Monthly Archives: September 2014

My “Top 10″ Book List

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard; don’t take more than 10 minutes. It is not about the right book or great literature-just books that have affected you in some way. Then post a link to your blog here so I can see your choices.

Mine, in no particular order:

Anna Karenina. Introduced me to Tolstoy. Love the guy. His essay on Napoleon at the end of War and Peace is way too long, but important.

A Guide to the Good Life. Stoicism is not absence of feeling — that’s just the modern definition. Real stoicism is all around us, and western Christianity owes it a lot. Great read that made me rethink my attitude on things.

New Kind of Science. Boy genius grows up and tells the rest of us that we’re doing math and physics the wrong way. What’s there not to like? Tough read at times, though.

The Physics of Immortality (Omega Point). This was The Matrix before the movie, and based much more on science than the flick. Powerful ideas here that humanity is still grasping with.

The Plague/Sisyphus. “We must imagine Sisyphus happy” Once you read and absorb that? Your life isn’t the same any more.

1-2-3 Infinity. As a kid helped me understand why we had math. There were a few other books in there, but this is the one I remember.

Godel-Eschter-Bach. Snooty guy writes long, involved, puzzle of a mixed genre book. Great introduction to formal systems and a nice little adventure into his theory of what makes intelligence. It’s a deep book, but it’s also a bit of a lark. The author likes putting the ideas creatively together from music, math, and art — so much so that it’s the enjoyment of the new book that’s really more important than the rest of it. I took three runs at this before I finished it.

Code Complete. The first book that made me realize that there was this world of programming with quality as opposed to just programming to solve problems.

The Sparrow. A more recent read. It’s kinda sci-fi, but it’s also a great read about other stuff. Don’t want to spoil it. Very readable.

On Liberty. Not sure if I read this or listened to it on audio. If you don’t understand the concepts here, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Seriously.

Man’s Search for Meaning. Another readable book about deep stuff. The ideas here made me grow up.

How to Win Friends and Influence People. Read this as a teenager. I keep telling people about it, and I want to re-read it, so it must have had a pretty strong impact.

Beyond Bullet Points. Not a book that changed my thinking, but a book that made me realize my thinking was changing. If you want to teach people, you’re going to have to tell stories. No more slide decks with “word salad” on them!

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