Peter Hurford

Peter Hurford is a data scientist working for Rise Interactive in Chicago.

Most of my reading is on the internet, but I do also like to read offline paper books. So I've decided to keep a list, starting from the beginning of July 2011, and documenting all the books that I've read, the book I'm currently reading, and all the books I plan to read. Books read in accordance with my principles on how to read -- summaries are provided for you to read before and after reading the book (or to decide whether to read the book); not to replace the book. Books are graded like college universities -- just as universities are selective about the students they take, I'm selective about the books I read, and just as B is an average for those students, a B is an average for the books I read. C- and below should feel bad.

Note that all links go to Amazon and include an affiliate link. This means if you buy a book, I get a small cut of the profit. However, the account is set up to donate directly to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, curing infectious diseases in Africa. If you want to read more about how awesome SCI is, check out Charity Science's accessible summary. If you're curious how you can donate 5% of your Amazon shopping to SCI every time you shop, check out the Shop for Charity program.

 

Have Read (Since 1 July, 2011)

Sense and Goodness Without God A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism by Richard Carrier
  • Category - Philosophy, Ethics, Atheism
  • Why I read it? - Had been following Carrier for quite some time, was interested in his unique take on atheism and philosophy.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating A+. Great overview of many different philosophical topics. I generally agree with Carrier on a lot of things.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're interested in philosophy and already know a bit. Be wary that his opinions are outside the mainstream.
  • Summary I like - Commonsense Atheism Review
Good and Real Demystifying Paradoxes from Physics to Ethics by Gary L. Drescher
  • Category - Philosophy, Ethics
  • Why did I read it? - It had been highly recommended by LessWrong as another unique take on many philosophical topics.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating A. Also a great overview of many topics in philosophy and physics with a unique connection between them.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're interested in philosophy and already know a bit. Be wary that his opinions are outside the mainstream.
  • Summary I like - Commonsense Atheism Review
The Life You Can Save Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer
  • Category - Philosophy, Altruism
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in Singer's ethics.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating A+. Life changing.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Everyone should grapple with Singer's argument that we're in a powerful position to do good in the world.
  • Summary I like - Scholardarity
Liars and Outliers Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive by Bruce Schneier
  • Category - Society
  • Why I read it? - I had read Schneier's blog for quite some time and was interested in his book.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're interested in how society works from a very abstract level.
  • Summary I like - My own
The Penguin and the Leviathan How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest by Yochai Benkler
  • Category - Society
  • Why I read it? - Schneier mentioned that this book was a "companion book" to his book.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. More story-telling than Schneier's book. Definitely compliments the book well. Read both together.
  • Summary I like - My own
How to Change the World Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein.
  • Category - Social Entrepreneurship
  • Why I read it? - Bornstein was a speaker coming to our campus, and was highly recommended, so I was interested in his work. I also wanted more exposure to "social entrepreneurship" as an alternative to "effective altruism".
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're particularly interested in social entrepreneurship. A fair amount of the info may be outdated now.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't really find a good one, but I did write a bit about the book.
SuperFreakonomics Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Category - Economics
  • Why I read it? - It was a popular and widely praised book. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B.
  • Do I recommend it? - Not particularly. It's an entertaining read and a good mindset, but I don't feel like it's particularly important.
Deep Ancestry Inside The Genographic Project by Spencer Wells
  • Category - Genomics
  • Why I read it? - I won the book in a raffle contest, so I thought I ought to read it
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C. It wasn't a subject I was interested in.
  • Do I recommend it? - No, unless you're particularly interested in genomics.
The Ideal of a Rational Morality Philosophical Compositions by Marcus G. Singer
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in reading more books by Peter Singer, and picked up this one by accident. I kept reading to get a different perspective on ethics.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you skim it quickly. The book is short and the approach to ethics is kinda interesting and unique.
The End of Christianity edited by John W. Loftus
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - I had been reading a lot of Loftus's blog, was interested in atheism. Also, it was an anthology that contained work by Richard Carrier, who I was also keen to read more of.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+. I liked skimming Carrier's section, but I don't think the work is particularly important.
  • Do I recommend it? - Not particularly, unless you're on the fence on atheism and want more exposure to atheist thought.
How Are We to Live? by Peter Singer
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in reading everything I could from Singer after enjoying "The Life You Can Save".
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A+. I love how Singer frames an ethical life as "the ultimate choice."
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. I think this is one of Singer's more interesting and less controversial works.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't find a good one.
Writings on an Ethical Life by Peter Singer
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in reading everything I could from Singer after enjoying "The Life You Can Save".
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A. A great grab bag of everything Singer believes, including the really controversial stuff.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're curious about this Singer guy and all his views.
  • Summary I like - The book itself is already a summary.
The Science of Good and Evil Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule by Michael Shermer
  • Category - Psychology of Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I had liked Shermer before after listening to some of his talks, and I was interested more in the psychology of ethics.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D+.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. It was too popular science, and there are a dozen better books on the subject.
Justice What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I had heard a lot of good things about Sandel from friends and was curious what he was writing about.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B.
  • Do I recommend it? - It's light and entertaining. A good intro to ethics if you've never read on the topic before, but not much more than that.
Fight Club Politics How Partisanship is Poisoning the U.S. House of Representatives by Juliet Eilperin
  • Category - Politics
  • Why I read it? - Had to read it for class
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C+. It's an interesting perspective on how politics work, but I think it's insufficiently empirical and -- more troubling -- false.
  • Do I recommend it? - No.
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I wanted to see what Ayn Rand was all about without having to slog through one of her long fictions.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating F.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. Ayn Rand is a hack.
Arguing about Gods by Graham Oppy
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - It was mentioned as a classic book about atheism.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Don't really remember, to be honest.
Dependent Rational Animals Why Human Beings Need the Virtues by Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - Was in a philosophy book club at school and this was the book
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Worth skimming. Kind of repetitive, but a good intro to classic virtue ethics.
On What Matters by Derek Parfit
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - It's widely considered a groundshaker in ethics, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
  • How I read it? - Kindle
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Worth skimming if you're interested in ethics. It's very long.
  • Summary I like - Jacob Ross's
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Richard Howard
  • Category - Fiction
  • Why I read it? - My girlfriend thought I ought to read more fiction, and recommended this book.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
  • Do I recommend it? - It's cute. And a short read. So why not?
Ethics Inventing Right and Wrong by J.L. Mackie
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I had read a lot about Error Theory and found a lot in it that I agree, so I wanted to read the original source.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, particularly because there's a lot of important stuff in this book that isn't in all the summaries.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't find a good one.
The Upper House A Journey behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate by Terence Samuel
  • Category - Politics
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book in class
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D-. Insufficiently empirical.
  • Do I recommend it? - No.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - I had read a lot of books about atheism, but not this one, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C-. People were right that it was a bit juvenile and not at the highest caliber of atheist thought.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. Read a book from a real philosopher instead.
The Non-Existence of God by Nicholas Everitt
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - I heard that it was one of the best argued books for atheism
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, though be wary it's definitely geared toward philosophers and not the common laypublic.
  • Summary I like - Philosophical Disquisitions
Virtue Ethics by Richard Taylor
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I was looking for books on Virtue Ethics, and this one came recommended in a bibliography
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D-. Only reason it isn't an F is it's not actively harmful like Ayn Rand.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. It's all fluff. Waste of time.
The Expanding Circle Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress by Peter Singer
  • Category - Psychology of Ethics
  • Why I read it? - Had liked Singer so far, was eager to read more of his work.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, it seems like a good intro to the subject.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't find a good one.
Moral Skepticisms by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - Was interested in learning more about error theory.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're already really interested in ethics.
  • Summary I like - Nothing good on the book itself, but The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy seems like a fine place.
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. P. Seligman
  • Category - Psychology of happiness
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in reading more about the psychology of happiness. Seligman is the biggest name in the field, and this is his main book.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. You might actually become happier as a result of reading it! :)
  • Summary I like - Healthquest
Understanding Modern Money The Key to Full Employment and Price Stability by L. Randall Wray
  • Category - Modern Money Theory (Economics)
  • Why I read it? - I was doing a research project on Modern Money Theory, and this was the book I was told to read.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Not unless you're really interested in Modern Money Theory.
Morality and Self-Interest by Paul Bloomfield
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - Was really keen to read "Too Much Morality" by Stephen Finlay, since I really liked his approach to ethics. The other essays were pretty good too.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Only if you're really interested in ethics and have already read pretty widely on the subject.
Giving How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton
  • Why I read it? - A friend recommended it to me and lent me a copy.
  • How I read it? - Physcial book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D+. Typical politician fluff.
  • Do I recommend it? - Not unless you like reading fluff, which some people do.
The Future of Atheism Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue edited by Robert B. Stewart
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - I liked Daniel Dennet and tolerated Alister McGrath, and I was curious to read some atheist-theist diologues. This also came recommended by Commonsense Atheism.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. I can't recall much about the book, to be honest, other than disliking it.
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I was interested in utilitarianism, and this book is supposed to be the classic. Later, I had to re-read it for a class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Sure. It's pretty classic, and always good to get it right from the source.
  • Summary I like - A summary kind of defeats the purpose of reading it.
The Hawk and the Dove Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War by Nicholas Thompson
  • Category - Political History
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C.
  • Do I recommend it? - I think there might be better history of the Cold War resources, but if you're interested in the topic, this one isn't too bad.
Leaders at War How Presidents Shape Military Interventions by Elizabeth N. Saunders
  • Category - Political History
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B. Interesting and surprisingly empirical.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're interested in political history and political psychology.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't find a good one.
The Student's Guide to Successful Project Teams by William A. Kahn
  • Category - Organization Development
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
  • Do I recommend it? - There are probably better management books out there, but this one has some good principles, especially for student groups.
  • Summary I like - Couldn't find a good one.
Motivating the Middle Fighting Apathy in College Student Organizations by T.J. Sullivan
  • Category - Organization Development
  • Why I read it? - There was a college talk oriented around this book, so I felt like I should read it if I wanted to go. Also, I had read "The Student's Guide to Successful Project Teams" and was curious how this compared.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating D.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. Read "The Student's Guide to Successful Project Teams" instead.
The God Virus How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture by Darrel W. Ray
  • Category - Atheism
  • Why I read it? - I saw a talk by Darrel Ray at an atheist conference and thought he was the best speaker there, so I was curious to buy and read a book of his. This was a mistake.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating F. Finally a book on par with Rand and something more noxious than Dawkins. And I don't even like religion that much.
  • Do I recommend it? - No.
The Paradox of Choice Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz
  • Category - Psychology
  • Why I read it? - It came highly recommended on the internet as a good book on psychology and happiness
  • How I read it? - Physical book. I even tried highlighting this time around.
  • Did I like it? - Rating A+. Wide-ranging and original implications for life and -- surprisingly -- the philosophy of ethics.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
  • Summary I like - Sivers
America Between the Wars From 11/9 to 9/11 by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier
  • Category - Political History
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating C.
  • Do I recommend it? - Not really. Kinda fluff.
Explaining the Iraq War Counterfactual Theory, Logic and Evidence by Frank P. Harvey
  • Category - Political History
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating B. In the Saunder's club of surprisingly empirical.
  • Do I recommend it? - I think this is one of the best overviews I know of how to approach political history empirically, but I have not looked much at all into the subject.
  • Summary I like - Can't find a good one, but Wikipedia on counterfactual history plus this book review should be good in a pinch.
The Obamians The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power by James Mann
  • Category - Political History
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating D.
  • Do I recommend it? - No. Also too fluffy.
Last Child in the Woods Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book.
  • Did I like it? - Rating D-. Playing outside is great, and maybe children should have more of it, but I don't think we need a book about that.
  • Do I recommend it? - No.
The City and the Coming Climate Climate Change in the Places We Live by Brian Stone Jr.
  • Category - Climate Change
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B.
  • Do I recommend it? - Sure. It was an interesting perspective on climate change I had never heard before (or again). Worth a skim.
  • Summary I like - Can't find a good one.
Living in Denial Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life by Kari Marie Norgaard
  • Category - Climate Change (Psychology)
  • Why I read it? - It was an assigned book for class.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating A-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Finally goes beyond "climate change is happening and people are dumb for thinking otherwise" to boldly ask "gee, why are people thinking otherwise?"
  • Summary I like - This YouTube lecture by the author
The 4-Hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  • Category - Self-development
  • Why I read it? - It was talked about a lot, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
  • How I read it? - Kindle
  • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Not the highest priority self-development book (that would be Allen's "Getting Things Done"), but it's up there and I think people interested in self-dev should have some exposure to Ferriss's thoughts
  • Summary I like - Sivers
Moral Realism A Defence by Russ Shafer-Landau
  • Category - Ethics
  • Why I read it? - I had been pretty settled on moral anti-realism, so I was interested in a defense of moral realism. This came recommended.
  • How I read it? - Physical book
  • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
  • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're curious about the best of moral realist thought. Didn't find it too convincing, though.
  • Summary I like - Christian Miller
Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
  • Category - Self-development
  • Why I read it? - I read a fair amount of self-dev on the internet, and this book came highly recommended (particularly by ZenHabits).
  • How I read it? - Kindle
  • Did I like it? - Rating A+.
  • Do I recommend it? - Anyone interested in simplifying their life, having less stress, and/or getting more done, should read this book.
  • Summary I like - ZenHabits
  • Engaging College Men Discovering What Works and Why by Gar Kellom and Miles Groth.
    • Why I read it? - I was researching how to get more men involved in volunteer service projects at college, searched, and this book came up. It seemed promising.
    • How I read it? - Physical book
    • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
    • Do I recommend it? - Not really. It has good case studies, but I couldn't find anything actionable.
    Moral Tribes Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene.
    • Category - Psychology of ethics
    • Why I read it? - I liked Greene a lot from his papers, so when I heard he had written a book, I was excited to read it.
    • How I read it? - Started on Kindle, finished on Audible.
    • Did I like it? - Rating A.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you're interested in moral psychology.
    • Summary I like - My own (currently unfinished)
    Expert Political Judgment by Phillop E. Tetlock [B].
    Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom.
    • Category - AI Risks
    • Why I read it? - It came highly recommended on LessWrong.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
    • Do I recommend it? - It's a good overview of the topic, but if you've already read a lot of LessWrong it could be repetitive.
    • Summary I like - Superintelligence Reading Group
    Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty.
    • Category - Economics
    • Why I read it? - A reading group I had joined was interested in reading it.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B-.
    • Do I recommend it? - If you're interested in Economics, sure. It's kind of hard to read by audiobook; I'd recommend getting a text copy.
    How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - It's widely regarded as one of the best books for how to relate to people.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating A+. Simple, but effective.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Everyone should apply all of these principles to their daily life.
    • Summary I like - Reddit
    How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams.
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - I liked Scott Adams as a cartoonist (Dilbert) and was interested in what he had to say.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating A.
    • Do I recommend it? -
    • Summary I like -
    Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz.
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - I was looking for other popular and well-regarded self-development books, and this came up in my search.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating D+. This book felt too self-congratulatory and boring to me.
    • Do I recommend it? - I suppose it's worth a shot because it's well-regarded, but it really didn't click for me. Maybe try out the first chapter and see what you think?
    The 7 Day Startup: You Don't Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris.
    • Category - Entrepreneurship
    • Why I read it? - I stumbled upon it on the internet and the title appealed to me.
    • How I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - Rating A.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. The approach is excellent and the book is stunningly actionable. A great companion to the more theoretical books, like "The Lean Startup".
    • Summary I like - The book itself is already about as dense as it can get.
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Conbrnuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.
    • Category - Entrepreneurship
    • Why I read it? - It was widely regarded as a classic in entrepreneurship.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating A.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. I thought maybe I had already learned everything there is in this book since it's so widely cited and summarized elsewhere, but reading the source still proved important and insightful. The case studies in the book were pretty cool. The Lean Startup is common wisdom now, but it's fun to imagine how revolutionary it must have been at the time (2011 -- so old, huh).
    • Summary I like - Wikipedia
    The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
    • Category - Entrepreneurship
    • Why I read it? - It was highly recommended by Derek Sivers
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating A+.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Summarizes a wide degree of business information across many books and goes into detail on many different topics. While I'm a bit wary of Kaufman for being one of those people who's only successful business was the business of telling other people how to run businesses, I think his information is pretty good. There's also a lot of self-development info as well in the last half of the book, which is a nice bonus.
    • Summary I like - Sivers
    All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin
    • Category - Marketing
    • Why I read it? - I felt like I needed to learn more about marketing, and this book was recommended by Josh Kaufman.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating D+. The book was not what I was looking for. It was too narrative for my taste -- read to me more like slam poetry than a textbook.
    • Do I recommend it? - Some people might like slam poetry...
    The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries
    • Category - Marketing
    • Why I read it? - I felt like I needed to learn more about marketing, and "The 22 Immutable Laws of *Marketing*" was recommended by Josh Kaufman. I bought this one by mistake.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B-. The book felt quite overconfident, but still was insightful and contained information I don't think I would find elsewhere.
    • Do I recommend it? - If you're interested in branding, yes. It's super short. So short that I thought it was a ripoff to buy it on Audible... The summary leaves out a lot of the examples that make it possible to understand the laws, but the additional info offered by the book is still pretty marginal and might not be worth the money.
    • Summary I like - How to Branding
    The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
    • Category - Entrepreneurship
    • Why I read it? - I was pretty sure it was recommended by either Sivers or Kaufman, but I can't find it on either of their lists...
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating A-. I consider it an autobiography more than a business book. I imagine it would be a lot more relevant to me if I was actually a CEO of a public company -- a lot of the advice is about hiring and firing exceutives, which is not something I need to know how to do. But I still found the narrative to be quite compelling, and it was nice to find a book that was frank about the emotional struggles of being a CEO.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, if you've read a few other entrepreneurship books. Puts them in a good context.
    • Summary I like - Medium Book Summaries
    The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything ...Fast! by Josh Kaufman
    • Category - Learning
    • Why I read it? - I don't really care about learning fast, but I do care about learning. I really liked what Kaufman had to offer in "The Personal MBA", so I'm eager to see what he has to offer here.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B+. The first half of the book was pretty useful in confirming what I already knew, and was well laid out. The second half of the book where Kaufman talks about skills he learned was not useful, even as case studies of learning.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, but only the first half.
    • Summary I like - Pablo Stafforini
    The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
    • Category - Marketing
    • Why I read it? - It came recommended from Josh Kaufman's reading list.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating C-. It seemed like there were some nuggets of good advice, but there was a lot of woo -- such as the power of thinking positively, affirmations, etc. There was so much woo that it made it difficult to trust the good advice, so I stopped reading.
    • Do I recommend it? - No.
    Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
    • Category - Marketing
    • Why I read it? - It came recommended from Josh Kaufman's reading list.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B. It was definitely over the top, but in a pretty enjoyable way. Low on actionable and evidence-based advice, but still compelling anecdotes.
    • Do I recommend it? - It seems worth going through quickly when you're out of higher-rated alternatives.
    • Summary I like - Actionable Books
    The Motivation Hacker by Nick Winter
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - I've been impressed with Nick Winter's work, and the book was short and cheap.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - Rating B. I think the book overpromises and underdelivers a bit, but it's well organized. Few of the tips were new to me and I think Winter is holding out on some of his advanced stuff, but it's still worth the read.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
    The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - It came recommended from Josh Kaufman's reading list.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B+. The general principle of managing energy instead of time is a good one, and the case studies are relatable. But the book is a bit vague on actionable advice.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
    • Summary I like - Josh Kaufman
    First Test: Protector of the Small #1 by Tamora Pierce
    • Category - Fiction
    • Why I read it? - It is one of my girlfriend's favorite books.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Rating B+.
    • Do I recommend it? - Sure. It's amusing.
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman, et al.
    • Category - Fun
    • Why I read it? - It's a classic and comes independently recommended from several friends.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Not personally. Rating C-. I found it to just be a bragfest about how smart Mr. Feynman is. I couldn't get around this.
    • Do I recommend it? - I'm sure other people would find it amusing, so it's still worth a shot.
    How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why I read it? - The book sounds like it might be useful; I feel like I have a weakness in conversation skills.
    • How I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating B-. The beginning was weak and almost made me stop listening, but I'm glad I didn't. Some of the tips are lame, but the shotgun approach works to make sure everyone gets something of value. I wish there was more on how to implement the tips. Also, it's short on empiricism.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
    • Summary I like - Sivers
    Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
    • Category - Development Economics
    • Why I read it? - It's come highly recommended as a good book on the subject.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating A. A thorough yet still accessible overview to the subject of development economics, with some very counter-intuitive conclusions. Definitely a book that made me more liberal.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
    • Summary I like - TBD
    Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work by Dr. David Burns
    • Category - Self-developtment
    • Why did I read it? - It was recommended by Anna Salamon.
    • How did I read it? - Audible
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating A. Really good review of how to interact with people who are angry or not feeling 100%. Very actionable.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Read right after reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People".
    • Summary I like - TBD
    The Four Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why did I read it? - I want to learn how to cook and find Tim Ferriss amusing.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - No. Rating C-. It had some good information but it was very rambling. And not the good kind of rambling either.
    • Do I recommend it? - No.
    Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why did I read it? - I had admired Cal Newport's unique philosophy to productivty for a long time and wanted to read his book.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating A.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes.
    • Summary I like - My own
    The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas
    • Category - Programming
    • Why did I read it? - It came recommended from Hadley Wickham, one of the best R programmers.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating B-.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. But be careful to skim and read for timeless higher-level principles and don't read for Java coding principles.
    • Summary I like - My own, Coding Horror
    Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference by William Macaskill
    • Category - Effective Altruism
    • Why did I read it? - I'm a fan of the Effective Altruism movement and I want to read the books coming out explaining it.
    • How did I read it? - Hardcover
    • Did I like it? Yes. Rating B.
    • Do I recommend it? Yes - it's a very good introduction to all the facets of Effective Altruism, and even features me :)
    The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically by Peter Singer
    • Category - Effective Altruism
    • Why do I want to read it? - I'm a fan of the Effective Altruism movement and I want to read the books coming out explaining it.
    • How did I read it? - Hardcover
    • Did I like it? Yes. Rating C.
    • Do I recommend it? No, you should just read "Doing Good Better" and/or "The Life You Can Save" instead.
    High Output Management by Andrew Grove
    • Category - Management
    • Why did I read it? - It is very highly recommended by Ben Horowitz.
    • How did I read it? - Physical book, then Kindle (once I lost the book)
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating A-.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes. Though it seems most relevant for someone who manages other managers.
    • Summary I like - Abi Noda, my own
    Making Software: What Really Works and Why We Believe It by Andy Oram and Greg Wilson
    • Category - Programming
    • Why did I read it? - I listened to a talk from the author that was partially about the book and I was interested to learn more.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? - Yes. Rating B.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, but you should definitely skim unless you really like reading about research methods.
    • Summary I like - My own
    Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
    • Category - Self-development, Programming
    • Why did I read it? - It was recommended by a friend and is highly rated on Amazon.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? Mostly. Rating B-.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, but it is quite repetetive and most of it is too anecdotal. I'd read it, but skim and read skeptically.
    • Summary I like - my own, Javatroopers
    Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why did I read it? - It was recommended by a friend.
    • How did I read it? - Kindle
    • Did I like it? Mostly. Rating B-.
    • Do I recommend it? - Yes, though it is quite repetetive and while grounded in a good methodology I found some of the discussion to be unscientific.
    • Summary I like - my own

     

    Intend to Read

    The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
    • Category - Management
    • Why do I want to read it? - It was recommended to me by a friend.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Don Clifton
    • Category - Management
    • Why do I want to read it? - It was recommended to me by a friend.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
    • Category - Fun
    • Why do I want to read it? - I've heard good things about it from a few different people.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky
    • Category - Self-developtment
    • Why do I want to read it? - I've always been a big fan of Eliezer's "Sequences", so seeing them compiled in book format interests me.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    • Summary I like - The book is notorious for being difficult to summarize.
    A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why do I want to read it? - It came recommended by Mark Rosewater, the lead designer of Magic: the Gathering.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    • Summary I like - Creating.bz
    The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • Category - Self-development
    • Why do I want to read it? - It came recommended from a few different friends, independently.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    • Summary I like - Actionable Books
    A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation by Peter Singer
    • Category - Ethics
    • Why do I want to read it? - I'm finishing my quest to read all the things Peter Singer has written.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    • Summary I like -
    Ethics Into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement by Peter Singer
    • Category - Ethics, Vegetarianism
    • Why do I want to read it? - I'm finishing my quest to read all the things Peter Singer has written.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Kindle
    • Summary I like -
    Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
    • Category - Fun
    • Why do I want to read it? - I got it as a present from a friend, and it's widely regarded as a classic.
    • How do I intend to read it? - Physical book