Books I’ve finished recently
Tiny summary but
detailed notes for each. Use the ISBN number to find it from your local library or anywhere else. This page will constantly update as I read more, so bookmark it if you want to check back in a few months.
ISBN: 1455509124 READ: 2012-10-07 RATING: 10/10
Shockingly smart thoughts about your career. A MUST-READ for anyone who is not loving their work, wanting to quit their job, and follow their passion, or not sure what to do next. I'm recommending this many times a week to people who email me with these kinds of questions. Best book I've ever read on the subject.
ISBN: 1591843529 READ: 2011-02-16 RATING: 10/10
Wow. A masterpiece. This is now the one “START HERE” book I'll be recommending to everybody interested in business. An amazing overview of everything you need to know. Covers all the basics, minus buzz-words and fluff. Look at my notes for an example, but read the whole book. One of the most inspiring things I've read in years. Want proof? I asked the author to be my coach/mentor afterwards. It's that good.
ISBN: 1578644283 READ: 2011-01-03 RATING: 10/10
Maybe my favorite book ever. Read many times. Incredibly rich. It's a great overview of the lessons of Charlie Munger (partner of Warren Buffett) - and his approach to checklists of multi-disciplinary models to guide clear thinking. Main point: if you can just avoid mistakes, you're doing better than most. So it's a catalog of the most common or important mistakes. Focused on investing, but can be applied to life.
ISBN: 0195374614 READ: 2010-09-26 RATING: 10/10
Almost too personal for me to give an objective review, because I found when reading it that the quirky philosophy I've been living my life by since 17 matches up exactly with a 2000-year-old philosophy called Stoicism. Mine was self-developed haphazardly, so it was fascinating to read the refined developed original. Really resonated.
ISBN: 1400077427 READ: 2007-07-11 RATING: 10/10
Not at all new-agey, as the title might suggest. Harvard professor of psychology has studied happiness for years, and shares factual findings that will change the way you look at the world.
ISBN: 1904838022 READ: 2014-07-16 RATING: 9/10
Masterpiece of cultural observations. I wish there were more books like this. My Wood Egg books were created with the same goal. Insights into different countries' cultures. Some amazing, like the reason for American's lack of manners, or Japanese procedures. My detailed notes don't do it justice because I practically underlined the entire book, I loved it so much.
ISBN: 0865478015 READ: 2014-06-28 RATING: 9/10
Surprisingly deep and philosophical. The first book I've read in years that makes me want to read it twice. The title and cover make it seem like light pop, but it's a wonderfully-cynical British journalist diving into Stoicism, meditation, death, etc.
ISBN: 076117897X READ: 2014-06-15 RATING: 9/10
Short inspiring book about sharing your work online. Really healthy perspective. Makes me want to do it much more.
ISBN: 0691156662 READ: 2013-08-30 RATING: 9/10
Short and brilliant book with tips on being a better thinker. Being persistent, thorough, rooted in fundamentals, creative, and a more active learner. Surprisingly inspiring.
ISBN: 1400067820 READ: 2013-05-15 RATING: 9/10
Bold perspectives, unusual ideas, and surprisingly wise advice around an interesting subject of the “opposite of fragile.” Looking through that lens at health, education, governments, business, and life philosophy. Very inspiring, and sparks a lot of further discussion.
ISBN: 1583334386 READ: 2013-02-05 RATING: 9/10
Amazing book about willpower from Stanford psychology professor who teaches just this. Killer first point: The best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control. This is a better book than the other book on Willpower here on my list, because it's more actionable, better written, better presented. Really amazing (IF you act on it!)
ISBN: 034553025X READ: 2012-09-08 RATING: 9/10
First he wrote The Talent Code, which I also highly recommend, then he distilled all that research about deliberate practice into 52 actionable tips. Amazing and inspiring, you can read the whole thing in 90 minutes, then get to work!
ISBN: 0143120174 READ: 2012-04-26 RATING: 9/10
Fascinating historical and philosophical perspective on technology, where it's come from, where it's going.
ISBN: 0446691437 READ: 2012-01-05 RATING: 9/10
Have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what “Resistance” is. This book is about that. Read it.
ISBN: 9197547077 READ: 2011-12-28 RATING: 9/10
This is a wonderfully one-sided book that shows how exciting the big growth of China, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and Korea are. He's found great examples of people and companies doing really innovative things, but most of all it's a mindset.
ISBN: 0374275637 READ: 2011-12-08 RATING: 9/10
If you liked “Predictably Irrational” or “Stumbling on Happiness” or any of those pop-psychology books, well, this is the Godfather of all of their work. Huge thorough book gives a great overview of much of his work. Read the other quotes on Amazon about it.
ISBN: 0307887898 READ: 2011-10-23 RATING: 9/10
EVERY entrepreneur should read this book! Its methodology is the one I recommend the most. The stuff I preach is like a cute casual intro to the real deal: the Lean Startup methodology. (As an aside: this book is the one that pushed my book out of the #1 slot on Amazon's Entrepreneur charts. Quite an honor.)
ISBN: 0743226755 READ: 2011-09-03 RATING: 9/10
The authors worked with the best athletes and executives for years, and found that the best ones knew how to push themselves, then recuperate, push, recuperate. Take this same approach to your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual life, and it's a powerful metaphor. Think of sprints, not marathons. Be fully in whatever you're in, then give time to recuperate. But push futher each time, past your comfort zone, like a good exercise plan.
ISBN: 1401301304 READ: 2011-08-22 RATING: 9/10
Aimed at already-successful people. The personality traits that brought you to success (personal discipline, saying yes to everything, over-confidence) are the same traits that hold you back from going further! (Where you need to listen to lead, and don't let over-confidence make you over-commit.) Stinging counter-intuitive insights that hit very close to home for me. Great specific suggestions for how to improve.
ISBN: 1594488843 READ: 2010-09-01 RATING: 9/10
Essential for all managers. Deep surprising study of motivation at work. Extrinsic vs intrinsic. Work vs play. When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
ISBN: 0385528752 READ: 2010-05-10 RATING: 9/10
Great great great great GREAT psychology book about real ways to make change last - both personal and organizational. So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory. Inspiring counterintuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds. Highly recommended for everyone.
ISBN: 0465028020 READ: 2010-05-01 RATING: 9/10
Psychology professor's digestible but deep insight into how our minds work, around the topic of happiness. Great metaphor of a rider on the back of an elephant. Rider is reasoning, elephant is emotions. Rider has limited control of what the elephant does. Surprising insights into ethics and morality. See my notes for great quotes, but read the whole well-written book.
ISBN: 044669889X READ: 2010-01-20 RATING: 9/10
Cranky NPR reporter dives deep into Iceland, Bhutan, Qatar, Holland, Switzerland, Thailand, India and Moldova to find out why people are happy (or not) in each. So beautifully written with astounding insights into culture and happiness. Amazing. Been thinking about it for weeks afterwards.
ISBN: 0470505141 READ: 2009-11-12 RATING: 9/10
Absolutely my favorite author and advisor on the subject of investing. Anyone with any money to invest (or already invested) please read this book. Such clear thinking, using only facts, and using numbers not guesses. Modern portfolio theory: use passive indexes of the entire market, no speculation, no stock picking, and avoid the entire fee-sucking financial industry.
ISBN: 0618620117 READ: 2009-11-10 RATING: 9/10
Brilliant book with one clear message: our emotional brain is faster and usually smarter than our logical brain. Our emotions are trained by years of logic and experience, retaining it all for real wisdom. Many decisions are better made by going with the gut feeling. Gets a little too technical with deep brain/neuro/cortex talk, but brings it back to usable points.
ISBN: 0307377342 READ: 2009-10-04 RATING: 9/10
Fiction. Awesomely creative think-piece of 40 different short stories of what happens when you die. To be clear: the author is not pretending this is fact! The framework is inspiring for anyone: coming up with 40 different answers to any one question.
ISBN: 006124189X READ: 2009-08-15 RATING: 9/10
Classic book on the psychology of persuasion. I read it 15 years ago, thought about it ever since, and re-read it now. How to get a 700% improvement in volunteers. How to sell more by doubling your prices. How to make people feel they made a choice, when really you made it for them.
ISBN: 1416541993 READ: 2009-04-03 RATING: 9/10
See my in-depth article about this book at sivers.org/time
ISBN: 1401922759 READ: 2008-12-27 RATING: 9/10
A surprisingly great broad and unflourished look at all different aspects of self-improvement. Really great insights from someone who's read them all.
ISBN: 006135323X READ: 2008-08-11 RATING: 9/10
My favorite type of book: pointing out and understanding all of the counter-intuitive things people do.
ISBN: 0307353133 READ: 2008-05-15 RATING: 9/10
Brilliant reversal of all of the “how to manage all your crap” books. This one tells you how to say “no” to the crap, set expectations on your terms, and be just as effective in a fraction of the time. This is perfect for musicians with other responsibilities (day jobs) that need more free time to actually make music!
ISBN: 0385721706 READ: 2008-04-16 RATING: 9/10
Mind-blowing examples of how groups of diverse people acting independently are smarter than any one person in the group. Has huge implications for management, markets, decision-making, and more.
ISBN: 0060005688 READ: 2007-07-11 RATING: 9/10
Faced with many options or decisions in your life? This will change the way you look at them. We feel worse when we have too many options.
ISBN: 1400064287 READ: 2007-03-12 RATING: 9/10
Actually analyzing what makes certain ideas or stories more memorable than others! Fascinating. Apply this wisdom to your songs, bio/story, communication with fans, etc.
ISBN: 1578518520 READ: 2006-09-21 RATING: 9/10
Required reading for business-owners and investors. Shows how technology improves faster than people's ability to use it, so when someone says a technology is “not good enough”, add “yet” and prepare for disruption.
ISBN: 1591841267 READ: 2006-09-08 RATING: 9/10
My favorite author, by far. I’m a massive fan and disciple. A collection of his short insightful posts from his blog, all thought-provoking and inspiring for anybody marketing anything, even music. (Seth was a CD Baby client and fan.)
ISBN: 0446692271 READ: 2005-12-02 RATING: 9/10
25 different models of profitability presented in examples you can relate to your own business, making you realize profit-sources you’d never thought of before.
ISBN: 0887307280 READ: 2004-02-26 RATING: 9/10
Everything needs to be a system. Think of your business as a franchise prototype. You should be able to hand the “how-to” manual to just anyone, to do it as good as you.
ISBN: 159315724X READ: 2014-07-17 RATING: 8/10
Classic self-help book, in the best sense. Inspired the hell out of me. Mostly fundamentals I had heard before, but put in a very energetic go-do-it way. As he says, “You already know all that you need to succeed. You don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an Internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy.”
ISBN: 1591846358 READ: 2014-06-30 RATING: 8/10
A succinct adrenaline-generating call to clear thinking and rational action. Many historical examples. Incredibly inspiring.
ISBN: 1442369027 READ: 2014-06-05 RATING: 8/10
Short, punchy, incredibly insightful and useful book about learning another language, especially for a first-timer. I've read a few books on the subject now, but this is the only one that spoke directly to my issues. Especially loved his points on the importance of sounds over words. Hint: a language that is written but not spoken is called a dead language.
ISBN: 080701429X READ: 2014-06-04 RATING: 8/10
Powerful, deep, etc. First half describes life inside Auschwitz. Second half has powerful succinctly-said insights into the universal struggle. There's a reason this book has sold a billion copies.
ISBN: 1490313370 READ: 2014-04-10 RATING: 8/10
Anyone who likes my writing will probably LOVE his writing. We've got a very similar style and approach. I was smiling most of the way through, reading things I could have (and wish I would have) written myself. His vulnerability is so endearing.
ISBN: 1936719061 READ: 2013-11-08 RATING: 8/10
Pow! This punched me in the gut from page one. Takes a tiny effort to read the English of the 1840s, but what a reward. A masterpiece essay (manifesto?) on independence, non-conformity, and trusting oneself.
ISBN: 1591846919 READ: 2013-10-28 RATING: 8/10
Random assortment of life tips/hacks from the creator of Dilbert. Interesting common thread of making your life a system for increasing your odds at success. But I liked the random tips, too.
ISBN: 1591846072 READ: 2013-01-11 RATING: 8/10
VERY interesting. Seth is moving from talking about business to talking about being an artist in the broad sense of anyone who creates (and ships!) something daring and new. I loved the distiction between the industrialist and the artist, as it helped me give a term for something I'd experienced: not being able to relate at all to those who just want to grow business for business' sake, whereas I always saw my business like a creative art project. The book stays very high-level, so don't look for “TO-DO” type tips.
ISBN: 1936891034 READ: 2012-10-25 RATING: 8/10
In the same vein as his other books “Do the Work” and ”War of Art” - but a message that needs to be said again and again to really get through. It's all about the resistance, avoiding distractions, getting serious. Here he dives more into the mindset shift of thinking of your art as a hobby versus a real career. This stuff shakes me to the core, every time.
ISBN: 0307352145 READ: 2012-09-22 RATING: 8/10
Any introvert should like this book. Wonderful info and insights about introversion. It'll help you defend your preference for low-stimulus environments. Since reading it, I feel better about insisting on my quiet/alone time.
ISBN: 1934356344 READ: 2012-01-15 RATING: 8/10
Wonderful book about the art, craft, and passion of being a great computer programmer. Loved the analogies to being a musician: sight-reading, being the worst member of the band, understanding new styles of music, practicing just for improvement, etc.
ISBN: 1594203075 READ: 2011-09-09 RATING: 8/10
You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. Two traits that consistently predict “positive outcomes” in life: intelligence and self-control. Most major problems, personal and social, center on failure of self-control. When people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was at the top of the list. So let's talk about self-control....
ISBN: 159420229X READ: 2011-06-18 RATING: 8/10
For those fascinated with memory. Riveting page-turner about a journalist (with no particularly good memory) who went to cover a memory championship event. Intrigued and befriending some competitors, he starts practicing, and a year later wins the U.S. memory championship event himself. Inspiring dive into the subject of memorization.
ISBN: 1936719002 READ: 2011-03-15 RATING: 8/10
Awesome short manifesto about getting into the habit of starting things. Inspiring as hell. Go go go!
ISBN: 1449389554 READ: 2010-08-20 RATING: 8/10
A collection of essays from one of the best. Loosely about intelligence, entrepreneurship, programming, and questioning norms. Many brilliant ideas and insights.
ISBN: 0596801998 READ: 2010-06-28 RATING: 8/10
Best book on public speaking. A must-read if you do this at all. Great concrete advice and personal tales.
ISBN: 055380684X READ: 2009-08-22 RATING: 8/10
A great book showing that deep practice - (struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them) - is what really makes you improve at anything.
ISBN: 159184259X READ: 2009-06-28 RATING: 8/10
Brilliant succinct wisdom on creativity from an artist. Seth Godin says, "Hugh harangues and encourages and pushes and won't sit still until you, like him, are unwilling to settle." I highly recommend this to all musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs. Even those that prefer not to read much. :-)
ISBN: 0061709719 READ: 2009-03-05 RATING: 8/10
Great think-piece about lessons learned from Google's approach to things, and how they might approach different industries like airlines, real estate, education, etc.
ISBN: 0307396207 READ: 2008-08-27 RATING: 8/10
Great look at a different way of getting a project done: not outsourcing it to a person, but developing a system where thousands of people can contribute a little bit.
ISBN: 0399532838 READ: 2008-05-14 RATING: 8/10
An itty-bitty quick-read no-fluff book with the wisest succinct advice to investors: You can't predict the future, and neither can anyone else. Determine your asset allocation, stick with cheap broad indexes, and rebalance occasionally.
ISBN: 1591841933 READ: 2008-04-23 RATING: 8/10
Lessons learned from Wikipedia can be applied to most other businesses. How can you harness the spare-time or self-interest of thousands to build something better for everyone?
ISBN: 1591841747 READ: 2007-12-30 RATING: 8/10
Instead of asking how to use the new internet tools to support your existing business, ask how you can change your business to take best advantage of the new tools.
ISBN: 0609610570 READ: 2007-02-12 RATING: 8/10
Great in-depth look at the dirty discipline of getting things done in a large organization.
ISBN: 0142000280 READ: 2005-04-30 RATING: 8/10
Classic book with near-cult following. How to manage every last itty bitty tiny thing in your life. Keep your inbox empty.
ISBN: 0140280197 READ: 2003-05-06 RATING: 8/10
Warning: some think this book is pure evil. But power exists, so it can only help to understand it better, even if you choose not to wield it.
ISBN: 0307956393 READ: 2014-06-27 RATING: 7/10
Interesting and insightful dive into the subject of how to make big decisions. Specific useful advice.
ISBN: 0143124986 READ: 2014-02-10 RATING: 7/10
If you feel you are too generous, or too greedy, or are wary and insist on reciprocation, consider reading this research-based look at the subject of these different personality types. Counter-intuitive findings.
ISBN: 1400069971 READ: 2014-01-15 RATING: 7/10
I'm thrilled if I get a few counter-intuitive thought-provoking ideas from any source. This book is filled with his usual cocktail party sprezzatura bravado, but refreshingly succinct, minus his usual blowhard explanations of his superior scholarly approach to life.
ISBN: 1591844118 READ: 2013-12-20 RATING: 7/10
The full title - “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality” - describes its contents perfectly. Great book on that subject.
ISBN: 0767908171 READ: 2013-08-25 RATING: 7/10
Fun read of everything from the big bang to tectonic plates to the evolution of early man.
ISBN: B006M9T8NI READ: 2013-07-06 RATING: 7/10
Essays on history, power, self-discipline, negotiation, and the hustle. I especially liked his philosophy on luck, building universally valuable skills, and producing/shipping something from even fleeting interests.
ISBN: 1607742454 READ: 2012-11-18 RATING: 7/10
If you've read other books on how to write a great story, this probably won't hold much new for you. But this was my first book on this subject, and I loved it. Changed the way I pay attention to movies and novels. Makes me want to write a novel.
ISBN: 0452267560 READ: 2012-10-01 RATING: 7/10
A description of the path to mastery in any field: to enjoy regular practice for its own sake, to push your capabilities but to accept the plateau, to surrender to the path and exercises your teacher gives you. Stay focused, not distracted like the dabbler, impatient like the obsessive, or complacent like the hacker.
ISBN: 1400069289 READ: 2012-03-01 RATING: 7/10
Great dissection and analysis of what creates habits, and the power of changing just one of three steps in the habit loop.
ISBN: 0743233832 READ: 2012-02-04 RATING: 7/10
A true classic, filled with stoic wisdom mostly about being your best rational self, doing good for its own sake, and not letting other people upset you.
ISBN: 1592406599 READ: 2011-11-15 RATING: 7/10
Great summary of 46 cognitive biases. Much of it covered in other books like Predictably Irrational, but if you haven't read those, this is a great starting book. Otherwise, just a good reminder, and worth reading.
ISBN: 1936719010 READ: 2011-10-25 RATING: 7/10
A true manifesto. A call to action. A kick in the butt for any creative person. Great thoughts on overcoming the resistance to creating.
ISBN: 0977657205 READ: 2011-05-27 RATING: 7/10
Great simple philosophy: Life itself is one long practice session. Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. Practice is not just for artistic or athletic skill, but practicing patience, practicing communication, practicing anything you do in life. The process/practice itself is the real goal, not the outcome.
ISBN: 030746363X READ: 2010-12-18 RATING: 7/10
Amazing book for anyone wanting to improve their body. Core concept is the “minimum effective dose”: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Anything beyond that is wasteful. This documents Tim's years-long pursuit of the minimum effective dose of everything, from weight loss to muscle-building. Related subjects include orgasm, sleep, and medical tourism.
ISBN: 0345472322 READ: 2010-11-27 RATING: 7/10
Crucial distinction: People in a “fixed” mindset believe that you *are* great or flawed. People in a “growth” mindset believe your greatness (or flaws) are because of your actions. The fixed mindset is very harmful in every area of life (work, art, relationships, business, etc.) We get our initial mindset from our environment. When parents say, “You are great,” instead of ”You did great work,” they accidently create the “fixed” mindset.
ISBN: 0615373968 READ: 2010-11-16 RATING: 7/10
Great how-to guide about being a micropreneur: an entrepreneur running many small but profitable businesses.
ISBN: 1400082099 READ: 2010-07-28 RATING: 7/10
About the care of the physical brain - the goo in your skull - from a doctor who scans brains and has linked specific behavior to brain chemistry.
ISBN: 0761147489 READ: 2010-03-23 RATING: 7/10
An amazing book about consumer finance and a healthy approach to managing your money. If you are age 18-35, this is a must-read! My notes are scarce, so get the book. Even if over 35, you might find some good tips on lowering your fees on various services, and a good reminder of good savings practices.
ISBN: 1905264429 READ: 2010-02-17 RATING: 7/10
A real and specific description of the inner workings of the Virgin companies. Every entrepreneur, investor, and manager should appreciate this detailed account of practices, philosophies and stories from the core.
ISBN: 1591842247 READ: 2009-11-16 RATING: 7/10
Talent is not innate - it comes from thousands of hours of deliberate practice: focused improving of your shortcomings. That's it. If you can get past the first 20% of the book that just asks questions, the next 60% is quite good.
ISBN: 0385512058 READ: 2009-07-26 RATING: 7/10
A good book that's mostly about networking, but also some general business smarts. Definitely read if you need more work being social.
ISBN: 1591842239 READ: 2009-03-08 RATING: 7/10
Great collection of essays about entrepreneurship from his blog at blog.guykawasaki.com
ISBN: 0446578215 READ: 2008-07-26 RATING: 7/10
One of my favorite authors, and a massive inspiration for my e-book. This is his newest, but read anything he’s done. It’s all top-notch insights on making life easier by being more considerate, whether you call that marketing or just life.
ISBN: 1591842158 READ: 2008-06-12 RATING: 7/10
After reading E-Myth Revisited, this is the best book I’ve seen on how to turn it into real results, step-by-step. Not ambiguous. Very “do it like this”.
ISBN: 0071385290 READ: 2008-06-07 RATING: 7/10
If you've already read and loved The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read, above, then read this more in-depth book next.
ISBN: 0743277457 READ: 2008-05-30 RATING: 7/10
Chess master becomes Tai Chi master, realizes his real genius is learning, and shares his insights and stories.
ISBN: 1594201536 READ: 2008-04-06 RATING: 7/10
Like Wikinomics and Crowdsourcing, required reading if interested in harnessing the collective power of people online.
ISBN: 0684803313 READ: 2006-11-12 RATING: 7/10
A classic self-help book. Exactly what you'd expect. But very good.
ISBN: 0312341849 READ: 2014-02-02 RATING: 6/10
Just an interesting history and present look at the French language. I had no idea what an influence French was on English, and didn't understand its role in current Africa. Makes me want to learn French.
ISBN: 0061561797 READ: 2013-12-14 RATING: 6/10
This book totally changed my life at a key moment, when I was 22. It made me quit my job and pursue a life of variety. Some great ideas inside, especially the ones about family and healthy child-rearing. I just re-read it now, 22 years later, and it didn't hit me as hard as it did back then, maybe because I've internalized its philosophies so completely.
ISBN: 0143034545 READ: 2013-11-28 RATING: 6/10
I read this in 2004, before Getting Things Done (same author), and liked it more, because it's more philosophical than instructional. It made a big impact on me then. I was just re-reading now for a little refresher.
ISBN: 0982522738 READ: 2013-11-01 RATING: 6/10
For those who ever considered getting fit, this is the way to do it, and the best book on the subject. Not sure if I should put this in my book list, because it's not something you read, but something you do.
ISBN: 1585425524 READ: 2013-04-05 RATING: 6/10
Good book with insights and advice on overcoming procrastination.
ISBN: 0670024961 READ: 2012-12-06 RATING: 6/10
Mostly detailed historical biographical tales of ”masters” like DaVinci, Darwin, Mozart, Proust, Goethe, Wright Brothers, Einstein, Coltrane, Martha Graham, etc. Lessons dissected from their successes, and categorized. Similar format to his great book “48 Laws of Power”, but a little less effective here. The biographies were interesting, but lessons were mostly conventional wisdom.
ISBN: 020161622X READ: 2012-09-27 RATING: 6/10
Classic book for computer programmers. I read it first in 2003 before I was taking book notes, so I read it again now to take notes. Great wisdom in here. Amazing to see how much of its advice was adopted as norms by Ruby on Rails.
ISBN: 1591799422 READ: 2012-01-12 RATING: 6/10
Just some nice thoughts on meditation.
ISBN: 1400067545 READ: 2011-07-15 RATING: 6/10
A nice short book of unconventional wisdom, mostly about investing.
ISBN: 1591843162 READ: 2010-12-11 RATING: 6/10
For someone who has a job at a company, I would call this essential reading with my highest recommendation. Since I haven't had a job since 1992, I couldn't apply many of his great points to my life. Still I loved his reminder of the value of the brilliant workers instead of systemized workers. The opposite of E-Myth (another book reviewed here).
ISBN: 1594202532 READ: 2010-12-10 RATING: 6/10
I always love Clay Shirky's insights into the internet culture. This is about how all the spare time people are using to add to Wikipedia, create YouTube videos or LOLCats, is previously time they were passively watching TV. Perhaps passive watching was a temporary habit that lasted 80 years, and now we're going back to a more participatory culture?
ISBN: 0961454733 READ: 2010-11-23 RATING: 6/10
For artists and musicians only: beautiful insights into the creative process.
ISBN: 0199291152 READ: 2010-09-18 RATING: 6/10
About evolution and the theory of natural selection, proposing the idea that it's not creatures that are looking to replicate, but individual genes.
ISBN: 014311526X READ: 2010-08-15 RATING: 6/10
Introducing the idea of Libertarian Paternalism: influencing people's behavior for their own benefit, without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.
ISBN: 0743455967 READ: 2010-05-05 RATING: 6/10
Great thoughts about writing (mostly books) from one of the most successful writers ever. Oddly doubles as an autobiography, telling many stories about his life from childhood.
ISBN: 0812971159 READ: 2010-03-15 RATING: 6/10
World getting too fuzzy and unreasonable? Watching too much TV? A good book on logic is a great antidote. I'd never read one before, so I don't know how to compare it to others, but I really loved the clear thinking and deep insights here.
ISBN: 1934356506 READ: 2010-01-11 RATING: 6/10
Pretty cool technique of working in 25-minute chunks. Better to start with a simple article about it, then read the book after if you love it. I do, so far.
ISBN: 1934356050 READ: 2009-11-03 RATING: 6/10
A great curated collection of facts about how to learn effectively and think clearly. Since it's written by a programmer, it makes many computer analogies that fellow programmers will appreciate. Non-programmers might feel a little left out.
ISBN: 0684859386 READ: 2009-10-19 RATING: 6/10
My favorite genre of book lately: clear examples of bugs in our brain: where our intuition is wrong. But this one focuses just on money issues. Loss aversion. Sunk cost fallacy. Confirmation bias. Anchoring. Etc. I love this stuff.
ISBN: 0307266303 READ: 2009-06-21 RATING: 6/10
Gripping story of a man who was trying to find out why his feet hurt while running. This led him to the story of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyon, the greatest distance runners in the world. If you like running, you'll love this book! My favorite quote: "No wonder your feet are so sensitive. They’re self-correcting devices. Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms."
ISBN: 0316017922 READ: 2009-04-23 RATING: 6/10
Deep study of why some people are so much more successful. Often due to circumstances and early opportunities, but really comes down to the fact that it takes about 10,000 hours of hard work to master something.
ISBN: 1439210101 READ: 2009-04-23 RATING: 6/10
Tiny book by an incredibly successful serial entrepreneur telling his tales and lessons learned.
ISBN: 1932100660 READ: 2009-04-23 RATING: 6/10
Biggest study ever on the effects of diet on health. The multiple health benefits of plant-based foods, and dangers of animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs.
ISBN: 1401309704 READ: 2009-01-21 RATING: 6/10
Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Set limitations. Become incredibly effective. Written by someone who's been successfully living this way for years.
ISBN: 1591842336 READ: 2008-11-17 RATING: 6/10
Inspiring look at what it takes to organize and mobilize groups of people.
ISBN: 007141858X READ: 2008-09-12 RATING: 6/10
Wonderful considerate book about conversational people skills.
ISBN: 0979777704 READ: 2008-08-26 RATING: 6/10
New scientific insights into why our brains work this way, and how to use what we now know to learn or work better.
ISBN: 0671646788 READ: 2008-07-26 RATING: 6/10
A classic self-help book. Exactly what you'd expect. But very good.
ISBN: 0385516207 READ: 2008-07-26 RATING: 6/10
Tips on more effective communication.
ISBN: 1591842050 READ: 2008-06-18 RATING: 6/10
Shockingly honest thoughts from a filthy rich bastard.
ISBN: 1591840961 READ: 2008-02-08 RATING: 6/10
Unique fascinating dissection of cults and why they work. Then how to apply those lessons to marketing your business.
ISBN: 0321344758 READ: 2007-08-08 RATING: 6/10
The classic book of web usability. Required reading for anyone who makes websites.
ISBN: 0307341518 READ: 2007-02-12 RATING: 6/10
Acquired expertise in big business. Subtitle: 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don't.
ISBN: 0596007868 READ: 2006-11-19 RATING: 6/10
The best book on how to oversee projects to completion.
ISBN: 0767931211 READ: 2013-11-13 RATING: 5/10
Interesting thoughts and findings on the search for peace and quiet in the modern world.
ISBN: 0071795618 READ: 2013-01-09 RATING: 5/10
I'm biased. I'm in it. This is a subject I live. So I flipped through a little fast, thinking, “Yep. I know. Got it. Living it. Yep.” But for those who need some minimalist inspiration, this has some great thoughts in it.
ISBN: 141659907X READ: 2012-05-22 RATING: 5/10
Funny and informative book by the always-brilliant A.J. Jacobs - about trying every health remedy and suggestion. Some surprising ones are effective.
ISBN: 1439170428 READ: 2011-05-10 RATING: 5/10
Examples of the fact that much success or creativity comes from trying many things, failing fast, getting feedback, trying more things, and deliberate practice. Stories from Pixar, Chris Rock, Silicon Valley, Frank Gehry.
ISBN: 031226321X READ: 2011-04-21 RATING: 5/10
Its main point is the “Permanent Portfolio” - a beautiful simple idea to have 25% of your savings each in investments that do well during boom (stocks), bust (bonds), inflation (gold), deflation (cash). Then just rebalance when they get too far out of 25% each. No predicting the future. No worrying about the news. Just 25% each and rebalance.
ISBN: 1434103072 READ: 2011-01-17 RATING: 5/10
Nice short reminder of the importance of solitude and focus. Single-tasking. Only doing your most important things, and let the rest go.
ISBN: 0061995037 READ: 2010-07-05 RATING: 5/10
First read his amazing book “Predictably Irrational.” But if you read and loved it, then this is a continuation with some more examples - mostly organizational. He also catharticly details his own painful injuries in every chapter.
ISBN: 0812933044 READ: 2009-10-14 RATING: 5/10
Dryer but deeper prequel to the great “Art of Profitability” book, also recommended here. Start with that one. Only read this if that one fascinated you.
ISBN: 1591841313 READ: 2009-07-04 RATING: 5/10
Performance coach, with a bent towards sports, surgery, and executive performance, gives his thoughts on being a top performer. The key is the "Trusting Mindset": like a squirrel runs across a telephone wire. Just doing it, without thought, because you've trained yourself plenty until that point.
ISBN: 0767920570 READ: 2008-11-01 RATING: 5/10
Weird look at how different cultures (mostly Europe versus U.S. in this book) see things differently. Example: British luxury is about detachment whereas U.S. luxury is about rank.
ISBN: 1931930341 READ: 2008-09-30 RATING: 5/10
Required reading for anyone doing business in India, with detailed analysis of cultural and communication differences. Example: in India a lack of emphatic “yes!” means “no”. Teaches Westerners to adapt to this.
ISBN: 0812932293 READ: 2008-06-01 RATING: 5/10
Autobiography of his life from childhood through 2004. Interesting how he was always over-leveraged and how that drove him forward. Amazing how he negotiated Necker Island from £3 million down to £180k.
ISBN: 1932156852 READ: 2012-10-05 RATING: 4/10
Repeated message: Your time is precious. Know its value and don't work for less. Defend it against time-vampires. Be hard to reach. Make every minute count. Do only the valuable tasks. Good conventional wisdom.
ISBN: 0312430000 READ: 2011-12-25 RATING: 4/10
Like Malcom Gladwell, a book that could and should have been an article, but puffed up with 200 pages of supporting stories, mostly great detailed tales of his surgeon experiences where a checklist would have come in handy. Here's the book in one sentence: You should make checklists for any complex procedures or decisions.
ISBN: 1580085148 READ: 2011-08-07 RATING: 4/10
Good advice on hiring. No big surprises, but some useful tips.
ISBN: 0452289637 READ: 2009-10-19 RATING: 4/10
The book title is misleading. It ends up being mostly the author's recommendations for the transactions of life. When to give to charity, what restaurants to choose, what insurance to buy, etc. He makes a rational case for these, that is often very interesting, but still feels like just his opinion.
ISBN: 006170363X READ: 2009-08-18 RATING: 4/10
Fun tales from the guy that invented Improv Everywhere. Not really educational as much as just fun, and I'm a huge fan of their “missions”.
ISBN: 0471416177 READ: 2009-04-23 RATING: 4/10
Biographical look at billionaires from the last 200 years, and lessons learned from how they did it. Some lessons aren't really applicable to the rest of us, like changing government laws to protect your monopoly. But some are.
ISBN: 0470398515 READ: 2009-04-23 RATING: 4/10
Legendary investor, now 80, looks back with long-view wisdom on investing, living, and giving.
ISBN: 0684830442 READ: 2009-04-14 RATING: 4/10
Counter-intuitive lessons about management. Highly recommended for managers and leaders, but also teachers and parents.
ISBN: 1400067936 READ: 2008-04-05 RATING: 4/10
Mr Black Swan sure does love the sound of his own voice. Interesting thoughts on investing and misjudging randomness inside lots of blather.
ISBN: 0966248465 READ: 2007-10-01 RATING: 4/10
How to run a company without employees, but with a loose network of work-from-home freelance agents. Very instructive, but also good perspective like how until the industrial revolution, there were no employees: everyone was freelance.
ISBN: 0060763280 READ: 2007-06-12 RATING: 4/10
If you suspect that your mindset is holding you back from making more money, read this. Identifies and dissolves the mental baggage we've built up that believes money is evil and those who have it are greedy.
ISBN: 1569246297 READ: 2014-04-11 RATING: 3/10
Read the book “Moonwalking With Einstein” instead. Most of the same info, but this is more academic than entertaining. Written for students taking exams.
ISBN: 0312429843 READ: 2013-11-21 RATING: 3/10
A good friend highly recommended this as one of his favorite books on baby-hood. I just didn't connect with it, after a few attempts. You may love it.
ISBN: 0385480016 READ: 2013-11-11 RATING: 3/10
So many people love this book, but it just wasn't my style. Aiming to be funny and describing a crazy mindset, but I couldn't relate to either. Mostly about writing novels.
ISBN: 0071756159 READ: 2011-04-29 RATING: 3/10
Good introduction into the world of licensing your ideas to companies that manufacture products.
ISBN: 0470128356 READ: 2010-12-15 RATING: 3/10
Great advice on hiring, but insanely repetitive. Maybe this was an editing mistake - that the exact same points are made over and over and over and over - often with the exact same words, sentences, even paragraphs. But those key points are great.
ISBN: 0307277259 READ: 2010-12-12 RATING: 3/10
Thoughtful rambling observations on different lines of work. Personal tales of his time spent observing different industries like fishing, counseling, shipyards, or walking along electric towers. Some tangential insights along the way.
ISBN: 1416553657 READ: 2010-01-09 RATING: 3/10
A simple autobiography of his early years. Interesting tale, though no usable lessons for me.
ISBN: 0670021652 READ: 2010-01-07 RATING: 3/10
If listening to someone think out loud about marriage for 12 hours interests you, you will like this. Since I was newly engaged, I did.
ISBN: 0316075841 READ: 2009-12-05 RATING: 3/10
A pretty-good collection of his articles from the past few years. While most are somewhat interesting, it felt a little like surfing the net or TV. Lots of “huh”, but no lasting insights. More entertainment than education.
ISBN: 047047453X READ: 2009-10-25 RATING: 3/10
Opinion on what to do if the dollar crashes, as the author is strongly speculating that it will. I highly recommend reading the Investor's Manifesto after or instead of this, for a strictly fact-based non-speculative approach instead. But still this is interesting to hear this point of view.
ISBN: 0471778230 READ: 2009-06-06 RATING: 3/10
Create an irresistable offer. Present it to people who need it. Sell them more afterwards. Lots of examples of this.
ISBN: 0812975243 READ: 2009-06-02 RATING: 3/10
Not a business book, unless you want to understand China a bit more. Journalist who's worked in China for 10 years decides to move back to London, but takes one last cross-country trip and gets first-time insights into rural Chinese life and how the country has changed.
ISBN: 0812973712 READ: 2008-08-11 RATING: 3/10
Very specific book about understanding the commodity markets.
ISBN: 1935928155 READ: 2011-07-20 RATING: 2/10
Maybe I'm just too immersed in this, but everything said here seems to be the most conventional wisdom - nothing I haven't heard. Shame, because I thought it was going to be about teaching the lay-person the importance of programming.
ISBN: 0615241298 READ: 2011-01-21 RATING: 2/10
Another overview of the investment approach of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
ISBN: 0307389839 READ: 2010-12-27 RATING: 2/10
This novelist runs every day, including many marathons. This book is his thoughts about running and how it relates to other things in work and life.
ISBN: 0787987328 READ: 2010-12-24 RATING: 2/10
Personal tales, almost an autobiography, of someone who created a wide range of businesses, both successful and not. Some insights along the way, but not many surprising ones. I'd recommend “How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis instead, also reviewed on this website.
ISBN: 0393065669 READ: 2010-04-24 RATING: 2/10
I really liked his TED talk (search ted.com), and this book elaborates on the idea. Makes a good point, but should just be a long article - not a whole book.
ISBN: 0596519788 READ: 2009-11-01 RATING: 2/10
I thought it was going to be more general or philosophical tips, but seemed to be more about IDE-specific tips instead. Then it crashed my Kindle (and still does). Oh well.
ISBN: 1594202109 READ: 2009-07-26 RATING: 2/10
Well-intentioned book I couldn't stomach because of her awkwardly flowerly writing style. Also I've read a lot about focus and flow, so this was mostly a repeat covered better in other books.
ISBN: 0970693842 READ: 2009-06-20 RATING: 2/10
First read the great article in Esquire magazine: http://www.esquire.com/features/honesty0707 This book just elaborates on that philosophy.
ISBN: 159420148X READ: 2009-06-01 RATING: 2/10
Since I loved Stumbling on Happiness, I was prepared to love this, but the big difference is that Stumbling on Happiness showed tests and experiments to prove their points, whereas this book only presents conclusions. Maybe equally accurate but less convincing.
ISBN: 1400066166 READ: 2008-08-06 RATING: 2/10
Very specific book about investing in China's stock market.
ISBN: 1430210788 READ: 2008-02-12 RATING: 2/10
Long in-depth interviews with company founders, telling their tales of how they started. Lots of stories with a few usable gems.
ISBN: 1482667002 READ: 2014-04-08 RATING: 1/10
Only interesting if you haven't read anything else about the “loci” / “memory palace” method of memorization. Had almost nothing to do with French. Obviously made from copy-n-paste with his other books about German, Spanish, Russian, etc. Just change a few words, and voila! New ebook.
ISBN: 1586487876 READ: 2011-10-05 RATING: 1/10
Cambodia's political history from 1978 to 2009 or so. Appalling, horrible, infuriating, disgusting, etc. I hated this book. I was hoping to learn more about Cambodia and its culture, but this only gives chapter after chapter detailing the horrible things the people in goverment did, and nothing else. No bright side. No other insights. Just horror.
ISBN: 0446559806 READ: 2009-11-24 RATING: 0/10
Yet another Rich Dad book shat out for the usual audience of those who don't read. Often so bad it hurts, but with the occasional useful sentence. He always seems to go out of his way to avoid giving any usable info - only generalities. Does he care? Is he trying to write great books? Are these things just machine-generated or something?
ISBN: 0470432373 READ: 2009-05-12 RATING: 0/10
One of the few books I've actively disliked. Ever read the introduction to a book? Where they say “what you hold in your hands here is something that could change the world”, and blah blah blah? I kept reading, wondering when the introduction was going to be over. Over halfway through the book, I realized this was it: just broad general encouraging unuseful nothings for the entire book.