Tristan's Bookshelf

Eighty-two books that I've read. Created with Readwise.

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Reviewed Books

★ 10/10
The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

Richard W. Hamming


Maybe it's because he belonged to a different generation of Computer Scientists, but Hamming had a perspective on science, engineering, and computing that I've never seen anywhere else. Lots of gems in this compilation of lectures, including his most well-known "You and Your Research".

★ 10/10
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein


Holy crap, where has this sci-fi book been my entire life? Sentient AI, society on the moon (with its own uniquely charming and unorthodox culture), anarchy, political coups, and revolution. Mike the supercomputer might be my favorite character from any book ever. I finished the first 100 pages in my first sitting... If anyone knows of more books like this, PLEASE let me know!

★ 10/10
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Eliezer Yudkowsky


Harry Potter retold as if Harry was a very intelligent rationalist, facing the mysteries of the wizarding world with nothing but the power of science and rational thinking. Manages to be furiously entertaining (though suuuper nerdy) while simultaneously inducting you into Eliezer's school of rationality.

Somehow, along the ~120 chapters, it changed the way I think permanently (and for the better). You will either love this (as I did) or hate it. I recommend listening to it in podcast/audiobook form at hpmorpodcast.com

★ 10/10
Antifragile

Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Don't think I fully appreciated what the term "tour de force" meant until I read Taleb's Antifragile.

★ 10/10
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"

Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton, Edward Hutchings, and Albert R. Hibbs


Does this count as a biography? If so, the best one I've ever read. A first-person look into one of the 20th century's best thinkers' mind. Plus, his stories are hilarious and entertaining.

★ 10/10
The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch


★ 9/10
Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson


Written in the 90s, but predicts Google, Twitter, AR, widespread LTE, AR, and pretty much everything we use today. Beyond that, super entertaining and suggests quite a few things (e.g city-state franchises) that don't exist (yet).

★ 9/10
Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl


Whenever I think about complaining how hard my life is, I think about this book and those complaints are replaced with gratitude. Also introduced the fascinating idea of paradoxical intention to me, which seems to come up every day in my life.

★ 9/10
How to Read a Book

Charles Van Doren, Mortimer J. Adler


The bible on effective reading -- imo a must read for anyone interested in the art of reading. Only downside is the slight verbosity that comes with the book's age, but again this book easily makes up for it.

★ 9/10
Zero to One

Peter Thiel, Blake Masters


One of the few popular business books that really lives up to the hype. Say what you want about Thiel, the man understands startups incredibly deeply.

★ 9/10
Significant Digits

Alexander D.


Followup to HPMoR -- different, but amazing in its own way. http://www.anarchyishyperbole.com/p/significant-digits.html

★ 9/10
Fooled by Randomness

Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Explores the hidden role of randomness in life -- especially focused on Taleb's (long and fascinating) profession as a trader.

★ 9/10
Hackers & Painters

Paul Graham


A collection of Paul Graham's older essays -- what's not to love? Wish he'd publish a book of the ones after 2004 :P

★ 9/10
Use of Weapons

Iain M. Banks


★ 8/10
The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz


WFIO, and what to do about it.

★ 8/10
Make It Stick

Peter C. Brown


The bible on human memory -- one of the inspiratory forces behind Readwise.

★ 8/10
Masters of Doom

David Kushner


Super entertaining overview of John Romero and John Carmack's wild ride, wherein they largely created the PC game market.

Also goes to show just how much an inexperienced startup team can get wrong (but get away with!) as long as they have a product that their users truly love.

★ 8/10
Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury


Often compared to 1984, but I enjoyed this much more.

★ 8/10
Hooked

Nir Eyal


If you work on a product that has recurring users, this book will almost certainly help you make it better.

★ 8/10
The War of Art

Steven Pressfield


How procrastination actually works

★ 8/10
Time Enough for Love

Robert A. Heinlein


Heinlein is WEIRD man, but overall quite entertaining, and plenty of chunks of wisdom thrown in your face.

★ 8/10
Cryptonomicon

Neal Stephenson


Great -- I've never read a book like this. Very long. Each chapter almost felt like an episode in a TV show, in the best sense possible.

★ 8/10
Lying

Sam Harris and Annaka Harris


Good, brief case against ever lying

★ 8/10
Anything You Want

Derek Sivers


Derek is a great writer and gets his ideas about entrepreneurship across fabulously.

★ 8/10
The 48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene


A bit too zero-sum in many respects, but nonetheless a riveting look at power and its lessons throughout history.

★ 8/10
Deep Work

Cal Newport


★ 8/10
Foundation's Edge

Isaac Asimov


★ 8/10
"What Do You Care What Other People Think?"

Richard P. Feynman


★ 8/10
The End of Jobs

Taylor Pearson


★ 8/10
Principles

Ray Dalio


★ 8/10
The Player of Games

Iain M. Banks


★ 8/10
Traction

Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares


★ 8/10
The Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb


★ 8/10
Tunnel in the Sky

Robert A. Heinlein


★ 8/10
Mastery

Robert Greene


★ 8/10
Excession

Iain M. Banks


★ 7/10
Shoe Dog

Phil Knight


Candid (at least candid-sounding) overview of Nike and Phil's history. My biggest take away: for the first decade, Nike was never not near the brink of failure! 

★ 7/10
The Now Habit

Neil Fiore


★ 7/10
The Motivation Hacker

Nick Winter


★ 7/10
Vagabonding

Rolf Potts


★ 6/10
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited

Steve Krug


I thought the core principles of the book were great, but likely better suited for a long blog post than an entire book. Because of this, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary fluff around mobile (just do what's obvious) and the specifics of UI patterns that you're probably not interested in.

The above being said, I don't regret reading this as some of the core tenants influence my everyday product thinking. I've heard the 2nd edition (non-revisited) is much less verbose, so maybe try that?

★ 6/10
Do the Work

Steven Pressfield


How procrastination actually works part 2

★ 6/10
Pitch Anything

Oren Klaff


★ 6/10
The Everything Store

Brad Stone


★ 6/10
Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein


★ 6/10
Methuselah's Children

Robert A. Heinlein


★ 6/10
Tribe of Mentors

Timothy Ferriss


★ 6/10
The Charisma Myth

Olivia Fox Cabane


★ 5/10
Consider Phlebas

Iain M. Banks


★ 5/10
Rainbows End

Vernor Vinge


★ 4/10
The 50th Law

50 Cent


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