all time, but it only works if you read the whole thing. Which is fine, since it's a seriously fun story that's short one, and can be taken in over a long afternoon.

Antifragile - Simply amazing, and I learn a whole batch of new things every time I read it.


Thanks for reminding Joel on Software. Definitely, it is the go-to guide for all techies. I like NNT's mind but it is too difficult to learn or practise what he preaches. What's your take away from Antifragile?


Antifragile is a great one

For fiction necromancer and snow crash are great


Omg those are cyber-punk royalty and both incredible, engaging reads. Great suggestion.


Dune - Frank Herbert

It's one of the few books that resets my frame of mind. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or chronically distracted the sands of Arrakis always seem to strip my mind of clutter and set me back into a state of flow.


Never heard but it sounds good. I just finished reading The Courage to be disliked by Ichiro Kishmi and it was so refreshing to reset my mind that I've planned to read again. This time I'll go slow and even make notes. Also, the inspiration behind this ASK HN is also the same book.


Whatever book that inspires or lights a fire in you. For me it use to be "Hackers" by Steven Levy, I will go on massive coding binges after reading that. Doesn't work anymore tho. :-D


Just checked Hackers on Amazon and I love reading quick histories. Should be an interesting one. Thanks for sharing.


My equivalent to that would probably be The Soul Of A New Machine.


Wow. You're introducing me to a new world of books in the same genre.


The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank would probably top my list.

Some other books that I find deserving of the at least occasional re-read (if not yearly)

The Soul of a New Machine - Kidder

Hackers - Levy

False Memory - Dean Koontz

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

Neuromancer - William Gibson

Nineteen Eighty-Four - Orwell

The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne


I have read Four Steps. Although it is meant for early-stage founders, I believe an experienced founder would learn more from it because it is experiential and exhaustive. On the other hand, an experienced founder will not like to read a book on early-stage startups, especially as exhaustive as this one. There are many alternatives to it for him, such as Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horrowitz. I am writing this to know your purpose of reading it every year.


Like you said... it's very exhaustive and detailed. I think one can learn more from this book on multiple subsequent readings. I also find it inspirational and motivating, so that's another part of the reason.


For me it is 1. Poor Charlie’s Almanac- the life lessons that are not taught in any school can also be applied in product development. It’s the easiest way to interact with the Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet - imagine one on one on leading a purposeful life with these two.


2. Courage to be disliked - Adler’s individual philosophy is explained in a way that could change the way you lead your life. It’s a practice that will take years to change but even minor changes lead to happiness and self fulfilment.

3. Deep Work - Cal Newport is very good at identifying distractions we are surrounded by and reading the habits of most high achievers. Even after 8 months of reading, I am more conscious today than ever.



I read Neuromancer every two years.


SICP - alway something new

TAOCP - esp. the latest fascicles about book 4, crazy combinatorial problems, esp. exciting solving unsolvable problems.

Anti Patterns - never gets old


You read TAOCP once a year? Or you scan it? I could see perusing it periodically and doing a dive into a few sections. But not reading the whole thing. I read and mostly worked through all of volume 1 once, that took enough time (and a detour through Concrete Mathematics). Volumes 2 and 3 I scanned and did a few exercises here and there on areas I found interesting.


Not the whole of course. Only certain parts. Esp. the new ones.


SICP makes computer science super fun and easier to understand. I believe it is one of the tenets on which CS-philers grow upon.


The Anatomy of Peace

Leadership and Self Deception

Crucial Conversations


Marcus Aurelius "Meditations" if listening to a audio book also counts.


Yes, it's a classic. Lately, I am fascinated by Adlerian philosophy.

And, I love audiobooks for its own pace.


The Dude and the Zen Master


The calendar.


Are you referring to Duncan's book?




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