Notes and summaries from Books I've Read

I try to spend a minimum of 6 hours a week reading. Books, essays and the occasional article are my primary learning media. This list is inspired by Ryan Holiday's and Derek Sivers' Books page. The collection is ordered by how much I recommend the book.
Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
Humans are endurance running machines. McDougall takes us on a trip to the Sierra Madre of the Tarahumara to uncover the secrets and science of running.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running By Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami's memoir is an ode to running and writing
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing By Al Ries and Jack Trout
A concise and practical guide to marketing.
Seeking Wisdom By Peter Bevelin
This is a book about tools and mental models for better thinking. Inspired by the wisdom of Charles Munger and Warren Buffett, the books is a very good attempt at condensing timeless wisdom in a readable, and actionable manner. It changed my life.
The Score Takes Care of Itself By Bill Walsh
This book condenses the philosophy of leadership that Bill Walsh—one of the most successful head coaches in NFLs history—developed and applied throughout his career. It is a philosophy rooted in excellence and sacrifice. It shows that there are really no short-cuts to being and doing great. Put in the work and "the score will take care of itself"
Idea Makers By Stephen Wolfram
Idea Makers is a wonderful collection of essays in which Wolfram explores the lives of people that have influenced his life and work. It contains stories of historical figures like Ada Lovelace and Liebniz and also stories about modern figures with whom he interacted (Richard Feynman, Steve Jobs). I enjoyed this book very much. The personal and curious style really captivated me
Range By David J. Epstein
Jack of all trades, master of none seems to be a great skill after all. Experts tend to be limited by their knowledge. Explore like Roger and don't burn out like Tiger.
What Technology Wants By Kevin Kelly
Bold ideas about human progress and where technology is going. You will see progress and society with a new lens after you read it
The Bed Of Procrustes By Nassim Taleb
Aphorisms. Lots of them. It is good to read only one page a day.
Rules For Radical By Saul D. Alinsky
This book is one of the best books I've read this year. The book is a lesson on political organization but can be seen as a lesson for life. Power, for example is not about what you have but about what your opponent thinks you have
Good to Great By Jim Collins
Insightful ideas about why great companies become great. It is more about the team than the individual. Less ego, more curiosity and open communications. Many of the ideas exposed here can be used in your own life as well.
Essentialism By Greg McKeown
I read it while struggling with a lot of projects and ideas. The solution: say no more often than you say yes. Think deeply about what you want to achieve. First remove the unnecessary things. Then execute
Man's Search For Meaning By Viktor Frankl
This book will change your life.
The Obstacle is the Way By Ryan Holiday
This is the best introduction to Stoicism. Holiday makes a fantastic job in distilling timless stoic ideas from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, and other ancient stoic philosophers.
The Meaning Of It All By Richard P. Feynman
This little book is a transcription of a series of lectures Feynman gave at the University of Washington in Seattle. It is a nice and quick read in it's entirety.
Antifragile by Nassim Taleb
Antifragility is the property of things and systems that gain from disorder. This book is wonderful. It changed the way I see the world.
How To Be A Leader by Plutarch
A timeless compilation of Plutarch's essays on Leadership
The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell
Notes on some Russell's essays about Education, Politics, Writing, Religion, and Sex
Coders At Work By Peter Seibel
Peter Seibel interviews some of the most successful and prolific programmers of our time
Doing Good Better By William MacAskill
When we invest money we try to be rational and think in terms of yield and ROIs. But when it comes to donating money we are mostly driven by emotion. This book tries to change that. The more rational and thoughtful we are about how and where we can make and impact, the more effective it can be
Leonardo Da Vinci By Walter Isaacson
Neither Leonardo nor Isaacson need introductions. This book is a wonderful biography. Go read it. Stay curious.
Rework By Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Great working environments are possible. Not everything needs to be a meeting. Simplify and focus on what works
The Effective Executive By Peter Drucker
I am not a manager but I am convinced that this is the single most important book in the history of management
The Power Of Habit By Charles Duhigg
The science behind habit formation. You'll understand how the mechanisms work. It is helpful to get replace bad habits with good ones.
Zen Mind, Beginnger's Mind By Shunryu Suzuki
Everything about this book, from the pages, to the smell, to the content gave me a big sense of peace and detachement. It makes for a very nice and meditative read.
A Guide to the Good Life By William B. Irvine
This is very easy to read and actionable book on Stoicism. I recommend it as an introductory book on the subject.
Deep Work By Cal Newport
Newport introduces the idea of "deep work", long uninterrupted chunks of time in which we can work and develop our ideas. This is bold idea in an age were online communication and busyness are the norm
Made To Stick By Cheap and Dan Heath
All sticky ideas have common traits, they follow patterns which have been applied successfully time and time again.
Of Human Freedom
Epictetus talks about freedom
Deep Simplicity By John Gribbin
Life happens at the edge of chaos. Simple mathematical and physical rules are enough to explain how, by chance, we got here
Stillness Is The Key By Ryan Holiday
All philosophies have a word and a practice for stillness, to some degree. Holiday shows why and how stillness is important. The teachings and wisdom he shares are relevant to us and important if we wish to be a good and fulfilling life
How to Take Smart Notes By Sönke Ahrens
Learning and remembering things is always hard. In school we are taught a very rigid way of taking and organizing notes, mainly by topic and date. This book describes Niklas Luhman's Zettelkasten, a relational approach based on links between concepts and ideas. This is related to the notecard system used by Ryan Holiday and other authors
Titan By Ron Chernow
Rockerfeller lead an impressive life. I had this idea of him being a despicable man that would do anything for money. The book paints a more complete and compelling picture. He did indeed amass the biggest fortune of his time but was also a very big philanthropist
Quiet By Susan Cain
A refreshing view on how introverts can succeed in a world where being an extrovert is considered an advantage.
Deep Thinking By Garry Kasparov
Kasparov is perhaps the greatest chess grandmaster of our time. In this book he recounts his life as a grandmaster and tries to describe what he thinks the machine-driven future holds for us.
Mastery By George Leonard
Mastery is about loving the plateu, about keeping a beginner's mind.
The Magic of Reality By Richard Dawkins
A nice little book that tries to explain in very simple terms most things that science can now explain.
The Control Of Nature By John McPhee
A descriptive and entertaining collection of essays about humanity's constant battle against Nature. McPhee tells us about the Americans' efforts to control the flow of the Mississipi and the debris flow of the Los Angeles Mountains and the battle between the Icelanders and volcanoes
Extreme Ownership By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Leadership principles from the battlefield. Willink and Babin fought in Iraq. They share their hard-tested lessons from the war and how they can be applied to business
How to Live on Twenty Four Hours a Day By Arnold Bennett
A short self-help book from the early 1900s. Some ideas and human challenges are timeless. "History doesn't repeat itsefl, but it rhymes".
The Mythical Man Month By Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
A timeless book on the art and science of making software in big teams. This book destroys the myth of the "man-hour", the idea that adding more human power to a project will make it better and quicker
A Philosophy of Software Design By John Ousterhout
Every software engineer should understand the difference between Tactical and Strategic programming
Weapons of Mass Destruction By Cathy O'Neil
Algorithms have biases, the biases of their implementors. These are magnified with "big data".
Deep by James Nestor
This book just opens your eyes to the ocean world, to the deep that lies beneath us, to that immense blue that humbles me every time I swim in it.
Blue Ocean Strategy By W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
A thorough study of why and how companies should create their own markets and escape from the competitive “red oceans”
Il Deserto Dei Tartari By Dino Buzzati
Giovanni Drogo is sent on assignment to the border of the Kingdom. There, life is monotonous, time passes unnoticed and the soldiers get used to it. Drogo dies waiting for an enemy that will never arrive. I found this book melancholic and a sort of wake-up call. Time advances relentlessly. If we don't act now, if we don't get busy living there won't anything left for us but the past
Ultralearning By Scott H. Young
Tips and tricks to do learn more in an effective way. A lot of learning techniques are compressed in this book. Highly reccommended if you are learning new things.
Uncommon Grounds By Mark Pendergrast
This as a historical overview of coffee, from its origins all the way to Starbucks and third wave coffee.
The Greatest Empire By Emily Wilson
A holistic biography of Seneca. Wilson doesn't does an excellent job in describing the controversies in Seneca's life. On one hand we see him writing letters to his friends arguing in favor of the Stoic ideals. On the other he advises Nero, the Roman emperor and tyrant of his time
Digital Minimalism By Cal Newport
This book follows the same trend of Newport's two previous books (So Good They Can't Ignore you and Deep Work). Newport tries to argue for a more focused and intentional life and to do this, he argues, one needs to use tools (digital tools in this case) mindfully.
Money By Tony Robbins
Tips about money and investing distilled. Very clear to read. A lot of useful information.
Rome's Last Citizen By Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni
Goodman and Soni are some of my favorite biographers. Here they recount the life of Cato. It does a good job in depicting the man and the morals and also Rome at that time
Slipstream Time Hacking By Ben Hardy
A self-help book. Compelling ideas of how to accelerate time, and attempt to 10x your results.
No Hay Causa Perdida
Engaging inside view of Uribe's time as president of Colombia. Regardless of what you think of him, he was a key figure in setting Colombia on a path to success.
The Undercover Economist By Tim Harford
This is an informal introduction to core Economics principles. It took me a while to read it. I didn't enjoy the style. There are some useful ideas though
Brideshead Revisited By Evelyn Waughn
An amazing novel set up in the period between the two wars.
The Five Elements of Effective Thinking By Edward B. Bruger, Michael Starbird
The authors propose a framework of five elements for better thinking and decision-making process: understand deeply, make mistakes, raise questions, follow ideas, change
The Five Most Important Questions By Peter Drucker
This book makes us ask questions that, although simple and obvious in appearance, open avenues of self-exploration and criticism that we would not have found in any other way.