Bookshelf: Book Summaries and Reviews

I owe my life to books. Knowledge, like any long-term investment, compounds at a rate that bores you at first, then astounds you in a few years.

Our ancestors have toiled through the muddled fog of ignorance, painstakingly recording each spark of truth so that its glow may not be extinguished, using this accumulated wisdom to illuminate humanity’s climb to prosperity.

Locked in this bookshelf are myriad superpowers, including the ability to eliminate suffering, strengthen moral character, achieve economic success, nurture fulfilling relationships, and actualize your true potential. I read because I wish to inherit this endowment.

Books I wrote

Books I read: Summaries and Reviews

This is a collection of my personal notes, summaries, reviews, and selected quotes from each book. I created this page because I often get asked for book recommendations, and I can direct people here for more details. I hope it also helps you discover other books you may be interested in that you may not have heard of before.

Books are listed in random order. Recommendations are not endorsements, I do not necessarily agree with books I recommend.


Q: Why don’t you rate books?

A: It’s difficult to rate all books on a single scale out of 5 stars or 10 points. Rating books presumes the book can be reduced to a one-dimensional metric that makes it globally comparable to all other books, which doesn’t really make sense.

How do you compare a book that is 10/10 in writing style but 5/10 in real-world usefulness to a book that is 5/10 in writing style but 10/10 in real-world usefulness? They would both presumably get an overall 7/10 rating, but that doesn’t mean they are of similar quality.

If you care more about reading pleasure then the first book is better, but if you care more about utility then the second book is better. This nuance can’t be captured in a one-dimensional rating scale.

Q: Why are the books ordered randomly?

A: I couldn’t think of an obvious one-dimensional scale that reflects the natural order of the books (see my answer to the previous question).

Alphabetical is not a natural ordering because titles (or authors’ names) starting with A don’t necessarily deserve more attention than those starting with Z. Further, titles (or names) that are proximate in the alphabet aren’t necessarily proximate in subject matter. Date (read or published) has the same problems, just substitute recent for A and old for Z or vice-versa.

Dewey Decimal is also not a natural ordering because it presumes a book can be shoehorned into a single subtopic when it may in fact cover a vast landscape of topics.

Therefore, lacking an obvious ordering, a random order is at least honest about its constituents being non-proximate and fair in distributing attention.

Q: Why did you read/recommend X?

A: Reading or recommending a book is not an endorsement of that book. I do not necessarily agree with the books I read or recommend.

Click on the title of a book to read my review. If the title is not blue, it means I am still working on uploading my notes for that book. Get notified of new reviews.

Prior Art

This bookshelf was inspired by: