Because of that book, within 3 months I went from running completely out of breath after 2 minutes of running, to finishing a half-marathon in 2 hours. And during the prior 3 months, I had lost 15 kilos by following the "slow-carb diet" described in the book.
Reading it seemed to flip a switch in my brain: before, I would think of my body as something I had little control over, while after, I saw it as not only something I had full control over, but as something I could hack. I've also followed up on quite a few of the product recommendations in the book (e.g. Inov-8 trainers, Aqua Sphere goggles, etc), and have yet to be disappointed.
That said, the book does come with a heavy dose of Tim's pointless boasting, half-assed chapters (e.g. the polyphasic sleep or the baseball batting ones), and far more conjecture than a book of that sort should have.
Before SS, my martial arts instructor always chided me: "Crazybear, don't power through the disarm. There are lots of guys bigger than you. Get the leverage right."
Now he tells newbies: "Don't power through the disarm, it won't work on a guy like Crazybear. Get the leverage right."
It's a simple how-to guide to getting strong. Just follow the program he gives and you become stronger - it's time tested and works well for pretty much everyone. Be really careful with deadlifts, particularly if you have back issues.
While wikipedia does have some errors, most of the mistakes seem to come in the form of someone sabotaging a disliked celebrity or organization's page. In light of this, it seems to me that most of the topics a student would be likely to write about for a term paper wouldn't be affected. Universities should always allow students to use wikipedia for one of their references, but they should also hold students accountable for the information they take from it.
I know university professors who love Wikipedia. Some even give their students the project of writing new Wikipedia articles.
If I want to learn about a topic, wikipedia is great. If I need more information, I can look elsewhere but many times I don't need to. And except for maybe a handful of topics, I shouldn't expect to be able to seriously converse with an expert. Why should that be the goal? I think the goal is to find the answer to your questions, and that's it.
Turns out Taubes just masquerades as a scientist - he's more like gladwell in his approach to writing - it _appears_ to be correct, but if you dig a little deep at all, you discover there isn't really much substance.
So - in that sense, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" was a great book for me in 2011. It showed me how easy it was for you to to be taken in by fraudulent writing. Lesson learned.
The opening paragraph of the article:
"I'd like to begin by emphasizing that carbohydrate restriction has helped many people lose body fat and improve their metabolic health. Although it doesn't work for everyone, there is no doubt that carbohydrate restriction causes fat loss in many, perhaps even most obese people. For a subset of people, the results can be very impressive. I consider that to be a fact at this point, but that's not what I'll be discussing here."
And later on in the article:
"I think it's likely that refined carbohydrate and sugar can contribute to obesity, but by what mechanism? Insulin is not a compelling explanation."
I don't see a charlatan exposed here.
Guyenet's critique reminds me of a saying I heard a while back: Sure it works in practice, but does it work in theory?
This is pretty well known, and has a fairly simple mechanism. By imposing artificial restrictions on your diet (no carbs, no acidic foods, nothing brown to yellow in color), you reduce the amount of calories you can consume. I.e., where you previously saw "ooh, lemon cake, let me eat", you now say "no yellow food". Caloric consumption goes down, and so does bodyfat.
This is why basically all weirdo diets work in the short term.
The fact is that Taubes theories about insulin have been shown to be false. His theories that obese people retain more fat has also been shown to be false. His theories that obese people have a lower metabolic rate have also been shown to be false. He continues to push them in spite of this. That's the definition of charlatan.
Another experiment: go read this article of his. http://garytaubes.com/2010/12/inanity-of-overeating/
Then based on his presentation, state what you think his hypothetical fat person and thin person are eating. Most people come away with a completely wrong idea.
I agree that by itself, the one paper Taubes focuses on does not prove all that much. So what?
Taubes is using rhetorical tricks - in this case, throwing words at the reader, confusing the issue, and declaring victory, in an effort to prevent fanboys from catching onto him. It'll probably work, he'll probably make millions more selling books. Doesn't make him any less the charlatan.
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (often quoted here, and rightly so; it's short and really really great)
- How to Live, or A life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell (a fantastic take on Montaigne's essays by a contemporary scholar with a refreshing take on everything).
Sounds like a good man.
* Thinking, Fast and Slow: http://amzn.to/sXQGSR - probably makes my list because I just finished it, and as he says "what you see is all there is" - we're biased towards things that come to mind easily. Actually, it is a pretty good book even looking through all the others I've read.
* 1491: http://amzn.to/uaR0yf - about the Americas prior to the arrival of "Cristoforo Colombo".
* Built to sell: http://amzn.to/ukmyNP - how to create a business that is something that you can sell because it can exist without you. Not quite so relevant to startups working on a product, but some good concepts nonetheless. A good summary is probably just as good as reading the book, as the core concepts are fairly simple.
* Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World: http://amzn.to/tVvltK the history of the world as seen through languages.
* The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East: http://amzn.to/spQCF7 - a look at how the legal systems of 'the west' and the middle east differed and the results those systems led to.
And of course, if you haven't read this one, I think it's a great read:
Start Small, Stay Small: http://amzn.to/v2DHyx - a great guide full of practical advice on "startups for the rest of us".
What I haven't read:
Lean Startups by Eric Ries. Does it contain much practical advice? I get the impression it's a bit on the 'strategic' side without giving you concrete ideas about how to go about doing things.
The Steve Jobs biography. It looks to be so pervasive and widespread that I'm wondering if I can absorb most of the good parts from other people who have read it. I may get it anyway; we'll see.
FWIW, all links contain a referral code to help fuel my reading habit.
The top rated review of The Lean Startup basically trashes it, saying it never gets very specific, and is sort of a vehicle for Eric Ries to sell himself.
It's a good introduction however for anyone looking to move beyond a trial and error approach to startups.
But I can't tell, because it's behind a paywall.
Still, I found it enjoyable and worth my time. Even though I thought Harry's portrayal was pretty uneven (swinging between "scientist/genius in an irrational world" and "arrogant prick demigod").
I liked Drako's additional depth far better than Rowling's one dimensional jerk.
(rehash of my previous comment: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3231266 )
* The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell. Probably one of the best books I've read, even for people who don't want to make games, it was really good.
* Business Model Generation by Osterwalder and Pigneur. One of the better business books I've read through. Also one of the most creative.
And I finally read:
* The C Programming Language by K&R. 'nuff said.
It made me feel like I'm not thinking enough about everything around me.
* Song of Ice and Fire series. I never really liked fantasy but this series is wonderful. The TV-series (Game of Thrones) is okay but a far cry from the books.
* The Pragmatic Programmer. The best programming book I've seen. A must read for programmers I'd say.
* Introduction to Algorithms. Haven't really gone through it but so far it's been great.
In the show they made her out to be... American. Rude, spoiled, etc. Other than that I just wish they had the time and the audience to tell the FULL story in all it's glory. Of course it's expected that the sub-plots have to be trimmed of the minutiae, but the complexity and ambiguity is part of what makes ASoIaF so amazing.
Using the common motive of "making the show appeal to a wider [American] audience," it seemed to me that they wanted her character to hit closer to home than a polished young lady would. Of course, my opinion is just a shallow one - a thought in passing.
Thinking on it now you are probably right to question me on my association of 'rude and spoiled' with 'American,' but that was just my gut reaction. FWIW, I'm an American with minimal knowledge of the demeanor teenage girls from other societies, Western or otherwise.
I'm not going to turn this into a personal essay. I realized—after reading both books with a critical eye—that there are a lot of trumped-up claims made about each books' contents that ultimately fail to bear themselves out. But there's a great deal to learn from each, and I say this as a nontheist.
On it's own it didn't, but there was enough in there that a) I didn't agree with, b) didn't engage me on a spiritual level and c) that was just downright weird that I knew this wasn't the holy book that I should be looking to for guidance.
Reading it alone got me to 'looking for an alternative' but not quite the atheist I am now (or more specifically secular humanist).
If you'd like to discuss this more via email feel free to drop me a line at ali dot najaf at gmail dot com.
Even in adulthood I'd be absolutely astonished if even 50% of any major religion have read to completion the core text of that religion, indeed I would expect the number to be far lower.
Most importantly, translations of Koran are not equated to the real thing, i.e. a Koran in English is not the Koran, it's only a translation. This has historically been a handicap for the "common people" to have access to the book. This situation was also backed by the religious elite (although Islam lacks a religious caste like Christianity, there are still hodjas, etc. who are the ones who interpret the writings). Remember that the Enlightenment in Europe was due in some part to the wide access to the Bible in the vernacular languages, e.g. the King James' version.
Another reason is that, for devout Muslims, there are a set of rules that must be obeyed to touch the Koran, one has to be clean. So (theoretically) you can't just grab it, lean back on the couch and read it. In houses it is not placed with other books on the shelf but usually in a separate cloth cover, above all books. This reverence for it has the paradoxical effect of curtailing access to its content.
As far as access to the contents of the Koran, Islam truly has some medieval qualities.
Very good, long: China Marches West: The Quing Conquest of Central Eurasia by Peter C. Perdue, http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780674057432-0
Odd, interesting, relatively short: Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues by George Berkeley, http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780674057432-0
Techie: Effective Perl Programming by Joseph Hall, http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780321496942-0
- Don't Make Me Think by Krug: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/032134...
- Apartment Therapy by Gillingham-Ryan http://www.amazon.com/Apartment-Therapy-Eight-Step-Home-Cure...
- Presentation Zen by Gar http://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Zen-Simple-Design-Deliver...
- Belisarius Saga by Flint and Drake http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/13-TheBalticWarCD/TheBalt...
- Wise Man's Fear by Rothfuss http://www.amazon.com/Wise-Mans-Fear-Kingkiller-Chronicles/d...
- Wizard of Oz by Baum http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Oz-Puffin-Classics/dp/014132102...
"An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought" by Murray Rothbard
This was great because of the history lesson packed into a book that's mostly about economics. I didn't realize how libertarian the economic thought of the east was until I read this book. I also appreciated the focus on economics before Adam Smith since I knew only about Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas's contributions prior to reading the book. Rothbard's take-down of Marx was both thorough and satisfying.
"City of God" by Augustine of Hippo
The history lesson here was helpful as was the perspective on how the church should view the state though I should have invested more money in a better version for Kindle. The version I had was filled with grammatical mistakes due to the poor translation to the Kindle format.
* Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
* Slack, by Tom DeMarco (also re-read Peopleware). Both of these books are fundamental to anyone developing software within an organization.
* Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh. It's not fantastic but it's helpful if you are trying to build a business.
* Tribal Leadership - recommended by the above. Not great but interesting.
* Rework - short read, worth the time.
* Managing Humans by Rands - very entertaining, useful if you manage people.
Other stuff I read is not worth mentioning in a "best books" list.
This will resonate well with people who enjoy working with their hands. It also has some pretty entertaining anecdotes from the author's personal life, but it's not overly autobiographical. I personally found this one interesting because I've had some similar experiences in life-working on (and driving) an old Volkswagen as a first car, working in the trades, going to college, getting a desk job, and now, thinking perhaps that a desk job isn't for me, as he realized.
* Predictably Irrational - How Humans behave and why.
* 4 hour work week - About how to earn money to live not live to earn money
* Made to stick - How to convey ideas in a way others will remember
* Lean Startup - How to build products using continuous innovation
* Guerrilla Marketing - Basic Marketing principles in 30 days
* Rework - Myth Buster for Internet/Tech companies
* Outsider Edge - Condensed History and reasoning for success of self-made billionaires
* Linus Torvalds - Just for Fun - About Linus Torvalds
Ebooks ( haven't finished reading yet, but they are great so far )
* Getting thing Done - Management principle for knowledge workers by David Allen
* Agile Development - Building Rails apps using agile methodology
I can't believe I've finished 8 books in 2011, long live audio books.
* "Salonica, City of Ghosts" by M.Mazower. Tells the history of Thessaloniki, informative, entertaining, at times nostalgic.
* "The Cauchy-Schwarz Master Class" by J.M.Steele. A guided tour of mathematical inequalities. Very entertaining and readable (for a math book) and extremely well written.
* "Indiscrete Thoughts" by G-C.Rota. Irreverent anecdotes about mathematicians.
* "Black Swan" by N.N.Taleb. Maybe overhyped and at times annoying and pompous, but extremely insightful nevertheless.
It's about how we have come to live in a meritocracy, where your status depends on what you have achieved. Very insightful and readable work by the contemporary philosopher/writer.
He's saying that your therapist might ask about your parents and family, but won't probably ask about the nameless people you run into every day -- your neighbors, the people in line at the store, etc. -- but these people also play a large role in terms of your self-esteem and ultimately your happiness because you are constantly defining yourself in terms of those around you. You will be happier living in a place where you make 10% more than the average, than where you make 10% less, no matter what that amount is.
The Undiscovered Self : http://amzn.com/0451217322 - A distillation of much of Carl Jung's lifetime of research in psychology into a short book. The blurb on the book jacket sums it up best: 'In his classic, provocative work, Dr. Carl Jung-one of psychiatry's greatest minds-argues that the future depends on our ability to resist society's mass movements. Only by understanding our unconscious inner nature-"the undiscovered self"-can we gain the self-knowledge that is antithetical to ideological fanaticism.'
Other books I absolutely loved are Effective Java 2 and Programming Interviews Exposed. I'm waiting for Amazon to ship me the second edition of the latter.
Hackers and Painters is a classic I default to whenever I'm looking for inspiration.
I plan to follow it with Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.
"Cosmos" - Carl Sagan
"Hyperion" + "Fall of Hyperion" - Dan Simmons
"Red Mars" - Kim Stanley Robinson
"The Prince" - Niccolo Machiavelli
Also, "Glasshouse" by Charles Stross was pretty rad too.
"A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy"
Which I enjoyed very much.
A scary tale about the collapse of the various markets across the globe. I constantly had to keep checking to see if the book was from the fiction section. The stories are so far out there it seemed unreal.
- Liar's Poker. Lewis' account of how the bond market really got huge in the 80's. The book that put him on the map. He was a bond salesman in Solomon Brothers investment bank, a really interesting read with many larger than life characters. An insider account on how companies and financial institutions gorged themselves in debt.
- The Big Short. In a way this is like a "sequel" to Liar's Poker (weird to say for non-fiction I know), as the 20 year "story arc" from the grow of junk bonds, to the massive deleveraging due to the subprime mortgage collapse is examined. He also follows the stories of those canny enough to stack up massive bets in anticipation of the collapse.
Finance is a boring topic generally, but Lewis focuses on the characters and is a superb storyteller. He has a real knack for being able to explain these complex, earth-shattering events in a way that those of us without PhD's in quantitative finance can understand.
Pioneering Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt saw the Italian Renaissance as no less than the beginning of the modern world. In this hugely influential work he argues that the Renaissance’s creativity, competitiveness, dynasties, great city-states and even its vicious rulers sowed the seeds of a new era. Great book for entrepreneurs, scientists, thinkers, inventors, coders, radicals, and visionaries.
With respect to nonfiction, I enjoyed Schroeder's recent biography of Warren Buffett, entitled the Snowball. It was much less of a hagiography than much of what you read on him. He's a fascinating, complex man.
A play called "Andha Yug" (The Age of Darkness) in Hindi. English translation is also available for those interested. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0198065221/
This year was solely devoted to pleasure reading.
Neal Stephenson's REAMDE was quite good, although I imagine everybody on HN has read it, as Neal is practically a Valley institution.
The original 'Starship Troopers' by Ray Bradbury was also a good read, and easy to miss if you're into more modern science fiction.
Dr Zhivago - Boris Pasternak. If you have not read any of the Russians, give this a go. Initially it is not easy, like all Russian literature, but the wonderfully poetic images and lyricism keep drawing you back. Easily my favourite for the year.
Technically, I'd say "Land of Lisp" has been the most fun and the most rewarding.
> Logic is immaturity weaving its nets of gossamer wherewith it aims to catch the behemoth of knowledge. Logic is a crutch for the cripple; but a burden for the swift of foot; and a greater burden for the winged.
Most people will read two pages of this book and hand it back. But that's their failure, not the books'.
If you read the above quote, and don't get its true meaning, don't get this book, it will read as pure nonsense.
The true meaning is that we (the cripple, all of us) use logic (a tool, the crutch) to help us (which is good), but at some point in time (after you've mastered logic) you reach an understand that there is no right or wrong, no point in progress or success, that the universe does not care about any of this, and that logic now holds you back (from enlightenment).
Using logic, you can be a scholar, even a philosopher, but you'll never reach enlightenment.
Now watch the truly crippled downvote this away.
Read it in the beginning of this year when I was starting to run, very inspiring. And look, I'm still running!
Also, I reread Rework about 3 times this year. Always a good and quick read.
Unrelated comment, but I feel compelled to mention... I just moved to SF and read that book right when I got here, only to find out that Pirsigs son (who is one of the main characters of the book) was stabbed and killed at roughly 22 (I am 25) a few blocks from where I work. For some reason, that story really affected me and has changed the way I look at life. I highly recommend the book to anyone in any field.
Being an engineer amplifies its meaning.
- "Physics for Future Presidents" by Richard Muller
Not really a book but I found the "MIT Guide to Lock Picking" an interesting read.
Peter Singer introduced and popularized the term "speciesism" in the book that is often referred to as the bible of the animal rights movement.
I've read it early in the year, and it made me think about my business in a totally new way. Way too many parts me had me nodding sadly "yes, this happens to me too". A must for any business owners
* A Random Walk Down Wall Street
* Predictably Irrational
* Black Swan
and enjoyed those too. I've also read "How To Make Friends and Influence People" and started "Lords of Finance" but never finished.
Very Powerful Read!
Here are some excerpts:
It is both depressing and enlightening.
The power of Less: http://amzn.to/t4umWo . It discuss how you can simplify your life. It give many practical advices, and is good for all kinds of people. The message in the book is " be aware and simplify".
Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky. By Sarah Lacy, former writer fo techcrunch. http://amzn.to/vMJwhR. It show how the entrepreneurship and startups are going around the world. As a brazilian reader, I find the picture of brazil very accurate, so the rest of the world must be accurate too. It's a good resource for anyone wanting to understand and know the startup community in countries like India, China, Brazil, Indonesia and others.
If you want to write, by brenda Ueland ,http://amzn.to/w5gQyz: It's a nice book about the craftsmanship of writing. It's a bit 'philosophic' book, but also give a little practical advice. It's and old book, don't be amazed when it refer to the typewriter. And it's very cheap, only 3,99.
And to finish, time warrior, by steve chandler. http://amzn.to/vNBawK If you want a book to beat procrastination, and other modern plagues, this is the book. very practical advice, the book has more then 100 tips. Every should read it.
Thats my favorite books of this year, apart of the ones everyone has talked about, like Steve Jobs bio, Lean Startup, and others startup world books.
Economics: How Markets Fail by John Cassidy
Fiction: read through the works of Jo Nesbo, Dennis Lehane, Don Winslow and Stieg Larrsson - all of them recommendable
- The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell: http://amzn.to/zFOiEk
It's pretty comprehensive, but I found it a bit "heads in the cloud" and not very hands on. The lenses give you some hands-on approach if you apply them though. If you are looking for a book with very specific "how-to-do-this-or-that" then it may not be your thing.
I like to pair this book with David Perry on Game Design: http://amzn.to/ytXF7G
That monster tomb is all hands-on and You can use it more like a cheatsheet:"OK I need a villain. Let me turn to the 'villain archetypes' section and pick one at random. OK he needs a weapon. Let me turn to the 'rifles' section and pick one at random" and so on.
I also really liked "Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design" by Scott Rogers: http://amzn.to/xuVjWU
It is the book I recommend to budding game developers because it is sort of like "Art of Game Design" lite. It covers most of the same topics but don't go into such an intellectual depth which is a GOOD thing for people just wrapping their heads around what game design is. Once they finish that, I move them to Schell's book.
Of the non-fiction I read, and completed, this year, Endurance: Shackelton's Incredible Voyage by Lansing.
I still wonder how BS is going to cover all loose ends in one book!
TIL today, there is a comic book for The Eye of the World.
I wrote a review here: http://pragmaticpoliticaleconomy.blogspot.com/2011/09/im-rea...
That, and I really liked SICP (finally got off the shelf).
Either way, you should spend more time reading it. Consider it science fiction if it bothers you.
"The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind" is also mind blowing. Neither is foolproof, and both are potentially crackpot -- but if should read a crackpot book to broaden your horizons. Just consider it scifi instead of science.
Novel: Invisible by Paul Auster
Essay: Après la démocratie (French) by Emmanuel Todd
Privately, general-fiction-wise, The Wind-up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami did the most for me.
Privately, SF-wise, three books by Kurt Vonnegut: Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-five and The Sirens of Titan
It was recommended by several friends, and I finally got around to reading it. Helped, along with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to work through my personal thought process. Highly recommended.
It talks about the kinds of ideas that lead to progress in human societies and those that lead to stagnation. I believe Deutsch is, in this book, the first philosopher to actually explain why science works as well as it does. I wish I could do justice to this book in a short review, but instead I can only urge everyone reading this to give it a shot. Read the first chapter, and you'll know you have to read the rest.
Great read about how one little tiny country (Portugal)in Europe ended being the first colonial power through their dominance of the seas, spice trade and their desire to see Islam vanquished.
Mona Lisa Overdrive - William Gibson
Zero History - William Gibson
11/22/63 - Stephen King
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
Ghost in the Wires - Kevin Mitnick
The Elegant Universe - Brian Greene
The Trouble With Physics - Lee Smolin
Not Even Wrong - Peter Woit
The Lean Startup - Eric Ries
Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Built To Last - Jim Collins
Business Model Generation - Alexander Osterwalder
Started, but unfinished, may yet make the list:
Simulacra and Simulation - Jean Baudrillard
Reamde - Neal Stephenson
The Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene
The book discusses how science can be used to deal with questions on morality.
My personal additions (though I know they are not obscure):
Down and Out in Disneyland - Cory Doctorow (This was gifted by a friend and really inspired me to make some significant changes in my life. That includes the decision to learn to code and escape the user end of the spectrum.)
Procrastination- Jane B. Burka , Lenora M. Yuen (This book has fundamentally altered my introspective conclusions. That is to say, I am now more aware of times when I am procrastinating and the impact it has on my life.)
This year was a great year for reading and I hope to read even more next year.
This is IMO the very best kind of sci-fi: a plausible, scientifically grounded story about interesting people experiencing some fascinating shit.
Wilson is a great writer, too; I hadn't heard of him previously, but have since read a bunch of his works.
(As an aside, there has never been a year in my life where the best book of the year for me was a nonfiction title. Am I weird?)
It's a difficult book, but some excellent reading guides exist do I highly recommend giving it a read.
Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles.
Many books mentioned here are good, this is the only I haven't seen referenced. But this one book really helped me deal with resistance and get stuff done. Seth Godin is a big fan and references it a lot in his material.
Steven Pressfield also wrote 'The Legend of Bagger Vance' and Gates of Fire (Spartan 300 kind of book but way deeper).
- World record improves linearly for over 50 years, for how long will the trend continue?
- Is it OK not to rescore erroneously high SAT scores?
- Why among examinees who get the same SAT score White examinees do better on easy items, whereas Black examinees do better on hard items?
- How comes that areas with the lowest and the highest kidney cancer death rate are rural areas?
It's a very interesting idea of how "The Singularity" might look.
Speaking of fiction I want to recommend Neil Gainman The Graveyard Book
Best book on software engineering in a good while.
Though it's certainly aimed at competitive gaming, I also use it at times as an inspiration for my business. It helps whenever I need to take a second look and play the devil's advocate about my own decisions. Reading it also earned me an extremely effective weapon against procrastination.
* Dune, by Frank Herbert
Very blunt and mean. But also convincing...
- Steve Jobs, the biography (edition is bad, lots of repeated passages and phrases and phrases, but the story itself is great)
- Ender's Game (better at human psychology than Lord of the Flies)
On the "biggest letdowns" ranking:
- Lean Startup (shallow and basically a recollection of common sense stuff)
- Game of Thrones series (I tried, then tried, then tried again. Not my kind of fiction, I guess)
"Devices and Desires" by KJ Parker: An interesting fantasy book that is centered around an engineer---his unique take on complex human situations might appeal to the more analytical amongst us.
I've now given it as a present no less than 4 times and counting.
Lately I've been reading old books as well from Og Mandino. Ditto with technical books: books from the 70's, 80's, 90's are quite good. The rest are... "OK".
For those who liked Malkiel's Random Walk, read:
* Ben Graham's Intelligent Investor
* Philip Fisher's Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
They counter Malkiel's thesis (yup, he's wrong) and Warren Buffet credits both men for teaching him how to invest. True classics.
I think reading both is not a bad idea, but for those of us not in a position to crack open a company's books like someone like Buffet can do, I'm not convinced of the wisdom of trying to beat the market at determining which companies are 'value' companies.
I borrowed the book from library and only read a few pages here and there. Returned the book within a week because I have other priorities or other books to read.
I think it's good that the "herd" mentality is missing on this book. In fact, I hope the herd/blogger mentality decreases as well in any other books (like Gladwell's, Ferris's, etc).
Having never owned a piece of apple hardware due to its closed nature and being an open source supporter myself, I was quite surprised by the joy I got from reading this book.
The honesty used by Walter Isaacson to describe Jobs was really refreshing and not expected by me at all.
I was able to draw many conclusions from this book.
For example I do not think that there is the possibility of using it as a recipe for your own success as an entrepreneur, which might be the reason of why the hn community might be undervaluing this book.
It clearly shows that Steve had many unique character traits which made him successful after all.
Most of them were negative in my eyes.
Actually he often seemed borderline insane.
When thinking about the way he treated people, the way he manipulated people, the way he thought that he knew it all and used all of those techniques in order to make those things happen, I realized that those are character traits that lie deep within and cannot easy be emulated, if at all.
As a conclusion I might add that I really respect Steve and his family for allowing such a self critical biography to be published.
I find it... weird when someone said something in HN and somebody else has to agree or disagree. It's like a blog post that requires a rebuttal or something.
Some people want to read about Steve Jobs, some don't...
And FYI, I'm not sure if reading a book on X and consider it as a recipe for your business is a good thing anyway. Nobody has replicated 37Signals success so far.
Whatever you thought about Steve, most people probably already knew that from the numerous books, articles, and whatnot written about him. And if this book exposed 10-30% more about him... well.. some people may not bother to know more...
It's not like we all must read the book or something...
Instant Karma: The Heart & Soul of a Ski Bum
Wild Snow: 54 Classic Ski and Snowboard Descents of North America
Roof of the Rockies: A History of Colorado Mountaineering
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
Computational Geometry: Algorithms and Applications
Economics explained in the most intuitive way.
On a related note I started an account at goodreads.com at the start of this year. It is great for keeping track of what you read and to find books for future reading.
A much recommended read.
It's a book on the history of math, focused around the story of math's struggle to deal with infinity. There's really nothing like it. (okay, technically I still haven't finished it, but it's still 2011)
Really good book about willpower, mental fatigue, dieting, working etc. Lots of nice examples and tips to improve different aspects of your life.
For leisure : A Dance with Dragons, from Georges R.R. Martin "Game of Thrones" series (the HBO version is superb, but do not miss the books either).
Read in this way, the book can act as a catalyst for meditative insights -- overlooked possibilities, bigger pictures, new roles and options, and alternative directions for the future.
I find certain books required a deep thought before you can get anything out of it. These books aren't something that you can read in a plane on the way to New York from LA.