Books I Recommend
I call this genre of books “romanticized tech” because of the way tech is portrayed in them in a very idealistic and whimsical way. It’s nice to pick up one of these if you are feeling very “Black Mirror” to remember why you might have even started in this field.
- Soul of a New Machine: Bryan Cantrill recommended this to me and it’s amazing. It’s about Data General building a new computer and the passion the team building it put into it. I wrote a post with some thoughts on it and so did he.
- A People’s History of Computing in the United States: This book has a bunch of short stories that chronologically take you through some of the most important moments of computing history. I loved reading this after “Soul of a New Machine” because it really tied in nicely to the references of Data General and DEC.
- The Big Machine: I found this book at the infamous Bell’s books in Palo Alto. It was all worn like someone had previously loved it a lot and it makes me love it even more. It’s about CERN and how it came to be and has the same sort of romanticized view of tech as “Soul of a New Machine” and “A People’s History of Computing in the United States”.
- On the Edge: The story of the Commodore computer company. Goes through the entire history. Super desnse, but over all interesting.
- Where Wizards Stay Up Late: This book details the story of how the Internet came to be!
- Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception: I have now read this book twice. It is amazing if you want to be able to read when people are lying to you. It’s a good read backed by a lot of experience from the CIA. Honestly, after reading it the world will be a much different place.
- Super Brain: I loved this book. It uses science to describe how the brain processes different emotions and what that does to your overall health. It will leave you with all sorts of good feelings after as well as teaching you quite a bit about misconceptions on how the brain works.
- “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character: A witty book taken from short stories the notorious professor used to tell. Awesome read, flows quite quickly and is fun. It’s filled with fun little physics and life lessons.
- “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”: Further Adventures of a Curious Character: More Feynman stories just like the above.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: This is an awesome book and you should watch her TED talk as well. It’s about the power of introverts and how being an introvert should not be something to be ashamed of but rather proud of.
- Brief Answers to the Big Questions: If you have read “A Brief History of Time”, you will like this follow up answering some of the larger questions of the universe.
- Ego is the Enemy: This book is a great reminder in staying modest and humble. Ego so often gets in the way of great leadership and success and I greatly enjoyed reading a book that focused on self-confidence without ego.
- The Datacenter As a Computer: Designing Warehouse-scale Machines (Synthesis Lectures on Computer Architecture): This is a overview of how Google designs their datacenters. Overall, super valuable if you work in the space of high-scale compute. I only wish it disclosed more of the reasoning behind certain technical decisions.
- A Programmer’s Introduction to Mathematics: I was a math major so I have a huge fondness for mathematics. This is a great book about math from the point of view of programming.
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard: I got this book as a recommendation from Lara Hogan. It is a great read if you are trying to change something in a culture that does not embrace change. It really details a great approach for doing so that feels like it could almost be weaponized :).
- The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change: Every single book list should include Camille’s book. It is a great read for managers and non-managers and has given me the tools for knowing what is normal and what is not.
- Accelerate: I cannot believe I forgot this book the first time around, great for high-performance teams who want to ship software, based on real data, and written by the badass Nicole Forsgren.
- Dear Founder: This book takes you through the evolution and stages of starting a business. Its in the form of letters and a good and fast read. Also seems like an effective reference to flip back to when you need specific advice in a pinch.
- Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: Nicole recommended this book to me and it is a very good approach to strategy, real. It really focuses on keeping things transparent and real.
- The Last Days of Night: A story about this guy that gets sued by Thomas Edison. Super fun to read, has a lot of history interwoven in. Tesla makes an appearance and there’s lots of drama with false motives. Great book :)
- The Hard Thing about Hard Things: This book is great when it comes to management and also having empathy for those faced with hard decisions. It puts an emphasis on transparency and saying things “like they are” and I really appreciate that. Also there are rap quotes.
- Finite and Infinte Games: This book is kinda a mind trip in the best ways. I’ll leave it at that.
- Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics: A great introduction to particle physics.
- The Character of Physical Law: Richard Feynman’s breif overview of the laws of physics.
- The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The complete set of Feynman lectures on physics.
- The Particle Odyssey: A Journey to the Heart of Matter: Great introduction to particle physics with tons of illustrations.
- The Telomere Effect: Science behind aging and how you can change your lifestyle to help you live longer.
If you are interested in books and/or bookshelves I started a thread with pictures of bookshelves and there are some great find in here:
These are my favorite two shelves of my bookshelf, and yes that’s a slug Jerry. Show me your bookshelves, doesn’t just have to be tech books :)— jessie frazelle 👩🏼🚀 (@jessfraz) February 23, 2019
(most of these are from my grandpa :) pic.twitter.com/0qiqytAYuL