Just some stuff I read and I what I think.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow: hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. An amazing expose and broad summary of all the ways we humans “fail” at seemingly basic logic. Kahneman’s lucid style and depth of knowledge & intuition on our psyche is both astounding and terrifying. If you read this prepare to have considerably less faith in your own decision making abilities.
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon: A fantastic read - can’t recommend highly enough. I found it interesting on many fronts. Brad Stone digs into the early days of Amazon and paints a thougrough portrait of Jeff Bezo’s astounding tenacity and unshakeable leadership style. Once I read it, everything Amazon does each day makes perfect sense - the company has a few simple axioms it relentlessly follows, and most all of its succcess flows from there. Reading this book is enough to get you to your eTrade account and bet long on Amazon.
- The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company: skip this book and read The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon instead - much of what’s in this book is a redundant (and less complete) version. It attempts to be a succint distillation of the cult of Bezos, but I’d really recommend getting the full story from Brad Stone instead.
- Ready Player One: A Novel: a fascinating dystopic look at virtual reality in a future version of our world. I found the book to have a lot of prescient views on topics that those in the tech community find really exciting today: cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, the increasingly powerful role of internet service providers, net neutrality, and income inequality. Overall, an entertaining and thought provoking read.
- The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: “On Robustness and Fragility” (Incerto): uncertainty in large, complex systems is never something we should have a lot of confidence (or Taleb argues, any confidence) about. I didn’t really care for the author’s narcisistic, parenthetical writing style but obviously there’s a few excellent nuggets about how we’re often wrong about where complex systems tend to break because we’re not able to model them well enough. I think the book could have been about 1/10th the length and been just as effective.
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future: competition destroys margins (reason why PayPal merged with Elon Musk’s X.com), monopolies (the non-crony, dynamically evolving type) are powerful forces for technological and innovative progress, monopolies lie about how dominating they are and commodity businesses lie about how monopolistic they are, small founding teams are exceedingly good for starting with niche markets and expanding (while corporate CEOs with little equity and high pay only want quarterly returns), find a secret no one else knows about or wants to mention (people secrets or technological secrets - example of the former is AirBnB, example of the latter is SpaceX), managing people by having each person responsible for just one thing, early employees should be culturally homogenus.