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Tim O’Reilly

entrepreneur
executive

Recommended Books

Tim O’Reilly is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of O’Reilly Media. He is also a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), and on the boards of Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox.
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Unrig
How to Fix Our Broken Democracy (World Citizen Comics)
by Daniel G. Newman (Jul 07, 2020)
Goodreads Rating
Despite our immense political divisions, Americans are nearly united in our belief that something is wrong with our government: It works for the wealthy and powerful, but not for anyone else. Unrig exposes the twisted roots of our broken democracy and highlights the heroic efforts of those unrigging the system to return power to We the People.This ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jul 08, 2020
I love @DanielGNewman’s new book Unrig. It’s a graphic “novel” explaining how to unrig the US's broken democracy. Here’s an excerpt: The history of voting rights and voter suppression--explained in comics.     source
Dune
Deluxe Edition
by Frank Herbert (Oct 01, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
A deluxe hardcover edition of Frank Herbert's epic masterpiece--a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time. This deluxe hardcover edition of Dune includes: - An iconic new cover- Stained edges and fully illustrated endpapers- A beautifully designed poster on the interior of the jacket- A redesigned wo...
Tim O’Reilly
Feb 11, 2020
When I got this book out of the library at age 12, my father remarked, It's sinful that so large a book should be devoted to science fiction. Little was he to know that this book, full of wonderful concepts about how to come to grips with a world out of our control, would play so large a role in his son's life. After I graduated from college, a friend who was editing a series of critical monographs about science fiction asked me if I'd like to write a book about Frank Herbert. I agreed, and it was that choice that set me on the path to becoming a writer. In the course of writing the book, I got far deeper into Herbert's ideas than I had reading his books growing up. The core message of all Herbert's work is that we can't control the future, but we can control our response to it, surfing the edge of change and risk.     source
The Last Unknowns
Deep, Elegant, Profound Unanswered Questions About the Universe, the Mind, the Future of Civilization, and the Meaning of Life
by John Brockman (Jun 04, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Featuring a foreword by DANIEL KAHNEMAN, Nobel Prize-winning author of Thinking, Fast and Slow THIS IS A LITTLE BOOK OF PROFOUND QUESTIONSunknowns that address the secrets of our world, our civilization, the meaning of life. Here are the deepest riddles that have fascinated, obsessed, and haunted the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel l...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 03, 2019
This is a fascinating book, full of thought-provoking questions (one to a page) that will help you think more deeply about the challenges facing humanity and the opportunities in science and technology. It is a great one-a-day vitamin to spark your thinking.     source
Working
by Robert A. Caro (Apr 09, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply revealing recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed booksFor the first time in his long career, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these ev...
Tim O’Reilly
May 06, 2019
Robert Caro's book Working succeeds on so many levels: brilliant lessons on the art of researching and writing, a teaser for his great biographies, an endearing autobiography. A quick and delightful read. I can't recommend it highly enough.     source
The Fifth Risk
Undoing Democracy
by Michael Lewis (Dec 03, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The morning after Trump was elected president, the people who ran the US Department of Energy waited to brief the administration’s transition team on the agency it would soon be running. Nobody appeared. Across all departments the stories were the same: Trump appointees were few and far between; those who did show up were shockingly uninformed abou...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Michael Lewis’ latest book, The Fifth Risk, highlights just how bad things might get if we continue to neglect and undermine the machinery of government. It’s not just the political fracturing of our country that should concern us; it’s the fact that government plays a critical role in infrastructure, in innovation, and in the safety net. That role has gradually been eroded, and the cracks that are appearing in the foundation of our society are coming at the worst possible time.     source
Winners Take All
The Elite Charade of Changing the World
by Anand Giridharadas (Oct 01, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The New York Times bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today's news.Anand Giridharadas takes us into th...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
Automating Inequality
How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor
by Virginia Eubanks (Aug 06, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The New York Times Book Review: "Riveting."Naomi Klein: "This book is downright scary."Ethan Zuckerman, MIT: "Should be required reading."Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: "A must-read."Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform: "The single most important book about technology you will read this year."Cory Doctorow: "Indispensa...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
The Overstory
A Novel
by Richard Powers (Apr 02, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wa...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
It was a wonder. It opened as if it were a short story collection, more than a dozen stories about people and their relationship to trees, weaving in the deep science of trees and the history of our understanding of their complexity. Then gradually, the stories begin to coalesce and connect. A remarkable novel. I love books that teach as they entertain. I learned a lot of science from this one!     source
This book is also recommended by
Emilia ClarkeMartha KearneyTom Peters
Mastering Ethereum
Building Smart Contracts and DApps
by Andreas M. Antonopoulos (Dec 22, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Ethereum represents the gateway to a worldwide, decentralized computing paradigm. This platform enables you to run decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts that have no central points of failure or control, integrate with a payment network, and operate on an open blockchain. With this practical guide, Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Gavin...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Mastering Ethereum, by Andreas Antonopolous and Gavin Wood, and Hands on Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn & Tensorflow, by Aurélien Géron, are both masterpieces of technical exposition. In addition to helping me keep up with world-changing technology, they remind me what a gift it is to be able to put down knowledge into an artifact – a book – and pass it so effectively to others. The clarity with these authors explain complex topics is a marvel.     source
This book is also recommended by
Mark Russinovich
AI Superpowers
China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
by Kai-Fu Lee (Sep 25, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace. In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. I...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
The Value of Everything
Making and Taking in the Global Economy
by Mariana Mazzucato (Sep 11, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to insure a capitalism that works for us all.In this scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been determined and reveals how the difference between value...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
She opens her book with an ironic reminder from Plato’s Republic: Our first business is to supervise the production of stories and choose those we think suitable and reject the rest. She reminds us that controlling the stories we are told is a prime instrument of power, and argues that one of those mind-shaping stories is about the source of value in the economy, where it comes from, who produces it, and who should get the benefits. It’s easy, Mazzucato argues, to believe the stories we have been told are simply true, and to no longer question them. And question them we must, because the stories that rule our economy today are often wrong and, at best, incomplete.     source
Doughnut Economics
Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist
by Kate Raworth (Mar 29, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics"800-CEO-Read "Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs"Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and socia...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Kate Raworth's book Doughnut Economics provided an additional key metaphor that dovetails so nicely with what I took away from Roth's book that the two are now inseparable in my mind. Raworth makes the case that a doughnut is a far better metaphor than the graph of growth going up and to the right that seems to dominate modern economic thinking.     source
Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow
Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems
by Aurélien Géron (Apr 17, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Through a series of recent breakthroughs, deep learning has boosted the entire field of machine learning. Now, even programmers who know close to nothing about this technology can use simple, efficient tools to implement programs capable of learning from data. This practical book shows you how.By using concrete examples, minimal theory, and two pro...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Mastering Ethereum, by Andreas Antonopolous and Gavin Wood, and Hands on Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn & Tensorflow, by Aurélien Géron, are both masterpieces of technical exposition. In addition to helping me keep up with world-changing technology, they remind me what a gift it is to be able to put down knowledge into an artifact – a book – and pass it so effectively to others. The clarity with these authors explain complex topics is a marvel.     source
The Peregrine
50th Anniversary Edition
by J A Baker (Apr 06, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Reissue of J. A. Baker’s extraordinary classic of British nature writing, with an exclusive new afterword by Robert Macfarlane.Despite the association of peregrines with the wild, outer reaches of the British Isles, The Peregrine is set on the flat marshes of the Essex coast, where J A Baker spent a long winter looking and writing about the visitor...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
A short fable about a fox that learns to speak Yuman and the sad consequences of his attempt to reach out, Fox 8, like The Peregrine, reminds us that we are not the only creatures that matter on this earth and gives wise advice to Yumans who want to do better. Along the way, you will be laughing out loud at the inventive spelling and diction of Fox 8's Yuman language and his peculiar insights into Yuman behavior.     source
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts
by Joshua Hammer (Apr 04, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: NonfictionHistory
To save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven in this “fast-paced narrative that is…part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract, and part out-and-out thriller” (The Washington Post).In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
It belonged at least on my runners-up list! The story of how hundreds of thousands of Islamic manuscripts were laboriously brought together into a magnificent library, and then, in a reminder of why they were originally hidden in the sands, threatened by terrorism, and rescued once again. Badass librarians indeed!     source
This book is also recommended by
Steve Schale
Who Gets What ― and Why
The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
by Alvin Roth (Jun 07, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
“In his fluent and accessible book, Mr. Roth vividly describes the successes of market design.”— Economist.com “In this fascinating, often surprising book, Alvin Roth guides us through the jungles of modern life, pointing to the many markets that are hidden in plain view all around us.” — Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The (Honest...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
In an illustration of how ideas compound over time, I read one of my favorite books of 2018 back in 2016. Alvin Roth won a Nobel prize in Economics for his work on market design. I read his book, Who Gets What – and Why at the recommendation of Uber's chief economist Jonathan Hall, and its thoughts on the economics of marketplaces shaped my own book, WTF? What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us.     source
Dying Every Day
Seneca at the Court of Nero
by James Romm (Mar 11, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
From acclaimed classical historian, author of Ghost on the Throne (“Gripping . . . the narrative verve of a born writer and the erudition of a scholar” —Daniel Mendelsohn) and editor of The Landmark Arrian:The Campaign of Alexander (“Thrilling” —The New York Times Book Review), a high-stakes drama full of murder, madness, tyranny, perversion, with ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
In the Garden of Beasts
Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
by Erik Larson (Jan 01, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: HistoryNonfiction
Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Devil in the White City, delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago,...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
This book is also recommended by
Steve SchmidtChris Messina
Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe (May 31, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Okonowo is the greatest warrior alive. His fame has spread like a bushfire in West Africa and he is one of the most powerful men of his clan.But he also has a fiery temper. Determined not to be like his father, he refuses to show weakness to anyone - even if the only way he can master his feelings is with his fists. When outsiders threaten the trad...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
A visit to another world, where people lived lives very different from ours, with very different values, but were happy. Their world didn't fall apart. It was crushed, thoughtlessly and thoroughly, by people who were so convinced of their own superiority that they didn't even notice what was being lost.     source
This book is also recommended by
Barack ObamaJacqueline Novogratz
Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow (Mar 29, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scanda...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
I've been listening to Ron Chernow's magnificent biography of Hamilton on occasional long commutes throughout the year, and it's a wonderful antidote to current events. It reminds me that the enduring power of our approach to government didn't come easy, and that if our nation could survive the poisonous politics of the early Republic, it can survive today's version as well. That is not a reason for complacency, but a reason instead to fight harder for what we value.     source
This book is also recommended by
Travis Kalanick
Mawson's Will
The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written
by Lennard Bickel (Feb 04, 2000)
Goodreads Rating
Mawson's Will is the dramatic story of what Sir Edmund Hillary calls "the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history." For weeks in Antarctica, Douglas Mawson faced some of the most daunting conditions ever known to man: blistering wind, snow, and cold; loss of his companion, his dogs and supplies, the skin on his hands and th...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
Antarctica
A Novel
by Kim Stanley Robinson (Jul 06, 1999)
Goodreads Rating
In the near future, Wade Norton has been sent to Antarctica by Senator Phil Chase to investigate rumors of environmental sabotage. He arrives on the frozen continent and immediately begins making contact with the various scientific and political factions that comprise Antarctic society.What he finds is an interesting blend of inhabitants who don't ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jan 01, 2019
Honorable mention to a few other books I really enjoyed this year: Winners Take All, by Anand Giridharadas; Automating Inequality, by Virginia Eubanks; Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, by James Romm; In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larsen; AI Superpowers, by Kai-Fu Lee; Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and its true-life counterpart, Mawson's Will, by Lennard Bickel.     source
Farsighted
How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most
by Steven Johnson (Sep 04, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
The hardest choices are also the most consequential. So why do we know so little about how to get them right?Big, life-altering decisions matter so much more than the decisions we make every day, and they're also the most difficult: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. There's no one-size-fits...
Tim O’Reilly
Sep 02, 2018
A lovely little teaser from @stevenbjohnson’s brilliant book Farsighted. The book is a must-read!     source
The Game of Kings
Book One in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles
by Dorothy Dunnett (May 13, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
In this first book in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Francis Crawford of Lymond, traitor, murderer, nobleman, returns to Scotland to redeem his reputation and save his home.It is 1547 and Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her fre...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
I discovered this series of six difficult, complex historical novels about a character roving the world at the turn of the seventeenth century as my company was passing the critical 50-person inflection point. Lymond is a brilliant leader who isn't afraid of the opprobrium of his peers--he does the right thing, seeing further than those around him. He was a hero I aspired to emulate. The books are also just darn cool--the amount of historical scholarship packed into these stories is truly remarkable.     source
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
by Samuel Johnson (Feb 16, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
The plot is simple in the extreme. Rasselas, son of the King of Abyssinia, is shut up in a beautiful valley, "till the order of succession should call him to the throne." He grows weary of the factitious entertainments of the place, and after much brooding escapes with his sister Nekayah, her attendant Pekuah and his poet-friend Imlac. They are to ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
Johnson's work is a wonderful reminder that our minds have prodigious energy that must be focused on the right objects, and that much human pathology comes from having insufficient objects for our striving.     source
The Outsider
The Classic Exploration of Rebellion and Creativity (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions)
by Colin Wilson (Aug 30, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Colin Wilson's classic exploration of the rebel as genius, with a new introduction by Gary Lachman. When the upstart English writer Colin Wilson debuted on the literary scene with The Outsider in 1956, it marked one of the opening notes of the cultural revolution of the sixties. Wilson celebrated the misfit not as a figure be "fixed" and reintegrat...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
The book is also significant for me because at 23, reading this book, I wanted to write something as good as Wilson had done at that age.     source
This book is also recommended by
Nigel Warburton
The Innovator's Dilemma
When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
by Clayton M. Christensen (Jan 05, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
The bestselling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen. His work is cited by the worlds best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestsellerone of the most influential business books of all timeinnovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding compan...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
An analysis of why great companies fail, because innovation often requires throwing out everything that has made you successful in the past. Disruptive technologies are often born on the fringes, in markets where worse is better.     source
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
50th Anniversary Edition
by Thomas S. Kuhn (Apr 29, 2012)
Goodreads Rating
A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
Kuhn introduced the term "paradigm shift" to describe the changeover from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy. But the book is far more than a classic in the history of science. It's also a book that emphasizes how what we already believe shapes what we see, what we allow ourselves to think. I've always tried to separate seeing itself from the stories I tell myself about what I see. Pattern recognition is impeded if you are trying to overlay an existing pattern on the facts rather than letting the facts sit quietly until they tell their own story. That's General Semantics again.     source
This book is also recommended by
Steve JobsMark Zuckerberg
Code
And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0
by Lawrence Lessig (Dec 04, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Should cyberspace be regulated? How can it be done? It's a cherished belief of techies and net denizens everywhere that cyberspace is fundamentally impossible to regulate. Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig warns that, if we're not careful we'll wake up one day to discover that the character of cyberspace has changed from under us. Cyberspace will n...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
This book gave me a whole new set of tools for thinking about the complex interplay between four forces: government laws and regulations, social norms, technology, and markets. Lessig makes a simple but profound case that you can't think of technical issues in isolation from their legal and cultural context.     source
Islandia
by Austin Tappan Wright (Jul 25, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Austin Tappan Wright left the world a wholly unsuspected legacy. After he died in a tragic accident, among this distinguished legal scholar's papers were found thousands of pages devoted to a staggering feat of literary creationa detailed history of an imagined country complete with geography, genealogy, literature, language and culture. As detaile...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
A utopian novel written in the 1930s, about an imaginary country where technology has not yet hastened the pace of life, and where people find time to nurture relationships and the land they live on. Also a novel of the long view. My first Sun workstation was named Isla, and the dream of living on the land was a part of my move to Sebastopol. Physical labor is a wonderful antidote to the life of the mind.     source
On Writing Well
The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William Zinsser (May 09, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, b...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
I wouldn't say this book influenced me, since my principles of writing were established long before I read it. However, it does capture many things that I believe about effective writing.     source
The Mind Parasites
The Supernatural Metaphysical Cult Thriller
by Colin Wilson (Oct 01, 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Wilson has blended H.P. Lovecraft’s dark vision with his own revolutionary philosophy and unique narrative powers to produce a stunning, high-tension story of vaulting imagination. A professor makes a horrifying discovery while excavating a sinister archeological site. For over 200 years, mind parasites have been lurking in the deepest layers of hu...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
For a wonderful story recapitulating Wilson's ideas, I also recommend his takeoff on H.P. Lovecraft, The Mind Parasites.) Wilson also shaped my relationship to books. So many critics write about literature and philosophy as a dead thing, an artifact. Wilson writes about it as a conversation with another mind about what is true.     source
Positioning
The Battle for Your Mind
by Al Ries (Jan 03, 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind-one that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, a...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
Positioning, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Anyone who wants to start a business with impact needs to read these books.     source
Science and Sanity
An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics
by Alfred Korzybski (Apr 01, 1995)
Goodreads Rating
Selections from Science and Sanity represents Alfred Korzybski's authorized abridgement of his magnum opus, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics....
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
OK, General Semantics was the 30s equivalent of pop-psychology in the 70s, but there are some great concepts there. The map is not the territory. The idea is that people get stuck in concepts and don't go back to observation.     source
Built to Last
Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Good to Great)
by Jim Collins (Oct 26, 1994)
Goodreads Rating
Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day -- as start-up...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
The idea here is that great companies aren't afraid to have strong values. In fact, their cult-like values are what make them stand out from the norm.     source
This book is also recommended by
Jeff Bezos
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Violate Them at Your Own Risk!
by Al Ries (Apr 27, 1994)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: BusinessNonfiction
There are laws of nature, so why shouldn't there be laws of marketing?As Al Ries and Jack Trout—the world-renowned marketing consultants and bestselling authors of Positioning—note, you can build an impressive airplane, but it will never leave the ground if you ignore the laws of physics, especially gravity. Why then, they ask, shouldn't there also...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
Positioning, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Anyone who wants to start a business with impact needs to read these books.     source
The Palm at the End of the Mind
Selected Poems and a Play
by Wallace Stevens (Feb 19, 1990)
Goodreads Rating
Categories: PoetryFiction
A collection that all the major long poems and sequences, and every shorter poem of lasting value in Stevens' career. Edited by Holly Stevens, it includes some poems not printed in his earlier Collected Works....
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
Stevens is my favorite poet, and this is the most commonly available collection of his poems. His meditations on the relationship of language and reality have entranced me for more than thirty years. I keep reading the same poems, and finding more and more in them. Also someone I quote often. Special favorites are Sunday Morning, An Ordinary Evening in New Haven, and Esthetique du Mal.     source
The Way of Life, According to Laotzu
by Witter Bynner (Nov 21, 1986)
Goodreads Rating
A lucid translation of the well-known Taoist classic by a leading scholar-now in a Shambhala Pocket Library edition. Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Teh Ching, or -The Classic of the Way and Its Virtue, - is one of the true classics of the world of spiritual literature. Traditionally attributed to the legendary -Old Master, - Lao ...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
My personal religious philosophy, stressing the rightness of what is, if only we can accept it. Most people who know me have heard me quote from this book. -Seeing as how nothing is outside the vast, wide-meshed net of heaven, who is there to say just how it is cast?     source
This book is also recommended by
Andrew Weil
The Unix Programming Environment
by Brian W. Kernighan (Nov 10, 1983)
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In their preface, the authors explain, "This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It contains tutorial introduction to get new users started as soon as possible, separate chapters on each major feature, and a reference manual. Most of the treatment is based on reading, writing, and revising examples, rather than on mere state...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
In addition to its articulation of the Unix tools philosophy that is so dear to my heart, the writing is a model of clarity and elegance. As a technical writer, I aspired to be as transparent as Kernighan.     source
Introduction to Realistic Philosophy
by John Wild (Jan 01, 1948)
The present book is an attempt to provide students and general readers with an introduction to the basic concepts and principles of classic, realistic philosophy. Without some grasp of its basic principles, it is impossible to understand either the history of modern philosophy or the present nature of western culture. The method followed is critica...
Tim O’Reilly
Jun 21, 2009
It was reading this book during high school that convinced me that philosophy was meant to be used, a guide to a better life, not a dry subject rehearsing the thoughts of dead men.     source
Focusing
by Eugene T. Gendlin (Sep 01, 1982)
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The classic guide to a powerfultechnique for personal transformationBased on groundbreaking research conducted at the University of Chicago, the focusing technique has gained widespread popularity and scholarly acclaim. It consists of six easy-to-master steps that identify and change the way thoughts and emotions are held within the body. Focusing ...
Tim O’Reilly
Sep 02, 2002
Some related ideas can be found in a book called Focusing by Eugene Gendlin. Gendlin's work comes from a completely different tradition than general semantics, but it has some similarities to parts of George Simon's work in training people to surrender to their perceptions and let new information come in, rather than hanging on so hard to existing maps.     source
The Warden
by Anthony Trollope (Feb 03, 2020)
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Categories: ClassicsFiction
The Warden introduces us to the lives of some of the most beloved characters in all literature.Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition has an introduction by Marga...
Tim O’Reilly
You read The Warden and you go, 'Oh, my God, I’m reading a novel about the moral quandaries of an 1850s British cleric, and it’s fricking fascinating.'     source
Trilby
by George du Maurier (Aug 13, 2019)
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Categories: ClassicsFiction
'You shall see nothing, hear nothing, think of nothing but Svengali, Svengali, Svengali!' First published in 1894, the story of the diva Trilby O'Ferrall and her mesmeric mentor, Svengali, has entered the mythology of the time alongside Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. Immensely popular for a number of years, the novel led to a hit play, a series of po...
Tim O’Reilly
Everybody knows Charles Dickens, but only a certain number of people will have read Trilby.     source
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen (Jul 19, 2016)
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Pride and Prejudice is an 1813 romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen. The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book, who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and eventually comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. A classic pie...
Tim O’Reilly
In terms of classics, you can’t do better than this author for understanding the human soul.     source
This book is also recommended by
Michael Eisen
Makers and Takers
The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business
by Rana Foroohar (May 17, 2016)
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Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided fina...
Tim O’Reilly
All about the financialization of the economy.     source
Intermediate Microeconomics
A Modern Approach (Ninth Edition)
by Hal R. Varian (Apr 08, 2014)
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This best-selling text is still the most modern presentation of the subject. The Varian approach gives students tools they can use on exams, in the rest of their classes, and in their careers after graduation....
Tim O’Reilly
Almost every economist learned from Intermediate Microeconomics.     source
Riders of the Purple Sage
by Zane Grey (Jan 19, 2012)
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Categories: FictionClassics
Arguably Zane Grey's most popular novel and a forerunner of the western genre, Riders of the Purple Sage tells the story of a Mormon woman caught between the persecution of religious zealots and several "Gentile" gunmen seeking to lend her a helping hand. Set in Utah during the nineteenth century, this novel offers an early critique on the practice...
Tim O’Reilly
A time machine into how people felt about the world in 1915.     source
The Lean Startup
How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
by Eric Ries (Sep 13, 2011)
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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for on...
Tim O’Reilly
The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do.     source
When Nietzsche Wept
A Novel Of Obsession (P.S.)
by Irvin D. Yalom (Mar 22, 2011)
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From bestselling author Irv Yalom comes a riveting blend of fact and fiction, a drama of love, fate, and will, played out agains the intellectual ferment of nineteenth-century Vienna on the eve of the birth of psychoanalysis.Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher ...Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis ...a secret...
Tim O’Reilly
An imagined story of early psychoanalysis about a guy who was a predecessor to Freud.     source
This book is also recommended by
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The Meaning of Culture
by John Cowper Powys (Oct 21, 2010)
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John Cowper Powys could never be straightforward or orthodox but here he sets off with a useful purpose. 'The aim of this book,' he declares, 'is to narrow down a vague and somewhat evasive conception, which hitherto, like ''aristocracy'' or ''liberty'', has come to imply a number of contradictory and even paradoxical elements, and to give it, not,...
Tim O’Reilly
Talks about the interplay of culture and life, the way that what we read can enrich what we experience, and what we experience can enrich what we read.     source
Liar's Poker
by Michael Lewis (Mar 15, 2010)
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The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker. Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street’s premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for...
Tim O’Reilly
A time machine into this place when our financial economy went crazily wrong.     source
This book is also recommended by
Tim Ferriss
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
by Tom Wolfe (Aug 19, 2008)
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They say if you remember the '60s, you weren't there. But, fortunately, Tom Wolfe was there, notebook in hand, politely declining LSD while Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters fomented revolution, turning America on to a dangerously playful way of thinking as their Day-Glo conveyance, Further, made the most influential bus ride since Rosa Parks's. B...
Tim O’Reilly
Gets you into the world of psychedelia and that era of the ‘70s.     source
Night Train to Lisbon
A Novel
by Pascal Mercier (Dec 21, 2007)
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A huge international best seller, this ambitious novel plumbs the depths of our shared humanity to offer up a breathtaking insight into life, love, and literature itself. A major hit in Germany that went on to become one of Europe’s biggest literary blockbusters in the last five years, Night Train to Lisbon is an astonishing novel, a compelling exp...
Tim O’Reilly
Sometimes there was just a line in Night Train to Lisbon that changed my life in some way.     source
Loving Every Child
Wisdom for Parents
by Janusz Korczak (Jan 04, 2007)
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Born in Poland in 1878, educator, physician, and legendary child advocate Janusz Korczak believed that simply understanding children is the key to being able to take care of them. It’s a basic premise too often overlooked. This collection of one hundred quotations and passages from Korczak’s writings provides valuable advice on how to take care of,...
Tim O’Reilly
A wonderful book.     source
The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition
by Jalal al-Din Rumi (May 28, 2004)
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Categories: PoetryFiction
This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and more than 80 never-before-published poems.Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-cent...
Tim O’Reilly
The introduction alone will make the hair stand up on your arms.     source
This book is also recommended by
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The Way We Live Now
by Anthony Trollope (Feb 05, 2004)
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Categories: ClassicsFiction
Trollope's 1875 tale of a great financier's fraudulent machinations in the railway business, and his daughter's ill-use at the hands of a grasping lover is a classic in the literature of money and a ripping good read as well....
Tim O’Reilly
About the great railroad bubbles of the 1860s.     source
Babel-17 / Empire Star
by Samuel R. Delany (Jan 08, 2002)
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Alternate cover edition can be found here.Author of the bestselling Dhalgren and winner of four Nebulas and one Hugo, Samuel R. Delany is one of the most acclaimed writers of speculative fiction. Babel-17, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating tale of a famous poet bent on deciphering a secret language that is the ...
Tim O’Reilly
I’d loved this little book.     source
The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats
by W. B. Yeats (Nov 05, 1994)
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Categories: PoetryFiction
W. B. Yeats was Romantic and Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, Nobel prizewinner, dramatist and, above all, poet. He began writing with the intention of putting his 'very self' into his poems. T. S. Eliot, one of many who proclaimed the Irishman's greatness, described him as 'one of those few whose history is the...
Tim O’Reilly
I learned that 20 of these poems do nothing for me, and there’s this one that just goes 'Bang!'     source
The Kabir Book
Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir (English and Hindi Edition)
by Robert Bly (Feb 01, 1993)
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Categories: PoetryFiction
Forty-four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir "Kabir's poems give off a marvelous radiant intensity. . . . Bly's versions . . . have exactly the luminous depth that permits and invites many rereadings, many studyings-even then they remain as fresh as ever."-The New York Times Book Review...
Tim O’Reilly
I love The Kabir Book.     source
Rissa Kerguelen
Book one in the saga of Rissa
by F. M Busby (Jan 01, 1976)
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Tim O’Reilly
Influenced me deeply.     source