Here's a list of the books, novels, essays, excerpts, etc. I've read over the last several years. Orange titles are audio books I listened to, the rest are regular books.

2017

18
start:4/23/17
finish:X/XX/17
Jacob S. Hacker & Paul Pierson
Winner-Take-All Politics
...

17
start:4/15/17
finish:4/23/17
Klaus Schwab
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Compared to similar books I've recently read (Second Machine Age, The Complacent Class, Rise of the Robots), this one is the least engaging. This is most likely because it doesn't go as deep as the other books, but it exchanges depth for breadth. While the other books I mentioned focus mostly on the US, The Fourth Industrial Revolution addresses global benefits and challenges that technological progress engenders.

16
start:4/15/17
finish:XX/XX/17
Martin Ford
Rise of the Robots
...

15
start:4/7/17
finish:4/17/17
Steven Johnson
How We Got To Now
I'm always a little disappointed by Johnson's books. This one is about a handful of innovations that have shaped the modern world (e.g. glass, light, clean water), and it is quite enjoyable. But this is exactly the problem. I think Johnson has the ability to be profound, but he writes books that are geared more toward being pleasant and entertaining. If he went deeper, his readership would most likely shrink but his work would be more of a contribution to the humanities rather than being a contribution to the already huge reams of 'pop' books.

14
start:4/7/17
finish:4/15/17
Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee
The Second Machine Age
...

13
start:4/2/17
finish:4/6/17
Timothy Snyder
On Tyranny
...

12
start:3/18/17
finish:4/10/17
Ryan Avent
The Wealth of Humans
...

11
start:3/18/17
finish:4/2/17
Tyler Cowen
The Complacent Class
...

10
start:3/18/17
finish:4/1/17
Tim Wu
The Attention Merchants
I went into the book thinking it would be about our present-day media, particularly online media, but I was wrong. This book is a history of a particular kind of business model – attracting an audience with media, and then selling their attention to advertisers. Wu calls the practitioners of this business model attention merchants. The book begins with the original attention merchant – Benjamin Day and his paper The New York Sun – and outlines the evolution of this model from 1833 to the present.

9
start:3/11/17
finish:03/22/17
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
A Human Being Died That Night
A very unique book. It's about the author's interviews with Eugene de Kock (who the press dubbed "Prime Evil"), the head of Apartheid South Africa's assassination squad. She has a complex relationship of empathizing with someone who is a mass murder, but he is seeking forgiveness for his crimes. It's also a story about the Truth and Reconciliation Committee's mission to help South African's come to terms with the atrocities of the past, and create a space where enemies can coexist.

8
start:3/2/17
finish:3/17/17
Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
A well-done history starting with the evolution of Homo Sapiens from their hominid ancestors, and ending in the present. Harari keeps it interesting throughout and doesn't sugar coat the awful things that have happened over the course of human history; both things we've done to each other and things we've done to the earth and its animal inhabitants.

7
start:3/2/17
finish:3/26/17
Karl Jaspers
Basic Philosophical Writings
(edited & translated by Edith Ehrlich, Leonard H. Ehrlich, and George B. Pepper)
I started reading Jaspers because Hannah Arendt admired him so much. This collection started off well, and I was excited to read more, but as soon as I hit his major works things went down hill. I find it laughable that Jaspers accused Heidegger of overly elliptical thinking and writing. Although he may be right, he too is guilty. I gave up on this one after 80 pages.

6
start:2/20/17
finish:3/2/17
Dan Ariely
Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivation
This is a very short book that discusses psychological findings regarding behaviors and incentives that affect motivation (increasing or decreasing it). It seems that recognizing a person's work, providing a clear picture of how a person's work fits into a mission, and giving a person decision-making power and a feeling of ownership are the primary ways to increase motivation. Providing a plain cash-for-labor exchange is an effective way to decrease motivation.

5
start:2/28/17
finish:3/12/17
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
Why Arendt Matters
This is a great overview of Arendt's body of work, and Young-Bruehl is a clear and engaging writer. She's definitely more sympathetic to Arendt's writing than Pitkin (see book #54 of 2016). A ideal book to read while also reading one of Arendt's works for the first time.

4
start:2/15/17
finish: 2/27/2017
Oliver Luckett & Michael Casey
The Social Organism
There are a lot of interesting and controversial ideas in here. The 'social media is an organism' metaphor helps bring out certain features of these platforms, but the authors sometimes take the metaphor too far. That said, I enjoyed disagreeing with them at points, and the books is absolutely thought provoking.

3
start:2/3/17
finish: 2/14/2017
J. D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy
As a memoir, it was enjoyable, but I listened to it because so many people on the internet are citing it as a source of politically relevant information. The book is about poor white people. Through personal memories and by citing empirical literature Vance hammers in the notion that poor white people face similar sets of social and psychological problems as do poor non-white people. There's nothing new or revolutionary here.

2

start:1/23/17
finish: 2/1/2017
Steven Johnson
Wonderland
The book is a prolonged argument that economic and technological advances come from the re-appropriation of inventions intended to please. The book doesn't argue the thesis very well in the first chapter or two, but stick with it because it comes together quickly thereafter. An enjoyable book.

1
start:1/15/17
finish: 1/22/2017
Nicolas Carr
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
I love Nicloas Carr's work and this one didn't disappoint. He explores the trade-offs we make when we begin to rely on new forms of technology. He doesn't deny the vast benefits of automation, but he focuses on what we lose, and what we lose without realizing it's being lost.

2016

59
start:12/27/16
finish: 01/01/2017
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-Reliance
...

58
start:12/25/16
finish: 12/27/2016
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Compensation
...

57
start:12/26/16
finish: 1/14/2017
David Brooks
The Road To Character
I enjoyed most of this book, particularly the parts about Samuel Johnson and Montaigne. This book fails in the same way so many nonfiction books aimed at a popular audience fail; Brooks uses so much narrative/anecdote to make his points, the points are either lost, or loses their edge. I appreciate Brooks's attempt to secularize his ethics of humility, and I do believe it can be done, but his reliance on religious terms gets in his way. He thinks using religious vocabulary is a strength, but it ends up making it very difficult to differentiate between traditional religious ethics and his own.

56
start:12/19/16
finish: 12/26/2016
Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
I enjoyed reading the biographical parts of the book, because they form a partial history of Silicon Valley from the 1990 to the early 2000. Besides that, I'm not the target audience; I have no interest in becoming a 'technical founder' of a start-up.

55
start:12/12/16
finish: 12/16/2016
Greg McKeown
Essentialism
One of the many productivity/business/self-help hybrid books that has been published over the last decade. For the most part, these books all fill an echo chamber where the same ideas reverberate throughout. That said, if you were to read only one book from this genre, Essentialism would be a good pick.

54
start:11/27/16
finish: 2/20/2016
Hanna Fenichel Pitkin
The Attack of the Blob
This is thorough look at Arendt's concept of 'the social'. Pitkin is critical of Arendt in many respects, but her criticisms are insightful and illuminate Arendt's thinking quite a bit.

53
start:11/21/16
finish: XX/XX/2016
Naomi R. Ceder
The Quick Python Book
...

52
start:11/21/16
finish: 12/12/2016
Walter Isaacson
The Innovators (audio)
An interesting biography of the various groups of people who created the computer, and then the internet. Underlying this group biography is Isaacson’s thesis that innovation comes from collaboration (even if at a distance and over time), rather than from lone geniuses.

51
start:11/5/16
finish: 11/08/2016
Cathy O'Neil
Weapons of Math Destruction (audio)
The book explores how algorithms are used and abused in various industries. They are sometimes used responsibly (e.g. in baseball), and many times irresponsibly (e.g. college ratings and banking). I think someone without much knowledge of the topic would get more out of this one than I did. It's a good book, but not too exciting for me.

50
start:10/23/16
finish: 11/3/2016
Norman Doidge
The Brain That Changes Itself (audio)
Brain plasticity - the fact that the brain changes based on what you do and how you think - is fascinating, and this book does a good job of covering what it is and how it explains human nature. The book falls short with regard to its style. It’s guilty of the same thing I fault most popular science books; too many anecdotes, a tactic I assume is an attempt to turn the subject into ‘entertainment’. Despite my complaints, I’ll still listen to his next book.

49
start:10/6/16
finish: 10/14/16
Timothy D. Wilson
Strangers to Ourselves (audio)
Wilson outlines the functions of what he calls the 'adaptive unconscious', and the way it differs from the Freudian unconscious. All of the author's points are grounded in empirical research, and he is good at pointing out the limits of the research he cites. The book ends with an exploration of ways we can consciously modify our unconscious propensities. I'd like to read this one in book form soon.

48
start:10/1/16
finish: 11/27/16
Hannah Arendt
The Human Condition
Although written in the 1950s, The Human Condition still incredibly relevant; it’s hard to believe it was written so long ago. The book is divided in two parts, the first of which seems to (unjustly!) get the most attention in conversations about this work. Part one is an outline of the three categories of human activity – labor, work, and action. The second part of the book is a historical study that looks at the cultural ramifications of emphasizing one of these activities more than the others. The stages are (1) Greeks/action, (2) Modern era/work, (3) Contemporary era/labor

47
start:9/23/16
finish: 10/2/16
Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle
A goofy, funny, sci-fi satire. The book shows illustrates the unhappiness and destruction that often accompanies the pursuit of truth, while also showing the contentment that comes with self-deception and turning away from truth. Vonnegut is asking the reader, if this is the case, what are we going to do about it? I know this sounds heavy, but the book is a light, quick read.

46
start:9/22/16
finish: 9/30/16
Nicholas Carr
The Shallows (audio)
Starting from the personal anecdote that the author has a hard time reading deeply after surfing the web for over a decade, Carr pulls back to take a historical view of how technology changes us for the better or worse. His focus is on the internet, but in order to ground his argument he discusses how the change from oral to written culture had far-reaching consequences, as well as the revolution Guttenberg’s printing press started. He also cites a large and ever-growing body of scientific literature showing our brains rewire themselves based what we do, think, and pay attention to. He paints a bleak picture of our internet age, but the fact of brain plasticity provides a glimmer of hope. This is a very interesting and persuasive book.

45
start:9/18/16
finish: 9/23/16
Karl Marx
The Poverty of Philosophy from McLelland’s Marx Selected Writings
The extract I read covered the same material as The German Ideology, but his explanations here are stated as a response to Proudhon. The German Ideology is a better exposition, but Marx's snark in this one is entertaining. He completely and utterly destroys Proudhon.

44
start:9/10/16
finish: 9/20/16
Nicholas Carr
Utopian is Creepy and Other Provocations (audio)
The essays in here are fun to read, and very enlightening. Carr discusses sociological aspects of the tech world, as well as how tech is affecting our world - for better and worse. He has a balanced view, as he doesn't shun technology, but advocates for it's thoughtful use and adoption. He references many of my favorite thinkers, like Merleau-Ponty, reinforcing at least a similarity in taste. The essays The Hierarch of Innovation and The Love that Lays the Swale in Rows alone make the book worth reading.

43
start:9/4/16
finish: 9/17/16
Karl Marx
The German Ideology from McLelland’s Marx Selected Writings
Maybe my favorite Marx. One of the few places he discusses what Engels later called 'historical materialism', and I think the only place he explains his use of the concept 'ideology'. Yeah, yeah - the stuff about an inevitable communist revolution is bunk - but look past that and you'll see this book is still very relevant.

42
start:9/4/16
finish: 9/4/16
Karl Marx
Theses on Feuerbach from McLelland’s Marx Selected Writings
A good read, as always. This translation isn’t very good though. The translation found in Penguin's edition (Early Writings) is much smoother. Reading the Theses makes me want to re-read The German Ideology, where the ideas are discussed in more detail.

41
start:8/28/16
finish: 9/10/16
Antonio Garcia Martinez
Chaos Monkeys (audio)
The authors persona can be annoying at times (when it’s clear he REALLY wants you to know he’s literate by throwing around unnecessary quotes and foreign phrases), but overall an enjoyable listen. Even though I’m sure it’s only one perspective on Silicon Valley, he’s convinced me there is a lot of truth to his story.

40
start:8/26/16
finish: 9/4/16
Etienne Balibar
The Philosophy of Marx
Started strong, with good explanations, but about a third of the way in it became obscure and fluffy. Disappointing.

39
start:8/25/16
finish: 8/26/16
Michel Foucault
“Nietzsche, Freud, Marx” in Vol. 2 of his collected essays
Like “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History”, this one was a bit too fluffy and flowery. Not enough substance here.

38
start:8/24/16
finish: 8/24/16
Michel Foucault
"Michel Foucault” from Vol.2 of his collected essays
A very insightful, high-level overview of Foucault’s areas of research and methodologies. It's easy to lose track of Foucault project through all the historical details, and this article is a good reminder that he has a very clear goal with all his works. Worth re-reading before starting any of his books. Probably good to read after reading his books, too. I re-read this one 8/25/16.

37
start:8/23/16
finish: 8/24/16
Michel Foucault
Nietzsche, Genealogy, History from Vol.2 of his collected essays
This was an okay essay. He’s a bit too dramatic and abstract here.

36
start:8/19/16
finish: 8/22/16
Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast
This is the first time I noticed Hemingway’s distinct style. The Old Man and the Sea isn’t quite as ‘Hemingwayian’. A good read, but nothing life-changing here.

35
start:8/15/16
finish: 8/20/16
Ryan Holiday
Ego is the Enemy (audio)
...

34
start:8/15/16
finish: 9/15/16
Dave Ceddia
Learn Pure React
Picked it up here and there during my lunch break. It's a very clear introduction to React proper.

33
start:8/13/16
finish: 8/17/16
Elie Wiesel
Night
Very disturbing, very good.

32
start:8/7/16
finish: 8/10/16
Michel Foucault
“Society Must be Defended” from the Biopolitics Reader
So damn good. I thought maybe I didn’t like Foucault, but it turns out I read him at too young an age. His lectures are really insightful and not too obscure (his books may be more obscure though - I’ll try reading Discipline and Punish soon). Re-read it right away and finished on 8/13/16.

31
start:8/1/16
finish: 8/13/16
Peter Thiel
Zero to One (audio)
Pretty good look at start-ups. He’s not talking about lifestyle companies, though. He’s concerned only with game-changers like PayPal and Facebook. Worth another listen.

30
start:7/20/16
finish: 7/27/16
David Herron
Node.js Web Development
Great book until the last quarter; the code stopped working at the Socket.io chapter.

29
start:7/17/16
finish: 7/30/16
Michel Foucault
History of Sexuality Vol. 1
A very good exposition of the way power is decentralized and embedded in what we (as a society) choose to study, and why we choose to dedicate time to studying it. This is also an excellent introduction to what Foucault means by `discourse`. As I get older it’s easier and easier to see the influences of both Heidegger and Nietzsche in Foucault’s work (at least his work from the 1970s and later). Re-read it right away, and finished again 8/7/16.

28
start:7/14/16
finish: 7/21/16
Evan Hahn
Express.js in Action
An excellent tour of Express. Much of this was review, but I needed the review!

27
start:6/27/16
finish: 7/14/16
Robert Reich
Inequality for All (audio)
Excellent and level-headed book. Reich makes me think that Capitalism can be moral after all.

26
start:6/17/16
finish: 6/26/16
Patricia Highsmith
The Blunderer
Like always, this one was anxiety producing. An excellent thriller.

25
start:6/17/16
finish: 6/26/16
Adam Grant
Originals (audio)
It kinda fizzle out in the second half. The first half was good, though.

24
start:6/14/16
finish: 6/16/16
Derek Sivers
Anything You Want (audio)
Great advice about running a small business, and executing ideas.

23
start:6/8/16
finish: 6/24/16
Nietzsche
Supplementary Material in the Cambridge edition of the Genealogy of Morality
Good selection of passages from his other works. Reading this reminds me I have read the works I haven’t read yet; in particular, I should read the Gay Science.

22
start:5/22/16
finish: 6/7/16
Anders Ericsson
Peak (audio)
...

21
start:5/16/16
finish: 5/16/16
Max Wertheimer
The General Theoretical Situation (essay) (Gestalt Psych Sourcebook)
Wertheimer attacks the analytic/summative approach to perception and psychology. He also outline the general features of a holistic Gestalt approach.

20
start:5/14/16
finish: 5/15/16
Max Wertheimer
Gestalt Psychology (essay) (Gestalt Psych Sourcebook)
Great summary of Gestalt psych’s fundamental concepts and questions.

19
start:5/9/16
finish: 5/14/16
Max Wertheimer
Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms (Gestalt Psych Sourcebook)
A bit slow in the middle, but good overall. Could definitely see how Merleau-Ponty was inspired by Gestalt psychology.

18
start:4/17/16
finish: 6/5/16
Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge
These stories are the best works of fiction I've read in a long time. Strout writes about the mundane in a profound way. These stories of the everyday and down-to-earth are the exact opposite of the way Ballard explores ideas in his fiction.

17
start:4/14/16
finish: 4/23/16
Philip E. Tetlock
Superforecasting (audio)
...

16
start:4/1/16
finish: 4/14/16
Charles Duhigg
Smarter Faster Better (audio)
So much fluff that it’s hard to remember the main point being made through all the various anecdotes.

15
start:3/30/16
finish: 4/17/16
J. G. Ballard
High Rise
Very cool book about a brutal de-civilizing process that happens in a self-contained high rise. It ends as the building re-civilizes. The exploration of ideas takes precedence over the exploration of individual characters.

14
start:3/26/16
finish: 3/29/16
Haruki Murakami
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
I totally identified with his feelings about running and how it’s a metaphor for life. Probably not one I’d want to reread, but I really enjoyed it.

13
start:3/15/16
finish: 3/30/16
Thaler & Sunstein
Nudge (audio)
Not nearly as good as Thinking Fast and Slow. The authors have a clear conservative bent. Still worth a listen, though.

12
start:2/21/16
finish: 3/14/16
Daniel Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow (audio)
Sooooo many insights into human behavior. Many common cognitive errors are outlined and explained.

11
start:2/8/16
finish: 4/??/16
Josh Kaufman
The Person MBA
Starts out really well, and then gets fluffy. I’m glad I read it, though.

10
start:2/3/16
finish: 2/14/16
Herman Melville
Encantadas
The first 50-60% was a slog, but the latter part of was pretty good. It's about unsavory-types that inhabited some supposedly enchanted islands.

9
start:2/5/16
finish: 2/20/16
Geoff Colvin
Talent is Overrated (audio)
Great listen, and perfect complement to Cal Newport’s work. The same themes are addressed, but from with a different voice.

8
start:1/30/16
finish: 2/??/16
Scott Murray
Interactive Data Visualization (D3.js)
Easy to follow along, and not very advanced. For me, this was a good thing. I finally began to feel like I was understanding D3.

7
start:1/25/16
finish: 1/30/16
Tyler Cowen
Average is Over (audio)
The beginning sections were most interesting, but the whole book is good. Theme: People who can work with computer/data will be economic winners.

6
start:1/14/16
finish: 2/??/16
Matt Frisbie
AngularJS Web App Cookbook
A decent technical book. The examples were useful, and the code worked. That's more than you can say about other tech books out there.

5
start:1/10/16
finish: 1/15/16
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Scholar
...

4
start:1/8/16
finish: 1/8/16
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Circles (essay)
An enjoyable and inspiring read. About moving forward, growth, and breaking though boundaries.

3
start:1/5/16
finish: 1/11/16
Cal Newport
Deep Work (audio book)
A damn good book. A lot of useful advise for incorporating deep work, and great arguments why you should do this.

2
start:12/31/15
finish: 1/4/16
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-Reliance (essay)
This is the second consecutive read; I read it on Christmas day 2015, too. The language is wonderful, and there's a lot to learn here, too.

1
start:12/31/15
finish:2/1/16
Karl Marx
Marx Anthology (McGraw-Hill)
Great collection of snippets. Now I know that I want to read the Holy Family, The German Ideology, Wage Labor & Capital, and The Poverty of Philosophy in addition to Capital Vol. 1.