Good books to read?

Here’s my current “to-read” books:

Books to read

Are there any other great/recommended books to read that you would suggest adding to the list?

140 Responses to Good books to read? (Leave a comment)

  1. I just finished re-reading this (again) and enjoyed it immensely (again).
    http://www.amazon.com/Angry-White-Pyjamas-Scrawny-Lessons/dp/0688175376

  2. Robert Konigsberg

    Erm, judging by your backlog, no, I would not.

  3. Dare I say it – Jeff Jarvis – What Would Google Do? Came out last week. I am reading it right now and sin of all sins I am using a yellow highlighter a lot – so much to contemplate. Jeff has really caught the essence of the change I am starting to experience everywhere

    Seth Godin – Meatball Sundae – the death of mass marketing and a primer for the 2010 business.

  4. I think you got some useful books up there and I wasn’t really surprised when the books stacked in your shelf are “web stuff.” Some books I would like to suggest, hmm? Right now I am reading “The Secret.” I think it’s kinda old, think it was released ’round 2006, but it does have some nice things going on.

  5. Bob Myers

    Actually, who gives a f**k what you read or are going to read? Since you’re God, I assume you can read one per day on the can and get through your backlog in a couple of weeks depending on how your bowels perform.Anyway, thanks for sharing, we’re all so concerned about your reading habits.

  6. I just saw the expanded image and WWGD on shelf – comment stands.
    I would read Meatball Sundae before reading Tribes though

  7. Well, I have nothing to add here. You have plenty for the time being.

    Maybe next time you can rotate your picture counterclockwise so I do not have to strain my neck to spot Terry Pratchett!

  8. Claudius

    I recommend: “The Richest Man in Babylon”.

  9. I recommend the Dune saga, dunno if you’ve read it. It has been recently revived by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson.

  10. Persian Fire by Tom Holland

    and Anaetham will probaly require two readings

  11. I recognize myself in your urge for adding more new books to your reading list.
    Got a decent pile of books to read as well but even though I can hardly find the time to read those, i’m always looking for new sources of useful information.

  12. I know it’s completely self-serving of me, but may I suggest “Hell on $5 a Day”? It’s a novel I’m publishing at two chapters a week on my blog (click my name to go there). Just dropped chapter 18, which takes place in the fourth and fifth rings of Hell. I’ll finish up with chapter 47 in May.

    Other than that, I’ve really enjoyed the Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde. The first is called “The Eyre Affaire”. Since you’re a Pratchett fan, you can appreciate the British wit, and since you’re a reader, you might enjoy how he toys with a lot of classic fiction.

  13. I’d recommend Programming Collective Intelligence by Toby Segaran. Lots of funky python code for AI and web 2.0 presented in a very accessible style. Click my name above to read my review of it.

  14. NG

    PS. Confederacy of Dunces is one of my all-time favorites, but it took me a few tries to get into it. Don’t give it up if it seems boring at first!

  15. Jem

    If you like Nation, read any of Pratchett’s discworld series. Fantastic books.

    As you’re a cat owner like myself, I heartily recommend Deric Longden’s books. In particular The Cat who came in from the Cold and Enough To Make A Cat Laugh (and I guess Paws in the Proceedings, but I’m still waiting for that one to be delivered). Really funny books (especially if you enjoy subtle British humour).

  16. Oleg

    Do you imagine how many time will take you to read all this books? =)

  17. I’ve read some great historical fiction lately, and it’s always a nice change from dayjob-style techie stuff; check out The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Black Ships by Jo Graham (if you like BSG you’ll find some interesting parallels in the latter too).

    Am currently reading Slaughterhouse-five, and have Gravity’s Rainbow to get through at some point too. War books can be incredibly depressing though so I usually take breaks between reading them!

  18. If you are looking for something fun, you could try Mark Helprin’s A Winters Tale.

  19. I don’t see One Hundred Years of Solitude there, either in English or the original Spanish (Cien años de soledad). That is surely one of the best novels in the world history of fiction, and I can only hope it’s not on the shelf because you read it years ago.

    But, since you’re into current science fiction, no Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card? I haven’t read it yet, but I love the earlier books in the series–at least Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow.

  20. einstein’s dreams by alan lightman

    http://www.amazon.com/Einsteins-Dreams-Alan-Lightman/dp/0446670111

    and flatland and sphereland are the best books ever on understanding 4th dimensional geometry, yes I am serious, and they are small and easy to read .

  21. I like that “Best of 2600″. I wonder how many people know what that is.
    :D

  22. I just finished The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy, an economic history of the shipping container. I found it fascinating to see how a great idea–packaging freight in large metal boxes that can move seamlessly between truck, rail, and ship–took decades to take hold as economic, technical, and labor issues changed. It’s also about a fundamental infrastructure technology that dramatically changed the world economy. It’s got some numbers and technical details, but it’s a well-told story, too.

  23. Timothy Brown

    You should drop what you are doing right now and read Anathem.

  24. I felt bad about my list of books “to read” that were sitting on my bookshelf, until now. :) I’m not sure I have any for you to add, but you made me feel better about having so many books I haven’t read on my shelf.

  25. Snow Crash. That’s another from Neal Stephenson, and it’s pretty good.

  26. I think part of the problem with books on our industry is by the time they are published often times the information is already outdated.

  27. Douglas

    April Morning by Howard Fast — it’s a historical novel about a boy coming of age during the battle of Lexington and Concord.

  28. I’m not sure what Bob Myers is so upset about, but I’d suggest using Goodreads.com

    It’s a surprisingly awesome place where you can ask questions just like these and get FRIENDLY and HELPFUL answers…

    –Kyle

  29. I found myself always very entertained and satisfied by reading down the Nebula awards list since the late sixties…

    http://www.sfwa.org/awards/archive/pastwin.htm

    just start at the top with Dune and go down the list! That are more than 40 very good ones, including Neuromancer, Enders Game, Ringworld, etc.

    Must read classics – and the best is: The 2009 award will be in SF, so you can actually meet the best SCIFI writers on the planet in about 2 months!

  30. Tom Middleton

    Where did you get youre bookcase? I like it!

  31. PD

    I see Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma there on your shelf. I would jump that right to the beginning of the line. A tremendous book, that.

    Food Matters by Mark Bittman is a good book to read in conjunction or after that, because it’s like an applied version of Pollan’s philosophy of food. It shows you, as Salon.com phrased it, how to practice what Pollan preaches.

  32. Nic

    It’s completely unrelated to work – so all the more reason to read it! “700 Sundays” by Billy Crystal. I recommend it to EVERYONE. It’s wonderful and entertaining and it MIGHT even make you cry a little!

    Which brings me to this question – does Matt Cutts even cry? :-) I know that Chuck Norris is unable to shed tears, but what about Matt Cutts?

  33. Without knowing which books you have already read in the past, I would add Myths of Innovation, which is just as interesting as it sounds. It’s short in length, but rich.
    http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Innovation-Scott-Berkun/dp/0596527055/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233588276&sr=8-1

    I might also throw in something for A Whole New Mind, by Dan Pink, which is an excellent introspective into why left brain-heavy folks could use some right brain stimulation more often than they think.
    http://www.amazon.com/Whole-New-Mind-Right-Brainers-Future/dp/1594481717/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233588284&sr=8-1

    And if you have any interest in video games or would just like to apply video game philosophy to other areas of your life, maybe look into Playing to Win. It’s the source of much debate on many game forums.
    http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Win-Becoming-David-Sirlin/dp/1411666798/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233588598&sr=8-1

  34. I’m just wrapping up “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” – great book. Next in line, Predictably Irrational. Good Stuff!

  35. Well, off the top of my head I’d recommend the following two books:

    Mischa Berlinski’s Fieldwork and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

    Here’s a link to my review of Fieldwork and a small excerpt below:
    http://usedbooksblog.com/blog/fieldwork-by-mischa-berlinski/

    Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski is a well-crafted, absorbing novel that fuses travel, anthropology and mystery. In many respects it feels a bit like a Paul Theroux travelogue, albeit Berlinski is far kinder to most of his subjects.

    Here’s a link to my review of Cloud Atlas and a small excerpt below:
    http://usedbooksblog.com/blog/cloud-atlas-by-david-mitchell/

    The genius of this novel is the structure, storytelling and language. There are six very distinct stories, ranging from Adam Ewing’s South Pacific travails to a post-apocalyptic landscape on what seems like a Hawaiian island. They are strung together from past to present to future and back again. Stepping away from the story, the structure is really and truly amazing. A narrative palindrome of sorts.

    I selected Cloud Atlas as my favorite used book of 2007 and will likely select Fieldwork as my favorite used book of 2008 (post forthcoming.)

    Can’t go wrong reads in my opinion.

    Thanks for promoting books, reading and literature!

  36. dunno if you’re into historical non fiction, but I got this book for Christmas and can’t wait to find some time to read it:

    http://www.amazon.com/American-Lion-Andrew-Jackson-White/dp/1400063256/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233589951&sr=8-1

  37. Bob Myers, this is my personal blog. If you want to read an official Google blog for webmasters, I’d suggest checking out the Google webmaster blog at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ . They just put up a great article about open url redirects on Friday, for example.

    Tom Middleton, I think it’s an Ikea bookcase? Added: my wife corrected me: the bookcase is from Target. Thanks to the missus! We got it thinking the cats would like it, but they’re indifferent to it.

  38. Stephen Vardy, I’m about 4-5 chapters in to What Would Google Do? right now. I agree that it’s good stuff.

    Jem, I think I’ve read all the Discworld books. And anything else Discworld-related. That’s probably my favorite series of books. :)

    graywolf, I couldn’t agree more on Flatland and Einstein’s Dreams. Both are so good but in different ways. I just ordered Sphereland — thanks!

  39. Sai

    First you should concentrate on that gizmo car…..;)

  40. Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

  41. Wow. that’s a lot of tech books. Don’t forget to mix in some fluff. I recommend Angels and Demons by the daVinci code guy. It’s better written than daVinci Code (though doesn’t reach as far) and you can read it in a weekend. Then you should read all three Jon Krakauer books at some point. Journalists write the best non-fiction: Into thin Air, Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. I just finished the last one. wild!

  42. vj

    Off-topic, but have you considered adding these books to your books.google.com account and create a label (“to read” may be) for them?

  43. Rabin

    Did you get the chance to meet Doris Kearns Goodwin when you were in DC? I like American history. I suggest any book of Ms. Goodwin if you are into American history or presidential history: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Doris%20Kearns%20Goodwin

    I am also into fantasy. Currently I am reading Jordan’s WOT. I believe in one of your post like this last year or may be earlier, i had recommended GRRM: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b_0_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=geroge+rr+martin&x=0&y=0&sprefix=Geroge+

    I am also into sea adventures, I am not too sure if you are. But this one, I must say, is a must read, and as people like to think, it is a best kept secret in English literature, (well isnt anymore;-): http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Aubrey-Maturin-Novels/dp/039306011X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233596974&sr=1-1

    Thats about it for this year!!!!

  44. Adriana

    Alistair Reynolds writes pretty incredible sci-fi. They can be read out of order really, but the first book is Chasm City.

    Also Clive Barker if you haven’t read them all:) The Great & Secret Show, Abarat, and Weaveworld are my favorites.

  45. FairTax: The Truth: Answering the Critics by Neal Boortz and John Linder
    The Fair Tax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS by Neal Boortz and John Linder

  46. Chris

    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

    If you enjoy science, it makes some of the stats easier to comprehend.

  47. Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developers by Peter Middleton and James Sutton
    It will tell you how to improve and streamline software development.
    http://www.productivitypress.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?sku=PP7305&isbn=9781563273056&parent_id=&pc=

  48. Heya Matt,

    I’m have a few books that I would recommend to you:

    Steven Pinker – How the Mind Works, http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=YY1RHgAACAAJ&dq=Steven+Pinker
    Douglas Coupland – J Pod, http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=n6jOAgAACAAJ&dq=j+pod
    Martin Amis, The Second Plane, http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=TwMcPQAACAAJ&dq=Martin+Amis,+The+Second+Plane

    Really digging the best of 2600 on your shelf! I love to listen to Off the Hook via podcast on http://www.2600.com/rss.xml – have loved 2600 for so many years!!!

    Cheers,

    Damien

  49. I would definitely recommend the below books. I’ve read and learned a lot from all of them.

    Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
    http://www.amazon.com/Wikinomics-Mass-Collaboration-Changes-Everything/dp/B001IDZJKE/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233607235&sr=8-1

    The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
    http://www.amazon.com/World-Flat-3-0-History-Twenty-first/dp/0312425074/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233607298&sr=8-1

    Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    http://www.amazon.com/Freakonomics-Revised-Expanded-Economist-Everything/dp/0061234001/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233607314&sr=8-1

    The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the Next 20 Years
    http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Future-Trends-Reshape-World/dp/B001OMHSWQ/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233607334&sr=8-1

    Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time (Gartner)
    http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Hype-Cycle-Innovation-Gartner/dp/1422121100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233607363&sr=8-1

  50. I did not see this mentioned before, but I think “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch is a phenomenal book.

    If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a very inspiring book that follow Randy’s journey when he is faced with the reality that he only has 6 months to live. It is very inspiring, I recommend it to everyone.

    http://www.thelastlecture.com/

  51. Matt, I have a huge backlog of technical books to read too. What I just started reading is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading” in hopes of getting through the rest a little quicker.

  52. Rabin

    Hmm, interesting. Not too sure why my suggestions were removed!! I was beginning to think people reading my suggestions would in turn give me suggestions!! But oh well!! This is not my blog!!!

  53. Rabin

    Hmm, interesting, it came back up again!!! Something fishy in either by browser or some codes!

  54. Avec Frites

    The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler.

    It will help you keep things in perspective.

  55. The Darwin Awards, book 5!

  56. Matt McGee

    Can’t believe you don’t have my book on your shelves:

    http://www.u2diary.com/

    Maybe I’ll bring a copy to SMX for you. ;-)

  57. You have a nice collection of books, however, if I were to add three, I’d add:

    (1) Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

    Neuro-marketing is fascinating and scary at the same time. Fascinating because consumer behaviour is ultimately the study of complete chaos, yet scary because it seems like something George Orwell had in mind when he wrote 1984.

    (2) Neuromancer by William Gibson

    This was one of the formative books of my teenage years and, looking back, I am sure it explains why going online was always such a magical experience for me. I remember the first few times I went online, it felt like I was an explorer in an uncharted world. The romance of those days was almost certainly tied to my experience with this particular book.

    (3) Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung

    Gotta throw in some Jung for good measure! This was, by far, his most accessible book and, as such, it serves as a really good introduction to analytical psychology. While Jung is certainly not terribly popular, his ideas helped unite eastern and western thought. If Jung were alive today, I bet he’d have the best blog online.

  58. Ryan

    Okay, I’ll throw my recommendation in Matt…

    I advise you to immediately put everything aside, and pick up a copy of a phenomenal book known as “Replay”.

    Long story short, it’s about a man that dies, yet instead of what normally happens (whatever you believe that to be) he goes back to being an 18 year-old college freshman, and still has full recollection of his previous life.

    This time around, though, he takes an entirely different approach to life and has a hell of a time, as he knows the outcome of pretty much anything that will happen to the world in the next two decades. Except, of course, everything you do has a consequence and might not play out exactly as you think it will…

    It really makes you wonder what you would do if you were able to return to a previous state in your life with full knowledge of the present.

    Read it, you’ll love it!

  59. Two great books I’ve enjoyed recently:

    “Q&A”, the novel on which Slumdog Millionaire is based. Great story and writing.

    “Undaunted Courage” (Ambrose?) about Lewis and Clark — amazing.

    Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    http://www.rkgblog.com

  60. Agree with many of the posts here. My “must read” pile is overflowing and driving my husband insane. But I see a book that looks interesting or someone recommends it and I add it to the pile. Right now reading

    Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know by Jennifer Van Sijl

    The Numerati by Stephen Baker (just picked up today and hoping as interesting as the the reviews I have read)

    What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People by Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins (will have to see if I can become an expert reading people)

    Thanks to your post I have added about 10 more must get books to my pile.

  61. Dave (original)

    Matt, you have opened yourself to Amazon affiliate link spam. Boy, some people are REALLY desperate.

    May I suggest your next Blog is about WOW, then you can 1st hand what most forums battle on a daily basis thanks to TBPR.

  62. Dave (original)

    Matt, you don’t have kids, so what is with the toy in the photo :)

  63. @Dave (original) Hey man….I have A1/9 SCALE Tiger I Panzer. I am Panzermike! :-)

  64. Dave (original)

    How come I prefer the really expensive toys like HUGE flat-screen HD TV’s, iPods & Blu-ray players. It’s not fair :(

  65. Nick Simmons

    I like how the bookshelf has squares in it, full of books. I like your robot. If I were you, i’d stop reading and just mess with the robot. Turn it into a flying lawnmower, cool stuff like that.

  66. Dave (original), the remote control car was a Christmas present. A really bitchin’ Christmas present. :)

    Matt McGee, I don’t think I knew that you had a book out! U2 was awesome in D.C. for the inaugural concert.

    Chris, right on about Bill Bryson. Greg, I discovered William Gibson in college and not much of his has escaping my voracious reading.

  67. My top non-fiction suggestion is “The Power of Now”, by Eckhard Tolle. Number one fiction suggestion is “The Pillars of the Earth”, by Ken Follett.

  68. ROW

    Matt, I like the way you replied to Bob Myers.
    A lesson for all wannabe bloggers to get thick skinned and how to avoid unwarranted fights.

  69. Gilgamesh: A New English Version (Hardcover) by Stephen Mitchell

    What was important enough to be in the first surviving human epic speaks directly to Google (and all of us) today in surprising ways.

    As a worthy young demigod, one strives for renown, friendship, challenges – and eventually, a form of real or “influence” immortality.

    If you should fail – e.g. we all die – then despair is initially understandable. But get over it. Take stock and pride at what has been achieved. Find peace in that, and budget your mortal hourglass accordingly.

    Kids age 3 &5 have asked to re-read this one for bedtime stories aloud several times: it’s short, simple, and very powerful.

  70. Love the transformer?

    One you need to add:

    Three Cups of Tea
    http://www.threecupsoftea.com/

    Great story

  71. Hey there. Thanks or sharing, truly. A texty list would be helpful for those of us interested, but vision impared and reluctant to go see a doc…

  72. emi

    Lessons Learned in Software Testing by James Bach is a great book for any testers out there.

  73. Good to Great and E-Myth. Both are classics.

  74. So, so happy to see the 2600 book as well as the MIT lockpicking book…….major brownie points!

  75. Arturo

    lol `the best of 2600` … brings back memories! *beaming*

  76. Mathematician Plays the Stock Market by John Allen Paulos is a highly readable and fun book. ISBN 0465054803.

  77. y0z2a

    I really like this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Looking-Sideways-Alan-Fletcher/dp/0714834491/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233661125&sr=8-1

    It is more of a Coffee table book, but good for something interesting to look at every time.

    /y0z

  78. Hi Matt

    You were supposed to get a book in the post about cats. Did it not arrive?

    It was a special signed book by the author too!

  79. Anyway, a good book to read, that I finished recently; Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s not tech but has made me want to jump in my time machine and go back a few years and to visit India.

    http://www.amazon.com/Shantaram-Novel-Gregory-David-Roberts/dp/0312330529

    Or, anything by Don Winslow …

  80. Jacques Meyrues

    Well it’s good to see that I’m not the only one with a huge pile of book to read :-)

    As Ryan Said “Replay” by Ken Grimwood is very good.

    On my list of books to bring to a desert island :

    If you like historical adventures / fictions
    The Sharpe serie, by bernard cornwell
    The Hornblower saga by C.S. Forester.
    The eagles serie by Simon Scarrow

    In S.F.
    The Honor Harrington serie by David Weber

  81. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
    11 minutes, also by him (Every couple should read it.)

  82. The Performance Facto: Unlocking The Secrets of Teamwork by Pat MacMillan has been a great influence to me for several years now…
    http://zi.ma/9780aa

  83. My favorite I have read recently is Joe Biden, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics It is like you were there with him as he was growing up and his career was developing. Barack Obama Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Audacity of Hope was just as good. Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo also gave a very deep understanding of Lincoln and Douglas.

  84. Short stories: ‘A Day of Pleasure’ by Issac Singer about a boy growing up in Warsaw.
    Philosophy: ‘Does God Exist’ by Hans Kung It can also serve as a well written history of thought since Descarte.
    Web Book: ‘Writing for the web’ by Susannah Ross how to write clear so people will read by a former BBC writer.
    Fantasy: The Witcher’ by Andrzej Sapkowski an amazing Polish writer at long last translated into English.

  85. Prathik Raj

    Hey Matt,

    Try to get your hands on a book called Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagath

  86. I find it hard to believe you haven’t read Web Analytics yet!

  87. Chris

    Wow, first, that is an awesome bookshelf. I already have a place on my house for something like that. Hope the local Ikea have ‘em. The robot car steals the show though. That is uber cool. And is that a toolbox at the bottom?

    Anyway, I like the following from your selection:

    Visual guide to lockpicking- you’ll never know when this might come in handy eh?
    The non-Designers design book- I am a usability freak. This might be a good partner to Krugg’s “Dont Make Me Think”
    Visual Aid
    Purple Cow and Tribes by Seth Godin- This guy is the man. I have read a lot of his stuff. A real marketing genius.

    And you have Amy Tan in there too. :)

    As for suggested books I suggest the following:

    How to Make Friends and Influence People
    Leadership and Self Deception
    The Dip
    To Kill a Mocking Bird

    Happy Reading

  88. Rabin

    I can not believe Dave the original, thinks whoever pointing to Amazon are amazon affiliates!!??!! Thats like accusing people who search in Google of being Google-hog, well, hmm, I suppose we are!!??!!

  89. I suspect you might’ve read The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick and Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold.

  90. I’m a big fan of Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

    here is my write-up on the book.

    http://www.dan-london.com/2008/11/reality-check-by-guy-kawasaki/

  91. 4 Hour Work Week baby!!! Set yourself free ;-)

    But seriously, it’s a great book for those looking to get out of the corporate grind

  92. D Bell

    How To Quit Smoking The Easy Way – Allen Carr.

    Brilliant!

  93. I strongly suggest “The Greatest Miracle in the World” by Og Mandino. He has written many best-selling books, many of which are a pretty quick read. I liked The Greatest Miracle in the World so much that I decided to name my son after a character in the book, long before I even had a son. I have given this book to many employees and friends, and each time I am met with many thanks for sharing it with them.

  94. MoG

    I didn’t like What Would Google Do. It is not very well organized and the author makes some mistakes on assumptions and theories. He calls “models” what he should call strategies or processes. It helps to think outside the box. But in a style I didn’t like. Google “would do” much more than that.

  95. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is a great read for design and living-living-life-to-the-fullest types. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi#Flow

    For some pop fun in your space, maybe Digital Fortress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Fortress — Very fun read for computer guys – hahaa

    For something that will change your life, and fill in the real world history of the jazz scene, you might enjoy Miles Davis’ Autobiography http://www.amazon.com/Miles-Davis/dp/0671725823

    Hope this helps! :)

  96. Steve Newman

    Daemon is a great read. The next matrix. Technology, suspense, thriller..by a first time author

    http://thedaemon.com/

  97. I agree with Vlad above that ‘The World is Flat’ by Thomas Freidman is MUST read. Vlad refers to 3.0 because Friedman published updates to this book every so often.

    Freidman just came out with another book as well entitled Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America. This is surely on my list of books to read.

  98. Scott

    I think this has to be the book to read . it will make you wonder what life is really all about, once you start you wont want to put it down, its about a guy you called Tom Neale who lived like a hermit on an uninhabited atoll in the Pacific. You can get the book on amazon, there is html version here http://www.janesoceania.com/suvarov_tom_neale/

    and ebook here: http://rs453.rapidshare.com/files/187529684/island_to_oneself_3.zip

  99. Oliver

    As a few of the above have already said, any Terry Pratchett books from the fantastic Discworld series.

  100. My advice, take it or leave it:

    First, get a big plastic box from Target, Wal-Mart, The Container Store, Storables, or other container-vending establishment of your choice. Make sure it’s opaque, or at most, translucent.

    Top right shelf: keep “Schneier on Security.” Toss the rest in the box.
    Middle right shelf: keep “Release 2.1,” put the others in the box.
    Bottom right shelf: keep “HCI Remixed,” put the rest in the box.
    Top middle shelf: dump the whole thing into the box.
    Bottom middle shelf: dump contents into box.
    Left shelf: keep “Crooked Little Vein” (unintentionally published backfire though it may be…see http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=99505). Toss remaining books in the box.

    Put the four books you have left on the top right shelf. Put the lid on the plastic box full of books. When you’ve finished the first four books, you can either break open your box and get four more, or read one or more of the new books you’ve gotten since boxing up the others, which probably seem more urgent and/or relevant now. In the meantime, you’ve given yourself some headspace, which you may be able to take advantage of to decide what you *really* want to spend your reading time on.
    (Note: if at some point you have to retrieve a book from the box to find a specific piece of information, take that book out and put it on a shelf for reference books (and *only* reference books).)

    Hope this helps :).

  101. I generally recommend Doug Hofstadter’s “Gödel, Escher, Bach” and “Le Ton Beau de Marot” to everyone. His style’s not for everyone–his books primarily consist of tangents, and he’s very pleased with his own cleverness–but if you like that sort of thing, then it’s the sort of thing you’ll like. Along with “Guns, Germs and Steel” and “The Ancestor’s Tale”, these were the big-idea books that largely shaped my outlook on the world.

    As for non-fiction, “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever” by James Tiptree, Jr. is one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. Reading it is like watching “The Orphanage” or “May”; I admire the work tremendously, but I’m not sure I could put myself through that again. For lighter reading, try “Soon I Will Be Invincible”; it’s particularly fun if you ever enjoyed superhero comics.

  102. Terry Parsons

    The Drunkard’s Walk, by Mlodinow
    Any of Vernor Vinge’s books on the technology singularity theme (old sci-fi)
    The Singularity is Near by Raymond Kurzweil (non-fiction…sort of)

  103. Wow, Great Library!

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t see “Getting Things Done” on the shelf, but it could be hiding in there somewhere. Great content in a small book.

    It’s one of the books I picked up after checking out the list of books at http://www.PersonalMBA.com, a website dedicated to those who want to know more about business without going back to school for their MBA. Josh has collected a list of 77 great books which he recommends towards this end.

    Meanwhile, I was wondering if my Iowa library card will help me check out “The Best of 2600″ from your bookshelf ;)

    Take care!

  104. Terry Parsons: Any of Vernor Vinge’s books on the technology singularity theme (old sci-fi)

    Dude, A Deepness in the Sky is less than ten years old. If that’s old sci-fi, then what are Heinlein and Asimov?

    panzermike: This one just went viral over at MIXX!

    Please don’t use the phrase “[to go] viral”. Ugh.

  105. I’m glad I’m in good company, Matt! I think I have as many books as you (all Web related) plus a stack or two of magazines to sort through.

    For true escapism (with an uncanny similarity to the world we know), I recommend the original Dune trilogy written by the master Frank Herbert. Simply amazing (forget the crappy movie adaptations).

    Another good read: The Book of 5 Rings by Miyamoto Musashi (master samurai, circa early 1600s). I hear it’s required reading in Japanese business colleges.

  106. Dave (original)

    Dude, A Deepness in the Sky is less than ten years old. If that’s old sci-fi, then what are Heinlein and Asimov?

    Ancient and please don’t use the word “Dude”, it’s so 1960′s.

  107. Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan. Written by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya, two Japanese Naval Officers who took part and wrote about the war from the Japanese point of view. They detailed some of the assumptions, closed-thinking and over-confidence that led to Japan’s loss against the odds. It is on many reading lists at the US Naval Academy and also with many businessmen who fear becoming so powerful (or more accurately, ‘believing’ they are so powerful) that they cannot fail.

  108. Cisco

    Hey Matt!

    i think google should develop something like the social anobii for books… would be great for google books! what u think, is it achievable?

  109. @Dave (original)

    “Dude” that was friggin hillarious. Deserves to go “viral” :-)

  110. Kim

    Might be more a question of a book to click the unread button on so you read again but Scott Rosenberg’s Dreaming in Code still my favourite tech book of some time; puts everything in perspective after a bad day at the office

  111. If you liked Stumbling on Happiness, a great book which I see on your shelf, you will absolutely love “The Happiness Hypothesis.” It’s a book that blends all the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary theory with 10 lessons from ancient philosophers and religious figures about what makes us happy.

    Best book of the more than 200 good ones (and a few bad) that I’ve read in the last 3 years.

  112. Tera Magi

    Here’s what I have in my library:

    The Hyperion Series by Dan Simmons ( all other Simmons books)
    All the novels tag teamed by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell especially Mote in God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer and The Gripping Hand
    The Stand by Stephen King
    Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber

    Hope you discover them and find them a good read as I did.

    oh, is that a Gorilla Pod? Are those any good? I wonder if it can support a DSLR. Carrying a tripod is such a task.

  113. Dave (original)

    Thank you :)

  114. I recommend The World is Flat. Great book

  115. Old movie was on tv last night… in “Good Will Hunting” Robin Williams asked Matt Damon – “What are the right damn books”… Matt Damon said “Whatever blows your hair back”…

    With that in mind, some books on your shelf appear to be the wrong damn books… no offense, but you need some more that will really blow your hair back, as you may actually get to reading them. The rest of that crap will sit there until outdated…

    If you can find it — WHAT IS MAN? by MARK TWAIN. It is out of print and a little known book of his, but it is short, a quick read and will certainly blow your hair back.

    A classic – The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck may have been on your already read shelf… if not, get that one, your wife will thank me.

    I personally stopped reading books about 12 months ago and focused on just one… THE BIBLE… got through the entire old testament… time to get back to more recent stuff, so thanks to everyone that put something on this blog, I will look to see which one will blow my hair back.

  116. Dave (original)

    What about if you are bald, will the book still “blow my hair back”?

  117. In this age of increasing government and bizarre economics, it seems smart if you haven’t yet, to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Of course, to do so probably requires a sabbatical… but it’s worth it.

  118. “The Richest Man in Babylon”. is simply the best , but it’s only my point of view :)

  119. Logic

    For a good intro to the next big idea in economics, try “Beyond Growth” by Herman E. Daly, formerly of the World Bank. The world and current trends will make more sense after reading it.

  120. If you have the wrong philosophy in life you don’t read… You should acquire one or two books per week. One current day business philosopher (Jim Rohn) said … he has a business library full of books, some of which he hasn’t read … but he knows because they are there he feels so much better.

    “He who claims he knows, knows nothing … He who claims nothing, knows” Socrates

    That socrates quote gives us quiet techie bods a shift up the ladder of success.

    Andy

  121. Jos

    Hi Matt, I’ve got a great book tip. How’s your Dutch going these days? ;-)
    Best book from an “IT-as-the-primary-source-for-a-great-time-off-work” perspective is “De Broncode” by Eric Smit.

    It’s a wonderful, exciting story about a curious mind-blowing invention, greed in all forms imaginable, business blunders, and loads more.
    Really, go out there and get yourself a copy, walk over to your colleagues of translation, and let them translate it so you can read it.
    It’s soooooooo cool! ;-)

  122. Tobias Schmidbauer

    I take the opportunity to recommend some of my favourite non-fiction:
    “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg
    “The Demon-haunted World” by Carl Sagan

    Greetings from Germany and have fun reading!

  123. The Brightest Bulb

    Echoing what Tera Magi said earlier – Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Life changing books.

  124. Marl Mackenzie

    Duh THE TWILIGHT SAGA!!!!!!!!!!! Its the best books in the world. If your looking for a romance thriller with a bite it’s about vampires, but it doesent have much blood. there’s 4 books each on ove 497 pgs.

  125. i agree with logic “Beyond Growth” by Herman E. Daly is a very interessting book , that will for sure make you change the way you used to see economics

  126. sally

    this is a new one and an odd one, but anyone with kids will appreciate either sleeping solved or feeding solved simple and fun to read, practical advice and cute pics :)

  127. Nice Books… I wonder how long it will take you to read all that??? :D I love books too but i hate spoilers!

  128. Matt, keep rocking!

  129. Argo

    my all time favourite read is “Autobiography of a Yogi” and any novel by Dick Francis or Patricia Cornwell…i liked your anal rentitive list…lol

  130. Grantley

    Didn’t see Primo Levi’s book “If this a man.” there, so presume you’ve already read it. If not, you really aint read anything of note yet.

  131. the TWILIGHT SAGA are so really good books to read if u r bord or just have lots of time on ur hands……………………i would definitly recomend this book to lots of people who love good suspence and romance!!!!!they are great!!!! i just love them i have the whole SAGA!!!!!!

  132. I’m surprised a man like you doesn’t do all his reading on a Kindle!

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