Useful ideas that have stood the test of time do not come by often. An idea is useful when it models reality as it is and provides ways to deal with how things are. Below in no particular order are ideas which changed how I thought about something. Where applicable, I will include the book I got the idea from and a brief description of why you might want to read it.

Programming #

Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman, Julie Sussman. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.

Technology stacks and programming languages go in and out of fashion, but the concepts presented here are still relevant today. This is also a difficult book to read.

Human Biases #

Daniel Kahneman. Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Explanation of System 1 vs System 2 thinking. Understand situations where you might be biased and make bad decisions.

Sales #

Robert B. Cialdini. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Why do so many sales pitches sound the same?

Training/Fitness #

Mark Rippetoe. Starting Strength 3rd Edition.

Why are there so many exercise programs/trainers that claim to be effective? Becuase most people are novices who can still quickly adapt to training stress.

Why train to be strong? Strength is the foundation of all physical movement.

Investing #

John C. Bogle. Common Sense on Mutual Funds.

Investing can be easy. Spend less than you earn, start early, settle for average and stay the course.

Entrepreneurship #

M.J. DeMarco. Unscripted: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship.

Being an entrepreneur is tough. And nobody is going to tell you how to do it. Someone with a profitable business will not tell you the “top 10 tricks” he used to get his business to that level.

Sleep #

Matthew Walker. Why We Sleep.

Sleep is important. It is needed for your body to rebalance chemicals/hormones. This book is about the why it is important, not the how.

Others #

Below are some books that I find fun or that they contain many topics that don’t fall into a neat classification

  • Richard P. Feynman. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
  • Fred Schwed Jr. Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?
  • Any book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.