Fun Friday: What I'm Reading Now

Two weeks ago, we used Fun Friday to talk about movies to see. It was fun. And I got a list of movies to watch that will last me months and months.

In the same vein, we are going to talk about books today. Not the best books of all time (maybe we'll do that some friday), but what we are reading right now.

I'll start with my list:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami – This is the english translation of the Japanese original. It's a surreal story of a man's search for his cat and then his wife. I've been working on this book since the thanksgiving holiday. I hope to finish it soon. I've never read any Murakami and I've been told this is his best work. I'm enjoying it very much.

Super Sad True Love Story – Gary Shteyngart – My friend Nick Bilton told me to put this on my Kindle. It's up next after Wind-Up Bird. It's a "dystopian vision of the near future." I love reading about the future. This is going to be my kind of book.

Feeding Eden – Susan Weissman – My partner Andy's wife Susan has written a book that is available for pre-order and will come out in a couple months. The Gotham Gal has the gally. She read it over the last couple days and blogged about it yesterday. Now it's on my reading list.

Boomerang – Michael Lewis – My father in law and my brother in law both recommended this book to me recently. I like Michael's books and this is a topic – the failures of the weaker european economies – that I'm quite interested in.

I hope to get through all of these books over the next two weeks which I'll be spending on our family's annual year end vacation. If I get through all of them, I'll just reach into this comment thread for the next purchase on my Kindle.

OK, your turn now folks. Please drop links into your comments if you can find the time to do that.

#Books

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Looking Backward – Edward Bellamy.

    1. fredwilson

      if it is possible, please drop a link into the comment for easy viewing, buying, downloadingthanks!

      1. jason wright

        Paperback.¬†Reading Looking Backward…on a Kindle? Life imitates art.It would have made Bellamy’s day.

      2. mikenolan99

        We should set up an Amazon referral account (Squido?) so purchases support a charity of your choice…

  2. William Mougayar

    Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis & Venture Deals by Brad Feld. http://www.buzzmachine.com/http://www.amazon.com/Ventu…I’ve heard about Boomerang & will check it out.Slightly related, what do you think of book reading social recommendation networks? As if that category on its own didn’t take off, as I can’t remember the name of one although I’ve registered on a couple. Or does Amazon dominate this field because of the strength of their recommendation engine? It seems that your recommendations came from your physical network via word of mouth.

    1. fredwilson

      if kindle was more open, it would be a social networkdo you read fiction william?

      1. William Mougayar

        True about the Kindle. We discussed that on a previous AVC thread.I don’t typically read fiction, but I guess should. Any fiction 101 recommendations?

        1. fredwilson

          i try to read 50/50 fiction/non-fictionfiction inspires menon-fiction educates me

          1. William Mougayar

            That’s a good ratio. True that fiction helps the imagination which is an area I’ve typically had some surplus of ūüôā

          2. Mark Essel

            Nonfiction inspires and educates. Reading fiction leaves me wanting, and motivates me to create instead of reading. I have the same response to walking around the MET on a gorgeous day, my poor wife only gets an hour at best before I skip outside into nature.Nothing beats a blank piece of paper and a pen or an empty editor for kicking the tires of my imagination. Of course neither of those can capture the cinematic action sequences that drift in the back of my mind based on games played a life time ago.

          3. ShanaC

            You may end up taking that back after Shteyngart. ¬†That is a true parody of the times we live in, down to the protests in the street, the “onion jeans” and the use of mobile phones.I thought that book as an education as much as fun reading

          4. Jim Eiden

            I try to do the same. ¬†When the Pirates of the¬†Caribbean movies came out, I read several Non-Fiction books about Pirates including Under The Black flag which is an excellent book about what Pirates were really like. (Like why did Pirates wear earrings?).Another great Non-Fiction book was The Pirate Hunter which is a factual account of Captain Kidd. the book tries to prove (and does a very good job) that Kidd was framed as a Pirate.The Pirate Hunter : The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard ZacksWhen the Da Vinci Code came out, I actually read some non-fiction books about the History of the Templars. ¬†I also read a great book about King Richard (The Lionheart) and his battles during the Crusades.During a major battle between The Crusaders & Saladin’s forces, King Richard was knocked of his horse by the enemy. ¬†upon seeing this,¬†Saladin¬†stops the battle, brings out a horse for King Richard (his enemy). Gives his enemy a horse, then resume the battle after King Richard mounts the new horse. ¬†Can you imagine that? ¬†And it really happened.Truly amazing.The Third Crusade 1191: Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and the battle for Jerusalem (Campaign)¬†by David Nicolle

        2. Dan Epstein

          Roald Dahl short stories are a good way to “dip a toe” into fiction. Not a major time investment, very enjoyable. You may know his kid stuff (Charlie Chocolate Factory, the Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox), but his other work is great as well. ¬†Wholeheartedly recommended.Here’s a best of collection:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Best-…I think this is all:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Colle…

        3. Dave Pinsen

          You seem to like VC reads, so why not read some Neal Stephenson? Fred’s recommended Snow Crash, which is worth reading, but my favorite book by him is Cryptonomicon.¬†

          1. awaldstein

            Read them both.Required reading as he was on our board for Electric Communities, one of the earliest virtual communities way back.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Interesting. Stephenson goes back as far as you do with online communities. BTW, here’s Newt Gingrich talking about Neal Stephenson in Second Life: http://www.youtube.com/watc…Maybe he’ll be the next USV partner. ūüôā

          3. andyidsinga

            I L*O*V*E*D cryptonomicon … you just reminded me to buy it on my kindle.+10k likes.( EDIT: If JLM hasn’t read it already – he should ūüôā )

          4. William Mougayar

            I will get it during the holidays. Thanks!

      2. Brad

        Kindle lets you loan books…they could utilize that for socialization. The most innovative thing I have seen Amazon do is the app that gives you 5% off of anything you scan in a retail store. Talk about stepping it up against the brick and mortars and changing the game. http://alwaysupward.com/blo

  3. laurie kalmanson

    great list. i love dystopian science fiction and old soviet dissident fiction; shteyngart combines both. it read to me like neuromancer+moscow2042queued up for winterbreak here, all printMistress Orkiu: Stories from a Tokyo Teahouse”Formerly involved in the pleasure trades of Tokyo, Mistress Oriku leaves that life behind to run an elegant teahouse on the city’s outskirts”http://www.amazon.com/Mistr…The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration”the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.”http://www.amazon.com/Warmt…Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten http://www.amazon.com/Show-

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Your Japanese recommendation reminds me of this recent Lunch w/ the FT Interview by David Pilling, in which he interviews an American who is apparently the preeminent scholar of Japanese literature: “Lunch with the FT: Donald Keene”. That’s the kind of piece that makes me look forward to the FT on Saturdays.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        that is awesome. a friend lived there for a while; also recommended the tale of genji. it took a long time to get through, but there were days i felt like i was living inside it.i think the thing oldschool newspapers and editors offered — the sense of delight, surprise, wonder on stumbling across something outside your knowledge — is what “me” media doesn’t have. i already know what i already know; i didn’t know until i met someone who knew something else that i would be interested in what they know, too.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          That’s a excellent point, Laurie.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        also: the diamond age

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Yes, a great book. And one of USV’s portfolio cos (Shapeways) is slightly reminiscent of it.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            so awesome.

  4. Sergio Soage

    Murakami is a great choice, a while ago a finished his latest trilogy (1q84) but i was quite dissapointed with it. I am now reading In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson and it’s a very good book.(http://www.amazon.com/Garde….¬†

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Ah, that reminds me. I read The Fall of Berlin, 1945 by Antony Beevor this summer. If you are into WWII history, Beevor is great, but I’d recommend his Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege instead.¬†

    2. andyidsinga

      I really liked “In the Garden Of Beasts…” …excellent, fascinating story.I was glued to it!

  5. Mark Essel

    My newest additions are how to be the luckiest man alive and lean startup.Of course my backlog grows with time and I’m planning on having plenty of reading time over the holiday break (mine starts the 23rd).Most of my reading is dominated by tech docs, I’ll compile a list for those interested and update this comment with links.

  6. JimHirshfield

    Steve Jobs bioLean Startup by Reisin queue…Searching for the Sound by Phil LeahA Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton (Edgar award winner)

    1. William Mougayar

      Lean startup too for me on Kindle.

    2. JimHirshfield

      Correction – Phil Lesh

    3. Shawn Cohen

      Have you read Ash Maurya’s Running Lean (http://www.runningleanhq.co… I haven’t read Reis yet but plan to.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks for the tip; I hadn’t heard of Running Lean.

  7. Tim Huntley

    TheRational Optimist by Matt Ridley: ¬†The gist is that “trade” has enabled humans to specialize which has led to greater-and-greater prosperity. ¬†I have been reading a number of “the world is falling apart” books over the past view years, and this is a nice counterbalance….Tim

  8. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Opening up my Kindle app on desktop and looking at the books I’ve read this year…Two books that should be read together are the (short, Kindle single-type) books by the Marginal Revolution authors. “The Great Stagnation” by Tyler Cowen reprises with tons of data but in easy-to-read form the Thiel thesis, which is something that even if you disagree with it you should be familiar with and let yourself be challenged by. “Launching the Innovation Renaissance” by Alex Tabarrok is the response: what can we do to get out of the Great Stagnation? It’s a short read full of great ideas on patents, prizes and other stuff. I don’t think the ideas in the book are quite up to the challenge but they’d be a great start.¬†Great Stagnation: http://www.amazon.com/Great…Innovation Renaissance: http://www.amazon.com/Launc…Another must-read book by Tyler Cowen is “Create Your Own Economy”. The book’s title doesn’t do it justice, nor do I think any review can, because it tackles a bunch of really esoteric but wonderful ideas. One of the (many) important ideas in the book is the idea of “cognitive profiles” and “neurodiversity”–the different ways in which we assimilate and process the worlds around us, and what impact the internet has on our cognitive profiles and culture. A must-read for you Fred I think.http://www.amazon.com/Creat…A book I thoroughly enjoyed was “Triumph of the City” by Ed Glaeser. One of the megatrends of the 21st century is urbanization. For a New Yorker and an investor like you Fred, I think you should read it. (More than “SoLoMo” (ugh…), this is really the trend Foursquare rides) The power of the city and why it’s important, and why it’s an engine of innovation, and why the internet, far from making all of us to work remotely from the countryside instead encourages living in dense spaces and why that’s a great thing.http://www.amazon.com/Trium…A book I’m partway through is “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.” It’s another megatrend I believe, it’s investable (maybe not for you Fred…though e.g. Palantir benefits from it), and it’s one that benefits from a more nuanced view than apocalyptic seizures, because I believe it can have positive effects.¬†http://www.amazon.com/Corpo…I also loved “Why the West Rules–For Now”, which takes in basically 50,000 years of human history to explain its trajectory. Don’t agree with all of it, but very very very smart.http://www.amazon.com/Why-W…¬†And last but not least, “Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky” by Sarah Lacy. I read it several times. Quick read, and the most enthusiasm-inducing read I’ve had all year. It’s just wonderful to read the stories of so many entrepreneurs in so many parts of the world building amazing businesses. More than any policy tract, it’s the best response to the Thiel/Cowen “great stagnation” thesis.http://www.amazon.com/Brill…DO NOT RECOMMEND: “One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com” As you know I idolize Bezos, and this is just a bad book. Anyone who’s already familiar with the man and the company won’t learn anything. But, worse, it’s poorly-written, poorly-researched and confuses a heck of a lot of things. I bought it on the heels of the Isaacson bio, which has many faults but at least is a smart, thoughtful effort at understanding one of the most complex persons of our generation. This is anything but.(No link.)(Heh, guess I don’t read much fiction. The fiction I read this year was rereading “Starship Troopers”. Great book. )

    1. fredwilson

      I will dl sarahs book on my kindleSounds great

    2. Harry DeMott

      Triumph of the City is a good read. Ed is a friend of mine from high school and college Рand so whenever I see people discussing his books all I can think about is getting together over holidays in the city Рhitting the bars  Рgenerally being kids. To think of him now as a distinguished Harvard professor and author is funny.

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        That’s awesome. I’ve read quite a bit from him and watched a few interviews, he seems like a swell guy.

      2. aweissman

        he went to high school with us? ¬†ūüėČ

        1. Harry DeMott

          Collegiate class of 84. For whatever reason, by senior year I ended up hanging out with a bunch of collegiate guys (still good friends with almost all of them). ed was one of the first and he went to Princeton with me and my wife – in fact, it was because his first girlfriend at Princeton that I met my wife. She was roommates with Ed’s girlfriend and ended up coming down to my room for a party on my 18th birthday. So I always have that association with Ed. Perhaps too much information!

    3. Dave Pinsen

      Speaking of mid-20th Century Sci-Fi, I read something interesting someone shared on Twitter this week: When they were kids, both Newt Gingrich and Paul Krugman were big fans of Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series. 

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        What nerdy kid wasn’t?

  9. awaldstein

    Plan on writing more about a consumers approach to natural wine so need to educate myself some more: ¬†“Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking” ( http://amzn.to/oxPVFn )Considering this approach to health: “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself ( http://amzn.to/tz9GuI )Poems of Wiliiam Carlos Williams. They keep popping up in my head so time to revisit.

    1. William Mougayar

      Wine, food & romance.You live the good life Arnold with the right priorities ūüôā

      1. Rohan

        hahaha

    2. CliffElam

      So a few year ago I’m in a wine store in Burlingame (CA) and the guy says: this is a sustainable wine from the Tuscan region of Italy. ¬†So I says to him: how long they been making wine there anyway?Bada-bing.Having said that, organic wine seems more gentle to me when I have a glass too many.-XC

      1. awaldstein

        Terminology is confusing but yes…organic in the vineyard, no additives in the cave and the least or no sulfur makes for an easier drink in the body,Doesn’t mean it will be great of course, but it can be. And regardless, it always speaks more to what the vineyard itself expresses more than the winemaker.¬†I visited one of my natural wine heroes in Friuli, outside of Trieste in October. You might like this post:¬†A visit with Fulvio Bressan, 9th generation Friulian winemaker http://awe.sm/5bwS2

        1. CliffElam

          Well, it certainly tells you where the winemaker wants to be in the market. ¬†I have a friend whose company brews “German Purity Law organic” beer ¬† He says it is impossible to tell a good microbrew using appropriate ingredients from what he sells now. ¬†But he’s experienced a 5% increase in cost and a 12% increase in margin, so it’s a no brainer.I pulled the link open in a new tab to read after taking the kids to school. ¬†Thanks!-XC

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks….enjoy the post.¬†My wine writing is mostly about natural wines and just incredible places like Arbois in France, Etna in Siciliy, Galicia in Spain where they’ve never made wine any other way, for generations.And since many are generational vineyards, the newest generations are all net natives and starting to change how these artisanal vineyards connect across the globe to people like you and I.

          2. William Mougayar

            Arnold – you should write a book about that.You just penned the book’s back jacket teaser.

  10. Dave W Baldwin

    Off subject, but saw this headline today: ‘BATMAN’ star roughed up in bid to visit Chinese blind activist…Have to admire someone doing something without going for self promotion.

  11. Dave W Baldwin

    Have to give plug for my friend’s book:¬† Amazon.com: Cold Lonely Courage (9780982582374): Soren Paul …Soren Paul Petrek is a gifted story teller and is getting thumbs up for the book.¬† Read his actual first book that will be published in the near future and know of the third.The lead character in Cold Lonely Courage is a gal in France during WWII…. worth checking out!

  12. D.B.

    Reading¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wik….¬†Vargas Llosa for those who like latin-american writers.

  13. andrewparker

    I made a strong effort over the past year to read more.¬† It’s been wonderful, and I’ll push even harder next year.Since I wasn’t much of a reader in the past, I caught up on lots of great books from the past 15 years.¬† The best ones were:* Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (Also read and enjoyed his other hit Never Let Me Go this year, but it was SO depressing)* Freedom – Jonathan Franzen (i’m in a minority of people that liked it better than The Corrections)

  14. CliffElam

    Tuchman’s Bible and Sword. Typical dense and delightful Tuchman from the peak of her powers.D.H. Lawrence discovery: The Boy in the Bush. ¬†Written after a trip to Oz in the late 1880’s. ¬†Reads like Lawrence imitating Hemingway imitating Still Life with Woodpecker, which is really temporally wrong, but it is what it is.And some Manga that my kids pushed on me which I don’t understand but it involves robots, impossibly shaped doe eyed girls, and a lot of action.-XC

    1. leigh

      my daughter made me watch episodes of naruto. still not really getting it ūüôā

  15. Rob Ganjon

    I’m finishing up the Hunger Games trilogy. First series I’ve read with my son. It’s been fun. Next up is Jobs biography.

  16. FlavioGomes

    Bill Bryson a short history of nearly everything – I’m making up for some youthful indescretions. Brilliant read..second time through.

    1. Tom Labus

      I love that book.

    2. leigh

      My hubbie loves Bryson – i haven’t read any yet — Peter also liked Pecked to death by ducks which he says is bryson like (and seriously great title)

      1. Ciaran

        Notes from a small island was, I think, Bryson’s first, and is probably still his best.

    3. Ro Gupta

      His latest — At Home: A Short History of Private Life¬†http://www.amazon.com/At-Ho… was fascinating too.¬†Lots in there about the history of invention, origins of certain products and technologies used for home life .. even names and figures of speech that you would’ve never guessed.Just got a hard copy for my father-in-law for Xmas.¬†@fredwilson:disqus¬†and¬†@danielha:disqus¬†¬†you might like this one too.

    4. Rohan

      Brilliant book indeed!!

  17. Dave Pinsen

    The book I’m reading now (slowly) is William Gibson’s¬† Spook Country. I read his classic Neuromancer last year, which was way ahead of its time (written about the Internet on a typewriter) in 1984.I also read his more recent novel, Pattern Recognition, a few years ago. I saw Spook Country on the clearance rack in B&N a few weeks ago and picked it up. Spook Country was written in 2007 but the tech seems a little dated already. Wouldn’t recommend it at this point. A few books I read this year that I would recommend (will add links if multiple links won’t send this comment to the spam file):¬†– Scoop: Evelyn Waugh’s classic. Brilliant and funny. If you haven’t read it, pick it up. – Waugh in Abyssinia: Non fiction. What Scoop is based on. – A Handful of Dust: Also by Waugh. – 2001: A Space Odyssey: Arthur C. Clarke’s classic. I’d seen the movie dozens of times (one of my favorites), but finally read the book. Quick, entertaining read. Fills in the blanks. – Rendezvous with Rama: Also by Clarke. Excellent, also an entertaining read. I think there may be a movie version soon. – Soon I will Be Invincible: Great debut novel by Austin Grossman, who was, until this book caught fire, pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Berkeley at the same time he was designing video games. Not sure if he’s still doing that stuff now. – Bonfire of the Vanities: Tom Wolfe’s classic from the ’80s. I first read it in the early ’90s and re-read it this year. Still great, couldn’t put it down the second time either.I probably read or re-read a few other books this year, but those are the ones that come to mind now.

    1. awaldstein

      Great list Dave.As I’ve said before, you are truly one of the most well read and most adept writers I’ve met in a long time.The breadth of your reading blows me away.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Thanks, Arnold. You are well read and an adept writer yourself.Between the Internet and reading the paper, I don’t read as many books as I used to, and what I do read tends to be shorter. I should probably start taking weekends off of the Internet again and reading books then.A couple of bonus recommendations, btw:¬†– Area Code 212: Since you mentioned William Carlos Williams, here’s a book of poetry by the contemporary poet Frederic Seidel.¬†— American Gods: Not sure if I read this this year or last year, but this was great. Gaiman is also a power user of Twitter, with over a million followers, and HBO is turning this novel into a series.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks…I want to get back to reading more poetry so I’ll check it out.WCW is a fave of mine because my Dad grew up in Patterson and turned me on to him really early. Strangely the beat poets also as he taught with Allen Ginsberg’s father.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            A few of WCW’s poems appeared in anthology I read in high school.Re Patterson and the Beats, if memory serves, that’s where the action in On the Road starts.Last year, I ended up in Patterson trying to cut around some traffic on I-80. I made a wrong turn or two and ended up on a street aimed right at Garrett Mountain. Some beautiful architecture, from its Silk City days, and a spectacular setting. You should think about buying some real estate there. It’s close enough to NYC that a wave of gentrification could hit it eventually.

          2. awaldstein

            Thanks for bringing Kerouac into my morning. Maybe I’ll put Desolation Angels on my to read again list.¬†Funny re: silk city. My father’s family (whole village actually) immigrated from Poland to Patterson to work in the silk mills.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Ian Astbury, the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, The Cult, is a big Beat fan. He’s quoted Kerouac in some of their songs.

          4. awaldstein

            Cool, I’ll check out the band.My poetry studies went deep and obscure and ended up focusing on The Black Mountain College art movement. Intersection of art and architecture, music and dance.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            That does sound deep and obscure — will have to check it out.

          6. leigh

            My older brother gave me my first poetry book and got me hooked — Rimbaud ….. but I’m a huge fan of Canadian poetry — Dorthey Livesay, Margaret Atwood (her poetry is MUCH better then her books), Leonard Cohn of course, and Michael ondaatie (love all of his books too)¬†

          7. Dave Pinsen

            You’re really rooting for the home team in this thread. :). Had to read Atwood’s Surfacing in college. Also saw the movie version of her Handmaid’s Tale. Neither lived up to the Atwood hype, IMO.

          8. awaldstein

            The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is my favorite of Ondaatje. Was turned on to him when I was in grad school at UBC.Rimbaud. An obsession from another phase of my life.

        2. Ciaran

          Great choice of Gaiman. There are certain authors I follow, in the way I used to follow bands, in that whenever they release something new, I snap it up.They are:George RR MartinBernard CornwellRobert HarrisNeil Gaiman

          1. Jim Eiden

            Just saw your comment. I too am a huge Cornwell fan.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Funny you make the band comparison. Earlier this year, my girlfriend got tickets to see Gaiman at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan — I’d been to book signings/readings on occasion at bookstores, but never saw an author get literally thousands of readers/fans to show up to an auditorium ust to hear him be interviewed. He has built an amazing following.¬†

        3. leigh

          little cancon for my American friends :)honestly other then Maya Angelou or Alice walker don’t really know many modern us poets. love some recos though…..

    2. Tom Labus

      His control of the English language never fails to amaze me. Gibson.

    3. fredwilson

      I love these choices dave. If I could follow you on kindle, I would instantly

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Don’t have a Kindle. I read a few of Andy Swan’s recommendations on a Nook last year, but prefer reading actual books to the Nook. Haven’t tried the Kindle though.¬†

          1. Dave Pinsen

            First I’ve heard of it. Saw Helprin at the top of your page. Read his Memoirs from an Ant-Proof Case back in the ’90s. Liked his contrasting of English to Brazilian Portuguese.

          2. Sheldon Thomas

            I love Goodreads…Quick, someone start and AVC group there! ūüôā

      2. Kevin Pillow

        Do I hear a startup idea!

    4. Kevin Pillow

      Bonfire of the Vanities is being purchased right now! Awesome suggestion that I always hear about but always forget to buy.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Great novel. Interestingly, WRT the fiction/non-fiction dichotomy discussed here, I think it was Wolfe’s first novel, after a long career of writing non-fiction. His subsequent novels (A Man in Full and I am Charlotte Simmons) were good too, but Bonfire nails New York, and life has imitated art with some of its themes (e.g., “The Great White Defendant”) in the years since.

      2. monsur

        +1 to Bonfire. Amazing book. But whatever you do, do not watch the awful, awful movie!

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Agreed about the movie. They didn’t have the courage to play the book straight, so they tried to turn it into a farce. You can get away with being more politically incorrect in a book than a movie, which is, in its own way, a sad commentary.¬†

        2. jason wright

          Too late ūüôĀ

    5. Kevin Pillow

      An amazing book that displays the wonder of pattern recognition is Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior by A.J. Frost and Robert Prechter Jr. It gave me an inspiring perspective on why human behavior is actually very repetitive over time. *It also discusses Fibonacci.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Prechter and Elliott Wave are occasional topics on Tim Knight’s Slope of Hope blog, where I am an occasional commenter and guest poster.¬†

        1. Kevin Pillow

          Do you ever go on FT Alphaville? I love that blog.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            On occasion, sure. But I spend more time reading the FT’s print edition.

    6. ShanaC

      I need to put clark on my list, and bonfires of the¬†vanities, and gibson. ¬†I think there are too many good books out there…and I don’t know when I will get a chance to read them all.That thought actually makes me sad. ¬†Literature, such a great thing.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I think the new pic is better. 

        1. ShanaC

          Thank you!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            By the way, re Clarke: there’s a video clip of him on YouTube wearing a t-shirt that says, “I invented the commercial satellite and all I got was this t-shirt”. Brilliant man, who had a sense of humor as well.¬†

    7. Ciaran

      I really wanted to like Bonfire but always found it slightly over-egged, and a little clunky. Maybe I should revisit.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Maybe it doesn’t translate as well outside the US, but it is arguably the Great American Novel (or one of them, anyway).¬†

        1. Ciaran

          I just thought it was cartoonish and obvious. Now Underworld by DeLillo, that’s a great American novel – anyone who can make baseball sound interesting is a genius

        2. Ciaran

          Or,I’d add, Lincoln or Burr by Gore Vidal. Amazing

        3. RichardF

          I think you are probably right about it not translating so well outside the US Dave, I enjoyed it but wouldn’t put it in the same class as something as The Fountainhead.But that’s what’s so great about subjectivity.¬† Have you ever read anything by Tom Sharpe? it’s like Waugh on acid.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Haven’t read Sharpe, but maybe I should look into his stuff.

    8. jmorf

      Great list Dave, thanks for sharing.

    9. jason wright

      “Tito is in his early twenties. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer.”Reads like a game of word association – Gibson may have lost the juice.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Tito isn’t a convincing character so far.The other thing that’s a little jarring about the book is the tech set-up required to view what’s essentially augmented reality. This was published in 2007, and Gibson’s got characters wearing a helmet in proximity to a laptop with some geo location device — it sounds like the sort of thing an iPhone could do with the right app and you looking through the video camera view.

    10. andyidsinga

      Scoop looks interesting – thanks ūüôā

      1. Dave Pinsen

        NP. FYI, the website The Daily Beast gets its name from one of the fictional daily papers in Scoop. 

  18. Joe Yevoli

    I always recommend this book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (http://www.amazon.com/Theod…It’s very well written, and it’s completely amazing that a man like this existed. ¬†How TR accomplished as much as he did is incredible.It’s about his life all the way up to the moment he became president. ¬†It’s incredibly inspiring, and I highly recommend it.

  19. RichardF

    Currently reading The Lean Start up – Eric Ries andHeartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5), by CJ Sansom¬†http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hea…It’s the 5th in a series of historical novels about a lawyer who solves crime set during Henry VIII’s reign. ¬†Think Agatha Christie in the 16th century. Great, easy reading books that are evocative of that period.

    1. Rohan

      How is the lean start up, Richard?Hearing so much about it!

      1. RichardF

        only just started it Rohan.¬† I was wondering if it would just be a duplication of the four steps but it seems not.I’ll let you know when I’ve read it.

        1. Rohan

          That would be great! Thanks Richard! ūüôā¬†

  20. Tom Labus

    I mix non fiction and fiction, usually more on the fiction side.Non Fiction:Keynes and Hayek. Clash that defines modern economics.http://www.amazon.com/Keyne…¬†This debate is going strong today and shows no sign of letting up. ¬†Of course, our politicians and Fox make things up to suit themselves. ¬†Fiction:Daniel Silva’s Portrait of a Spy. ¬†His series of modern spy craft and his on going characters provide great insight to this world.Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart. ¬†Richard I and the Third Crusade. ¬†Incredible historical insight of the politics and diplomacy surrounding the West desire to regain Jerusalem. ¬†His allies were more of a burden than the Turks.

  21. LIAD

    I’ve got a few books on the go right now:1. Explaining it Better by Clara Fie¬†2. I’m Gods Gift to Women by P. Rick3. Guide To Mixology by Bart Ender¬†4. Without Warning by Oliver Sudden5. What’s Your Invention? by Pat Tent¬†Trial 6. Law by Tess Temoni¬†¬†– oh come on! stop groaning. It’s meant to be Fun Friday!

    1. fredwilson

      what was it about Bart’s mixology book that piqued your interest?

  22. Harry DeMott

    Movie for Dogs – Lois DuncanA gripping tale of one girls dream of winning a big prize by making a film of her first novelDragonquest – Anne McCaffereyBook 2 in the Dragonriders of Pern seriesWeapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor GattoA Screen on public education in AmericaBoomerang – Michael LewisCrisis in EuropeGame of Thrones – George MartinHave to get through this before season 2 comes out

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Lewis’s The Big Short was an entertaining read. But you can usually save time and just read his Vanity Fair articles on which he bases his books.

    2. ShanaC

      I grew up on Anne McCaffery.  She just died recently.  Her earlier stuff is way better than the later stuff

  23. leigh

    south of broad mr pettigrews last standanything by tim winton but especially breathape house was greatalways read as many giller prize nominated books (Canadian authors) especially liked late nights on air and half blood bluesanything by paul auster but fav is mr vertigo

  24. JamesHRH

    Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahnemanhttp://www.amazon.com/Think…No fiction on the go, at the moment (working on a list for the Holidays).

  25. David Clarke

    Just finished ‘The Singapore Grip’ by J.G. Farrell:http://www.amazon.com/Singa…Incredibly funny novel and very insightful about the end of the British empire in the East during ww2. And you’ll *never* guess what the ‘Singapore grip’ actually is…It is incredible that you can’t readily share or even export kindle reading lists. I guess Bezos has a reason for that somewhere in that giant alien brain of his, but it’s hard for us mortals to discern.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      This one sounds interesting. 

    2. Dale Allyn

      I don’t enjoy much fiction, but this sounds like something I might enjoy. Thanks for sharing.¬†

  26. Conrad Ross Schulman

    1: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Power…2:¬†Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Thirt…3: The State Boys Rebellion:¬†http://www.amazon.com/State…

    1. Jay

      I am also reading “Powerbroker.” ¬†It is just such a well researched book. ¬†

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        I’m all about the well-researched book topics that offer valuable insight into history and society :))I’d much rather read that than read a fictional book (just me though…)

    2. fredwilson

      i have power broker on my “to read” list

  27. tomwatson

    Grab a copy Kindle copy of Rich People Things – fantastic read, challenging a lot of what’s taken for¬†conventional¬†wisdom over the last decade and half in economics, politics and culture. Some if it will piss you off, lots of it will make you laugh and shake your head.http://www.orbooks.com/cata

  28. Nathan Guo

    Huge Murakami fan. I liked his most recent book, 1Q84 quite a bit as well.Just read:Jason Lehrer – Proust was a Neuroscientist

  29. The Heasman

    Just finished reading Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton¬†http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/r…. Collection of short sci-fi stories by the author. By far the best is “Trees will grow” which is a mystery novel set in modern day alternate universe where the roman empire never fell.¬†

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Roma Eterna, by Robert Silverberg covers similar ground as that last one. 

  30. BillMcNeely

    I am currently reading Top Secret America by the Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin. http://projects.washingtonp…¬†The book outlines the expansion of of the US Goverment’s use of technology to collect information on¬†citizen and foe alike and how that information is classified in order to keep it from the public at large.The writers identify the¬†lack of accountability, overlap and waste of the programs that were designed to stop the next 9/11.¬†

  31. TarikB

    As I Lay Dying by Faulkner:¬†http://www.amazon.com/As-La…Essays by Montaigne:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Miche…The Beast Within, by Zola:¬†http://www.amazon.com/Beast…

    1. ShanaC

      Great list, how is Zola?

      1. TarikB

        Good – in part examines the the constancy of human nature in the face of rapid technological advance (in this case, the railroads though one could draw parallels with our own day). That sells it very short though, you’ll have to pick it up!

        1. ShanaC

          thanks

  32. Nikhil Thomas

    Long-time reader, first time commenter. I’m currently working on getting through The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene. It’s a fascinating book on modern theories in Physics, what they mean, and how we got to this point as well as what the future could hold.

  33. leeschneider

    How are people keeping a queue of what’s on their reading list?My move is to download the sample to my Kindle. ¬†All samples end up being my queue, and when I start a book, I delete the sample.The downside to this is that the sample queue is growing a lot faster than the samples are coming off the list.

    1. Julia Wilson

      I like to use the app Goodreads on my phone, i can just add the books to my “to-read” list. Then you can change them to “currently reading” or “read” later on. Its a useful list, I use it a lot at the bookstore to remember what I want.¬†Also I think our “to-read” list always grows much faster than our “read” list, you’re not alone.

      1. hv23

        +1 for Goodreads, very useful service.

  34. sbmiller5

    Motherless Brooklyn: ¬†Orphan in brooklyn with Tourets works for small-time mobster, mobster is killed sending his life into chaos…My highest¬†recommendation..

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      Also Fortress of Solitude by the same author (Johnathan Lethem). Semi-autobiographical work about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s.

    2. aweissman

      Motherless Brooklyn is probably my favorite book of all time.  

  35. Craig Perler

    Spending 8 hours a week on a train, I end up reading a lot.¬† I’m very excited to dig through the comments here for new recommendations.I recently finished “Under the Dome” by Stephen King (http://amzn.to/s40DQF) – though perhaps the book is a bit too long for the story, and though perhaps this isn’t up to par with King classics, I recommend this novel.¬† The premise is intriguing and the mystery of what’s going to happen next will make it hard to put the book down; however, not everyone will be happy with the ending.Another recent finish was “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Anything” by Joshua Foer (http://amzn.to/rPSZpI).¬† This book recounts Foer’s path to becoming the USA Memory Champion in 2006, informing us how we can use imagery and memory palaces to remember anything.¬† If you’re only interested in the suggested memorization process rather than Foer’s story, I’m sure there’s a short bulleted list somewhere on the web.”We Are All Weird” by Seth Godin (http://amzn.to/rHF13o) – a quick read and one that probably would resonate with anyone who spends time reading comments on AVC.I’m currently reading “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (http://amzn.to/rIAlL5).¬† This book explores a framework for evolving organizational structures, moving mentalities from “life sucks” to “life is great.”¬† In huge contrast to Godin’s book, this has been a very slow read, though partly because there’s a lot to digest.Next on my queue are Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” (http://amzn.to/vKPtZb ) and “Programming Collective Intelligence” by Toby Segaran (http://amzn.to/uvmPkv ).¬† I’ve read “Atlas Shrugged” too many times to have not read Les Miz once, and Segaran’s book caught my eye as a way of easing into the topic of machine learning.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      For Segaran, at Amazon just looked at the TOC and some of the pages.Broadly, the book looks like about 60% applications and 40% some applied math of which 90% is borrowed from classic applied math but done poorly.Maybe the applications are nice.So, warning:¬† While the math is nice stuff, nearly all of it is done so poorly it won’t make much sense.There are many highly polished treatments of the math.Broadly the main prerequisite math topics are linear algebra, probability, multivariate statistics, advanced calculus, and optimization, and each of these can be one or two semesters.E.g., Segaran discusses ‘support vector machines’ (SVM).¬† There is a nice page on this topic at Wikipedia.¬† If know the prerequisite math, then that page is fast and easy reading.¬† But the page does use quadratic programming and the Kuhn-Tucker conditions.¬† I’ve published on the KT conditions (KTC) and have to warn you that it is not a really simple topic!Here’s the simple, intuitive view of the main point of the KTC:¬† You are in a dark cave with an uneven floor and vertical walls and have a weak candle and a marble and are looking for the lowest point in the cave.¬† So, the KTC necessary conditions for the lowest point say:¬† If you put the marble down and it starts to roll, then you are not at the lowest point of the cave.But turning that intuitive statement into math done carefully involves a related topic called ‘constraint qualifications’, a cute classic separation result about cones, and being a bit handy with derivatives of real valued functions of several real variables.¬† Also important is Kuhn-Tucker sufficiency, and that requires being a bit handy with convex sets and convex functions.Quadratic programming is based heavily on convexity and linear programming, especially the simplex algorithm, and understandable presentations of these topics require some care and length.All the prerequisites done carefully take most of an undergraduate major in pure math.For a little more, don’t miss, say,Leo Breiman, Jerome H. Friedman, Richard A. Olshen, Charles J. Stone, ‘Classification and Regression Trees’, ISBN 0-534-98054-6, Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove, California.¬†

  36. Alan Minor

    How far into The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are you? The veteran’s war story is some of the best fiction I’ve ever read.I’m currently reading: The Sunlight Dialogues and Bowling Alone.

  37. Laurent Boncenne

    The Beautiful and Damned (by F. Scott Fitzgerald)and The New Market Wizards (by Jack D. Schwager)I’m afraid I don’t read more than 2 books at a time but next on my reading list are:A random walk down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel,The winner’s cricle by R.J. Shook,and finally: The Economics Of Money, Banking, And Financial Markets by Frederick S. Mishkin…I’m running low on fiction/fantasy books to read but i’m pretty sure i’ll find something worthy here =)

    1. ShanaC

      F Scott Fitzgerald is great. ¬†I think that is one of the few novels I haven’t read by him. ¬†How is this compared to some of his other work?and talk to¬†@daveinhackensack:disqus¬† for the scifi/fantasy

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        Hey Shana, sorry to reply so late!I barely started the Beautiful and Damned so i can’t really tell you how it compares to his other masterpieces, I’ll have to tell you once i’m done =)PS : also, love the new pic =)

        1. ShanaC

          Thank you. Should make me more recognizable.Hmm, I’ve been replying late as well. No worries. I’d love to hear back when you are done.

  38. leigh

    Charlie and the chocolate factory is one of my all time fav books. can wait until my 3 yr old is old enough for me to read it again ….

    1. ShanaC

      what about the phantom tollbooth? ¬†and I don’t think you need an excuse to re-read a really good child’s book.

      1. leigh

        Never even heard of the Phantom Tollbooth.  Will check it out. 

        1. awaldstein

          Great story.All these kids book mentions make me want to reread The Little Prince and my favorite book about a great writer, Charlotte’s Web.¬†

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Some watch ad in the FT’s How To Spend It glossy last weekend had a great photo of Antoine de Saint-Exup√©ry posing in front of his plane, maybe during his air mail days.¬†

        2. ShanaC

          You’ll love it. ¬†It is a about a boy who discovers that learning is a good thing.¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…

      2. karen_e

        Love the pic! You know why because we talked at the Fred party in November!

        1. ShanaC

          heheh, yes, “hair up” vs “hair down”I think it may be a little too pro for a dating profile picture though. Mom is getting concerned about my singleness (I’m mostly fine)

          1. fredwilson

            that’s mom’s job.¬†

          2. ShanaC

            It is a bit more complicated than that, alas. I’m enjoying being single, and I was unhappy with the lifestyle I was growing up. My mother is jealous that I didn’t turn out like the other girls I grew up with, and am not settling down.I’m ok with this for now. Just frustrating. There isn’t much I can say or do to make her happier with who I am.

    2. Jim Eiden

      Have you ever read The Phantom Tollbooth?  A great kids book.  For kids a little older (Like 10 or 11)

  39. schultzmj

    If you have read Michael Lewis various long form Vanity Fair articles on Ireland, Greece, Russia, etc over the last 2 years then you have read Boomerang.  There is a little new commentary wrapped around it but I was disappointed when I realized I had already read 80%+ of the book.

  40. leapy

    I am reading the new translation of Sun Tsu’s “Art of War” by the Denma Translation Group. It’s a fantastic reworking with comprehensive background material. I first read Art of War some thirty years ago and am greatly enjoying this new edition.http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/

  41. Bengt

    Long time follower, first time poster.Think this is a great community and have extracted untold kernels of wisdomfrom not just your posts, but also from the exchanges that accompany them. So,thanks everyone!¬†One of my big passions in life is music. Specifically,classical music. I know, I know, classical music doesn‚Äôt float everyone’s boat.But in the off-chance there are some like-minded people here, I stronglyrecommend Helen Epstein’s “Music Talks: the lives of classicalmusicians.” Helen is an interesting character. Born in Prague in 1947,Helen migrated to New York at an early age where she grew up and studiedjournalism at Columbia. Helen is a long-standing cultural contributor to theNew York Times and is perhaps best known for her book about theinter-generational trauma of Holocaust survivors, “Children of theHolocaust.”¬†Helen wrote “Music Talks” in 1987 and it featuresseveral in-depth interviews with some of the most memorable performers inclassical music of the 20th century. Notable names include the eccentric pianist Vladimir Horowitz,the inimitable conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, and the cello virtuosoYo Yo Ma, among others. But Helen also sheds light on some of the peopleinstrumental in advancing their careers, and this is where, I suppose, youcould draw some parallels to venture capital. Heck, even to your day-to-day life.¬†By way of example, Helen interviews Dorothy Delay. Dorothyis one of my role models, up there with Jobs, Feynman, Savage, and countlessothers. She was born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, in 1917 to a musical household.Dorothy’s father, who was a school superintendent, once told her, ‚ÄúBefore yousay anything censorious about anyone, ask yourself three questions: Is it true?Is it kind? Is it necessary? If the answer to any one of these is even aqualified no, you‚Äôd best be quiet.‚ÄĚ Her life reflects this adage. When she was16, she enrolled at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and after graduating atthe age of 20 she moved to New York and enrolled at the Julliard School.Dorothy supported herself by working as a baby sitter and playing the violin inrestaurants, at weddings and in Broadway theatre orchestras.¬†Dorothy began her teaching career almost as an afterthoughtin 1947 under the direction of Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School. Galamianwas a hugely talented but notoriously despotic French violin teacher. He insistedon maintaining formality and distance as a teacher, sometimes saying no morethan three or four words during an hour-long lesson. Dorothy called all herstudents “sugarplum” and sometimes gave an hour-long lesson withouttheir once touching the violin. During the next twenty years she worked largelyin his shadow until their relationship ruptured in 1970 when Dorothy telephonedGalamian to say that she would teach the following summer at Aspen instead ofat his Meadowmount school. Following the incident, after a 23 year workingrelationship, they never exchanged a word to each other again.¬†Her successes as a teacher are incontestable. Just look atthe roster of students she instructed: Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Sarah Chang,Nigel Kennedy, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Shlomo Mintz, Gil Shaham, andCho-Liang Lin. Currently, at the Juilliard School, the faculty includes 14 ofher former students! Her teaching philosophy was unorthodox. She would tellstudents not to enter competitions because doing so would compromise theirdevelopment as artists. Can we draw a parallel to the start-up world? Cho-LiangLin, one of her former students, said the following of her:¬†“She believes that you should never play your first performanceof a concerto with a major symphony orchestra. Never. It’s suicidal. I neededtwenty or thirty more performances before playing with Berlin.”¬†If I’ve gleaned anything from reading about her life, it’sthat, above all, Dorothy put her students first. It was never about winningthat prestigious competition, or about mastering staid repertoires, completewith the correct set of fingerings and technical flourishes. It was about the student,their personalities, and how music, truly good music, only comes from fosteringself-development. Of the patient kind.¬†And so, when dealing with juniors at work, I sometimeshumour myself by musing whether I am a Galamian or a Delay. Which one are you?

    1. Bengt

      Gosh. Have no idea what happened to the formatting there! My apologies.

      1. Dale Allyn

        When one prepares a post in a text editor and then pastes it into a comment, Disqus adds additional line breaks to paragraphs. Registered Disqus users can edit their posts afterwards and delete the extra returns.¬†It’s a Disqus bug.Oh, and welcome!

    2. ShanaC

      First of All, welcome.Did you read “The Rest Is Noise” (you seem passionate about music).what did you think?

    3. leigh

      if u love music read the piano tuner. it was absolutely lovely.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      One of my favorite books:Ivan Galamian, ‘Principles of Violin Playing & Teaching’, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1962.I started too late, practiced too little, and have too little talent, but Galamian’s book did a lot to let me get through, mostly in time and in tune, the D major section and somewhat more of the Bach Chaconne, the Prelude to Bach’s E major Partita, and parts of some other such pieces — Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Massenet.¬† Sometimes picked out some Wagner motifs, some arias, etc.Playing that music is fun beyond belief!Didn’t know that Galamian was difficult to work with, but, of course, I never met him.¬† I got started when I was a math grad student at IU and a student of Gingold put his violin under my chin.¬†

    5. Rohan

      Welcome Bengt ūüôā

  42. mikenolan99

    Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting – William Goldman.http://www.amazon.com/Adven…Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, Misery, and the Princess Bride…Goldman is a Hollywood legend, and this book tells the story of what goes on behind the lens.¬† One whole chapter on how nobody knows anything.¬† One studio executive claims that in ~1983 he could have green lighted all the projects he turned down, and scrapped all his produced movies, and made about the same amount of money.A GREAT read…

  43. mikenolan99

    And… (Am I allowed two posts?)I just taught an MBA Leadership class using Bill George’s (Medrontic’s CEO) True North Series.¬† The students really enjoyed the introspection of the workbook.His Co-Author of his new True North Groups, Doug Baker, came by the class to work with the students.¬† Fantastic experience.http://www.amazon.com/True-

    1. leigh

      my fav MBA type strategy book is strategy safari by henry mitzberg. save yourself the 2 yrs in tuition and just read that is my philosophy ūüôā

  44. jmcaddell

    Fred, if you can get through “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” I’d strongly recommend Murakami’s short story collection “The Elephant Vanishes.” He is a master of the cool-weird, unsettling story, and the short pieces are not as big of a time commitment (I’m wading through “1Q84” right now). The first thing I read of his was “Barn Burning” from this collection, which was in the New Yorker almost 20 years ago. I still remember the story vividly.regards, John

    1. terrycojones

      Barn Burning is a Murakami nod to Faulkner, who wrote a wonderful short story with the same title. In the Japanese version of Barn Burning, the narrator is reading Faulkner’s short stories ūüôā ¬†(In the English version however, the narrator is just reading “magazines”, so the literary insider joke is lost, though the title is a giveaway to any Faulkner fan). See e.g.,¬†http://www.semo.edu/cfs/tea…

      1. jmcaddell

        Very interesting…. I never had gotten into Faulkner much. May have to read that story now, however. I wonder why the English translation didn’t maintain that reference??

    2. Farooq Javed

      Speaking of short stories by great writers:¬†¬†http://www.newyorker.com/ar…I stumbled on to this in The New Yorker on a beautiful winter day waiting in an airport lounge in Boston in 2005. I didn’t even catch the author’s name since the first word just grabs you and almost against your will pushes you to the end of the story. I almost felt breathless when I finished. I couldn’t believe that anyone human could write something like that. And I thought to myself that the author would become one of the greatest writers that ever lived. And then I saw the author: Vladimir Nabokov. It was the most memorable reading experience I’ve ever had.¬†

    3. fredwilson

      thanks John

  45. Jeff T.

    I’m going to a little different here… and recommend this link to 100 great articles that The Atlantic magazine has collected.¬† I find that these are great for travel when you have 10-20min to get your read on.http://www.theatlantic.com/…but, for books, I’m currently reading The Quest, big book about oil and energy, very informative.¬† And I turn to a chapter of Boomerang when I need some levity.On my list is the Executive Hobo, by Bo Keeley.¬†¬† http://www.amazon.com/Execu

    1. Jim Eiden

      Have you ever read The Prize by Daniel Yergin?  A Pulitzer prize winning book about the History of the Oil Industry with some fantastic stories.

  46. Jon Winebrenner

    I am currently reading “A Feast for Crows”…part of GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones series. ¬†I am completely infatuated with the scale, and depth of character this series brings. ¬†It is overwrought at times, but still an unbelievably deep, rich story.¬†Next on the night stand is Steve Jobs autobiography and Eric Ries’ new book, “The Lean Startup”Just off the nightstand are the first 3 Game of Thrones books and the whole Harry Potter series I read with my daughter.I have to make sure the Harry Potter books get put on this list. ¬†They are NOT just for kids. ¬†They are truly fantastic pieces of literature. ¬†Extremely well developed characters, the books mature with the characters. ¬†A fine detail of the series that was lost upon me until I read them.Last, I can’t post a book review without mentioning “The Road” by Cormack McCarthy. You will either love it, or hate it. ¬†No in between. ¬†This book grabbed my soul. ¬†Tore my heart out and filled me with hope, all at once. ¬†Amazing read.

    1. Harry DeMott

      HP series is great. did read it with the kids.However, if you really want a great read – make sure you go through The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – particularly if you read outloud with the kids.I’d read these books (my all time favorites) probably 20 times before I read them to my daughter out loud – and the richness of the language and the depth in these books is shocking. the movies are great – but they pale compared with the reading out loud of these tomes.

      1. PrasannaKrishnamoorthy

        If you like HP & LoTR, and SF, you will get your mind blown by HP Methods of Rationality. I apologize in advance for destroying a few days of your life :)http://www.fanfiction.net/s…

    2. Karin McKercher

      Couldn’t agree more with The Road. Perhaps the most profound book I’ve read.

  47. Mglafond

    I’m currently reading “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” by Jane McGonigal.¬† She offers an interesting perspective on how games can be used in business.¬†

  48. Kevin Pillow

    The Selfish Gene – Richard DawkinsManufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media – Noam ChomskyCapitalism and Freedom – Milton Friedman * My Sci-Fi Pick is The Illuminatus! Trilogy – Robert Shea and Robert Anton

    1. Guest

      Wow, you’re really running the idealogical gamut! Who (between Chomsky and Friedman) do you think is more relevant today?

      1. Kevin Pillow

        I Laugh because I never thought of it in that light but thank you for pointing that out. IMO they both have a very strong relevance among the political, social and economic environments were experiencing today. I enjoy Friedman more because he clarifies why the roll of government, banking and private industry are so important to support a capitalistic free market economy as well as the negative consequences when those institutions begin to steer away from their rolls. I recently had my “allegory in the cave” moment and have begun to consume every piece of intellectual literature I can get my hands on to benefit me as I continue my studies as a business economist. P.S. – I forgive Ben Bernanke for the secret bailouts, it was a must.

  49. davidcroushore

    I loved “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.”¬† I don’t read much fiction, but that was a phenomenal read.¬†Next up on my list is another attempt to get through Robert Greene’s books.¬† Always interesting.

  50. InternTech

    1Q84 – I liked Wind-Up more – easier to get into, faster pace — but if you like Murakami you’ll enjoy this read.

    1. ShanaC

      Windup was my favorite book in high school. ¬†I see a number of friends have 1Q48 – is it worth it to read? ¬†I’ve read most of murkami (everything barring the memoirs that is available in english), and I found his quality go down in recent books. Is this a boost?

  51. Luke Chamberlin

    I just read Flatland by Edwin Abbott. It was written in 1884 but reads like modern science fiction. Really interesting and presages many fundamental computer science concepts.Also, it’s short and free on the Kindle!http://www.amazon.com/Flatlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wik

  52. Elie Seidman

    Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Few things are more important to entrepreneurship than understanding human behavior. 

    1. Harry DeMott

      Love itand anything by Gary Becker, Caldini, etc.. and those of the chicago school of behavioral economicsAbsolutely the best treatise on human behavior – as it applies to investing – is a speech Charlie Munger gave:http://www.rbcpa.com/Munger

      1. ShanaC

        there is a Chicago school of behavior economics?

      2. Elie Seidman

        Totally agree on Caldini.¬†Have not read this piece by Munger but have read others and he’s, of course, totally brilliant. I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Have printed it out.¬†

  53. andyswan

    Thanks for sharing your choices. ¬†I’m adding them to Kindle now.¬†Books that made me better: ¬†http://andyswan.com/post/14…

    1. Aaron Klein

      On your suggestion, I’m starting 48 Laws of Power. :)And one of my mentors just gave me “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. Looks like a fascinating read on decision theory.http://www.amazon.com/Think

      1. SubstrateUndertow

        “Thinking Fast and Slow”¬†the reviews look greatreminds me of when my bad habits kick in before my brain has time to process ¬†a vetothanks Aaron –¬†thats going to be my next read!

      2. RichardF

        The 48 laws…..I can only hope thats a piss take Aaron.

        1. Aaron Klein

          Not having read it, I can’t share my opinion yet.But I’d venture to bet that you can learn things about strategy from such a book, and still choose to use them for good.

          1. RichardF

            maybe Aaron, if any one can I’m sure you can.

      3. Farooq Javed

        I’ve only read about a fifth of Thinking Fast and Slow, but I can already say that it is one of the best books I have ever read. Beyond the content itself, Kahneman, in describing his friendship and working relationship with Tversky in the touching way that he does, comes across as an incredible person.As for the content: mind blowing. He describes our mind as “the stranger among us” because of its ability to behave in ways you wouldn’t expect (and don’t even know). I can’t recommend this book highly enough.¬†

        1. Aaron Klein

          You’re making me look forward to next weekend and a lot of reading time!

      4. Rohan

        Hmm. You know I found 48 laws very dark.Didn’t work for me. Maybe I should give it another shot.¬†

        1. RichardF

          I’d agree with that Rohan.

  54. andyidsinga

    All Marketers are Liars/tell stories – Seth GodinBlink – Malcolm Gladwell ( been working on this for a while – but its good )The American Claimant – Mark TwainThe Crystal Spheres – short story – David Brin

    1. leigh

      Truth, lies and advertising is worth your while if you are in to marketing books. 

      1. andyidsinga

        thanks – checking it out now – this web thing is amazing!

    2. fredwilson

      at the top of my office bookshelfstock chart from many years ago,¬†@liad:disqus¬†‘s fred rofling photo,¬†@FakeGrimlock:disqus¬†¬†chicken drawing, @sethgodin:disqus books, and ¬†@howardlindzon:disqus¬†¬†AVC avatarhttps://twitter.com/#!/fred…

      1. andyidsinga

        nice – box set – probably inscribed by SG himself ūüėČ

  55. aweissman

    Born Standing Up by Steve Martin is a wonderful read and the best book on¬†entrepreneurship¬†I have ever read.http://www.amazon.com/Born-…Lying Awake by Mark Salzman is an amazing novel that people who have too many and constant dialogues always running through their heads all day will definitely enjoyhttp://www.amazon.com/Lying…

    1. fredwilson

      ok, i’m going to read born standing up. thanks for the tip

  56. ShanaC

    Yay! ¬†I love books.Hmm.I just finished “The Marriage Plot” by Eugenides last week. ¬†I can’t decide if main woman charachter is real. ¬†@gothamgal:disqus¬† is right, she’s missing close female friends. ¬†But, other parts of the story (the¬†multiple¬†guys and how confusing you all are and their needs) seem very true. ¬†Debating whether to put it “The Virgin Suicides” on my list.I’m reading the following, that are non-businessWuthering Heights – I’ve decided this is the best gossipy book ever. ¬†Much better than most soap opera-ish TV.”A People’s History of the United States” – While the lack of citations bother the hell of me, Zinn makes a point for the place and purpose of revisionism.Joan Didon’s “The White Album” – she’s frustrating to read, she sounds both snobby and detached, but the essays are interesting”Midnight’s Children” – I like it, it just is very dense for rushdie, so I only read a little at a time.Copies of the New Yorker.Copies of Vogue.Q? Should I get a kindle? ¬†I tend to read a lot in bathtubs and while commuting. ¬†The bathtub part worries me. ¬†A paperback can survive getting a bit wet, a kindle can’t. ¬†Is there a way to comfortably waterproof the kindle for a bath?¬†

    1. Tom Labus

       Come up with some kind of scuba gear for the Kindle and you have a business.

      1. ShanaC

        lol, Scuba Gear. I was hoping for something more along the lines of a plastic bag.Seriously though – bathtub + kindle, how does anyone here do it

        1. karen_e

          I think among the zillions of Amazon reviews for the Kindle there is a bathtub-reading thread. Good luck.

          1. ShanaC

            So apparently Jeff Bezos uses a one gallon bag to read his kindle in the tub.

    2. andyidsinga

      Yes get a kindle they are great for book lovers – I love my DX.Check out the “kindle bathtub helper” chicken scratch.If you ever build it – tweet me a pic :).(edit: oh – maybe there is a future kickstarter project for a floating kindle bathtub helper? ūüôā )

      1. ShanaC

        that is amazing….so which kindle should I get? (not the fire, not¬†interested)They all have positive reviews

        1. andyidsinga

          My daughter bought the smaller wifi only version last year – she loves it – I loved it too.If I were buying today I would probably buy the 6″ touch, wifi, “without special offers” version. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr…I have a DX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…The DX is great, but smaller and lighter and wifi would be better ūüôā

    3. fredwilson

      i really enjoyed middlesex. not sure i want to read marriage plot. what do you think shana?

      1. ShanaC

        Personal Opinion: Middlesex was far far better. The Marriage Plot was solid, but not as beautiful, and the characters weren’t always as rich and interestingly developed as Middlesex.And I felt I should be more sympathetic, I was once the girl in the story for all intents and purposes. And yet I wasn’t

  57. Dave Kim

    I’ve always been a fan of Vonnegut, Kundera, and Doctorow. I’ve been on a short story kick recently, and I’ve been going between the following books. Definitely worth a look.¬†Kurt Vonnegut- Time Quake (http://amzn.to/uYKNNc)Milan Kundera- Encounters (http://amzn.to/rSboS9)E. L. Doctorow- All The Time in the World: New and Selected Stories (http://amzn.to/vRzr68)

    1. leigh

      unbearable lightness of being changed my life. probably biggest writing influence on my first novel writing try (still uncompleted called lessons in breathing under water)

      1. awaldstein

        And a truly wonderful, no GREAT movie as well.Rewatched recently.

  58. Van Shea Sedita

    In honor of the troops leaving Iraq, I’m prompted to suggest this book:¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Very much political in tone, but an amazing story of survival.

  59. Farhan Lalji

    Currently reading – Breakfast with Socrates (looks at everyday things, like work, the gym, television from a philosophical perspective).Last good reads (really enjoyed Boomerang, which you’ve mentioned) include Switch by Dan and Chip Heath, Portnoys complaint by Philip Roth.Fred, are you on Goodreads or some other reading list that we can follow?

  60. andyidsinga

    Fred / disqus people – i just realized, while reading through the comments that it would be wicked if disqus had a ‘bookmark’ feature so i could bookmark a particular disqus comment to a spot on my disqus dashboard.There are so many awesome comments with books titles want to save away and deal with later :)daaargh i gotta get to work – have to s t o p r e a d i n g a. v. c.

    1. fredwilson

      awesome suggestion!!!!!!!forwarding to the disqus team right now

      1. Moses Nakamura

        while we’re going on disqus suggestions, I would like a better way of seeing the parent post next to the child post than just clicking minimize. ¬†The change in indentation isn’t really that big, so it can be confusing to see how deep in the comment tree you are–I frequently get confused between top level and second level comments when I’m scanning an article with many second level comments. ¬†One possible solution is to have some kind of improvement on “go to parent”, possibly a better minimization strategy that allows clever batch minimization, like “minimize to parent”.

      2. Mc

        If they could scrape (rich but timeconsuming) comment threads like this and alphabetize them with links and author of the comment, that would be golden!

  61. Eliot Pierce

    Ladies & Gentleman, The Bronx is Burning by Jonathan Mahler — I just finished this book and loved it. It is the story of NYC in the summer of 1977 and includes profiles of the Yankees, (Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin), The Son of Sam, The Blackout, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo and Bella Abzug — masterfully told, and totally unrelated to anything that I usually think about. I read this thinking that 2011 NYC might turn into 1977 NYC with rampant crime, available real estate etc… and I realized just far NYC has come… A quick great read that I missed a few years ago when it came out.

    1. fredwilson

      read it a while back. loved it. my brother lives in bushwick. 30 years can bring a lot of change to a neighborhood!

  62. Abby Chao

    I’m currently reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, which is a fantastic collection of stories from David Foster Wallace:¬†http://www.goodreads.com/bo…I’m also listening to the audiobook of The White Tiger, which was recommended by Mark Suster a while ago:¬†http://www.bothsidesoftheta…Both are great! I also saw you say you wish you could follow people on the Kindle. Following on GoodReads is pretty darn close!

  63. leigh

    Tried Roth.¬† Can’t get past page 50 in any of his books.¬†

  64. whitneymcn

    I finally finished REAMDE, and it prodded me to get a geeky couple of weeks queued up on my kindle for commuting:- Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)- I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World (James Geary)- Just a Geek (Wil Wheaton)At home I’m working my way through physical copies of two biographies: Steve Jobs and Roald Dahl

  65. kirklove

    Open City:¬†http://amzn.to/sgWureAbout a man who takes a walk on the New York City streets to process his thoughts. I can relate. Think you would, too.”…Teju Cole’s Open City nudges us out of our complacency and opens our eyes to everyday life, the life that passes us by while we rush around. This book makes us pause, look around, think of the people past and present who have viewed these same city streets…”

    1. fredwilson

      instant add

  66. monsur

    Just finished Ken Jenning’s Maphead on the train today. Before that it was REAMDE. Loved them both. Starting on Gleick’s The Information today.But the one book I’ve read recently that I keep recommending to people is¬†The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Its got science for the nerds, and then tugs at your heart with the social aspect.

  67. jmcaddell

    Reading right now:¬†“What to Ask the Person in the Mirror” (leadership book),¬†http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr…”The Big Short,” Michael Lewis (terrifying recent history),¬†http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr…”1Q84,” Murakami,¬†http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr…Next up: “Screw Business As Usual,” Richard Branson (the Virgin guy),¬†http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr…I usually also read one classic Russian novel per winter. Last 2 years, “War & Peace” (possibly the greatest book on complexity and leadership ever written) and “Brothers Karamazov” (passionate, amazing) – any suggestions for something for this winter, including a recommended translator? thanks!

    1. Karin McKercher

      I loved Dostoyevsky’s The Devils, but I don’t remember who did the translation. Sorry.

      1. jmcaddell

        Thanks… I’m thinking maybe Anna Karenina.

  68. Jim

    Typical day on Fred’s blog and perusing the comments: downloaded Goodreads app; put 6 referred books on the iPad, all in sample mode to use as a reminder (good tip)…always diverse and interesting here. Boomerang and the big short are outstanding, West on West about the life of Jerry West is a very good read too.

    1. fredwilson

      this thread is awesome and your comment explains exactly why

  69. kidmercury

    NDAA has passed the house and senate — now goes to the president. think obama will veto? lol, if you believe that i have some beachfront property in kansas i want to sell you. further evidence that president soetoro is no different than his predecessor, and that the conspiracists, as annoying as they are, are obnoxious because the information they share is vital to a more prosperous society for all. ignorance is futile, only the truth can set us free. ¬†currently reading:endgame by john maudlin. i’m about half way done. good, but not great. a book about the global economy. a good explanation, although i disagree with parts of it which is why i think it’s good but not great. i read a lot about this subject and if you do too then i think this is worth a read. ¬†red alert by stephen leeb. i’m only in the beginning of this one, but shaping up to be great — wish i had read it sooner. about the coming boom in commodities. i finally realized this is how i’m going to get rich — investing in resource stocks. filled with bad news, so this is not for people who like to ignore bad news.¬†

    1. kidmercury

      oh i’m also reading the power of pull by john hagel. 77% done. a great read, although i have to take hagel a bit slowly because it is dense. but hagel is one of my favorites, up there with clayton christensen as an author i must read and re-read.¬†

    2. Dave Pinsen

      It’s interesting that he’ll veto the Keystone pipeline but not the NDAA. Also interesting (and unsurprising) that John McCain is a big proponent of the NDAA (at the same time he engages in a flame war with Putin. He must not get the irony).¬†I used to read Mauldin’s weekly emails, but how many times can you read that the world is going to hell in a hand basket (with charts)?

  70. Nsolomon

    Pretty deep in to Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE. ¬†Mash-up ¬†Chinese hackers, Russian mobsters, terrorist jihadists, multi-player game development and off-the-grid survivalists (kind of.) ¬†I am not sure if you can categorize Stpehenson as sci-fun, cyber-punk or alternate fiction. ¬†You can definitely call it awesome.If this sounds enticing highly recommend starting with Cryptonomicon. ¬†hhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wi…

  71. Jonathan Whistman

    @fredwilson:disqus¬†I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time and I read a random blog on another site, my first thought was…Fred would love this (I know presumptuous since I haven’t met you). ¬†I have no connection or interest in this guy’s post but found it flat out funny and had to share:¬†http://yongfook.com/post/14…Happy Holiday.

    1. fredwilson

      he’s right that the pendulum is swinging too far in the direction of design and away from utility. but i think you need both to win these days

  72. Geekette

    I suggest:A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toolehttp://www.amazon.com/Confe…Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe¬† http://www.amazon.com/Thing…Read both when I was a kid and now about to read them again

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Went to a mostly black high school for a couple of years, where Things Fall Apart was assigned in English class. A good read. Couldn’t get into A Confederacy of Dunces, despite the great reviews.

  73. theschnaz

    I finished A People’s History of the US, by Howard Zinn, recently. I’m now reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stepheson.

    1. ShanaC

      what did you think of People’s History, I’m in the middle of that

      1. theschnaz

        Really good. I like the levelheaded view the author takes. It reminds me of reading news from non-US sources like The Economist, BBC, or Al Jazeera. I thought the beginning of the book was challenging as there are so many excerpts from other sources. The 2nd half of the book is great, everything after the 20th century was really interesting.Spoiler alert, Bush wins the election!

  74. jmorf

    Thanks for the great recommendations everyone.¬†I have a feeling I’m going to keep coming back to this post to top up by reading list for some time.An off the cuff 5 that come to mind as great books (both fiction and non):”The Silver Pigs” by Lindsey Davis (Fiction)If you like going back in time as well forward, the picture Davis paints of a private eye in ancient Rome is wonderful, reasonably historically accurate, and just downright fun.http://amzn.to/tPxwBo“A Short History of Progress” by Ronald Wright (Non)Ronald Wright’s take on the ‘progress’ of humanity is a¬†fascinating¬†read on how technology, while it has given us many things, has throughout history allowed us to magnify our mistakes.A few holes, but they are more than balanced by the rest of the workNot to be confused with the Bill Bryson book of a similar name.¬†http://amzn.to/tSBi3Y”The Elusive Quest for Growth” by William Easterly (non)The former World Bank economist still writes like an¬†economist, but the ideas and discussion are meaningful and constructive in a troubled industry (International Development) suffering from a stagnation of ideas and political machinations.http://amzn.to/ue6lpn“The Prize” by Daniel Yergin (non)Daniel Yergin’s hulking masterpiece is a history of oil, business, and politics. A¬†fascinating¬†look at the history of oil and its impact and the kind of book you will have no choice but to come away from with a wide swath of new knowledge. Should be a must read for any student of politics, history, or business.http://amzn.to/rP7WbJ“My Name is Red” by Orphan Pamuk (fiction)A wonderful murder mystery set in¬†Istanbul and coloured with Orphan Pamuk’s delightful writing. I highly recommend “Snow” as well.http://amzn.to/tfJGXB

    1. Jim Eiden

      Because of Yergin’s book, I learned how Big Oil saved the whales through the free market.

      1. jmorf

        lol Jim, yes it certainly needs to be taken with a grain (or perhaps kilo) of salt. Lots of good stuff in there none the less.

    2. fredwilson

      such a great comment, with links, and well formattedwe really need someone to take this thread and do a “crib notes” version of it!

  75. markslater

    the intention economy – doc searls(not until march but i am sure if you ping him he’ll get you an early copy)

  76. Ciaran

    Wind Up Bird is amazing. I’ve actually got his most recent (sort of) 1Q84 but have hit a bit of a wall with it.If you’re after good reads, my summer reading this year included two from a surpisingly approachable Booker Prize list:Half-Blood Blues – black jazz band trapped in Nazi ParisJamrach’s Menagerie – slightly pschadeklic adventures on a 19th century voyage to capture a komodo dragonRobert Harris’ latest, The Fear Index, is an enjoyable tevhno-thriller look at the financial crash, though I much prefer the two volumes of his Cicero trilogy (Imperium & Lustrum). Talking of historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell’s series on pre-Norman England, are fantastic holiday reading of the highest order:¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…If you want non-fiction, I found Robert Peston’s Who Runs Britain? and Misha Glenny’s look at the global black market, McMafia, utterly gripping.

    1. Tom Labus

      Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorites and that series is wonderful.  What a touch.Also Agincourt.

      1. Ciaran

        I thought the Agincourt books were his weakest. I wish he’d come back and finish the American civil war series

    2. fredwilson

      half-blood blues seems awesome

      1. Ciaran

        Slightly disappointing end but an interesting read

  77. Ciaran

    And if you want something weird, but most definitely wonderful, can I suggest the amazing Grandville graphic novels by Brian Talbot.Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was a badger living in a cyber-punk England that has only just gained independence from the French, after a¬†vicious¬†guerilla war, and you’re half way there.

  78. Ro Gupta

    And in addition to my non-fiction pick – Bill Bryson, At Home, fiction pick for the music lovers on AVC would be Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad¬†http://www.amazon.com/Visit……

    1. ShanaC

      I loved that book!

  79. karen_e

    I work full time and have a toddler, so the Kindle is getting dusty.¬†(This summer I¬†was halfway through The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – fabulous American history.) Nowadays, late at night, when¬†mystified by childrearing,¬†I read Magda Gerber for solace. I recommend her books to all you parents-to-be and parents of infants and toddlers. Start from the beginning with your baby¬†with a framework of respect and non-interference.¬†Gerber’s starting point is creating a room in¬†a baby’s¬†house that is so safe, so completely safe, that she or he can explore and grow¬†without interference. Sounds easy and basic on a theoretical level, but it’s suprisingly un-American to put our children’s ‘real estate’ needs before our own.

  80. bijan

    i keep reading about my favorite rock stars. currently reading Shakey.¬†http://www.amazon.com/Shake…

    1. fredwilson

      i was in that phase this summer but now i’m into surrealism and dystopian futuresnot sure how that happened ūüėČ

  81. Jay Gibb

    I’m reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Robotic Edition. ¬†Racist language and subject matter keeps the original book off the shelves of most school libraries, so the authors of this edition replaced “n-word” with “robot” because it’s ok to treat a robot like a slave. ¬†(p.s. Kickstarter rules!)I’m also enjoying The Referral Engine. ¬†I wish I had read this book a long time ago!

  82. falicon

    I wrote a quick post about my recent reading list a week or two ago ->¬†http://falicon.com/post/127…(I’m prob. more on the boring side of the suggestions here though because I generally don’t read fiction — and love biographies, tech., and marketing stuff)

    1. awaldstein

      Just bought designing with emotion. Thanks.

      1. falicon

        cool…both of those ‘Book Apart’ books were really quick reads packed full of interesting tidbits…I highly recommend them to everyone.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      The last two look interesting. Thanks for the recs. 

  83. matthughes

    Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard(So much of this book describes modern Internet start-up culture.)http://www.amazon.com/Let-P…

  84. LE

    Interesting article in the WSJ the other day about ebook pricing being equal to or more than physical book in many cases:http://online.wsj.com/artic…If you are paywall blocked just google this “E-Book Readers Face Sticker Shock”So in other words even though digital incremental cost approaches 0 for some reason the model here (based on legacy contracts and arrangements) doesn’t allow for the price of the book to bear any relationship to that.¬†Books, something which people buy more than they will ever read/use and buy on impulse (similar to domains by the way) seems to be the perfect product to sell at a lower cost and increased volume (look at the increase in purchase of consumer electronics when the price decreases).In any case what also doesn’t make sense is why they didn’t wait to jack up the pricing until much later to get more people addicted to the razor which they are trying to sell.

  85. Teren Botham

    For a light reading , here is one you cant’ take yourselves away from…¬†http://www.amazon.com/Compl…Fred, ¬†Thanks for the post,,Will you please share your picks from this comments as well ?

    1. fredwilson

      that’s going to be tough. but i will do this post again in a few months and there will most certainly be books from this thread on it

  86. Feyi

    Just started reading Daniel Kahnemahn’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.Impressive stuff only a few pages in

  87. disqus_lQclrQLxP6

    Just started reading Daniel Kahnemahn’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.Impressive stuff only a few pages in

  88. harryh

    I just started on Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman as part of my continuing effort to improve my decision making ability.

  89. Chris Rossini

    I’m currently reading The Cholesterol Delusion, by Ernest N. Curtis, MDhttp://www.amazon.com/Chole…

  90. David Petersen

    The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck. ¬†A timeless treasure. ¬†Also the 2nd best selling non-fiction book of all time. ¬†I reread it once every few years.”Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

  91. Eric Leebow

    Recommended books for entrepreneurs, read the first one:How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (by Mark Cuban)World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It (by John A. Byrne)

    1. fredwilson

      i suggest entrepreneurs read fiction instead of business books, particularly sci-fi

      1. Eric Leebow

        Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey is a good one.

  92. Jack Dunn

    Working through three on my endRon Chernow’s Biography of Alexander Hamilton which is fascinating and very readablehttp://www.amazon.com/Alexa…Witness- Whitaker Chambers, moving story of a very misunderstood manhttp://www.amazon.com/Witne…and Zone One by Colson Whitehead -almost finished and really, really enjoyed ithttp://www.amazon.com/Zone-…Next up is¬†Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Herzog by Saul Bellow

  93. Dave Aitel

    Reamde is quite good and deals with how technology changes societies – as is the Quicksilver trilogy by Neal Stephenson, which deals with the onset of how money was invented. The basic themes are up your alley I would guess?

  94. SubstrateUndertow

    Gold filled OldieGrammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life¬†http://www.amazon.com/Gramm…

  95. Denis Zgonjanin

    Not a recent book, but one I’m reading at the moment is ‘Godel, Escher, Bach’. It touches on many¬†extremely¬†complex topics of mathematics, computers, and the human mind, written to be approachable by a general audience. I’m only half way through, but it’s the most thought engaging book I’ve ever readhttp://www.amazon.com/G%C3%…

  96. aysha

    The Twilight of Athesism: The rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world by Alister McGrath. Its an interesting read If your into history.

  97. A Goodkind

    BE FOREWARNED: Once you read Super Sad True Love Story, you cannot unread it. It is a frighteningly accurate satire, and will force you to look at everyday occurrences in a new way, namely as harbingers to dystopia.

    1. wanderingstan

      Plus it seems that every far-out idea from the book is showing up in startups. I’m just waiting for someone to ask me in a bar, hopefully wearing onionskin jeans, “Wanna FAC?” ūüôā

  98. Mike Farber

    Reading Tom Friedman’s new book, “That Used to Be Us.” Really sharp look at how everything is changing, why that matters and how the US can keep leading the world economy. Innovation and passion for one’s work are central themes.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Friedman is such a sloppy and superficial thinker. Maybe part of our recent decline is from reading him too credulously.

      1. Tom Labus

        I enjoyed it a lot too.

  99. Dave Aitel

    Also, if you haven’t read this old cyberpunk novel, you’re missing out. http://www.immunityinc.com/…It is part of the traditional hacker sphere, in the same¬†category¬†as Neuromancer or Snow Crash.(Sequel¬†is available here:¬†http://www.immunityinc.com/…

    1. Jim Eiden

      Snow Crash was an amazing book

  100. ahumancapitalist

    Dystopian fiction:The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester. A far future dystopian novel, written in 1956.¬† They invent teleportation but not the information revolution.Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood.¬† A near future dystopian novel with a bent against genetic engineering.For the love of fiction:The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood.Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell.Economics & innovation:From Poverty to Prosperity, Arnold Kling & Nick Schulz.¬† Interviews with more than a dozen of the most insightful living economists about innovation.The Great Stagnation, Tyler Cowen. ‚ÄúMedian income is the single best measure of how much we are producing new ideas that benefit most of the American population.‚Ä̬† It‚Äôs been stagnant.Launching the Innovation Renaissance, Alex Tabarrok.¬†Recommendations for increasing innovation.Economic anthropology:The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs. How we kill our cities and how we can save them.¬† Jacobs pays attention.Portfolios of the Poor, Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven. Like entrepreneurs, the poor manage cash flow and not ROI.Us:Thinking, Fast and Slow, Danny Kahneman. Read about the biases of the human mind from the man who uncovered many of them.How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer. More neuroscience and snappier writing than Kahneman‚Äôs book.Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink. What motivates us (autonomy, mastery, purpose).¬† Then read David Rose‚Äôs essay on juicy feedback loops.¬†Business:Different, Youngme Moon. What Blue Ocean Strategy should have been.¬† Plus, Moon is a great writer.Founders at Work, Jessica Livingston.¬† A history of computing and the internet through the stories of 30+ founders.¬† Fascinating and inspiring. Behind the Cloud, Mark Benioff.¬† Benioff is one of the best at pushing out code AND keeping control of the narrative. Every lean startup should read this.Writing:On Writing, Stephen King.¬† Inspiration to write your book!

    1. fredwilson

      wow. this is a blog post in its own right. i will take me years to get through all of these. my wife could do it in a month however

      1. ahumancapitalist

        In fact, I ended up turning it into a blog post<http: sarahdillard.wordpress.com=”” 2011=”” 12=”” 16=”” snappy-and-fresh-my-favorite-books-of-2011=””/>, with links to all of the books.

        1. fredwilson

          nicely done

  101. Ed carey

    Just picked up the new release Free Ride by Robert Levine about the war between content and distribution in the digital age. Looks like a good argument but I’m going in with an open mind.

  102. Guillermo Ramos Venturatis.com

    Fred I’m reading your blog from an android Galaxy S and my user experience is quite poor compared to other blogs that are more mobile friendly , for example those on wordpress. Am I the only one?

    1. fredwilson

      hmm. i read it every day on my galaxy android and i love itwhat issues are you having?

      1. Guillermo Ramos Venturatis.com

        I prefer to read all the comments in just one screena nd just scroll up&down. The problem is that after a double tap on the screen to automatically size the screen the font size I get is so small that makes me to increase the font and having to scroll up & down and also right&left. It also makes me read always in portrait just because of the font size.

  103. Steven Kane

    Rome, by Robert HughesRobopocalypse, by Daniel WilsonThomas Jefferson, by Christopher HitchensEnjoy.

    1. fredwilson

      Jefferson by Hitchinstant addthanks steve!

  104. Jim Eiden

    Sharpe’s Revenge from the Richard Sharpe Series by Bernard Cornwell – Cornwell wrote series of historical fiction about a British Soldier during the¬†Napoleonic Wars.¬†Richard Sharpe is a Rifleman. ¬†in those days, Rifles were considered high tech as opposed to Muskets. ¬†Riflemen wore Green Coats & were elite soldiers.Sharpe’s revenge is about Richard Sharpe vs. a notorious French Spy.Sharpe’s Revenge is the 19th book in the Series.¬†I go back and forth between Fiction and Non-Fiction¬†http://www.bernardcornwell….¬†Cornwell also has another great series about England before William the¬†Conqueror, and the struggles between the Natives vs. the Viking invaders during Reign of Alfred The Great.

    1. Tom Labus

      Cornwell, the new one in the Alfred series comes out in early Jan. ¬†It is a great series and I’m a huge fan of all his work.Love Sharpe.

      1. Jim Eiden

        Can’t wait to read the next book – Cornwell has an excerpt of it on his website.

  105. Jon Sookocheff

    I’m reading “Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism” by Peter Marshall.¬† It’s very boring and very interesting, all at the same time.¬† Very well-research and well-written, but almost too exhaustive.¬† I recommend reading alongside something much lighter and entertaining.

  106. Lauren Leto

    Books! This is my jam.¬†I recommend these recent reads:The Art of Fielding by Chad Harback: Beautiful, well-written. Story of a young man’s obsession with making himself into a legend and the ongoings of a middling college baseball team. I’d describe it as “Little Giants” for adults.We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Horrifying portrayal of when parenthood goes wrong. The ending had me on edge for days.White Teeth by Zadie Smith: Phenomenal. Generational story about family and friendship.

    1. fredwilson

      great suggestions Lauren. nice to see you hanging in the AVC comments!

  107. John

    I just started the audio book version of Lee Child’s The Affair. This is for my daily commute.Also just started is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This will be my first e-book (just got a Kindle).In case you’re interested, here’s my reading list for the year: http://horsebits-jrc.blogsp

  108. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Hey Fred, after you finish all these amazing books, can you choose the book that you thought was the absolute best read. Can you reward the person who recommended it with a guest-blog post on AVC??!Official Rules:¬†1:Fred has to approve the topic/post (of course)2:Fred chooses when the post goes live (of course)3:Fred is awesome (can’t deny that)

    1. fredwilson

      sure, but it may never finish all these amazing books. 300 comments as of right now and an average of three books per comment. i read about ten books a year.

  109. Moses Nakamura

    As a huge fan of Murakami, I don’t think I would say that Wind-up Bird Chronicles is his best. ¬†Currently my favorite is 1Q84, and then probably his collection of short stories The Elephant Vanishes. ¬†Murakami’s short stories are unbelievably tight and well put together. ¬†Kafka on the Shore¬†is great, and then probably the Wind-up Bird Chronicles,¬†although¬†A Wild Sheep Chase¬†might tie with it.As an introduction to Murakami, I would definitely recommend starting with The Elephant Vanishes–there is something for everyone in there, and The Second Bakery Attack is unbelievable.Like several other commenters I also enjoy Neal Stephenson, so next up on my list is REAMDE, although Anathem is also up there. ¬†A common complaint I’ve heard about Neal Stephenson is that his characters lack depth. ¬†I enjoy Stephenson for the borderline prophetic worlds, the plot, and the description, that is, everything except the characterization, so I don’t mind.Concrete Mathematics by Graham, Knuth, Patashnik is a book that I’ve been making my way through very slowly. ¬†The problems are punishing, but enlightening, and structured in a way to push you that not that many textbooks have. ¬†It is foundational in the same way that Apostol is, although it is written in a much more conversational style.A book that I read excerpts of for a class, but which I would like to finish is Leviathan by Hobbes. ¬†I think that Leviathan sets up a really good foundation for thinking about the world, one that can be built upon easily. ¬†Although people who followed him tried to improve upon it (and it clearly needs improvement), not many of them had as good a foundation for building upon with as few flaws as Hobbes’–either they are too rigid, or too flawed.Etgar Keret is sort of like an Israeli Murakami, more overtly politicized, and much more crass. ¬†He is pretty incredible. ¬†I would recommend that you ditch the Shteyngart, which is frankly Jonathan Safran Foer copycatting and pick up The Nimrod Flipout or The Girl on the Fridge instead.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      The last thing I tried reading by Stephenson was the first volume of his Cryptonomicon prequel trilogy, which I gave up on a hundred something pages into it. I got the impression that he was affected by critics who complained (!) that Crytptonomicon was too much of a page-turner and so he tried to write something denser. I’ve heard good things about Anathem though, so maybe I’ll give that a shot.Tried reading one of Shteyngart’s books but couldn’t get into his style. The first time I’ve heard him called a Foer copycat though. I’ve heard the same said about Foer with respect to David Grossman. Foer’s success with his first novel (which I felt duped into reading) seems to have had more to do with his connections than literary merit.

      1. Moses Nakamura

        Disclaimer: when I first read your post, I thought you said you couldn’t make it through Cryptonomicon, not the Baroque Cycle, so the rest of this post is somewhat stilted.I haven’t read any of the Baroque Cycle, so I don’t know how dense it is, but if it’s much denser than Cryptonomicon, that’s pretty dense. ¬†Some of it, especially the explanation of the crypto algorithm near the end of the book are extremely dense. ¬†My other complaint about Cryptonomicon is that I have a feeling that it was the first book that he wrote after becoming uneditable. ¬†Some parts of it were just terrible, such as the rant about the ex-wife who wrote a thesis about how men should shave their beards and how the technocracy was creating a society where they had power and everyone else was subjugated. ¬†My main problem with the first was that it didn’t really advance the story in any way, even stylistically–charitably I would say it was supposed to be character development, but the part of his character is develops–that he has a beard and used to have a passive aggressive wife are not really used that much. ¬†Furthermore, he seemed to deny the existence of a technocracy, which I think he called the shots incorrectly on. ¬†A technocracy is clearly coming into being (see: Tumblr + SOPA, google’s control of data, etc). ¬†The review I saw of REAMDE said it goes a step in the opposite direction–it said that REAMDE was basically a more accessible version of Stephenson, so that might be a good one to try.Disclaimer: although I found Shteyngart’s style unpleasant in general, the work I read by him was Absurdistan and the¬†thing I disliked the most about it was that it made me confront how uncomfortable I was with trying to identify with a morbidly obese protagonist, and the crude way he was constantly complaining about his failed circumcision. ¬†I also felt like the main premise of the book was too complicated to relate to. ¬†It made assumptions about the reader’s familiarity both with¬†Chelm and¬†American perception of the wars in the middle east that made it, first of all, practically only targeted to the Jewish intelligentsia in NYC, second of all, a little too time-sensitive for my tastes, basically already stale when it came out. ¬†Although I’m practically the target audience, reading about caricatures that nobody will get in twenty years made me ¬†roll my eyes. ¬†I also think self insertions are in general poor taste, although this might be a relic of my time reading fiction online generated by amateurs, via fictionpress.com and fanfiction.net.I actually like Jonathan Safran Foer, although I can’t handle him in large chunks–I read both Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close over extended periods of time, although Eating Animals is unappealing. ¬†I didn’t just Everything is Illuminated at all as harshly as you did. ¬†Although being one of Joyce Carol Oates’ mentees is definitey a leg up, I thought that his treatment of dreams, the way that you get to know the protagonist without ever meeting him, and the strict epistolary format with an extremely unreliable narrator as being the best source of information about he protagonist (despite how tenuous the relationship is) was fascinating.I haven’t read anything by Daniel Grossman, what would you suggest?

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Moses,I found Cryptonomicon to be the world’s longest page-turner — I couldn’t put it down. The first volume of the Baroque cycle is the one I stopped reading.Regarding the ex-wife character, it’s been a while since I read it, but, without spoiling anything for those who haven’t read it, I think this was sort of a comment on her professor boyfriend, J.E.B. I could be wrong though.I had a similar revulsion to Shteyngart’s protagonist — as I did with John Kennedy Toole’s protagonist in Confederacy of Dunces, which I also stopped reading. Maybe Shteyngart was influenced by Toole?I haven’t read any David Grossman, but the novel of his that Foer seems to have borrowed from is See Under: Love. The one Israeli book I’ve read in recent years was the autobiography of Amos Oz, “A Tale of Love and Darkness”. I’d never read his novels, but remembered reading a profile of him in the NY Times Magazine years ago. That memoir covers the personal (his relationship with his parents, one of whom committed suicide when he was young), the political (the Mideast conflict), and his journey as a writer.Something interesting Oz related on that last topic was how he felt his unworldliness was a handicap when he was starting out as a writer — he lived in a poor, marginal country and had never gone anywhere. Then he discovered the short stories of Sherwood Anderson, set in the obscure small town of Winesburg, OH, and realized great literature could be set anywhere. Years later, when Oz became a famous novelist, he was honored to be asked to write the forward for a new release of Anderson’s work.

          1. ericrosen

            Interesting….I’ve read most of Stephenson’s works. ¬†Loved Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle, couldn’t finish Anathema, and very much enjoyed Reamde…It’s much more like Crypto than any of his more recent works. ¬† Some plot twists that were just strange, but overall highly recommended.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            May have to check out Reamde then.

    2. terrycojones

      Hi Moses. I roughly agree with those Murakami choices, though I’ve not read everything.Much more interesting….. Concrete Mathematics. OMG! To think, they said Fred’s blog has no substance! :-)After I finished my PhD I gave myself the luxury of reading Concrete Mathematics. It took me 4 months. I’d sit several nights a week, often until 4am, in the sprawling Frontier restaurant on Central Ave in Albuquerque working slowly and carefully through every single word, every example, working the problems (except for a few). It’s an amazing and wonderful book. I’d love to read it again.

      1. fredwilson

        who said that????? ūüėČ

    3. fredwilson

      this is terrific moses. i’m going to pick up most of these on my kindle.

  110. Matthew Iles

    For a really fun mix of retro video game love and peer-into-the-future science fiction, I highly recommend Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. If nothing else, the guy has a great name. :)http://www.amazon.com/Ready…

  111. Eunice Apia

    Super Sad True Love Story is very good. My goal is to finish The Scarlet Pimpernal series.

  112. FAKE GRIMLOCK

    READING “THE HEROES” BY JOE AMBERCROMBIE. LIKE LORD OF THE RINGS DIRECTED BY TARANTINO.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      instant add to kindle. could you imagine if tarantino directed the Lord Of The Rings????

      1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

        HIS OTHER BOOKS GOOD. FIRST LAW TRILOGY, BEST SERVED COLD.MORE BASTARDS PER PAGE THAN DIRECTORY OF CONGRESS.

  113. Mrinal

    Steve Jobs – Assume you have read that but I just finished that and its a great engaging read.Social Animal – Elliot Aronson. I am about to finish it and if you are into understanding people and how we behave based on the influence of others, you will love it. Its been extremely enlightening for me to go deeper into social psychology.¬†Orbiting the Giant Hairball – Gordon Mackenzie. If you are into creativity, you will love this one.¬†Ishmael – Daniel Quinn. I can’t recommend this enough. You HAVE to pick this one up.The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman. Another favorite that helped me ask a lot of good questions and learn a little more about myself.And Finally – Hope For the Flowers – Trina Paulus. It will take you 30 mins to read it but it will refreshing for anyone in the business world. I have liked it so much that my blog post on the book made her reach out to me. I recently had a long Skype video chat with Trina. I also read it to my kids sometimes.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t want to read the Jobs book for a few yearsit is too soon for mei need some distance to get the most out of it

  114. Rob Underwood

    Hi Fred,Here’s what I’m reading right now:- Where China Meets India by Thant Myint-U. I started this just before the Obama announcement and Clinton trip to Myanmar (Burma) and am reading it with more interest now in light of these developments. I went to Myanmar for one day when I was 20 (I crossed the border in Mae Sai Thailand) and while that hardly counts for having seen the country, it generated a lifelong interest in the place. My grandfather used to navigate (using astronomy primarily ‚Äď he‚Äôd lie down next to me in our field in Maine when I was kid and show me all the constellations) bombing runs during WWII of Japanese positions over Burma, so that piqued my interest in the country too.- Republic, Lost by Lawrence Lessig. Compelling¬†argument¬†that election financing is THE big issue to solve in our country.- The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. I had read parts of thisbook before, and was familiar with their version of the¬†cyclical¬†theory of history. Strauss and Howe wrote this in ’97 and were pretty spot on about how the 2001-2010 decade would play out in terms of leading to a crisis (a key part of their cycle theory). I think a lot about mygeneration‚Äôs (X … we’re “nomads” in the Strauss/Howe theory) role in our society ‚Äď what we‚Äôve done well and what we need to do better – so appreciate the discussion of inter-generational dynamics in this book.- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. An oldie but goody I’ve read a few times and probably consider my favorite book. I find this book a good pallet cleanser during the recesses of the House subcommittee debating SOPA. The Congresspeople defending SOPA remind be of the couple Pirsig travels with who refuse to learn how their motorcycle works.Rob Underwood

    1. fredwilson

      i have to read republic lost. my partner tells me i can skip the first half but must read the second half. do you agree?

      1. Rob Underwood

        Fred,Yes. Lessig writes the book as a drama — he frames the scene, introduces the¬†characters, creates the tension, and then gives the characters (really us) a challenge to which we must respond. It’s the resolution – the 4th section (“Solutions”, starting at¬†chapter¬†15) – that¬†presents a path forward and even there it’s a chapter or so more before he gets into real recommendations.The back story and set-up in the first part of the book are well-done and worth reading if one has time, but most of the symptoms, implications, and root causes are reasonably well known. Chapters 6, 11, 12 are worth reading if you’re skimming the front half.

  115. Rohan

    Great thread! Looks like I’m very late.Nevertheless.. ūüôā¬†Book of the moment –¬†The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt –¬†http://www.amazon.com/Happi…Books of the year –¬†1. Switch – Heath Brothers¬†http://www.amazon.com/Switc…2. Gifts Differing – Isabel Briggs Myers¬†http://www.amazon.com/Gifts…3. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams ¬†http://www.amazon.com/Chang…4. Ready for Anything – David Allen¬†http://www.amazon.com/Ready…5. First, break all the rules – Marcus Buckingham¬†http://www.amazon.com/First…Books of all time –¬†1. A Splendid Exchange – William J Bernstein¬†http://www.amazon.com/Splen…2. Virtues of War – A story of Alexander the Great by Steven Pressfield¬†http://www.amazon.com/Virtu…3. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond¬†http://www.amazon.com/Guns-…3. You don’t have to be born brilliant by John Mcgrath¬†http://www.amazon.com/You-d…4. 100 great businesses and minds behind them by Fletcher and Holland¬†http://www.amazon.com/Great…5. Steve Jobs by Isaacson!Classics – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Innovator’s Dilemma, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Alchemist, Carnegie..–All books I’ve read over the past 3-4 years are categorized reviewed on ¬†http://www.rohanrajiv.com/b…¬†(this month to be updated)And link to my shelfari book shelf¬†http://www.shelfari.com/o15…

  116. DogmaStudios

    FW,I’m surprised that there were not more non-fiction, “Business” type books. ¬†I too have strayed a bit from the normal biz book that captured my attention and was certainly memorable.It is a story of Josh’s journey from reporting on world memory champions to testing his own skills and dedication and going head to head with the best in the U.S. Memory Champions.Lots of good how to’s as well.Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything¬†Joshua Foer

  117. johndodds

    The Shteyngart is good and I’d also echo the Kahneman recommendations. Currently reading sleight of minds which investigates neuroscience from the magician’s perspective.

  118. punkeek

    Thanks Fred and everyone else here. In December, I am reading:1. The Little Book of Value Investing – I’m a recent student of investing and trying to get some mental models in place.2. Technological Revolutions & Financial Capital – Has been recommended by Fred many times earlier.3. 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami’s latest.Thinking, Fast and Slow is on my list – if I get through the above books in time. Also looking for a book to read on what’s happening in Europe, might pick Boomerang as Michael Lewis’ writing is enjoyable. Would love to know if there are any other reccomendations on this topic?

  119. Shaan Hathiramani

    If you like the Murakami, check out “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” One of my favorites – it is so honest, prismatic, and delightful. Like a lot of his work, there is no single “And that has made all the difference” sweeping conclusion or moral to the book – like running itself, the book’s meaning evolves and takes shape in different ways on different days and with different moods.

  120. Suzan B

    The Wind-Up Bird Bird Chronicle is definitely his best. I was so captivated that I read most of it on a plane ride back to the states from Europe. The only problem with reading it first (as I did) is that the rest of his work isn’t quite as dazzling although I’ve heard The Hard-Boiled Wonderland is solid.I saw Joanne’s post about Feeding Eden. Although I’m not a parent or a teacher (I work in the tech startup world) I am a former kid who grew up with undiagnosed allergies that caused many health problems so I’m intrigued to read more.

  121. ericrosen

    Two other books I’ve enjoyed this year, both of which broaden my perspective:1. ¬†1493 ¬†by Charles C Mann….how the Americas were won, from a biology/ecology viewpoint, through the establishment of markets & trading. ¬†2. ¬†The Warmth of Other Suns ¬†by Isabel Wilkerson. ¬† Studies the Great MIgration of African-Americans out of the south into northern cities by following the life stories of three families, interweaving history, politics and race. ¬† Highly recommended

  122. apples08

    The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live Itby John Seymour

  123. awaldstein

    I just watched Sarah’s Key and heard from friends that the book is amazing.Difficult, emotionally disturbing, intellectually challenging.It’s on my list.http://www.amazon.com/Sarah

  124. maverickny

    Bit late to the party, but currently reading the following in iBook or Kindle:- The Religion of the Samurai, Kaiten Nukariya- The Art of War, Sun Tzu- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre- Steve Jobs biography, by Walter Isaacson- Poke the Box, Seth Godin

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great list

    2. Tom Labus

      I recently re read Tinker, Tailor and was so amazed I continued on with the entire trilogy. ¬†It’s well worth it.Have to see that movie over the Holidays.¬†

      1. maverickny

        I bought the Karla Trilogy on the Kindle after finally throwing out 20 year old battered paperback copies, so glad I did.The film is definitely on my to-do list for the holidays too, only just discovered it was back after starting the book again.  Would be very hard to to beat the original BBC mini series from 1979 with storied cast including the magnificent Alec Guinness in it, which I remember being enraptured over as a teenager.Some stories transcend their genre, this was one of them.

  125. Mike Greczyn

    Beautiful data. Also re-reading snow crash.

  126. samfjacobs

    “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris.

  127. Jason Gelman

    Awesome comments thread!¬† I’ve got a list full of new book suggestions just in time for the holidays.¬† Here are 2 from me back to the crowd, both non-fiction, and both among the best books I’ve ever read.1. Leaving Microsoft To Change The World – John Wood – http://amzn.to/uhCRx2The story of how John Wood left his cushy corporate gig at Microsoft to start Room To Read, a charity focused on providing educational materials and infrastructure to children without access to them.¬† This is a WOW book.¬† Even if you reading about philanthropy isn’t your thing, this book transcends that world and really just gives great insights into the “change the world”mentality.¬†2.¬†The Mission, The Men, and Me – Pete Blaber – http://amzn.to/t9NqCc¬†Pete Blaber is a retired Colonel who spent the majority of his career as an Officer in “Delta Force,” the US Army’s elite counter terrorist unit.¬† In some ways this is his military memoir, but it’s really more about his thoughts on contextual decision making and¬†lessons in leadership.¬† Phenomenal book, and should be required reading for entrepreneurs and for executives of any kind.¬†

  128. Nitin

    Fred,Long time follower but first time commenter here. Thank you for the posts and the AVC community.Finished ‘On China’ by Henry Kissinger recently. A great read on diplomacy, culture, and the global dynamics. Highly recommended.

    1. ShanaC

      First off, welcome, feel free to come back any timeSeconly – any other books within the foreign policy realm that you enjoy?

      1. Nitin

        Thanks Shana. Another good one is The Post American World, by Fareed Zakaria. Have been thinking of picking up The Quest (Daniel Yergin) next – also mentioned by other readers.

  129. Justin Kadis

    Downloading Boomerang, Super Sad True Love Story, and Steve Jobs for my Kindle right now. I got a bunch of book recos from tech people around this time a year ago. Check out the list here: http://bit.ly/siae1Q. Recos from: @dens, @davemcclure, @db, @srcasm, @reecepacheco, @joeyevoli, @nickgiglia and more.

  130. Samson Adepoju

    The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout 

  131. Anne Libby

    It’s fun to look at this great list a few days after all of the action!For the other William Gibson fans, he’ll be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble on January 10th…

  132. Cyril Nicodème

    I am currently reading The Road Ahead, from Bill Gates. (¬†http://www.amazon.com/Road-…¬†)What amazed me the most it that this book was written in 96 and still, every aspect, every ideas written by Mr. Gates are just arriving now, or will arrive very sooner. He talks about Web on TV via boxes (Netflix), payment via a small intelligent portable phone (Square, Google Wallet, you name it), streaming, and a lot more. Every chapter come with one to many ideas that are in this timeline, 15 years after being written!It’s a must read.

  133. GLR Writer

    Currently reading “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Kahneman – how we make decisions and “The Halo Effect” by Rosenzweig – describes business delusions. ¬†Like Halo because it offers different perspective on conventional wisdom.

  134. Matthew Zadrozny

    For a good laugh: Roald Dahl’s¬†My Uncle OswaldFor a good cry: Chandler’s¬†The Big Sleep and¬†Farewell, My LovelyFor science/tech: Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children and The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our BrainsFor history (and how we’ve been condemned to relive it): The Hellhound of Wall Street¬†For wisdom:¬†Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and The Viking Book of Aphorisms

  135. Modernist

    Since you enjoy Michael Lewis, I personally suggest:Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays by George Soros (Feb 2012)The Quest by Daniel YerginThe Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen

  136. leigh

    Got to some great reading on my SE Asian holiday — 2 books:1. ¬†For¬†@fredwilson:disqus¬†= The Extreme Future — total brain food if you are into futuring and nano technology — very cool shit — ¬†http://www.amazon.com/Extre…2. ¬†For¬†@gothamgal:disqus¬†— based on some of the previous likes you’ve mentioned — read the most recent giller prize winner — The Sister Brothers — it’s a Western (which is not my thing) but it is AMAZING. ¬†Couldn’t put it down. ¬†http://www.amazon.com/Siste…

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Leigh

  137. Shawn Cohen

    Back of the Napkin rocks. We’re implementing those principles into our educational resources b/c of their sheer effectiveness at producing memorable learning interactions.

  138. fredwilson

    i liked that too. read it this summer.