Eric Schmidt's favorite books

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

    The Better Angels of Our Nature

    Steven Pinker
    Why Violence Has Declined
    Psychology

    Presents a controversial history of violence which argues that today's world is the most peaceful time in human existence, drawing on psychological insights into intrinsic values that are causing people to condemn violence as an acceptable measure.

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    The one that has had the biggest impact on me and the one that I've given the most number of people

    Apr 9, 2019 — Source

  • Blueprint

    Blueprint

    Nicholas A. Christakis
    The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
    Science

    "A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more" (Frank Bruni, New York Times), Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity. For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society. In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness. In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.

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    Is a terrific book that is optimistic. It's a joy to read and it highlights ways to make our society better.

    Apr 2, 2019 — Source

  • What It Takes

    What It Takes

    Stephen A. Schwarzman
    Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
    Chief executive officers

    'This story literally has what it takes: the anecdotes, the insights and, most of all, the values to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs.' Mark Carney 'The real story of what it takes from a man who could turn dreams into realities.' Ray Dalio 'Candid, funny and real, Steve offers wisdom and the gift of much-needed common sense chapter by chapter and experience by experience. A great read!' John Kerry From Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman, a long-awaited book that uses impactful episodes from Schwarzman's life to show readers how to build, transform and lead thriving organisations. Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, philanthropist, executive or simply someone looking for ways to maximise your potential, the same lessons apply. People know who Stephen Schwarzman is - at least they think they do. He's the man who took $400,000 and co-founded Blackstone, the investment firm that manages over $500 billion (as of January 2019). He's the CEO whose views are sought by heads of state. But behind these achievements is a man who has spent his life learning and reflecting on what it takes to achieve excellence, make an impact, and live a life of consequence. Folding handkerchiefs in his father's linen shop, Schwarzman dreamed of a larger life, filled with purpose and adventure. After starting his career in finance with a short stint at a financial firm called DLJ, Schwarzman began working at Lehman Brothers where he ascended to run the mergers and acquisitions practice. He eventually partnered with his mentor and friend Pete Peterson to found Blackstone, vowing to create a new and different kind of financial institution. Building Blackstone into the leading global financial institution it is today didn't come easy. Schwarzman's simple mantra 'don't lose money' has helped Blackstone become a leading private equity and real estate investor, and manager of alternative assets for institutional investors globally. From deal-making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy, Schwarzman has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence. Schwarzman not only offers readers a thoughtful reflection on all his own experiences, but in doing so provides a practical blueprint for success.

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    His new book reveals how he has achieved the rarest kind of leverage in multiple fields.

    Oct 12, 2019 — Source

  • From Simi Valley to Silicon Valley

    Stephen is a superstar, well worth reading.

    Oct 2, 2019 — Source

  • Accidental Presidents

    Accidental Presidents

    Jared Cohen
    Eight Men Who Changed America
    History

    This New York Times bestselling “deep dive into the terms of eight former presidents is chock-full of political hijinks—and déjà vu” (Vanity Fair) and provides a fascinating look at the men who came to the office without being elected to it, showing how each affected the nation and world. The strength and prestige of the American presidency has waxed and waned since George Washington. Eight men have succeeded to the presidency when the incumbent died in office. In one way or another they vastly changed our history. Only Theodore Roosevelt would have been elected in his own right. Only TR, Truman, Coolidge, and LBJ were re-elected. John Tyler succeeded William Henry Harrison who died 30 days into his term. He was kicked out of his party and became the first president threatened with impeachment. Millard Fillmore succeeded esteemed General Zachary Taylor. He immediately sacked the entire cabinet and delayed an inevitable Civil War by standing with Henry Clay’s compromise of 1850. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded our greatest president, sided with remnants of the Confederacy in Reconstruction. Chester Arthur, the embodiment of the spoils system, was so reviled as James Garfield’s successor that he had to defend himself against plotting Garfield’s assassination; but he reformed the civil service. Theodore Roosevelt broke up the trusts. Calvin Coolidge silently cooled down the Harding scandals and preserved the White House for the Republican Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression. Harry Truman surprised everybody when he succeeded the great FDR and proved an able and accomplished president. Lyndon B. Johnson was named to deliver Texas electorally. He led the nation forward on Civil Rights but failed on Vietnam. Accidental Presidents shows that “history unfolds in death as well as in life” (The Wall Street Journal) and adds immeasurably to our understanding of the power and limits of the American presidency in critical times.

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    a timely book that is highly relevant to today's politics:

    Apr 10, 2019 — Source