Search for books, people and lists
Read This Twice
HomePeopleBooksSonaLibrariesSign in

Tim O’Reilly

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.
67 books on the list
Sort by
Latest Recommendations First
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain book cover
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life
George Saunders - 2021-01-12
Goodreads Rating
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today. George Saunders shares his twenty-year experience teaching a class on Russian short stories to MFA students at Syracuse University. In this book, he pairs iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol with his technical yet accessible essays on how narrative functions, why we stay immersed in a story, and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster to create compelling fiction. Through this exploration, Saunders illuminates how the mind itself works while reading and how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.
Tim O’Reilly
@amyjccuddy A Swim In A Pond In The Rain, by George Saunders. The best book on how to read carefully and think about what you read that I have ever encountered. Also introduced me to some wonderful deeply humane classics of Russian literature.      source
Whole Earth book cover
Whole Earth
The Many Lives of Stewart Brand
John Markoff - 2022-03-22
Goodreads Rating
Explore the fascinating life of iconic visionary Stewart Brand, from his involvement with the counterculture and creation of the influential Whole Earth Catalog, to his commitment to environmentalism and pragmatic embrace of technology. Written by technology and society chronicler John Markoff, this biography delves into Brand's contradictions and powerful influence on California culture and the wider world. With his emphasis on direct power and planetary consciousness, Brand's story is one that will inspire readers to reimagine how we live on this planet.
Tim O’Reilly
This is indeed a very good book about one of the most remarkable touchstone figures in the evolution of so much of modern culture. I've known @stewartbrand for decades, and still learned so much more about him and his leadership.      source
Recommended by
Dave WinerChris Fralic
Breath book cover
The New Science of a Lost Art
James Nestor - 2020-05-26
Goodreads Rating
Discover the fascinating science behind our most basic biological function with this instant New York Times bestseller. Journalist James Nestor explores the lost art of breathing and its impact on our health and well-being. From ancient practices like Pranayama and Tummo to modern science, Breath reveals how adjusting our breathing can improve athletic performance, heal internal organs, and even straighten scoliotic spines. With thousands of years of medical texts and cutting-edge research, this book will change the way you think about the simple act of breathing.
Tim O’Reilly
@monicabyrne13 11. :-). My brother and I used to have breath holding contests as kids, and I once got to 2 1/2 minutes. But that's nothing. The world champion freediver can make it to over 9 minutes passively, and 4 1/2 while swimming. BTW, I love the book Breath      source
Limits book cover
Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care
Giorgos Kallis - 2019-08-06
Goodreads Rating
Explore the fascinating history of how we came to view the earth's limits and the importance of embracing them in this passionate book. Author Giorgos Kallis challenges the belief that going beyond limits is the only path to progress and advocates for a culture of sharing and collective self-limitation. Discover the separation between limits and scarcity, two concepts often conflated in both environmental and economic theory. From ancient Greece to present-day radical environmentalists, join Kallis on a journey to redefine our relationship with the planet and make an impassioned plea for limits.
Tim O’Reilly
I love this book. So readable, so insightful, so actionable. There is also a really interesting connection between this book and @DrIbram's How To Be An Anti-Racist, namely that many establishment beliefs & policies originate as justifications for self-interest by powerful people      source
Unrig book cover
How to Fix Our Broken Democracy (World Citizen Comics)
Daniel G. Newman - 2020-07-07
Goodreads Rating
This nonfiction graphic novel delves into the broken democracy of the United States and the heroic efforts of those unrigging the system to return power to the people. Written by a democracy reform leader and illustrated by an artist, the book takes readers behind the scenes of where politicians acquire their funds, from corporate CEOs to billionaire supporters. Unrig also provides solutions to limit the influence of big money and redraw the lines of political power. If you're searching for hope in the current political climate, this book will restore your faith in the path forward to fix our democracy.
Tim O’Reilly
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
Recommended by
David Corn
Dune book cover
Deluxe Edition
Frank Herbert - 2019-10-01 (first published in 1965)
Goodreads Rating
Explore a unique and captivating world in this bestselling science fiction novel, now available in a deluxe hardcover edition. Set on the harsh desert planet Arrakis, the story follows the young Paul Atreides as he navigates a treacherous political landscape where the only valuable resource is a coveted drug called "spice." As Paul's family is betrayed and destroyed, he embarks on a journey that will lead him to a destiny beyond his wildest dreams. With a stunning blend of adventure, mysticism, and politics, Dune is a triumph of the imagination and a true masterpiece of science fiction.
Tim O’Reilly
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
Human Compatible book cover
Human Compatible
Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control
Stuart Russell - 2019-10-08
Goodreads Rating
This groundbreaking book by a leading AI researcher explores how we can coexist with increasingly intelligent machines, rather than viewing them as a threat to civilizations. The author outlines the benefits and potential misuse of AI, and suggests that we rethink the design of AI to ensure that machines are inherently uncertain about human preferences, thereby creating provably deferential and beneficial machines. Solve the problem of control over AI and unlock a future of unlimited promise.
Tim O’Reilly
I just finished Stuart Russell’s marvelous book on AI safety Human Compatible, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!      source
The Last Unknowns book cover
The Last Unknowns
Deep, Elegant, Profound Unanswered Questions About the Universe, the Mind, the Future of Civilization, and the Meaning of Life
John Brockman - 2019-06-04
Goodreads Rating
Discover the greatest thinkers of our time with The Last Unknowns. This book features over 250 scientists, artists, and theorists answering the profound question: "What is 'The Last Question,' the question for which you will be remembered?" Explore the deepest riddles about our world, civilization, and the meaning of life with contributions from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Nobel laureates, philosophers, and more. With a foreword by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, this little book of unknowns engages and fascinates readers from start to finish.
Tim O’Reilly
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 book cover
Researching, Interviewing, Writing
Robert A. Caro - 2019-04-09
Goodreads Rating
A celebrated historian shares his personal experiences researching and writing his acclaimed books in this evocatively written collection of personal pieces. From interviewing powerful figures like Robert Moses to encountering witnesses of political power, and finding a writer's community, the author reflects on his journey and the importance of infusing writing with a sense of place and mood. These candid, deeply revealing recollections bring into focus the passion, integrity, and self-deprecation behind his acclaimed work.
Tim O’Reilly
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
Recommended by
Ron Fournier
The Fifth Risk book cover
The Fifth Risk
Undoing Democracy
Michael Lewis - 2019-12-03 (first published in 2018)
Goodreads Rating
This book uncovers the chaos that ensues when the transition team for President Trump fails to show up at the US Department of Energy to learn about their new roles. Michael Lewis' gripping narrative exposes the dangerous consequences of a government under attack by uninformed leaders who show disregard for the critical services that keep our society safe. From ensuring food and medication safety to tracking down black-market uranium, Lewis masterfully paints a vivid picture of the fallout when those in control lack understanding of the government's inner workings.
Tim O’Reilly
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
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Mastering Ethereum by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
AI Superpowers by Kai-fu Lee
The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato
Farsighted by Steven Johnson
Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks
Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth
Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow by Aurélien Géron
Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil
Makers and Takers by Rana Foroohar
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
Who Gets What ― and Why by Alvin Roth
Robbie the Robot Learns to Read by Noah Waisberg
Dying Every Day by James Romm
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
Loving Every Child by Janusz Korczak
Code by Lawrence Lessig
Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Meaning of Culture by John Cowper Powys
Intermediate Microeconomics by Hal R. Varian
The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
The Peregrine by J A Baker
Built to Last by Jim Collins
The Essential Rumi by Jalal Al-Din Rumi
The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
Babel-17 / Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany
Positioning by Al Ries
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mawson's Will by Lennard Bickel
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Trilby by George du Maurier
Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries
Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski
The Kabir Book by Robert Bly
The Palm at the End of the Mind by Wallace Stevens
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Introduction to Realistic Philosophy by John Wild
The Unix Programming Environment by Brian W. Kernighan
Focusing by Eugene T. Gendlin
Rissa Kerguelen by F. M Busby