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NexusRamez Naamsci fi5fast read, guilty pleasure read, dan brown-esque, fun ideas of human computer interfaces. Felt a bit too cheesy though2017
The Jungle is NeutralFreddie Spencer Chapmanhistorical non fiction6Holy shit. This book will make you realize how wimpey you are and also make you super grateful that your biggest problems are bugs in your code vs guerilla fighters and TIGERS. It's a dense book and not the most useful book to read. I liked how straightforward his style of writing was.2017
This is how you lose herJunot Diazfiction, short stories6.5Diaz's writing is so raw and striking. I usually speed read through fiction, but found myself pausing and reflecting on how lyrical his writing was. I gave it a lower rating though, because if you only have time for one of Diaz's books it should be The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.“And that's when I know it's over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it's the end.”2017
The Story of Your Life and other short storiesTed Chiangsci fi10Favorite reads from this are Understand, and The Evolution of Human Science. But all of these are really fun and thought-provoking stories. And emotional. I think the best science fiction actually makes you feel just as much as think. Junot Díaz has said that Chiang’s “Stories of Your Life and Others” is “as perfect a collection of stories as I've ever read"2017
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diazfiction 9Diaz has such a strong voice and presence in his writing. It is frustrating how self-sabotaging his characters are but his writing is so beautiful. It's a book that can make you really gives you all the feels. Diaz is one of the best magical realist authors I've read. (He also spoke at Northwestern in 2016 and had everyone in the audience in tears with his storytelling and candidness - I envy all the MIT students that get to take his classes)2017
The Death and Life of Great American CitiesJane Jacobsnon-fiction Must read if you're interested at all in urban planning and cities. You'll get a perspective on what makes certain neighborhoods unsafe, and how cities develop the way they do. It's a critique of 1950s urban planning and Robert Moses. This book makes me experience and evaluate neighborhoods and cities in a different way. “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

“A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, our of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities:

First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects.

Second, there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. They cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.

And third, the sidewalk must have users on it fairly continuously, both to add to the number of effective eyes on the street and to induce the people in buildings along the street to watch the sidewalks in sufficient numbers. Nobody enjoys sitting on a stoop or looking out a window at an empty street. Almost nobody does such a thing. Large numbers of people entertain themselves, off and on, by watching street activity.”
Siddhartha Hermann Hessefiction10As a testament to how impactful I found this book, I named my car in high school Hermann in tribute. Might be biased because I love books that play with the idea of time and try to answer the question of "what is the point of life"“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”2017
Shoe DogPhil Knightnon-fiction10READ THIS. One of the best modern autobiographies I've read. It’s a candid view on starting a business and how really freaking hard it is. I got a lot of value from the lessons Knight learned while creating Nike. Think this should be a must-read before anyone starts a startup (or joins as an early employee)“So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don't even think about stopping until you get there, and don't give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

“I thought back on my running career at Oregon. I’d competed with, and against, men far better, faster, more physically gifted. Many were future Olympians. And yet I’d trained myself to forget this unhappy fact. People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You”

“It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.”

“Driving back to Portland I’d puzzle over my sudden success at selling. I’d been unable to sell encyclopedias, and I’d despised it to boot. I’d been slightly better at selling mutual funds, but I’d felt dead inside. So why was selling shoes so different? Because, I realized, it wasn't selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place, and I believed these shoes were better to run in. People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves. Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible. Sometimes”

“You are remembered, he said, prophetically, for the rules you break.”

And those who urge entrepreneurs to never give up? Charlatans. Sometimes you have to give up. Sometimes knowing when to give up, when to try something else, is genius. Giving up doesn't mean stopping. Don't ever stop. Luck plays a big role. Yes, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. Athletes get lucky, poets get lucky, businesses get lucky. Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jñāna, or Dharma. Or Spirit. Or God."
Godel, Escher, BachDouglas R. HofstadterNon-fiction6Loops. Lots of loops. You're a loop. I'm a loop. Cognition. Loops. Fun book - I didn't end up finishing it because I got stuck in a loop shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 2017
Saltnayyirah waheedPoetry10I'm a sucker for instagram poetry. 2017
Nejmanayyirah waheedPoetry92017
Questions for Adaijeoma umebinyuoPoetry92017
Crucial ConversationsKerry Pattersonself improvement10Useful for learning how to communicate at your best when it's most important and/or emotional. I like NVC more though.2017
BoneYrsa Daley-WardPoetry82017
Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt VonnegutFiction102017
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: LifeKatherine BooNon-fiction82017
Boys in the BoatDaniel James BrownNon-fiction72017
Logicomix: An Epic Search for TruthApostolos Doxiadisgraphic novel10A really fun graphic novel about Bertrand Russell2017
SapiensYuval Noah HarariNon-fiction6Read this because it was on everyone's "you-should-read-this-list but found myself pretty underwhelmed2017
Three Body ProblemCixin LiuSci-fi10I literally could not put this book down and stayed up all night to finish it. The depth and the breadth of this book is incredible. If you enjoy ~science~ fiction you will definitely fall in love with this. “It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”
“To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.”
“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.…”
The Dark ForestCixin LiuSci-fi10I put this book down a few times. I thought the pacing was slower than the first book but the ideas presented are just as grand. Loved Liu's answer to the fermi question :) “If I destroy you, what business is it of yours?”2017
Death's EndCixin LiuSci-fi10Wow - I was worried that the last book would not be able to captivate me as much as the first two. This was my favorite book from the trilogy. Liu's writing is poetical and his questions and answers to humanity's fallacies and strengths were incredible. I heard the original version in mandarin is more lyrical/poetic.“If we lose our human nature, we lose much, but if we lose our bestial nature, we lose everything.”
“And now we know that this is the journey that must be made by every civilization: awakening inside a cramped cradle, toddling out of it, taking flight, flying faster and farther, and, finally, merging with the fate of the universe as one. The ultimate fate of all intelligent beings has always been to become as grand as their thoughts.”
A Guide to the Good LifeWilliam IrvineNon-fiction6A good how-to on the basics of stoicism and why it's useful. 2017
Code Completeself improvement6Honestly - I found a lot of this book to be outdated (on a separate note, I find most design heavy or opinionated heavy coding books to be be unhelpful) but thought the sections on refactoring were pretty useful and definitely is not a bad book to read at your first job/internship. 2017
The Princeton Companion to Mathematicstextbook10This might be the best birthday present I've given myself. A super useful resource to refer back to when I want to brush up on a concept or get a general overview of a new one. Had a goal to read this cover to cover but honestly only covered 60% of it so far. I would recommend this math enthusiasts, veterans and budding. 2017
The Merchant and the Alchemist's GateTed ChiangShort Story10Just read all of Ted Chiang's stories. But look above if you're not convinced.“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”2017
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityMatthew DesmondNonfiction10Fiction books are nice because they usually tie things up for the reader by the end of the book. Evicted leaves you feeling incredibly distraught and offers you no consolation. It's a incredibly thorough and well documented read on the stories of 8 families who are stuck in the cycle of homelessness. It highlights how systematic homelessness is and the depth of how the policies we've implemented encourage homelessness. I recommend this book to gain more empathy for homelessness. Reading this book really cemented the idea/opinion that housing is an unalienable right. I really enjoyed his epilogue where he goes into his own personal opinions and presents the research he did.“If poverty persists in America, it is not for lack of resources.”
“Every condition exists,” Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “simply because someone profits by its existence. This economic exploitation is crystallized in the slum.” Exploitation. Now, there’s a word that has been scrubbed out of the poverty debate.”
“But equal treatment in an unequal society could still foster inequality. Because black men were disproportionately incarcerated and black women disproportionately evicted, uniformly denying housing to applicants with recent criminal or eviction records still had an incommensurate impact on African Americans.”
“Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.”
“The profits were staggering. In 1966, a Chicago landlord told a court that on a single property he had made $42,500 in rent but paid only $2,400 in maintenance. When accused of making excessive profits, the landlord simply replied, “That’s why I bought the building.”
“By and large, the poor do not want some small life. They don't want to game the system or eke out an existence; they want to thrive and contribute.”
“We have the money. We’ve just made choices about how to spend it. Over the years, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have restricted housing aid to the poor but expanded it to the affluent in the form of tax benefits for homeowners. 57 Today, housing-related tax expenditures far outpace those for housing assistance. In 2008, the year Arleen was evicted from Thirteenth Street, federal expenditures for direct housing assistance totaled less than $40.2 billion, but homeowner tax benefits exceeded $171 billion. That number, $171 billion, was equivalent to the 2008 budgets for the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Agriculture combined. 58 Each year, we spend three times what a universal housing voucher program is estimated to cost (in total ) on homeowner benefits, like the mortgage-interest deduction and the capital-gains exclusion.

Most federal housing subsidies benefit families with six-figure incomes. 59 If we are going to spend the bulk of our public dollars on the affluent—at least when it comes to housing—we should own up to that decision and stop repeating the politicians’ canard about one of the richest countries on the planet being unable to afford doing more. If poverty persists in America, it is not for lack of resources.”
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate EpidemicSam QuinonesNon-fiction8This was another nonfiction novel that leaves you feeling panicked. It tells the parallel stories of the rise of heroin and opioids, specifically oxycontin, in America. Added this book to my list after Trump announced in oct 2017 that the opioid crisis is a public health emergency. Over 50% of opioid overdose deaths are caused by prescriptions. Dreamland does a good job of painting the context of how we ended up in this crisis. Definitely a pertinent read.“2008: Drug overdoses, mostly from opiates, surpass auto fatalities as leading cause of accidental death in the United States.”
“The U.S. medical system is good at fighting disease, Cahana believes, and awful at leading people to wellness.”
“With the managed care movement of the 1980s and 1990s, insurance companies cut costs and reduced what services they’d pay for. They required that patients give up their longtime physicians for those on a list of approved providers. They negotiated lower fees with doctors. To make up the difference, primary care docs had to fit more patients into a day. (A Newsweek story claimed that to do a good job a primary care doctor ought to have a roster of eighteen hundred patients. The average load today is twenty-three hundred, with some seeing up to three thousand.)”
“After kicking opiates, “it takes two years for your dopamine receptors to start working naturally,” Paul”
“We can talk morality all day long, but if you’re drawing five hundred dollars a month and you have a Medicaid card that allows you to get a monthly supply of pills worth several thousand dollars, you’re going to sell your pills.”

Book of DustPhilip PullmanFantasy7The His Dark Materials series was one of my favorite books to read as a kid. I love all the layers of meanings and how Pullman doesn't dumb things down even though it's YA. It's a really smart series built around a really complex futuristic yet old world. Book of Dust was darker than his previous books but I don't think it's as good as original trilogy. I'm still going to read the next two books though. 2017
Non-Violent CommunicationMarshall Rosenbergself improvement20This book is a 20/10. My ratings for books are based on a) how impactful I find the book to be on how experience the world/behave, b) what did I learn and how useful is it, and c) how much fun did I have reading this. This is a really short read (5 hrs on Audible at 3x speed) but easily the most impactful/useful book I read in 2017. It teaches you how to communicate with empathy and how to de-escalate hard situations. Being a better communicator was one of the skills I was really focusing on in 2017 - in both my personal and work relationships. I highly highly recommend this book if you plan on speaking to a human ever in your lifetime.“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.”
“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.”
“As we’ve seen, all criticism, attack, insults, and judgments vanish when we focus attention on hearing the feelings and needs behind a message. The more we practice in this way, the more we realize a simple truth: behind all those messages we’ve allowed ourselves to be intimidated by are just individuals with unmet needs appealing to us to contribute to their well-being. When we receive messages with this awareness, we never feel dehumanized by what others have to say to us. We only feel dehumanized when we get trapped in derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about ourselves. As”
Gift of TherapyIrvin Yalomself improvement8A great book if you want to learn how to become a better counselor and/or friend. In my mind, being a great friend means also being a great counselor.“Life as a therapist is a life of service in which we daily transcend our personal wishes and turn our gaze toward the needs and growth of the other. We take pleasure not only in the growth of our patient but also in the ripple effect—the salutary influence our patients have upon those whom they touch in life.”
“As long as he denies his own agency, real change is unlikely because his attention will be directed toward changing his environment rather than himself.”
“Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said that if he had eight hours to cut down a tree, he’d spend several of these hours sharpening his ax.”
The MagiciansLev GrossmanFantasy8A much darker and more competent Harry Potter for adults. 2017
PrinciplesRay DalioNon-fiction10I wanted to like this less because it seemed like everyone is overly zealous about Ray Dalio BUT this is actually a really great book. I like books that teach you and change the way you experience the world after. This is definitely one of those books. I found his learnings/principles to be useful in my personal life and really great for my work life. 2017
WhoGeoff SmartNon-fiction8Read this for work to help us conduct more useful interviews. We found this to be productive read and we use the who interview in our process :) 2017
Love and Other DemonsGabriel Marquez GarciaMagical Realism6I read this in one sitting at Dog Eared books. I don't think it's his best writing - but it's still lyrical, beautiful and absurd. Definitely not a must-read but if you're looking to add more GMG to your life I recommend this after Love in the Time of Cholera.2017
The Sun and her FlowersRupi KaurPoetry5I wanted to like this more but couldn't relate that well to Kaur's poetry. Her writing seems immature to me compared to the other modern poets I really love. (also might be because she is literally younger than them too) 2017
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic FutureNon-fiction8Wow. Musk is definitely one of the most impactful humans of our time and this book makes you really admire Musk. Pretty inspiring read.2017
Astrophysics for People in a HurryNon-fiction3I didn't like it very much - but because I felt that it was too cursory (but that is the purpose of the book so....) A good read for people who have no background/didn't watch cosmos :P 2017
The Magician KingLev GrossmanFantasy7A much darker and more competent Harry Potter for adults pt 2.2017
The Magician's LandLev GrossmanFantasy8A much darker and more competent Harry Potter for adults pt 3. The third book is my favorite because the characters really grow up and stop being so annoying. I liked how dark the series was and that their challenges actually seemed challenging. A pretty fun read if you wanted a much better Harry Potter when you were younger.2017
Society of MindNon-fiction62017
God's DebrisSci-fi72017
De Bono's Thinking CourseNon-fiction52017
little fires everywhereCeleste Ngfiction62017
Waking UpSam Harrisself improvement72017
GritAngela DuckworthNon-fiction82017
The Power ParadoxDacher Keltnerself improvement4None of the ideas in this book are radically new. But still a decent reminder that you should gain power to use it to empower more people to power. Gratuitous cycles2017
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Foreverself improvement52017
The Myth of the Strong LeaderArchie BrownNon-fiction72017
All The Birds in the SkyCharlie Jane Anderssci fi3Character development was meh and I ended up feeling really annoyed by the main characters' flaws. Wish they focused more on the science and/or magic. Felt incomplete.2017
Three Worlds CollideEliezer S. Yudkowskysci fi/ short story2017
Mountains Beyond MountainNon-fiction82017
Development as FreedomAmartya SenNon-fiction82017
Born to RunChristopher McDougallNon-fiction72017
The Little Book of TalentDaniel Coyleself improvement52017
Superhuman by HabitTynanself improvement8I love consistency. I love being completely predictable. I love the ideas of building excellence through repeated acts and creating behavior that helps you achieve/actualize your goals. Pretty great book on why/how to build habits.2017
Sex at DawnChristopher RyanNon-fiction12017
Elephant in the BrainRobin HansonNon-fiction6Totally felt more paranoid in my interactions with people for a few weeks after reading this. I liked Hanson's examples of how we signal in different areas of our lives.2017
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintenanceRobert M. PirsigNon-fiction - ish62017
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunnNon-fiction10Kristof and WuDunn compellingly argue that empowering women is not just a moral imperative, but a cause that is tied to reducing other major issues like terrorism, poverty, hunger, and global warming."The equivalent of 5 jumbo jets worth of women die in labor each day... life time risk of maternal death is 1,000x higher in a poor country than in the west. That should be an international scandal.”

“Women aged fifteen through forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.”

“The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century. In”
Permutation CityGreg Egansci fi7So I really liked this book and generally love when people explore ideas of simulations and uploading humans but ran into some major hmm moments regarding some main points of the plot/premise that made the world less realistic/rational. Still would recommend - is a pretty fun and intense read.2017
QuarantineGreg Egansci fi5I think I spent an equal amount of time googling terms and ideas and actually reading the book. It wasn't bad but it wasn't as great as Permutation City and I read this right after so was pretty biased and inevetiably comparing the two books.2017
If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial LifeStephen Webbnon-fiction8.5Super fun book exploring and explaining all of the possible reason(s) why we don't have alienb friends. Easy to digest
The TerribleYrsa Daley-Warpoetry?7
The Unbearable Lightnesss of BeingMilan Kunderafiction
When Breath Becomes AirPaul Kalanithi
Stuff Matters
Prisoners of Geography