The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

idea

“It’s amazing how prolific Bell Labs was — the transistor, information theory, Unix, amongst other creations — but it’s fascinating to understand it as an organization. Researchers at Bell Labs performed basic research that was open-ended in approach, but the problems addressed very much influenced by the problems parent company AT&T faced with deploying and iterating on their products. It’s made me think a lot about the best ways for companies to help guide and catalyze basic research.” –Matt Krisiloff


Strangers in Their Own Land

stangers

“A book about conservative America – very helpful for understanding the other half of the country” –Jared Friedman


The Rent Is Too Damn High

rent

“Fascinating look at the impact of high housing prices on the rest of the economy” –Jared Friedman


City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism

dubai

“The story of how Dubai got built.” –Jared Friedman


Don Quixote

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“It’s useful to read about a dreamer who keeps going despite getting repeatedly beaten up.” –Aaron Harris


Titan

titan

“Just finished Titan. It was the best analysis of the rise of a monopoly powered by technology I’ve ever encountered.” –Aaron Harris


Grit

grit

“It’s the best book I have read on how to discover and build passion as well as perseverance. I love her thesis on why ‘effort counts twice’.”

Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement

–Anu Hariharan


Pandaemonium: The Coming of the Machine As Seen by Contemporary Observers, 1660-1886

pandaemonium

“This is an incredible read, and as we sit in the middle of the software revolution it’s worthwhile to see what people thought as the industrial revolution was happening.” –Sam Altman


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

nike


Recommended by Geoff Ralston


The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’

holy


Recommended by Geoff Ralston


The Enemy

enemy

“My first Jack Reacher novel. It’s sorta fun.” –Geoff Ralston


Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

midshipman

“A tale of an inexperienced navy man realizing he has a natural talent for problem solving and leadership.” –Finbarr Taylor


A Guide to the Good Life

guide

“A modern exploration of stoic philosophy.” –Finbarr Taylor


On Becoming a Person

person

“This collection of articles and essays, mostly about the concept of client-centered therapy, had a big impact on how I thought about myself and experienced life. It’s very thoughtfully and carefully written and, although there’s some overlap in the treatment of concepts throughout the collection, a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish.” –Scott Bell


Zealot

zealot

“It’s about Jesus, the person (as opposed to The Christ) from a purely historical perspective. I highly recommend – it was super interesting.” –Carolynn Levy


Going Clear

clear

“L. Ron Hubbard = wacky, to say the least.” –Carolynn Levy


War in a Time of Peace

war

“A history of US foreign policy in the 1990s. Recounts US involvement in the Balkans during the Serbian crisis.” –Tim Brady


Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

late

“It is the followup to Hot, Flat and Crowded.” –Tim Brady


Silence Once Begun: A Novel

silence

“An fascinating look at the Japanese criminal justice system told through a story about a wrongly accused suspect. The premise was what got me: a Japanese thread salesman mysteriously confesses to the vanishing of eight people from their homes. However, a journalist ends up trying to figure out the truth when the salesman refuses to talk after the initial confession.” –Kevin Hale


Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction

make

“Art informs life in Nathan’s entertaining reference book. This may be my new recommended starter for people looking for an introduction to interface design.” –Kevin Hale


Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution

rising

“Failure is inevitable. The trick is how to get back up when you fall? Brene’s work is always amazing and I’ve been a fan since I saw her TED lecture. A solid recommendation for entrepreneurs.” –Kevin Hale


Red Notice

red

“It’s a true story of Browder’s investment in Russia and the former Soviet Union. It reads a little like Liar’s Poker, and is a first hand account of one of the most prolific investors in Russia and Putin critics.

The story itself is absolutely crazy and culminates with the famous murder of Sergei Magnitsky, who was Browder’s lawyer in Russia, while he was in Russian custody.” –Yuri Sagalov


The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

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Recommended by Ali Rowghani.


The Agony And The Ecstasy

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Recommended by Dominika Blackappl.


Finding God in the Waves

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“A story of God and religion that isn’t stuck in the usual believer/non-believer tarpit.” –Paul Buchheit


Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

standing

“Unsurprisingly maybe, there are many similarities to starting a stand up career and being a founder. Stand up is one of my favorite forms of entertainment because how unvarnished it is. You can’t fake being a good stand up comedian. Similarly you can’t fake building a great product. Martin, without any pretension, revels the struggle of the art. The book is honest, entertaining and moving.” –Qasar Younis


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

hillbilly

“I just finished Hillbilly Elegy, an excellent memoir by J.D. Vance. It tells the story of his family and the Appalachian community he grew up with. I came away from the book thinking it could be a great equalizer if the US asked all young Americans to do 2-years of service (not necessarily military) before or after university.” –Kat Manalac

Also recommended by Robby Walker.


Weapons of Math Destruction

math

“A tour of how algorithms paired with big data can lead to injustice across industries. O’Neil’s core concern boils down to: how can we ensure processes that are becoming more automated remain fair, even if they offer more efficiency?” –Fred Benenson


A Gambler’s Anatomy

gambler

“A wildly entertaining book about a back gammon gambler who think’s he psychic but may just have a tumor.” –Fred Benenson


Manna: Two Visions of Humanity’s Future

manna

“Lays out an interesting vision of where technology is taking humanity and the societal problems/decisions we will face.” –Immad Akhund


Seveneves: A Novel

seveneves

“Explores a lot of interesting space exploration/survival technology concepts in a fictional post-apocalyptic setting.” –Immad Akhund


Creativity, Inc.

creativity

“Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, on how they built a culture of openness, honesty, self-reflection, and risk-taking that protects new ideas and creativity instead of squashing them.” –Aaron Epstein


Jocko Podcast

“Jocko Willink’s a retired Navy SEAL that reads and reflects on military history through his podcast. Each episode is a reminder to detach from your current situation and stay focused on the larger strategy. Discipline = Freedom. :)” –Craig Cannon