Books I've Read

Here are some books I've read in the last couple of years. I keep this page about as up to date as my Goodreads, although this preserves the order in which I remember reading the texts much better. This list is in reverse chronological order, so the book just below this was my most recent read.

Ur-Fascism

Umberto Eco,

5 / 5

More of an essay than a book. I read this not only to practice my Italian reading skills but also to hear Eco’s accounts in fascist Italy. What struck me the hardest in the text was his symptoms or components of a fascist state. Many of them align with documented fascist movements and even with a couple of global superpowers at this point in time.

How the Internet Happened

Brian McCullough,

5 / 5

Being born in the late 90s and growing up in the early 2000s, I don’t have much to remember about older generations of computing and the Internet. This book very casually yet interestingly covers the growth and development of the Internet as we know it. McCullough did a great job covering not only the technological developments that brought us where we are today but also the business actions and social developments.

The Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx,

2 / 5

I’d been encouraged by a lot of peers for years to read this, so I expected it to be extremely compelling. Maybe it’s because I’d already learned of a lot of the concepts covered in the text, but the text didn’t seem as insightful as expected. It’s rated this low for its lack of impact on me, not because of any lack of quality.

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison,

5 / 5

Chock full of interesting metaphors. I found it to be a fun read.

Obfuscation: A User's Guide to Privacy and Protest

Finn Brunton,

3 / 5

Not much to say. Decent read.

Building a Story Brand

Donald Miller,

4 / 5

This is the first non-blog post I’ve read that highlights the importance of storytelling in marketing. Solid read.

The Black Power Mixtape

Göran Olsson,

4 / 5

I’d seen clips of the documentary on which this book is based in school, but I enjoyed reading this. I’d found it a bit tough to find interviews and firsthand accounts of Black Panthers and other members of the Black Power Movement, so this was interesting.

The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority

Martin Gurri,

4 / 5

Great read about the growing power of everyday people and Internet users in fights against traditionally authoritative entities like governments and large media outlets.

No Place to Hide

Glenn Greenwald,

4 / 5

I’d only ever read anti-Snowden literature when learning about his surveillance whistleblowing. It was interesting to read a more pro-Snowden take and one that was a bit more of a closer witness.

COINTELPRO: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom

Nelson Blackstock,

3 / 5

Had lots of documents to read regarding the COINTELPRO operations, but it was a slow read and very hard to finish.

Thinking in Bets

Annie Duke,

1 / 5

Feels like it *wanted* to be an objective thinking book but read more like a motivational book that wanted to push readers into thinking more objectively, without actually describing how to do so.

Finite and Infinite Games

James P Carse,

3 / 5

It offered a perspective on aspects of life that was very new to me. Carse does a good job explaining how to look at phenomena in terms of finite and infinite games, but it felt repetitive to me. The surface-level coverage of game theory concepts also made it read like it wanted to be a philosophy book but didn’t commit to being so.

Crossing the Chasm

Geoffrey A. Moore,

2 / 5

Decent information but could’ve been a blog post.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens,

3 / 5

N/A

Radical Candor

Kim Malone Scott,

4 / 5

Very insightful read into communicating in professional contexts. I enjoyed how it described Radical Candor, how it differed from other methods of communication, and how it can be applied in several situations. Recommend if you want to learn how to improve interpersonal communication skills.

The Ascent of Money

Niall Ferguson,

5 / 5

Spectacular book that well describes how we got from simple markets in small cities, villages, and communities to global financial markets with hundreds of instruments, derivatives and interdependent systems. Recommend if you want to learn the history of money and finance.

High Growth Handbook

Elad Gil,

4 / 5

I read it cover to cover, which isn’t exactly how it’s meant to be read. It’s definitely great to use a handbook where certain parts are read on demand each time you crack it open. Recommend for if you want to scale a business in the future or are currently doing so.

How I Became a Quant

Richard R. Lindsay,

5 / 5

Great read if you’re interested in learning how firsthand accounts on how quantitative engineers, analysts, and traders got to their positions.

Liar's Poker

Michael Lewis,

2 / 5

Didn’t interest me as much as I’d expected. I often found it hard to finish chapters.

Digital Fortress

Dan Brown,

5 / 5

My first Dan Brown book, and I must say I enjoyed it. The beginning was a smooth read, and it got progressively unputdownable as it approached the end. Recommend if you’re looking for a natsec/intelligence thriller.

Dataclysm

Christian Rudder,

4 / 5

Read this before working in tech, so learning about the data economy and the accuracy of insights that can be drawn about people from their data was interesting.

Mindware

Richard E. Nisbett,

4 / 5

Solid read for learning about how to approach logical and objective thinking in addition to the biases that we all have and how they can be addressed, if possible.

Art of War

Sun Tzu,

4 / 5

Not much to say. Solid classic.

The Autobiography of Malcom X

Malcom X & Alex Haley,

5 / 5

Secondary school focused too much of their lessons on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reading firsthand accounts on Malcom X’s life and death, including what inspired him to take his stance on the civil rights movement, was incredibly insightful not only into the feelings and experiences of many black people at the time but also why the school system chose not to teach of it.

Splinter Cell Conviction

Tom Clancy,

4 / 5

Solid read even as a stand-alone book for those interested in military/natsec/intelligence novels. Might be more enjoyable if read in the series.

Anthem

Ayn Rand,

3 / 5

A more modern classic. Average read.