People often ask me for book reading recommendations. This page is my answer to that question.

UPDATED: March 26, 2021

About How I Read

I currently track my book reading with Goodreads. Here’s how I track my book reading.

I read around 50-60 books a year, which I typically share a post on in my year in reading along with my other year in data review.

My aim is to read 2000 books in coming decade or so. I’m currently at around 1050 books. So about halfway there and my great books to come!

I read a wide range of book types. You can find my current readings here.

Contact me if you have a great book to recommend!

My Year-in-Reading Review

My Favorite Books

Below are yearly favorites and favorites by genre. Bolded titles are extra good to me.

Animals

  • Frans de Waal - Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong
  • Frans de Waal - Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes
  • The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Montgomery, Sy
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness Godfrey-Smith, Peter

Behavior Sciences, Psychology and Behaviorial Economics

  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Gladwell, Malcolm
  • Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Weinberg, Gabriel

Biology and Evolution

  • Darwin and the Barnacle: The Story of One Tiny Creature and History’s Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough by Rebecca Stott

Brain Science and Neurology

  • The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness by António R. Damásio
  • **The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness **by Jeff Warren
  • A User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain Paperback by John J. Ratey
  • Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by by Antonio R. Damasio
  • Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief by Andrew B. Newberg

Business, Startups and Entrepreneurship

  • The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business by David Rose
  • Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg
  • Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook by Dan Shapiro
  • Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by James Collins

Computer Science, Data Science and AI

  • Possible Minds: 25 Ways of Looking at AI edited by John Brockman
  • Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython by Wes McKinney
  • Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow by Aurélien Géron
  • The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Design and UX

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
  • Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey

Economics

  • The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress by Joel Mokyr
  • Principles of Economics by Gregory Mankiw
  • 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
  • Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan

Feminism and Gender Studies:

  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • What Can She Know? by Lorraine Code
  • The Ethics of Care by Virginia Held
  • Modern Misogyny: Anti-Feminism in a Post-Feminist Era by Kristin Anderson
  • Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Freediving and Breath:

  • Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
  • Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves by Nestor, James

  • Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World by Tm Ecott

Health, Fitness and Running:

Related Posts: Science and Stories of Running: More Book Reviews on Running and Endurance and Some Great Books on Running: Personal Reviews, Takeaways and Quotes from Runner-Writers

  • The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your performance by Steve Magness
  • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
  • Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson
  • How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger
  • The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb
  • Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Kelly Starrett
  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Walker, Matthew
  • My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Open by Andre Agassi
  • The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner

History

  • The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
  • The Devil in the White City rik Larson
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  • The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World
  • A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt
  • The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance by Paul Strathern
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
  • Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Isaacson, Walter
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Weatherford, Jack
  • Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Chernow, Ron
  • The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma by Myint-U, Thant
  • Vietnam: A History by Karnow, Stanley
  • Bolívar: American Liberator by Arana, Marie
  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Dors Kearns Goodwin
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Learning and Language

  • Ultralearning by Scott Young
  • Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner
  • Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World by Benny Lewis
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg

Memoirs

  • Rural China on the Eve of Revolution: Sichuan Fieldnotes, 1949-1950 Skinner, G. William
  • The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place by Baker, Ian

Music

  • How Music Works by David Byrne (of Talking Heads)
  • This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin

Philosophy:

  • A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume
  • Nietzche - Beyond Good and Evil, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  • A Theory of Justice by John Rawls
  • The Work of Mourning by Jacques Derrida
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
  • Critique of Pure Reason by Emmanuel Kant
  • Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
  • Plato’s Republic
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
  • Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • The Buddha Eye: An Anthology of the Kyoto School and Its Contemporaries by Franck, Frederick
  • The Politics of Friendship by Jacques Derrida
  • Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
  • Re-Engineering Humanity by Frischmann, Brett

Phenomenology

  • Oneself as Another by Paul Ricœur
  • Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  • Time and Narrative by Paul Ricœur
  • Cartesian Meditations by Edmund Husserl
  • The Crisis of Euroean Sciences by Edmund Husserl
  • Husserl’s Phenomenology by Dan Zahavi
  • Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
  • The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

Productivity, Peak Performance, Flow and Staying Organized

  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by Allen, David
  • The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Levitin, Daniel J.
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Duckworth, Angela
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Duhigg, Charles
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise Ericsson, K. Anders
  • Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Stulberg, Brad
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance Kotler, Steven
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Clear, James
  • How to Take Smart Notes by Ahrens, Sönke
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
  • Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler

Science and the Future

  • Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique by Gribbin, John
  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Kaku, Michio
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

War

  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge
  • Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942 by Ian Toll
  • Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
  • Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie


Fiction:

Science-Fiction (Sci-Fi)

  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
  • Three-Body Problem (Book / Series) by Liu Cixin
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
  • The Expanse by James Corey
  • Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • Brave New World Huxley, Aldous
  • La Saga des Fourmis / Ants Saga by Bernard Werber
  • Dauntless (Lost Fleet series) byJack Campbell
  • Red Rising (Book / Saga) by Pierce Brown
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Mysts of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Contemporary Novels:

  • The Virgin Suicides Eugenides, Jeffrey
  • Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, #1) Hearn, Lian
  • The Elementary Particles Houellebecq, Michel
  • The Girl on the Train Hawkins, Paula *
  • Paper Towns Green, John
  • Austerlitz Sebald, W.G.
  • All the Light We Cannot See Doerr, Anthony *
  • Super Sad True Love Story Shteyngart, Gary
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Murakami, Haruki
  • Norwegian Wood Murakami, Haruki
  • Lord Jim
  • Cosmopolis DeLillo, Don
  • American Gods (American Gods, #1)
  • My Name Is Asher Lev Potok, Chaim
  • he Body Artist DeLillo, Don
  • The Magus Fowles, John
  • Steinbeck, John
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls Hemingway, Ernest
  • Moby-Dick or, the Whale Melville, Herman
  • Cosmopolis DeLillo, Don
  • The Name of the Rose Eco, Umberto
  • Love in the Time of Cholera Garcí­a Márquez, Gabriel
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude Garcí­a Márquez, Gabriel


My Writings on Reading and Books

Here are a few posts I’ve written about reading: