Each year I try to set a goal to read a certain number of books. In 2016, I read 100 books for the year. You can see the full list of books I read here., on Goodreads. In this post, I’ll be giving a one sentence description of the books that I’ve read and a symbol after the sentence to give an indication as to what I thought of the book. Namely:
- Good :
- Okay :
- Meh :
These books are in no particular order and the release dates of the books are not restricted to 2016. So without further ado:
Good gift to give a graduating student, most likely someone who is graduating from either high school or undergrad.
Incredibly well-written and heart-wrenching content that had me chopping numerous and enormous onions.
Old poems that are still relevant after thousands of years along with an outstanding translation.
So many hilarious burns against Plato from Diogenes and Herakleitos didn’t give a shit about petty social constructs.
Weird and seemingly pointless narrative that goes into some strange places.
Oscar Wilde is always a pleasure to read, but his poems are a bit less pleasurable than his plays or one novel.
A bit too basic and a bit too short, but not a bad supplement.
8) How to Finish Your Dissertation in Six Months, Even if You Don’t Know What to Write by Scott Rank
Mundane and obvious advice that doesn’t hurt to have shoved into your mind again to keep you on track.
9) Spanish One Week Spanish Mastery: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning Spanish in just 1 Week! Detailed Step by Step Process to Understand the Basics. by Erica Stewart
Not a bad language learning supplement, but not as grandiose as the title claims.
I laughed, I cried, I read it in Spanish, and I thought a construction crane was my mother.
Don’t spend your time or energy on petty people or bullshit activities.
Just listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast with Derek Sivers instead as it’s exactly the same content in this book.
Schodinger’s attempt at connecting biology and physics starts off okay, but then gets a bit dry and scattered toward the end.
14) How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell
Montaigne used to be terrified of death, then had an accident where he almost died and started living like a badass.
Camus argues against suicide since existing and creating art is the largest and most prominent middle finger we can give to the pointlessness of the universe.
My least favorite Kafka book.
17) Automate This: How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World by Christopher Steiner
Kinda meh with not-so-surprising conclusions drawn from automation in technology.
18) Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block by S.J. Scott
Blah book with a gimmicky title.
19) Spanish: Short Stories For Beginners - 9 Captivating Short Stories to Learn Spanish and Expand Your Vocabulary While Having Fun by Olly Richards
Since these stories are for people learning Spanish, I’m sure a native Spanish speaker would find these stories mind numbingly boring, yet they are effective for learning.
All of the non-technical skills you need to be an outstanding software developer.
Gimmicky title but solid content on the inside for daily social and business interactions.
Know when to hold em’ and know when to fold em’. :+1”
23) The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or any Top Tech Company by Gayle Mcdowell
Geared more toward the undergraduate aspiring to work at one of the big three
Jeff Bezos, his quirks, and how he turned Amazon into Amazon.
Weird is good.
A basic but entertaining popular book on statistics.
27) The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Platitudes and cliches galore.
Richard Branson seems like a great guy, but he’s an awful writer.
Eating larger portions of food is affected by serving size, even if you already know it’s affected by serving size.
Hypothetical and ridiculous questions answered in a scientific and logical manner.
A good introduction to someone who doesn’t know anything about P or NP.
Transhumanism with respect to the brain.
A few useful tips for clearly conveying scientific findings through graphs.
The story of the Dilbert guy with emphasis on following systems and not setting goals.
Quick and simple read, but nothing that different.
Alpha male idiot mentality.
Short book on the warrior mentality in various military campaigns.
38) Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Jerry Kaplan
Fragmented and at some point he starts talking about how he’s better than people because he makes more money.
Somewhat remedial book that was written by two authors who didn’t appear to have much communication between them.
If you like John Cleese or you like Monty Python, might be worth a read, although quite dry at some points.
A follow-up to deliberate practice and the so-called 1,000 hour rule, now with even more examples!
Aging is no longer a problem in this dystopian short story.
Nothing too memorable here, but it could be that I just read it a while ago and it was particularly short.
Ben Franklin’s advice on wealth and finances is timeless as is this book.
45) Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution by Terrance McKenna
A bit too new-agey for my taste, but there were some nuggets of wisdom tucked away in his ramblings.
Ramblings of one of my favorite YouTubers, TheAmazingAtheist.
Climate change is a serious problem that deserves serious solutions.
More ramblings from TheAmazingAtheist.
The world is fucked and Chomsky acts as Dr. Seuss’s Lorax as he takes us on a whirlwind tour of just how bad it is.
Various excerpts of Chomsky speaking on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.
Chomsky’s critical take on the incompetence of the Bush regime.
Oodles of examples in history where ego got the better of various historical figures, and how it led to their downfall.
Hitch-22 is a long memoir, but Hitch’s writing style is an absolute pleasure to read.
Manages to side step a lot of the new age BS with some good overall philosophical principles.
Sam Harris doesn’t believe in free will.
Adorable and funny comics where the target audience is most likely not me, but still enjoyed it.
Shorter and not as memorable as the Fight Club book.
Michael Nielsen guided me through quantum computing with his awesome textbook and is now guiding the path down neural networks.
Mice version of World War II where a survivor sets the historical stage for the second book.
My favorite of the two Maus books as this one is particularly dark.
Typical path for many-a-physicist is over to the shady world of Wall Street.
Crotchety old man humor at its best and most pristine.
Interesting concept but poor execution in writing which is surprising from Huxley.
Necessary supplemental reading for any high school history class that elaborates on how many devious things America has taken part in.
My childhood relived through these page.
Dense and linguistically rich but equally hard to parse and understand.
Action items for people to take part in to optimistically curve climate change.
A book that is only slightly better than the official TensorFlow documentation.
69) TensorFlow for Machine Intelligence: A Hands-On Introduction to Learning Algorithms by Sam Abrahams
This was even worse than the TensorFlow documentation as it is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.
Is it bad that I obtained most of my knowledge of Iran during the 1980s from a comic book?
Sam Harris and a previous Jihad extremist sit down and hash out a plan for normalizing Islam.
Didn’t think this was as great as people say, but it did have certain poignant passages.
Good bedtime reading.
Nothing new in terms of pop psychology, but the latter part of the book did have some examples I hadn’t heard of before.
The book was different than the movie, but still good.
Funny short book in “The Oatmeal’s” typical style.
More from TheAmazingAtheist with lots on the pointlessness of life and other musings.
While I didn’t care so much for the ending, the entire book was engaging and written well.
Tips and tricks for writing smart and clean Python.
80) An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield
Basically an autobiography of Chris Hadwell and how to apply the discipline he obtained as an astronaut to life on Earth.
Tell the truth, always, especially if you hate that sweater you got for Christmas.
Charming science fiction story.
An interesting and strange graphic novel that follows a girl who had a strange relationship with her father who loved the book Ulysses.
84) The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Alison Bechdel
I felt dirty reading this, but I have to give it to Neil and say that he is an entertaining writer.
Refer back periodically for daily snippets of wisdom
The classic red book has practical examples with entertaining software related anecdotes.
Good overall philosophy for reminding one to be mindfull of their surroundings and experience.
Why is the interesting subject of data science always combined with the uninteresting subject of sports?
While an entertaining read on one of my musical heroes, a bit of a fluff piece as well
Letters-to-the-editor style book where Dan Areily answers various relationship and socially based questions.
Typical Dilbert humor with a slight update on the technology.
This will turn you into a narcissist and a pessimist.
I’ve been familiar with the story of Rip Van Winkle since I was child, but this is the first time I’ve read the book.
Politicians are more corrupt than you could possibly imagine.
96) Sappho by Sappho
Poetry from one of the oldest known poets that is still relevant.
Excellent character development and heart wrenching scenes.
The purpose of the book is ambitious and I just wasn’t crazy with how it was written.
Alan Watts philosophy tends to be somewhat too new age themed for me, but this was toned down enough to enjoy it.
While this book is a crucial influence for dystopian themed science fiction, I enjoy the work that has been inspired from this more than the work itself.