A collection of reading lists, newsletters and podcasts that I enjoy
My most recommended books (top 5):
My favorite books on history/humanity:
My favorite blogs/newsletters:
My favorite podcasts:
- Good to Great by Jim Collins. I read this book in 2013 and it was my introduction into the world of business books. I've been hooked ever since. If you are new to the genre, pick it up.
- The Everything Store by Brad Stone. the history of Amazon. An incredible tale of the drive and pursuit of excellent of Amazon and particularly Jeff Bezos. I think its underappreciated how Jeff Bezo's long term thinking (everyday is Day 1) is such a competitive advantage.
- The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. History of Ben's startups and lessons for entrepreneurs. Great handbook to understand the pain (and hopefully one day the happiness) of starting a business. Here's a short excerpt of my favorite chapter - "The Struggle"
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. History/culture book that will change how you look at humanity. My takeaway that I remind myself of as often as possible - All human institutions are made up: countries, money, everything. Our faith in these institutions is what separates us from other animals. We are the only species who can believe in imaginary things.
- The Amazon Way by John Rossman. John goes over the 14 leadership principles at Amazon and how they applied them as they scaled Amazon.
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. History of Theranos (that now almost bankrupt company). One of the most frustrating reading experiences, as you wonder how Elizabeth Holmes was able to con/trick/deceive so many people for so many years.
- The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Peter Elkind. A corporate collapse not unlike Theranos but with a very different spirit. This was all accounting and legal theatrics to prop up quarterly market reports. Incredible to see the power of accounting gimmicks to prop up a company's value to $66 billion company for so long.
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Phil Knight's personal accounting of the founding and growth of Nike.
- Smart People Should Build Things by Andrew Yang - I read this book in my last few weeks as a lawyer and it made my decision to leave law and join a tech startup that much more obvious.
- High Output Management by Andy Grove. A seminal book on how to think about managing and organizational structures.
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. The history of Zappos and their incredible decision 6 years into the company to truly make it all about the customer and move the headquarters to Las Vegas. When Amazon bought Zappos it was a match made in heaven from a values and customer obsession point of view.
- The Snowball: Warrant Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder - a lengthy tome on the life of Warren Buffet that provides peak behind the curtain of the greatest investor of all time. His powerful frugality and wonder at the value of a dollar shape every decision he makes. Will make you remove items from your Amazon checkout basket to save a dollar.
- Built from Scratch by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. As an Atlanta boy this one holds a special place in my heart as its the founding of Home Depot which is headquartered there. Written by the founders it preaches customer obsession and getting executives onto the front lines and talking to customers (essentially the antithesis to the Enron model).
My favorite books on history/humanity:
- Lessons from History by Will and Ariel Durant. Most powerful themes of human history summarized in 150 pages by the greatest modern historians.
- Debt the First 5,000 Years by David Graeber. A history of debt and its intertwining with marraige, friendship, religion, war and government. I read this and shortly after read this article and got into the Bitcoin bandwagon in 2014.
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. I've gotten excited about living forever after reading this. Now just cheering for science.
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely - a generally hilarious look at human's being predictably dumb. Incredible important concepts to understand if you are building a product and selling it to people (particularly the concepts around loss aversion - people would be dismayed if they crashed their new $20,000 car on the first day but are much less disappointed if $20,000 deal doesn't materialize).
- Black Swan by Nassim Taleb - a pessimistic look at humanity's ignorance and incapability to understand low-probability, high-impact events and why predicting things is dumb. I prefer this book to other Taleb's other books of a similar vein (Antifragile, Skin in the Game).
- Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. My first dance with the history of finance. As a historical book probably better than Graeber's but less societal implications.
My favorite blogs/newsletters:
- Waitbutwhy - Tim Urban dives deep into a myriad of topics from artificial intelligence to understanding religion. Some posts are 30,000+ words but are as addictive as they are educational.
- 25iq - personal blog of Tren Griffin who is an author and well-respected business man his site has great blog posts on lessons he takes from other business leaders and some really good book recommendations.
- Andrew Chen - blog and weekly newsletter on all things tech/startup/growth. Now a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, he's one of the best thinkers on growing businesses.
- StrictlyVC - daily newsletter on new fundings for startups and new funds for venture capitalist plus general news. Amazing way to stay on top of who's doing what in startup land.
- Circle of Competence - weekly newsletter on all things investing. Designed to help you increase your "circle of competence" with new topics.
- ProductHunt - the bible of product discovery their daily newsletter has some of the best new products that have just launched.
- Peter Zeihan Website - Peter Zeihan provides some of the best insights into geopolitcs. Worth checking out his book as well (Accidental Superpower is my favorite).
- Quartz Daily Brief - morning newsletter on news around the world (my morning in bed reading).
My favorite podcasts:
- How I Built This - NPR's Guy Raz interviews founders of companies about their company history both tech (think Lyft/Stripe) but also other industries (Clif Bar, Sam Adams, Southwest Airlines). Get a taste with the first Episode with Spanx founder Sarah Blakely.
- Invest like the Best - investor Patrick O'Shaughnessy talks to other investors and business people on a variety of investing topics. Check out his interview with VC Josh Wolfe (episode 76).
- a16z - podcasts on all things tech and company building with some of the smartest people in the industry and some entrepreneurs. Start with the May 2018 episode on Network Effects, Origin Stories, and the Evolution of Tech.
- Acquired - a podcast on tech acquisitions and IPOs. Reviews historical acquisitions and recent IPOs - really good insight into the strategy behind these acquisitions/IPOs as well as the history of the companies. Check out Season 3 Episode 1 on Tesla.
- Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - 3 to 6 hour episodes that go deep on a historical topic (often over many parts). Just listen to them all - they are so good.
- The Pomp Podcast - interviews primarily focused on business, investing and crypto. Pretty punchy 1-hour slots that are generally high quality.
- Masters of Scale - investor and entrepreneur Reid Hoffman offers lessons on scaling a business. The first season is very compelling.
- The Investors Podcast - Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen are investors and big Buffet/Munger fanboys and fans of investing. They often discuss business books they've read, interview other investors, and generally debate and discuss business matters. Recent episode on "Learning from Jeff Bezos" is a good place to start.
- Tim Ferriss Show - one of the most popular podcasts of all time. Tim has some great guests and its fun to hear their histories, stories, and lessons. Great place to go for inspiration or personal improvement.
- The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish - a podcast that tries to understand how the world really works and help people live a better life. Some great guests that have good advice, book recommendations, and a slew of other things.
- RadioLab Presents: More Perfect - fun takes on historical Supreme Court decisions. For a taste check out Season 1- "The Political Thicket".
- Pod Save America - political podcast with a few former Obama staffers. If you like American politics and think Trump is the dumbest man alive, this is can be somewhat cathartic to listen to.
- Opening Arguments - podcast all about the Supreme Court - decisions, nominations, and everything else.
- Shutdown Fullcast - this is the dumbest podcast I know. It is tangentially about college football. In order to appreciate this you must really love college football and then you must hate yourself enough to waste an hour a week to listen to it. Its my favorite podcast of all time.