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

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2024

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 1100 books. So about halfway there and many great books to come (perhaps even one I’ll write myself)!

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.


  • Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong by Frans de Waal
  • Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes by Frans de Waal
  • The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomer
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal: What Animal Intelligence Reveals About Human Stupidity by Justin Gregg

Behavior Sciences, Psychology and Behaviorial Economics

  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabrial Weinberg
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler
  • Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin E.P. Seligman

Biology and Evolution

  • Darwin and the Barnacle: The Story of One Tiny Creature and History’s Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough by Rebecca Stott
  • What Is Life?: Five Great Ideas in Biology by Paul Nurse
  • The Secret Language of Cells: What Biological Conversations Tell Us About the Brain-Body Connection, the Future of Medicine, and Life Itself by Jon Lief
  • The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson
  • Lamarck’s Revenge: How Epigenetics Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution’s Past and Present by Peter Ward
  • Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
  • Human Nature and Limits of Science by John Dupré

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
  • Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability into Your Business by Amos Schwartzfarb and Trevor Boeh
  • To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H Pink
  • The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale by John List
  • Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon by Colin Bryar
  • Super Mentors: The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Asking Extraordinary People for Help by Eric Koester
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Malone Scott


  • The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
  • Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
  • Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

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
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
  • Recommendation Engines by Michael Schrage
  • The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Judea Pearl

Design and UX

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


  • 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
  • Brotopia by Emily Chang

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 James Nestor

  • 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
  • Outlive by Peter Attia


  • The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik 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 Ron Chernow
  • The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma by Thant Myint-U
  • Vietnam: A History by by Stanley Karnow
  • Bolívar: American Liberator by Marie Arana
  • 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
  • The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen
  • Panama Fever: The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time-the Building of the Panama Canal by Matthew Parker
  • The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World by Mike Winchell
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
  • Iron Empires: Robber Barons, Railroads, and the Making of Modern America by Michael Hiltzik
  • Electric War - AC/DC Battle between Edison and Tesla/Westinghouse
  • River of Doubt on Ex-President Teddy Roosevelt’s adventure to survey an unmapped Brazilian river.
  • Rough-hewn Land by Keith Heyer Meldahl - Geological tale from birth of California to the Rocky Mountains
  • Rough-Hewn Land by Keith Heyer Meldahl
  • Tractor Wars - Following Ford’s Model T and rise of cars, another industrial battle unfolds between multiple companies seeking to modernize and industrialize farming.
  • Stairway to Heaven: A Journey to the Summit of Mount Emei - Located in a remote area of modern Sichuan province, Mount Emei is one of China’s most famous mountains and has long been important to Daoists and Buddhists. Wonderful retelling of famous Chinese travelogues.
  • The Last Duel A dramatic conflict between French Norman neighbors in Medieval Europe culminating in a blow-by-blow retelling of dueling knights.

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
  • Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher. 📖 Read review.


  • 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


  • How Music Works by David Byrne (of Talking Heads)
  • This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin
  • How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back by Jeff Tweedy


  • 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
  • Hacking Life: Systematized Living and Its Discontents by Joseph Reagle
  • McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality by Ronald Purser. 📖 Checkout my book review.
  • Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress by Hasok Chang
  • The History and Ethics of Authenticity: Meaning, Freedom, and Modernity by Kyle Michael James Shuttleworth. 📖 Read my book notes and review.
  • On Being Authentic by Charles Guignon. 📖 Read my book notes and review.
  • The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor. 📖 Read my book notes and review.
  • The Arts and the Definition of the Human by Joseph Margolis. 📖 Read review.
  • Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis


  • 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
  • The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew Crawford

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 by K Anders Ericsson
  • 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 by Steven Kotler
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens. 📖 Checkout my book review, The Power of Systematic Notes.
  • 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
  • The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile
  • Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Eurich Tasha
  • Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant
  • Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. 📖 Checkout my book review, Time Management as Life Philosophy.
  • The Art of Self-Improvement: Ten Timeless Truths by Anna Katharina Schaffner
  • Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler

Social Justice and Social Commentary

  • I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchú
  • Central America’s Forgotten History

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
  • Existential Physics by Sabine Hossenfelder


  • 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


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
  • Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  • 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 by Huxley, Aldous
  • La Saga des Fourmis / Ants Saga by Bernard Werber
  • Dauntless (Lost Fleet series) byJack Campbell
  • Recursion by Black Crouch
  • Octavia Butler’s dystopia two-book series that starts with “Parable of the Sower”
  • 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
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Upgrade by Blake Crouch
  • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. 📖 Read review.
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
  • Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

Contemporary Novels:

  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, #1) by Lian Hearn
  • The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  • Norwegian Wood by Murakami, Haruki
  • Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
  • Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
  • American Gods by Neal Gaiman
  • My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  • The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
  • The Magus by Jhn Fowles
  • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Moby-Dick or, the Whale by Herman Melville
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • The Midnight Library by Haig
  • The Four Winds by Kristin Hannafh
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My Writings on Reading and Books

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