Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

James Clear

Read: May 25, 2021 • Rating: 9/10

Life changing!

Had a great impact in reframing my mindset towards cultivating good habits. Have also been using the Habits app by James clear. I've been using this to cultivate one good habit. I've been coding one hour consistently and maintaining a good streak all thanks to this app, and the philosophy of atomic habits.

The Three-Body Problem

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

Read: March 14, 2023 • Rating: 8/10

Unique spin on the contact with aliens theme with a compelling reveal. It's also nice variety to have the backdrop of the Chinese cultural revolution - an uncharacteristic and unique setting for a typical sci-fi novel.

Amazing blend of Chinese history, mythology, hard sci-Fi and well crayoned characters.

"Where could Liu Cixin have possibly come up with all of these ideas and concepts? No wonder everyone says this is wildly imaginative. Even a single one of the ideas in here would have sufficed for a book of its own, but to put them all together into a single cohesive epic tale is absolutely jaw-dropping."

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Eric Jorgenson

Read: December 13, 2022 • Rating: 8/10

I went into the book expecting another iteration of self-help or life advice books, but ended up really liking it. The author organizes all of Naval's online advice into a nice structure around achieving happiness and financial freedom in life.

One of those books which I occasionally re-read.

"Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable."

I liked how he puts in his priorities: Priorities: Naval's number one priority is his physical health. Second, it's mental health. Third, it's spiritual health. Then, it's his family's health. Then, it's his family's wellbeing. Then, it's the rest of the world.

On The Shortness of Life

On The Shortness of Life


Read: November 5, 2022 • Rating: 8/10

Seneca has one message here which is quite simple: life is short, but we make it much shorter by spending time on things that are unimportant.

Seneca contends that the pursuit of philosophy is the finest example of a time well spent. He advises us to read philosophy and ponder upon its great principles, and that, he believes will greatly enrich us.



Yuval Noah Harari

Read: March 29, 2021 • Rating: 8/10

A creative non-traditional history book about humanity that explores how stories have our species.

The core concept is that religions, businesses, language and much more are all shared myths. This lens casts a more high-clarity perspective on the world.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

Read: Jan 9, 2021 • Rating: 8/10

The definitive handbook on being a genuine, likeable, influential, and positive-sum person with many practical tips and anecdotes.

It would be great if everyone operated with this philosophy.

This book is the conceptual opposite of The 48 Laws of Power.

Steal Like An Artist

Steal Like An Artist

Austin Kleon

Read: February 14, 2024 • Rating: 7/10

A short and highly readable book about how to hone your craft as an artist. Similar to "How to Do Good Work" by Paul Graham, but with more targeted advice and a more creative format.

No key takeaways, but did shape my thinking around 'great artists copy, bad artists steal'.

Disciplined Entrepreneurship

Disciplined Entrepreneurship

Bill Aulet

Read: December 22, 2023 • Rating: 7/10

A rigorous first-principled approach to starting businesses that will give you confidence that you're working on something with J-curve potential.

Goes over selecting and evaluating a market, understanding customer needs and decision making, designing a business model, validating key assumptions, and developing a product plan.

The concepts are simple, but many founders skip some of these steps and suffer because of it.

Moonwalking with Einstein

Moonwalking with Einstein

Joshua Foer

Read: June 19, 2021 • Rating: 7/10

About how to hack your memory, and the world of memory competitions.

You learn the strategy that all professional memory competitors use to memorize long lists, called "the memory palace." The method uses a hack in how your brain prioritizes spatial information and is surprisingly effective.

I've been placing items in my mind-palace, to increase my recall. However, memory is not just about recall, it's about recognition too.

There are three kinds of memory: recognition, recall and recollection. Recall is the one that is most ‘prized’ – particularly by the Tony Buzan’s of the world. Being able to recall pi to 300 decimal places might seem a remarkable thing to some minds. Recall is hard, and is often the only type of memory we bother ‘testing’ – but really, it is hard because it isn’t something that we humans actually need all that often.

We are infinitely better at recognition. We may not remember names, but by god we remember faces and what those faces have meant to us. Names are a recall task – faces a recognition task. There is a lovely experiment where people are shown a thousand photographs and asked to remember as many as they can. Generally, people are only able to remember about 2% - our recall is a very weak type of memory. But if you add another thousand photos and show them to the people again and ask which photos they have seen before then you get about 98% right, our recognition ability is almost infallible.. The point being, that if you want to remember something then you need to link it to your recognition memory, and not rely on your recall memory. The memory palaces and techniques described in this book rely on this fact and virtually this fact alone.

Give and Take

Give and Take

Adam Grant

Read: 2019 • Rating: 7/10

Grant lays out three styles of building interpersonal relationships: givers, takers, and matchers.

He goes over how each strategy plays out, and tries to figure out what the optimal style is over different time horizons (I won't spoil the conclusion).

akers, the kind of people who say that it's dog-eat-dog out there and that's why they're justified in screwing over everyone dumb enough to get screwed over, tend to do okay too. But here's the weird part, the people who do even better than that are also givers.

Refactoring UI

Refactoring UI

Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger

Read: February 28, 2024 • Rating: 5/10

A guide to UI design, written by the creators of Tailwind CSS. I was hoping for insight on the first-principles of great web design along with more tactical tips.

I've been using this as a basis to design various responsive sites.

Love how the book starts.

"Start with a feature, not a layout"

That's the title of the first section of the first chapter of this book. The authors explain that design is different from aesthetics. When you're developing a product like an app or a website, the most important thing is that it's functional. Decide what UI elements you need to satisfy that functionality first, then build your product around it. Google's home page contains little more than a single search box, but it's one of the most popular websites on the Internet.

Start With Why

Start With Why

Simon Sinek

Read: July 28, 2023 • Rating: 5/10

The core concept of this book is important, but it could've been better explained in a 5 page blog post than in this 300 page book.

The idea that you should start with the "why" of your business before doing anything else is valuable. Unfortunately, the book spends hundreds of pages explaining to you why "starting with why" is the correct approach with the same examples.

The Courage To Be Disliked

The Courage To Be Disliked

Fumitake Koga & Ichiro Kishim

Read: Feb 4, 2023 • Rating: 5/10

A highly readable philosophy book about the beliefs and psychology of Alfred Adler, a lesser known rival and equal to Freud and Jung. Told in the format of a young skeptical student debating with a wise old philosopher in Japan, which was a very creative and digestable way to teach philosophy.

The philosophy has some novel ideas, but it plays too much in extremes (like saying that "all problems are interpersonal relationship problems" or "true freedom is the ability to be disliked", which both offer nuggets of wisdom, but lack nuance).

The student-teacher dialogue could also use improvement. The student should have been directing his questions at debunking the teacher's arguments, but instead he just rejects every statement the teacher says. Most of the ideas are covered better in other books.


It's a bit radical and counter-intuitive to think that 'trauma' doesn't exist. I was not able to wrap my head around this concept for a while. It only dawned on me after the third read. There are some hard truths, and difficult concepts to grasp.

Teleology: The study of the purpose of the given phenomenon, rather than it's cause.

The past events does not define our present or future. People are not driven by past causes, but move toward goals that they themselves set.

Ever wonder what makes you angry?

The first thing that pops in my mind is, people get angry because of others or any external triggers, but in reality, people fabricate anger such that they can make the other person to submit. Anger is a means to achieve a goal. Anger is a tool that can be taken out as needed. This book teaches that there are better tools of communication than anger.

Do you feel inferior to others? Inferiority Complex is just an excuse, e.g., I'm not well educated, so, I cannot succeed in any job. If one is stuck in inferiority complex, they want to use their misfortune to their advantage and develop Superiority complex, boasting their achievements and misfortunes. Where as, a feeling of inferiority is healthy and can be used as a launch pad to achieve their goals. e.g., I'm not well educated, I need to work hard and improve.

In an argument, the other person hurling personal insults at you? If so, then that person is challenging to a power struggle, meaning, he wants to win an argument at any cost, even though the fault is on his side. Keep in mind that, if you won the argument, the dispute doesn't end there, the other person goes to revenge stage. Remember that admitting fault is not defeat. To prevent an interpersonal relationship from reaching revenge stage, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems. Problems are inevitable and cannot avoid them. But, you can bravely face them by adjusting your behaviour. There are two objectives for this behaviour: i) To be self-reliant ii) To live in harmony with society The objectives for psychology that supports these behaviours are: i) The consciousness that I have the ability. ii) The consciousness that People are my comrades.



David Epstein

Read: July 3, 2021 • Rating: 2/10

I was excited at the concept of a book about generalists and why being a generalist is useful. Was expecting some insight on how to be a generalist effectively and some of the potential downsides.

This also continues from the line of thought provided by the book, 'Fuzzies and Techies' that cross-disciplinary pollination is useful for delivering unique ideas.

By specialising too early, we suffer from premature optimisation. The greatest of them link multiple fields, and don't optimise too early. MLK linked racism, capitalism, and militarism, Noam Chomsky linked language, power structure analysis, foreign affairs, journalism, economics.