November 2023

Sam Altman's Reading List

— Sam Altman, entrepreneur and CEO of OpenAI, is known for his passion for reading and continuous learning.
Sam Altman's Reading List
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Sam Altman is a renowned entrepreneur, investor, and startup mentor. He is best known for co-founding Loopt, a location-based social networking app, which was later acquired by Green Dot Corporation. After the acquisition, Sam went on to lead Y Combinator, a startup accelerator that has helped launch successful companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe. He is currently the CEO of OpenAI, a research organization that aims to create safe and beneficial AI systems.

Sam Altman is also an avid reader and has published a reading list on his personal blog. The list covers a wide range of topics, including technology, business, philosophy, and psychology. Here are some of the books from Sam's reading list that you might find interesting:

  1. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries - This book introduces the concept of a lean startup, which is a methodology for building businesses that focuses on rapid iteration and customer feedback. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.
  2. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari - This book provides a fascinating overview of the history of humanity, from the emergence of Homo sapiens to the present day. It covers topics like the development of agriculture, the rise of empires, and the impact of technology on society.
  3. "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" by Steven Pinker - This book argues that violence has declined throughout human history, and provides evidence to support this claim. It's a thought-provoking read that challenges common assumptions about the state of the world.
  4. "Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" by Peter Thiel - This book is based on a series of lectures that Peter Thiel gave at Stanford University. It provides insights into Thiel's philosophy on entrepreneurship, and offers practical advice for building successful businesses.
  5. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman - This book explores the different ways in which we think and make decisions. It introduces the concept of "system 1" thinking, which is fast and intuitive, and "system 2" thinking, which is slow and deliberate.

What purpose does life serve? Humans have struggled with this issue for ages, and it has undoubtedly motivated you at least once. But how do we respond to this question and how can we guarantee that our lives have purpose? In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes his time spent in the WWII concentration camps as well as the school of therapy he founded to confront this very question.

Our favourite quote from Man's Search for Meaning

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

Beacon Press, the original English-language publisher of Man's Search for Meaning, is issuing this new paperback edition with a new Foreword, biographical Afterword, and classroom materials to reach new generations of readers.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a book that has altered how I approach and think about problems in my life. It builds on the idea that we're Strangers to Ourselves and that we're governed by two completely separate brains; our fast thinking (automatic) brain and our slow thinking (conscious) brains. You'll be surprised which one has the wheel most of the time...

Thinking, Fast and Slow also reminds a bit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s thinking in Antifragile. It dives into how the mechanisms of human thinking works, and how we're lured into poor judgement, hopeless memory and bad decisions by our fast-thinking systems. Thinking, Fast and Slow reveals when we can and cannot trust our intuitions. We can all benefit from a little more slow thinking.

One interesting insight is that Kahneman ends his books with a conclusion on the importance of improving our decision-making and the role that technology can play for that in the future. Ray Dalio comes to the same conclusion in his incredible book Principles.

If you're a marketer or UX designer, it's super insightful in helping to predict irrational user behaviour.

Our favourite quote from Thinking, Fast and Slow

A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel offers unique guidance for digital entrepreneurs in his book Zero to One.

Technology has stagnated, according to Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel contends that the most valuable and game-changing startups produce something new, while the majority of new businesses make incremental improvements to already established products. The world is changed from zero to one by them.

The only way for humanity to advance is through creating new things, which is also the best way to make money. 

Our favourite quote from Zero to One

The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

One of the key works on Stoicism is Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, published during his reign as Roman emperor. In Meditations, Aurelius expresses his views on the superiority of reasoning over passion and offers advice on how to begin molding your mind to think logically. You can live a meaningful life and pass away with grace by adhering to the Stoic philosophy.

Our favourite quote from Meditations

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy.

Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is possible that large portions of the work were written at Sirmium, where he spent much time planning military campaigns from 170 to 180. Some of it was written while he was positioned at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia, because internal notes tell us that the first book was written when he was campaigning against the Quadi on the river Granova and the second book was written at Carnuntum.

Our favourite quote from Brave New World

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.

Now more than ever: Aldous Huxley's enduring masterwork must be read and understood by anyone concerned with preserving the human spirit

"A masterpiece. ... One of the most prophetic dystopian works." —Wall Street Journal

Aldous Huxley's profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. “A genius [who] who spent his life decrying the onward march of the Machine” (The New Yorker), Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization. Brave New World, his masterpiece, has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.

"Aldous Huxley is the greatest 20th century writer in English." —Chicago Tribune

Our favourite quote from Anna Karenina

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Acclaimed by many as the world's greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in all of literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature - with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author's own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, 'He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, 'Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.

Our favourite quote from The Score Takes Care of Itself

Like water, many decent individuals will seek lower ground if left to their own inclinations. In most cases you are the one who inspires and demands they go upward rather than settle for the comfort of doing what comes easily.

The last lecture on leadership by the NFL's greatest coach: Bill Walsh.

Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty. In the process, he changed the way football is played.Prior to his death, Walsh granted a series of exclusive interviews to bestselling author Steve Jamison. These became his ultimate lecture on leadership.Additional insights and perspective are provided by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and others.

Bill Walsh taught that the requirements of successful leadership are the same whether you run an NFL franchise, a fortune 500 company, or a hardware store with 12 employees. These final words of 'wisdom by Walsh' will inspire, inform, and enlighten leaders in all professions.

The idea that there is a finite quantity of knowledge in the cosmos has been advocated by several scientists and thinkers throughout history. This idea is refuted in The Beginning of Infinity. David Deutsch, a theoretical physicist, disproves the notion that humanity will one day possess all knowledge and shows why it is destructive as well as false.

Instead, Deutsch contends that there is no end to knowledge since we constantly produce it through inquiries, investigations, and computations rather than merely "finding" it. And since there is no end to the amount of knowledge we can produce, there is no limit to how much the world can be improved.

Our favourite quote from The Beginning of Infinity

Some people become depressed at the scale of the universe, because it makes them feel insignificant. Other people are relieved to feel insignificant, which is even worse. But, in any case, those are mistakes. Feeling insignificant because the universe is large has exactly the same logic as feeling inadequate for not being a cow. Or a herd of cows. The universe is not there to overwhelm us; it is our home, and our resource. The bigger the better.

The New York Times bestseller: A provocative, imaginative exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge

“Dazzling.” – Steven Pinker, The Guardian

In this groundbreaking book, award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe—and that improving them is the basic regulating principle of all successful human endeavor. Taking us on a journey through every fundamental field of science, as well as the history of civilization, art, moral values, and the theory of political institutions, Deutsch tracks how we form new explanations and drop bad ones, explaining the conditions under which progress—which he argues is potentially boundless—can and cannot happen. Hugely ambitious and highly original, The Beginning of Infinity explores and establishes deep connections between the laws of nature, the human condition, knowledge, and the possibility for progress.

Our favourite quote from Einstein

A society’s competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity.

By the author of the acclaimed bestsellers Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein.How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.

These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

Want to know the growth strategies that Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb employed to achieve enormous valuations in such a short amount of time? Blitzscaling, written by the founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, explains the counterintuitive business strategy of sacrificing confidence and efficacy for pure speed.

Learn the common traits of the most profitable tech company models of today, when blitzscaling is successful and when it isn't, as well as the counterintuitive transgressions of business common sense. Although Blitzscaling is ostensibly a business strategy book, it is also important to investors looking to identify the next big firm, employees interested in learning how to work for one, and everyone interested in learning how today's organizations expand at an unheard-of rate.

Our favourite quote from Blitzscaling

There’s a common misconception that Silicon Valley is the accelerator of the world. The real story is that the world keeps getting faster—Silicon Valley is just the first place to figure out how to keep pace.

LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies.

What entrepreneur or founder doesn't aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb? Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants?

The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of Blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion -as quickly as possible.

When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to next level requires very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today. In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company's life cycle, such as: how to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth; strategies for hiring and managing; how the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures, and more.

Whether your business has ten employees or ten thousand, Blitzscaling is the essential playbook for winning in a world where speed is the only competitive advantage that matters.

Our favourite quote from Foundation

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humanity, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls this sanctuary the Foundation. But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves—or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.

Our favourite quote from Superintelligence

Far from being the smartest possible biological species, we are probably better thought of as the stupidest possible biological species capable of starting a technological civilization - a niche we filled because we got there first, not because we are in any sense optimally adapted to it.

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.

Our favourite quote from A Pattern Language

At the core of A Pattern Language is the philosophy that in designing their environments people always rely on certain ‘languages,’ which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a formal system which gives them coherence.

This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable making a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. ‘Patterns,’ the units of this language, are answers to design problems: how high should a window sill be?; how many stories should a building have?; how much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?

More than 250 of the patterns in this language are outlined, each consisting of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seems likely that they will be a part of human nature and human action as much in five hundred years as they are today.

A Pattern Language is related to Alexander’s other works in the Center for Environmental Structure series: The Timeless Way of Building (introductory volume) and The Oregon Experiment.

Our favourite quote from The Republic

The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.

Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, this classic text is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation, other questions are raised: what is goodness?; what is reality?; and what is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as guardians of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by philosopher kings.

Our favourite quote from The Origin of Consciousness

At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.

Our favourite quote from The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.

A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured. In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

Our favourite quote from The Old Way

We had lived in savannah for a million years. During that time the world got warm again and wetter, and some of the rain forest returned. But for us it was too late. By then we knew how to live only on the savannah. We could still climb trees, but we did not go back.

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas was nineteen when her father took his family to live among the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Fifty years later, after a life of writing and study, Thomas returns to her experiences with the Bushmen, one of the last hunter-gatherer societies on earth, and discovers among them an essential link to the origins of all human society.

Humans lived for 1,500 centuries as roving clans, adapting daily to changes in environment and food supply, living for the most part like their animal ancestors. Those origins are not so easily abandoned, Thomas suggests, and our modern society has plenty still to learn from the Bushmen.

Through her vivid, empathic account, Thomas reveals a template for the lives and societies of all humankind.

Our favourite quote from Dealers of Lightning

Yet his experiments led him to a contradictory conclusion. Programming did not teach people how to think—he realized he knew too many narrow-minded programmers for that to be so, now that he considered the question in depth. The truth was the converse: Every individual’s ingrained way of thinking affected how he or she programmed.

Dealers of Lightning is the riveting story of the legendary Xerox PARC--a collection of eccentric young inventors brought together by Xerox Corporation at a facility in Palo Alto, California, during the mind-blowing intellectual ferment of the seventies and eighties. Here for the first time Michael Hiltzik, a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reveals in piercing detail the true story of the extraordinary group that aimed to bring about a technological dawn that would change the world--and succeeded.

Based on extensive interviews with the scientists, engineers, administrators, and corporate executives who lived the story, Dealers of Lightning takes the read on a journey from PARC's beginnings in a dusty, abandoned building at the edge of the Stanford University campus to its triumph as a hothouse of ideas that spawned not only the first personal computer, but the windows-style graphical user interface, the laser printer, much of the indispensable technology of the Internet, and a great deal more. It shows how and why Xerox, despite its willingness to grant PARC unlimited funding and the responsibility for developing breakthroughs to keep the corporation on the cutting edge of office technology, remained forever unable to grasp (and, consequently, exploit) the innovations that PARC delivered--and it details the increasing frustration of the original PARC scientists, many of whom would go on to build their fortunes upon the very ideas Xerox so rashly discarded.

More than just a riveting historical narrative, Dealers of Lightning brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters. Among them:

  • Bob Taylor--the preacher's son from rural Texas who would be considered a prophet by some and a cantankerous egomaniac by others, whose fearless (and feared) leadership of a team of computer renegades made them the heroes of the embryonic Silicon Valley;
  • Jack Goldman--the Xerox chief scientist who convinced the stolid corporation to stake tens of millions of dollars on PARC while warning that the investment might not pay off for years--if it paid off at all;
  • Alan Kay--PARC's creative and philosophical soul, who suffered years of ridicule for envisioning a computer that could be tucked under the arm yet would contain the power to store books, symphonies, letters, poems, and drawings--until he arrived at Palo Alto and met the people who would build it; and
  • Steve Jobs--who, aided by Xerox's indifference to PARC's most momentous inventions, staged a daring raid to obtain the technology that would end up at the heart of the Macintosh: the machine that for a time helped Apple dominate an explosive new market.

Dealers of Lightning is an unprecedented look at the ideas, the inventions, and the individuals that propelled Xerox PARC to the frontier of technohistory--and the corporate machinations that almost prevented it from achieving greatness.

Our favourite quote from The Principia

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being... This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God παντοκρατωρ or Universal Ruler.

Isaac Newton spelled out in mathematical language the laws of time, force, and motion that have guided the development of modern physical science in his epic 1687 work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, also known as the Principia. Newtonian physics continues to account for many of the phenomena of the observed world, and Newtonian celestial dynamics is employed to determine the orbits of our space ships, even after more than three centuries and the revolutions of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics.

This authoritative, modern translation, the first in over 285 years, is based on the 1726 edition, Newton's final revised version; it includes extracts from earlier editions, corrects errors found in earlier versions, and replaces archaic English with contemporary prose and up-to-date mathematical forms.

The motions of the earth, moon, planets, and comets are all described by Newton's principles, which include acceleration, deceleration, and inertial movement, fluid dynamics, and the motions of the earth, moon, planets, and comets. The Principia was not only a magnificent work in and of itself, but it also changed scientific investigative procedures. It established the fundamental three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation, the physical principles that account for the Copernican planetary system as modified by Kepler, essentially putting an end to debate over the Copernican planetary system. I. Bernard Cohen's enlightening Guide to Newton's Principia makes this eminent work fully accessible to today's scientists, academics, and students.

Our favourite quote from Call Me by Your Name

We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste!

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks' duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman's frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.

Our favourite quote from Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Alice Munro reaches new heights in her eleventh book (the title story of which is the inspiration for the upcoming film Hateship Loveship), generating storylines that loop and swerve like memory and conjuring up characters as thorny and contradictory as individuals we know.

Because of a teenager's practical joke, a tough-minded cleaner abandons lifelong practices. When a college student pays a visit to her brassy, unorthodox aunt, she discovers an amazing truth and its significance in her own life. An incorrigible philanderer replies to his wife's nursing-home romance with unexpected grace.

Munro is at her most attentive, serenely devoid of delusion, genuinely and wonderfully humanistic in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.

Our favourite quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wilde created a devastating depiction of the impact of wickedness and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-nineteenth-century England in this acclaimed masterpiece, his sole novel. The book revolves on a startling premise: while Dorian Gray slips into a life of crime and disgusting sensuality, his body retains pristine youth and energy, but his newly painted picture turns day by day into a horrific record of evil, which he must keep concealed from the world. This enthralling tale of terror and suspense has captivated audiences for nearly a century. It is considered one of Wilde's most important works, as well as one of the most classic examples of its genre.

Our favourite quote from Hacking Sales

The world of sales is a $500 billion industry that employs over 15 million people in the US alone. However, only a handful of colleges offer degrees in sales and most MBA programs don’t offer a single sales class.

Business executives and investors have realized that a good sales team will make or break your business. As data and technology become cheaper to access, and more Well-educated people choose careers in sales; the world of sales is undergoing a massive transformation. Consider this book your degree in modern sales. I call it Sales Hacking.

In Hacking Sales, you’ll learn how to build a fully streamlined sales engine using new technology built for salespeople along with innovative new techniques. I showcase over 150 tools throughout the book, as we walk through the processes behind building an fully efficient sales machine. Some of them include:

  • Building your Ideal Customer Profile
  • Finding theses Ideal Customers by the thousands
  • Getting Contact Info at Scale
  • Different Strategies for Targeting Prospects
  • How to Properly Segment Lists for Mass Emailing
  • Building, Testing, Measuring, Optimizing Email Campaigns
  • Hiring, Training, Managing Outsourced Sales Development Teams
  • Best Practices for Nurturing Leads
  • Negotiations, Objections, and Closing the Deal
  • The Art of Getting Referrals During the Honeymoon Period
  • Plus Bonus Material and Much More

Our favourite quote from Molecular Biology of the Cell

Molecular Biology of the Cell is the classic in-dept text reference in cell biology. By extracting the fundamental concepts from this enormous and ever-growing field, the authors tell the story of cell biology, and create a coherent framework through which non-expert readers may approach the subject. Written in clear and concise language, and beautifully illustrated, the book is enjoyable to read, and it provides a clear sense of the excitement of modern biology. Molecular Biology of the Cell sets forth the current understanding of cell biology (completely updated as of Autumn 2001), and it explores the intriguing implications and possibilities of the great deal that remains unknown. The hallmark features of previous editions continue in the Fourth Edition.

The book is designed with a clean and open, single-column layout. The art program maintains a completely consistent format and style, and includes over 1,600 photographs, electron micrographs, and original drawings by the authors. Clear and concise concept headings introduce each section. Every chapter contains extensive references. Most important, every chapter has been subjected to a rigorous, collaborative revision process where, in addition to incorporating comments from expert reviewers, each co-author reads and reviews the other authors' prose. The result is a truly integrated work with a single authorial voice.

Our favourite quote from Winning

In Winning, Tim Grover shows why he is one of the world’s most sought-after mindset experts. Drawing on three decades of work with elite competitors, Grover strips away the cliches and rah-rah mentality that create mediocrity and challenges you to embrace reality with single-minded intensity. The prize? Massive success.

Whether you’re an athlete with championship dreams, an entrepreneur building a business, a CEO managing an empire, a salesperson closing a deal, or simply a competitor determined to stand in the winner’s circle, Winning offers thirteen crucial principles for achieving unbeatable performance.

This book reveals the truth about the obstacles and challenges that stand between you and your goals: Winning never lies. Winning knows your secrets. Winning wages war in the battlefield of your mind. Winning wants all of you. And more.

If you’re addicted to the taste of success and crave more, then you’re ready for Winning’s results-driven performance strategy. And if you’re already winning and want to learn how to execute at a level that will establish you as one of the greatest—so you can own not just this moment, but the next, and the next—this book will show you the path.

Our favourite quote from The Art of War in the Middle Ages

Master-historian Charles Oman tells the story of the evolution of military combat from the end of the Roman Empire through the Dark Ages and into the Middle Ages. Oman's beautiful prose captures the tactically complexity and the emotional horror of war in the Middle Ages.

Richly illustrated throughout to enhance the reading experience.

Our favourite quote from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

We have advantages. We have a cushion to fall back on. This is abundance. A luxury of place and time. Something rare and wonderful. It's almost historically unprecedented. We must do extraordinary things. We have to. It would be absurd not to.

"This is a beautifully ragged, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable book." —San Francisco Chronicle

A book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is an instant classic that will be read for decades to come.

Our favourite quote from Plentiful Energy

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) is a fast reactor system developed at Argonne National Laboratory in the decade 1984 to 1994. The IFR project developed the technology for a complete system; the reactor, the entire fuel cycle and the waste management technologies were all included in the development program. The reactor concept had important features and characteristics that were completely new and fuel cycle and waste management technologies that were entirely new developments.

The reactor is a "fast" reactor - that is, the chain reaction is maintained by "fast" neutrons with high energy - which produces its own fuel. The IFR reactor and associated fuel cycle is a closed system. Electrical power is generated, new fissile fuel is produced to replace the fuel burned, its used fuel is processed for recycling by pyroprocessing - a new development - and waste is put in final form for disposal. All this is done on one self-sufficient site. The scale and duration of the project and its funding made it the largest nuclear energy R and D program of its day. Its purpose was the development of a long term massive new energy source, capable of meeting the nation's electrical energy needs in any amount, and for as long as it is needed, forever, if necessary. Safety, non-proliferation and waste toxicity properties were improved as well, these three the characteristics most commonly cited in opposition to nuclear power.

Development proceeded from success to success. Most of the development had been done when the program was abruptly cancelled by the newly elected Clinton Administration. In his 1994 State of the Union address the president stated that "unnecessary programs in advanced reactor development will be terminated." The IFR was that program. This book gives the real story of the IFR, written by the two nuclear scientists who were most deeply involved in its conception, the development of its R and D program, and its management.

Between the scientific and engineering papers and reports, and books on the IFR, and the non-technical and often impassioned dialogue that continues to this day on fast reactor technology, we felt there is room for a volume that, while accurate technically, is written in a manner accessible to the non-specialist and even to the non-technical reader who simply wants to know what this technology is.

Our favourite quote from The Supermen

The Supermen offers the first up-close-and-personal profile of Seymour Cray, the brilliant and reputedly eccentric designer of the world's fastest computers. This is the story of a technical genius who, against all odds, created a series of machines that revolutionized the computing industry. Chronicling each major breakthrough, Murray takes us behind the scenes to witness late-night brainstorming sessions, miraculous eleventh-hour fixes, and flashes of insight when bold new ideas were cooked up. Drawing from rare in-depth interviews with Seymour Cray, Murray gives us an unparalleled portrait of the man and his methods, reporting not only Cray's personal reflections, but the recollections of his closest colleagues and the truth behind the rumors.

Our favourite quote from Solution Selling

"Solution Selling is the most comprehensive sales and sales management process available today. Mike Bosworth has the best understanding of sales process in corporate America." —Jeffrey M. Fisher, Vice President, Symix Computer Systems.

Our favourite quote from Hunger of Memory

But one does not forget by trying to forget. One only remembers.

Hunger of Memory is the story of Mexican-American Richard Rodriguez, who begins his schooling in Sacramento, California, knowing just 50 words of English, and concludes his university studies in the stately quiet of the reading room of the British Museum.

Here is the poignant journey of a minority student who pays the cost of his social assimilation and academic success with a painful alienation--from his past, his parents, his culture--and so describes the high price of making it in middle-class America.

Provocative in its positions on affirmative action and bilingual education, Hunger of Memory is a powerful political statement, a profound study of the importance of language and the moving, intimate portrait of a boy struggling to become a man.

Our favourite quote from Skunk Works

Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was an authentic American genius. He was the kind of enthusiastic visionary that bulled his way past vast odds to achieve great successes, in much the same way as Edison, Ford, and other immortal tinkerers of the past. When Kelly rolled up his sleeves, he became unstoppable, and the nay-sayers and doubters were simply ignored or bowled over. He declared his intention, then pushed through while his subordinates followed in his wake. He was so powerful that simply by going along on his plans and schemes, the rest of us helped to produce miracles too. Honest to God, there will never be another like him.

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind the high-stakes quest to dominate the skies Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret & successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a drama of cold war confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering & achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists & engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes & high adventure, with narratives from the CIA & from Air Force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the 20th century.

Our favourite quote from How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling

Henry Ford said: “Anyone who stops learning is old—whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

A business classic endorsed by Dale Carnegie, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling is for anyone whose job it is to sell. Whether you are selling houses or mutual funds, advertisements or ideas—or anything else—this book is for you.

When Frank Bettger was twenty-nine he was a failed insurance salesman. By the time he was forty he owned a country estate and could have retired. What are the selling secrets that turned Bettger’s life around from defeat to unparalleled success and fame as one of the highest paid salesmen in America?

The answer is inside How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. Bettger reveals his personal experiences and explains the foolproof principles that he developed and perfected. He shares instructive anecdotes and step-by-step guidelines on how to develop the style, spirit, and presence of a winning salesperson. No matter what you sell, you will be more efficient and profitable—and more valuable to your company—when you apply Bettger’s keen insights on:

  • The power of enthusiasm
  • How to conquer fear
  • The key word for turning a skeptical client into an enthusiastic buyer
  • The quickest way to win confidence
  • Seven golden rules for closing a sale

Our favourite quote from Powering the Future

In Powering the Future, Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin transports us two centuries into the future, when we've ceased to use carbon from the ground--either because humans have banned carbon burning or because fuel has simply run out. Boldly, Laughlin predicts no earth-shattering transformations will have taken place. Six generations from now, there will still be soccer moms, shopping malls, and business trips. Firesides will still be snug and warm.How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water, and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we've burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal.

The Predictable: Fossil fuels will run out. The present flow of crude oil out of the ground equals in one day the average flow of the Mississippi River past New Orleans in thirteen minutes. If you add the energy equivalents of gas and coal, it's thirty-six minutes. At the present rate of consumption, we'll be out of fossil fuels in two centuries' time.

We always choose the cheapest gas. From the nineteenth-century consolidation of the oil business to the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, the energy business has shown, time and again, how low prices dominate market share. Market forces--not green technology--will be the driver of energy innovation in the next 200 years.

The laws of physics remain fixed. Energy will still be conserved, degrade entropically with use, and have to be disposed of as waste heat into outer space. How much energy a fuel can pack away in a given space is fixed by quantum mechanics--and if we want to keep flying jet planes, we will need carbon-based fuels.

The Potential: Animal waste. If dried and burned, the world's agricultural manure would supply about one-third as much energy as all the coal we presently consume.

Trash. The United States disposes of 88 million tons of carbon in its trash per year. While the incineration of waste trash is not enough to contribute meaningfully to the global demand for energy, it will constrain fuel prices by providing a cheap supply of carbon.

Solar energy. The power used to light all the cities around the world is only one-millionth of the total power of sunlight pouring down on earth's daytime side. And the amount of hydropump storage required to store the world's daily electrical surge is equal to only eight times the volume of Lake Mead.

Our favourite quote from Pandaemonium

This collection of writings is about the Industrial Revolution. The extracts are taken from diaries, letters, scientific reports and literature. Each piece sheds light on those that come before and after, as it measures how the human imagination experienced the Industrial Revolution.

Our favourite quote from The Beak of the Finch

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree,” he writes. But if we look at the whole tree of life, Darwin says, we can find innumerable gradations from extremely simple eyes consisting of hardly more than a nerveless cluster of pigment cells, which are rudimentary light sensors, to the marvels of the human eye, which are more impressive pieces of work than the human telescope.

On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch.

In this dramatic story of groundbreaking scientific research, Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself. The Beak of the Finch is an elegantly written and compelling masterpiece of theory and explication in the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould.

Our favourite quote from The Transit of Venus

I never had, or wished for, power over you. That isn't true, of course. I wanted the greatest power of all. but not advantage, or authority.

Caro, gallant and adventurous, is one of two Australian sisters who have come to post-war England to seek their fortunes. Courted long and hopelessly by young scientist, Ted Tice, she is to find that love brings passion, sorrow, betrayal and finally hope. The milder Grace seeks fulfilment in an apparently happy marriage. But as the decades pass and the characters weave in and out of each other's lives, love, death and two slow-burning secrets wait in ambush for them.

Our favourite quote from The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Clark presents a novel perspective on World War I, concentrating not on the battlefields and tragedies of the war, but on the complicated circumstances and relationships that drove a group of well-meaning leaders into deadly warfare.

Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centres in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914, as well as the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that accelerated the crisis in a matter of weeks.

Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative narrative of Europe's decline into a war that tore the globe apart, meticulously researched and wonderfully written.

Our favourite quote from Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players

Texas Hold 'em is not an easy game to play well. To become an expert you must balance many concepts, some of which occasionally contradict each other. In 1988, the first edition appeared. Many ideas, which were only known to a small, select group of players, were made available to anyone who was striving to become an expert, and the hold 'em explosion had begun. It is now a new century, and the authors have again moved the state of the art forward by adding over 100 pages of new material, including extensive sections on "loose games," and "short-handed games." Anyone who studies this text, is well disciplined, and gets the proper experience should become a significant winner. Some of the other ideas discussed include play on the first two cards, semibluffing, the free card, inducing bluffs, staying with a draw, playing when a pair flops, playing trash hands, desperation bets, playing in wild games, reading hands, and psychology.

Our favourite quote from The Endurance

In August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack. Soon the ship was crushed like matchwood, leaving the crew stranded on the floes. Their ordeal would last for twenty months, and they would make two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before their final rescue.

Caroline Alexander provides us a compelling narrative of Shackleton's expedition—one of history's greatest epics of survival—drawing on previously unpublished materials. She also shows the incredible work of Frank Hurley, an Australian photographer whose photographic record of the journey has never been published in its entirety. Text and image work together to recreate the horrific beauty of Antarctica, the ship's horrible ruin, and the crew's courageous daily battle to stay alive, a miracle made possible in part by Shackleton's inspired leadership.

It's no less incredible that Hurley's extraordinary photographs have survived: The original glass plate negatives, from which the majority of the book's drawings are wonderfully reproduced, were kept in hermetically sealed cannisters that survived months on ice floes, a week in an open boat on the polar seas, and many months buried in the snows of Elephant Island. Hurley was eventually forced to ditch his professional equipment, and he used a pocket camera and three rolls of Kodak film to take some of the most iconic photographs of the conflict.

The Endurance is a riveting account of one of the final great adventures in the Heroic Age of exploration—perhaps the greatest of them all—published in connection with the American Museum of Natural History's historic exhibition on Shackleton's expedition.

Our favourite quote from The Trial of Socrates

We simply find ourselves – as if trapped in a metaphysical maze – coming back century after century, though in a spiral of increasing sophistication and complexity, to the same half dozen basic answers worked out by the ancient Greek philosophers.

In unraveling the long-hidden issues of the most famous free speech case of all time, noted author I.F. Stone ranges far and wide over Roman as well as Greek history to present an engaging and rewarding introduction to classical antiquity and its relevance to society today. The New York Times called this national best-seller an "intellectual thriller."

Our favourite quote from The Art of War for Lovers

For 2,500 years, Sun Tzu’s strategies have helped men to win at war. Now they can help women win at love.

Based on Sun Tzu’s classic book The Art of War, this guide for lovers offers a new way of looking at love using the wisdom of the ages. It adapts Chinese principles to outsmart opponents, offering women practical strategies for creating a lasting, loving relationship. It discloses tactics which should make women masters and winners in the strategic art of love.

Our favourite quote from The Fall by Albert Camus

You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.

Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a successful Parisian barrister, has come to recognize the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. His epigrammatic and, above all, discomforting monologue gradually saps, then undermines, the reader's own complacency.

Our favourite quote from The Crime of Reason

We all agree that the free flow of ideas is essential to creativity. And we like to believe that in our modern, technological world, information is more freely available and flows faster than ever before. But according to Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin, acquiring information is becoming a danger or even a crime. Increasingly, the really valuable information is private property or a state secret, with the result that it is now easy for a flash of insight, entirely innocently, to infringe a patent or threaten national security. The public pays little attention because this vital information is “technical”—but, Laughlin argues, information is often labeled technical so it can be sequestered, not sequestered because it’s technical. The increasing restrictions on information in such fields as cryptography, biotechnology, and computer software design are creating a new Dark Age: a time characterized not by light and truth but by disinformation and ignorance. Thus we find ourselves dealing more and more with the Crime of Reason, the antisocial and sometimes outright illegal nature of certain intellectual activities.The Crime of Reason is a reader-friendly jeremiad, On Bullshit for the Slashdot and Creative Commons crowd: a short, fiercely argued essay on a problem of increasing concern to people at the frontiers of new ideas.

Our favourite quote from Fundamentals of Plasma Physics

This rigorous explanation of plasmas is relevant to diverse plasma applications such as controlled fusion, astrophysical plasmas, solar physics, magnetospheric plasmas, and plasma thrusters. More thorough than previous texts, it exploits new powerful mathematical techniques to develop deeper insights into plasma behavior. After developing the basic plasma equations from first principles, the book explores single particle motion with particular attention to adiabatic invariance.

The author then examines types of plasma waves and the issue of Landau damping. Magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium and stability are tackled with emphasis on the topological concepts of magnetic helicity and self-organization. Advanced topics follow, including magnetic reconnection, nonlinear waves, and the Fokker-Planck treatment of collisions. The book concludes by discussing unconventional plasmas such as non-neutral and dusty plasmas. Written for beginning graduate students and advanced undergraduates, this text emphasizes the fundamental principles that apply across many different contexts.

Our favourite quote from A Life Decoded

The triumphant true story of the man who achieved one of the greatest feats of our era—the mapping of the human genome.

Growing up in California, Craig Venter didn’t appear to have much of a future. An unremarkable student, he nearly flunked out of high school. After being drafted into the army, he enlisted in the navy and went to Vietnam, where the life and death struggles he encountered as a medic piqued his interest in science and medicine. After pursuing his advanced degrees, Venter quickly established himself as a brilliant and outspoken scientist. In 1984 he joined the National Institutes of Health, where he introduced novel techniques for rapid gene discovery, and left in 1991 to form his own nonprofit genomics research center, where he sequenced the first genome in history in 1995. In 1998 he announced that he would successfully sequence the human genome years earlier, and for far less money, than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project would— a prediction he kept in 2001

A Life Decoded is the triumphant story of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today. In his riveting and inspiring account Venter tells of the unparalleled drama of the quest for the human genome, a tale that involves as much politics (personal and political) as science. He also reveals how he went on to be the first to read and interpret his own genome and what it will mean for all of us to do the same. He describes his recent sailing expedition to sequence microbial life in the ocean, as well as his groundbreaking attempt to create synthetic life. Here is one of the key scientific chronicles of our lifetime, as told by the man who beat the odds to make it happen.

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Sam Altman's reading list is a great resource for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world. It's clear that Sam has a wide range of interests, and his reading list reflects that. Whether you're interested in technology, business, or philosophy, you're sure to find something on Sam's list that will inspire and inform you.

You don't make money when you buy stocks. And you don't make money when you sell stocks. You make money by waiting.