My Library

Welcome to my online library, a curation of all the books that I have read or am reading. It also contains my anti-library of books that I have bought but not yet read. These serve as a visual reminder of what I don’t yet know. You can read more about the anti-library concept below.

According to Farnam Street’s Shane Parrish, practical worldly wisdom naturally falls into six buckets: numeracy, human nature, history, natural science, business and second-level thinking. I’ve categorised my library and anti-library into these buckets. I’ve ordered my books within these categories based intuitively on the extent to which they have influenced me. Please enjoy exploring my library and anti-library, and feel free to make some purchases via the Amazon Affiliate links.

Numeracy

The ability to understand and think in numbers and properly quantify. This would include a basic understanding of statistics and its limitations, of probability thinking and its limitations, and basic numerical and quantitative thinking applied to the real world.”

Taleb N. N. (2007) Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Amazon UK, US)

Taleb N. N. (2010) The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Amazon UK, US)

Bernstein P. L. (1998) Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (Amazon UK, US)

Human nature

The ability to understand the true nature of the people around you, and of yourself, with heavy consideration given to human psychology.”

Kahneman D. (2012) Thinking Fast & Slow (Amazon UK, US)

Klein G. (2004) The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work (Amazon UK, US)

Cialdini R. (2007) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Amazon UK, US)

Tetlock P. (2016) Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (Amazon UKUS)

Storr A. (1997) Solitude (Amazon UK, US)

Carnegie D. (originally published 1936) How to Win Friends & Influence People (Amazon UKUS)

Berger J. G. (2013) Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World (Amazon UKUS)

Berger J. G. (2016) Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders (Amazon UKUS)

Whitmore J. (first published 2009) Coaching for Performance (Amazon UKUS)

Gallway T. (1974) The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (Amazon UKUS)

Syed M. (2016) Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains & the Secrets of High Performance (Amazon UKUS)

Bungay-Stanier M. (2016) The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever (Amazon UKUS)

Dweck D. (2017) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Amazon UKUS)

Stulberg S. (2017) Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success (Amazon UKUS)

Waitzkin J. (2008) The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (Amazon UKUS)

Frankl V. (first published 1962) Man’s Search for Meaning (Amazon UKUS)

Johnson S. (2011) Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships (Amazon UK, US – not available)

Heller R. & Levine A. (2012) Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love (Amazon UK, US)

Headlee C. (2017) We Need To Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Amazon UK, US)

Berger W. (2016) A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (Amazon UK, US)

History

“The knowledge of what’s come before you in the world.”

Harari Y. N. (2015) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Amazon UK, US)

Graeber D. (2014) Debt : The First 5000 Years (Amazon UK, US)

Mukherjee S. (2011) The Emperor of All Maladies: A Brief Biography of Cancer (Amazon UK, US)

Goldstein A. (2018) Janesville: An American Story (Amazon UKUS)

Natural Science

“An understanding of the physical world around us.”

Waldrop M. M. (1993) Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order & Chaos (Amazon UK, US)

Quammen D. (2007) The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin & the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Amazon UK, US)

Business

“An understanding of commerce and finance, concepts we must all regularly deal with unless we plan to live in a monastery.”

Maister D. (2001) The Trusted Advisor (Amazon UK, US)

Grove A. (1995) High Output Management (Amazon UKUS)

Grove A. (1996) Only The Paranoid Survive (Amazon UK, US)

Rumelt R. (2011) Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference & why it matters (Amazon UK, US)

Ries E. (2011) The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses (Amazon UK, US)

Thiel T. (2014) Zero to One: Notes on Startup, or How to Build The Future (Amazon UK, US)

Gailbraith J. K. (1994) A Short History of Financial Euphoria (Amazon UKUS)

Dalio R. (2017) Principles: Life & Work (Amazon UKUS)

Knight P. (2018) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Amazon UKUS)

Thorp E. O. (2017) A Man for All Markets (Amazon UKUS)

Ogilvy D. (2007) Ogilvy on Advertising (Amazon UK, US)

Denning S. (2018) The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done (Amazon UK, US)

Horowitz B. (2014) The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (Amazon UK, US)

Palmer K. & Blake D. (2018) The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete & Succeed (Amazon UK, US)

Martin R. L. (2009) The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking (Amazon UK, US)

Second-level thinking

The ability to think beyond the ‘first step’ and think through consequences. And then what?”

For more on second level thinking, you might like my post Howard Marks on second level thinking & being a contrarian.

Coram R. (2004) Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Amazon UKUS)

Bevelin P. (2007) Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger (Amazon UK, US)

Marks H. (2007) The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor (Amazon UK, US)

Heath C. & Heath D. (2013) Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Amazon UK, US)

Anti-Library

A good library should be filled with unread books. Why? Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. He describes our relationship between books and knowledge through reference to the Italian writer Umberto Eco (1932-2016):

Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have. How many of these books have you read?” and the others—a very small minority—who get the point is that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendages but a research tool. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means … allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

Taleb adds:

We tend to treat our knowledge as personal property to be protected and defended. It is an ornament that allows us to rise in the pecking order. So this tendency to offend Eco’s library sensibility by focusing on the known is a human bias that extends to our mental operations. People don’t walk around with anti-résumés telling you what they have not studied or experienced (it’s the job of their competitors to do that), but it would be nice if they did. Just as we need to stand library logic on its head, we will work on standing knowledge itself on its head.

Numeracy

Rosling H. (2019) Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think (Amazon UK, US)

Whelan C. (2013) Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data (Amazon UK, US)

Smith G. (2016) Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, & Other Ways to Lie with Statistics (Amazon UK, US)

Human nature

Schulz K. (2010) Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (Amazon UK, US)

Berne E. (1964) Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships (Amazon UK, US)

History

Gertner J. (2013) The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Amazon UK, US)

Natural Science

Hawking S. (2011) A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes (Amazon UK, US)

Business

Christensen C. (originally published 1997) The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Amazon UK, US)

Second-level thinking

Gawande A. (2011) The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (Amazon UK, US)

Sull D. & Eisenhardt K (2016) Simple Rules: How to Succeed in a Complex World (Amazon UK, US)