Paul Graham
Book Recommendations

  • The Old Way

    The Old Way

    The Old Way

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
    Social Science
    4.24 (461)

    One of our most influential anthropologists reevaluates her long and illustrious career by returning to her roots--and the roots of life as we know it.when elizabeth marshall thomas first arrived in africa to live among the kalahari san, or bushmen, it was 1950, she was nineteen years old, and these last surviving hunter-gatherers were living as humans had lived for 15,000 centuries. thomas wound up writing about their world in a seminal work, the harmless people (1959). it has never gone out of print.back then, this was uncharted territory and

    Paul Graham

    If you want to learn more about hunter gatherers I strongly recommend Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's The Harmless People and The Old Way.

     — Source

  • With the Old Breed

    With the Old Breed

    With the Old Breed

    E. B. Sledge
    Peleliu
    Battle of
    Palau
    1944
    4.42 (35,751)

    In his own book, wartime, paul fussell called with the old breed "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war." john keegan referred to it in the second world war as "one of the most arresting documents in war literature." and studs terkel was so fascinated with the story he interviewed its author for his book, "the good war." what has made e.b. sledge's memoir of his experience fighting in the south pacific during world war ii so devastatingly powerful is its sheer honest simplicity and compassion.now including

    Paul Graham

    Read this book

     — Source

  • The Fry Chronicles

    The Fry Chronicles

    The Fry Chronicles

    Stephen Fry
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.8 (23,597)

    Thirteen years ago, moab is my washpot, stephen fry's autobiography of his early years, was published to rave reviews and was a huge best seller. in the years since, stephen fry has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. now he is not just a multi-award-winning comedian and actor, but also an author, director, and presenter.

    Paul Graham

    Reading The Fry Chronicles. As perfect as Wodehouse.

     — Source

  • The Copernican Revolution

    The Copernican Revolution

    The Copernican Revolution

    Thomas S. Kuhn
    Science
    4.12 (741)

    For scientist and layman alike this book provides vivid evidence that the copernican revolution has by no means lost its significance today. few episodes in the development of scientific theory show so clearly how the solution to a highly technical problem can alter our basic thought processes and attitudes. understanding the processes which underlay the revolution gives us a perspective, in this scientific age, from which to evaluate our own beliefs more intelligently. with a constant keen awareness of the inseparable mixture of its technical, philosophical, and humanistic elements, thomas

    Paul Graham

    Kuhn was surely most influenced by the Copernican Revolution. Excellent book incidentally.

     — Source

  • Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople

    Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople

    Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople

    Geoffrey de Villehardouin
    History
    3.87 (156)

    This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from kessinger publishing's legacy reprint series. due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. kessinger publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone!

    Paul Graham

    I've read Villehardouin's chronicle of the Fourth Crusade at least two times, maybe three. And yet if I had to write down everything I remember from it,

     — Source

  • Maisy mouse collection 15 books set by lucy cousins

    Maisy mouse collection 15 books set by lucy cousins

    Maisy mouse collection 15 books set by lucy cousins

    Lucy Cousins
    5 (1)

    Maisy mouse collection 15 books set by lucy cousins includes titles in this set:- maisy goes to nursery, maisy goes to hospital, maisy goes on holiday, maisy christmas eve, maisy goes to the city, maisy goes on a sleepover, maisy goes camping, maisy goes to library, maisy charley and the wobbly tooth, maisy goes to the museum, maisy goes to the bookshop, maisy goes on a plane, maisy's sports day, maisy plays football, maisy goes to the cinema.

    Paul Graham

    My favorite books for bedtime reading to 2 year olds

     — Source

  • Diocletian and the Roman Recovery
    Paul Graham

    One of the best books about the late 3rd century

     — Source

  • The Making of Europe
    Paul Graham

    I know I've recommended this book already, but it's so good I have to do it again. Bartlett brings history to life by explaining how and why the things happened that other books merely tell you happened.

     — Source

  • The Golden Trade of the Moors

    The Golden Trade of the Moors

    The Golden Trade of the Moors

    E. W. Bovill,Edward W. Bovill
    4.09 (34)

    "this book is the liveliest account of african history ever written, covering over [one] thousand years of trans-saharan trade. "finely written and researched. ... this edition will no doubt whet the appetites of a fresh generation of scholars and students for greater knowledge of parts of africa still surprisingly little-known to the outside world." -- journal of islamic studies "a unique source book." - the new york times "utterly enthralling ... splendidly romantic." -- the new yorker

    Paul Graham

    I'm reading Bovill's excellent Battle of Alcazar

     — Source

  • My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    Gerald Durrell
    4.16 (48,084)

    When the unconventional durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray english climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny greek isle of corfu. my family and other animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of durrell’s family’s experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.

    Paul Graham

    So good I'm reading slow to make it last.

     — Source

  • Euclid's Elements

    Euclid's Elements

    Euclid's Elements

    Dana Densmore,Euclid
    4.31 (3,022)

    Green lion press has prepared a new one-volume edition of t.l. heath's translation of the thirteen books of euclid's elements. in keeping with green lion's design commitment, diagrams have been placed on every spread for convenient reference while working through the proofs; running heads on every page indicate both euclid's book number and proposition numbers for that page; and adequate space for notes is allowed between propositions and around diagrams. the all-new index has built into it a glossary of euclid's greek terms.heath's translation has stood the test of time,

    Paul Graham

    Best book about Math

     — Source

  • Life in the English Country House

    Life in the English Country House

    Life in the English Country House

    Mark Girouard
    History
    4.24 (252)

    This best-selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the english country house from the middle ages to the twentieth century. in it, renowned architectural historian mark girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the english upper classes—their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes."a deeply important book, one of the most interesting contributions to architectural history."—j. h. plumb, the new york review of books"a survey of country houses through the past five centuries, from a broad range of materials: family archives, literature, plans and photographs.... the

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's books that are hidden gems

     — Source

  • A Mathematician's Apology

    A Mathematician's Apology

    A Mathematician's Apology

    G. H. Hardy
    3.92 (6,125)

    G. h. hardy was one of this century's finest mathematical thinkers, renowned among his contemporaries as a 'real mathematician ... the purest of the pure'. he was also, as c. p. snow recounts in his foreword, 'unorthodox, eccentric, radical, ready to talk about anything'. this 'apology', written in 1940 as his mathematical powers were declining, offers a brilliant and engaging account of mathematics as very much more than a science; when it was first published, graham greene hailed it alongside henry james's notebooks as 'the best account of what it

    Paul Graham

    Rereading Hardy's _Mathematician's Apology_, slowly to make it last. Among the most inspiring books I know.

     — Source

  • Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein

    Banesh Hoffman,Helen Dukas
    3.74 (248)

    This beautifully written illustrated memoir is a testament to the indomitable spirit that pervaded the life & work of albert einstein. unlike lengthy biographies that often founder in trivia, the book paints a coherent picture in broad strokes to capture for the lay reader the essence of the man & his science. helen dukas, einstein's secretary for the last 27 years of his life, has greatly enriched the portrait not only thru her unique personal knowledge but also by providing valuable insights gleaned from the great scientists's personal papers in

    Paul Graham

    Banesh Hoffman's biography of Einstein is the most exciting I've read.

     — Source

  • Sea Flight

    Sea Flight

    Sea Flight

    Hugh Popham
    History
    4 (10)

    Hugh popham joined the fleet air arm in the summer of 1940 and was soon in training as a pilot at hms vincent and then yeovilton. his wartime career as a naval pilot took him to the far corners of the world, notably to the indian ocean where he had to contend against the japanese navy. popham's story is one of a naval fighter pilot having to do his best with hopelessly inadequate planes -- first, the sea hurricanes, and then the supermarine seafires, which proved to be far too

    Paul Graham

    Hugh Popham's _Sea Flight_ is a wonderful book. I'm looking at the few pages left and wishing there were more.

     — Source

  • The Harmless People

    The Harmless People

    The Harmless People

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
    Social Science
    3.96 (423)

    A study of primitive people which, for beauty of...style and concept, would be hard to match." -- the new york times book reviewin the 1950s elizabeth marshall thomas became one of the first westerners to live with the bushmen of the kalahari desert in botswana and south-west africa. her account of these nomadic hunter-gatherers, whose way of life had remained unchanged for thousands of years, is a ground-breaking work of anthropology, remarkable not only for its scholarship but for its novelistic grasp of character. on the basis of field trips

    Paul Graham

    If you want to learn more about hunter gatherers I strongly recommend Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's The Harmless People and The Old Way

     — Source

  • Wing Leader (Fighter Pilots)

    Wing Leader (Fighter Pilots)

    Wing Leader (Fighter Pilots)

    Johnnie Johnson
    4.2 (141)

    The thrilling story of the top scoring allied fighter pilot of world war ii 'johnnie' johnson, who served with fighter command squadrons throughout the war, scoring his 38th and final victory in september 1944. from the moment the author joins his first operational spitfire squadron in august 1940, the reader is taken on an epic journey through the great aerial fighter actions of the war including the battle of britain, sweeps across the channel and over france, dieppe and normandy; and finally, operations across the rhine and into germany itself.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's books that are hidden gems

     — Source

  • The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    Jane Austen
    Fiction
    4.57 (31,031)

    Sense and sensibilitypride and prejudicemansfield parkemmanorthanger abbeypersuasionlady susanjane austen is without question, one of england's most enduring and skilled novelists. with her wit, social precision, and unerring ability to create some of literature's most charismatic and believable heroines, she mesmerises her readers as much today as when her novels were first published. whether it is her sharp, ironic gaze at the gothic genre invoked by the adventures of catherine morland in northanger abbey; the diffident and much put-upon fanny price struggling to cope with her emotions in mansfield park; her

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • The Iliad

    The Iliad

    The Iliad

    Homer
    3.88 (389,997)

    Dating to the ninth century b.c., homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the trojan war. renowned classicist bernard knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace. combining the skills of a poet and scholar, robert fagles, winner of the

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • Born Red

    Born Red

    Born Red

    Gao Yuan
    3.94 (231)

    Born red is an artistically wrought personal account, written very much from inside the experience, of the years 1966-1969, when the author was a young teenager at middle school. it was in the middle schools that much of the fury of the cultural revolution and red guard movement was spent, and gao was caught up in very dramatic events, which he recounts as he understood them at the time. gao's father was a county political official who was in and out of trouble during those years, and the intense interplay

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy

    Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy

    Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy

    Michael Baxandall
    3.96 (2,809)

    Painting and experience in fifteenth century italy an introduction to 15th century italian painting and the social history behind it, arguing that the two are interlinked and that the conditions of the time helped fashion distinctive elements in the painter's style. serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century italian painting and as a text on how to interpret social history from the style of pictures in a given historical period, this new edition to baxandall's pre-eminent scholarly volume examines early renaissance painting, and explains how the style of painting in

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • The German Generals Talk
    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's books that are hidden gems

     — Source

  • Moab Is My Washpot

    Moab Is My Washpot

    Moab Is My Washpot

    Stephen Fry
    Actors
    3.88 (25,843)

    Stephen fry is not making this up! fry started out as a dishonorable schoolboy inclined to lies, pranks, bringing decaying moles to school as a science exhibit, theft, suicide attempts, the illicit pursuit of candy and lads, a genius for mischief, and a neurotic life of crime that sent him straight to pucklechurch prison and cambridge university, where he vaulted to fame along with actress emma thompson. he wound up starring as oscar wilde in the film wilde, costarring in a civil action, and writing funny, distinguished novels. this irresistible

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • How to Be Topp

    How to Be Topp

    How to Be Topp

    Geoffrey Willans,Ronald Searle
    4.23 (214)

    Nigel molesworth is back, this time taking the tinies in hand and showing that they can survive the first term - as long as you avoid the prefects and show all due respect to molesworth 1. back to skool might be particularly hard on mater and pater, but think of those poor new bugs, forced to be their best at latin, english, foopball and french (armand in his striped shirt and feeble questions). just follow his timeless advice, however, and you too could be topp.

    Paul Graham

    I read this during dinner and laughed so much that people must have wondered what was wrong with me.

     — Source

  • Memoirs of My Life

    Memoirs of My Life

    Memoirs of My Life

    Betty Radice,Edward Gibbon
    4.15 (152)

    Edward gibbon was one of the world's greatest historians and a towering figure of his age. when he died in 1794 he left behind the unfinished drafts of his memoirs, which were posthumously edited by his friend lord sheffield, and remain an astonishing portrait of a rich, full life. recounting gibbon's sickly childhood in london, his disappointment with an oxford steeped in 'port and prejudice', his successful years in lausanne, his first and only love affair and the monolithic achievement of the decline and fall of the roman empire, he

    Paul Graham

    I recently read Darwin's, and reread Trollope's and Gibbon's

     — Source

  • Founders at Work

    Founders at Work

    Founders at Work

    Jessica Livingston
    Business & Economics
    3.96 (27,431)

    Founders at work: stories of startups' early days is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. these people are celebrities now. what was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? founders like steve wozniak (apple), caterina fake (flickr), mitch kapor (lotus), max levchin (paypal), and sabeer bhatia (hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.where did they get the

    Paul Graham

    So despite the interview format, this is really a how-to book. It is probably the single most valuable book a startup founder could read.

     — Source

  • My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    Gerald Durrell
    Biography & Autobiography
    4.14 (49,891)

    When the unconventional durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray english climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny greek isle of corfu. my family and other animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of durrell’s family’s experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.

    Paul Graham

    It is a wonderful book, though only implicitly about "parenting.

     — Source

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Fiction
    4.47 (187,023)

    A study in scarlet --the sign of four --adventures of sherlock holmes : a scandal in bohemia ; the red-headed league ; a case of identity ; the boscombe valley mystery ; the five orange pips ; the man with the twisted lip ; the adventure of the blue carbuncle ; the adventure of the speckled band ; the adventure of the engineer's thumb ; the adventure of the noble bachelor ; the adventure of the beryl coronet ; the adventure of the copper beeches --memoirs of sherlock holmes :

    Paul Graham

    Few thoughts happier than realizing it's been long enough since you last read the Sherlocks Holmes stories that you can read them again.

     — Source

  • The Ancient City

    The Ancient City

    The Ancient City

    Hazel Dodge,Peter Connolly
    4.07 (174)

    In this superbly illustrated volume, athens and rome, the two greatest cities of antiquity, spring to life under the masterful pen of peter connolly. all the historical and archaelogical evidence has been seamlessly pieced together to reconstruct the architectural wonders of these mighty civilizations. re creating public buildings, religious temples, shops, and houses, connolly reveals every aspect of life in glorious detail, from religion and food to drama, games, and the baths. in addition to the great monuments and moments of classical greece and rome, readers learn about a typical

    Paul Graham

    Peter Connolly's The Ancient City is one of the best books I've found for explaining history to kids.

     — Source

  • Clocks and Culture

    Clocks and Culture

    Clocks and Culture

    Carlo M. Cipolla
    3.7 (103)

    How did a time-keeping device affect the growth of crafts guilds and the scientific research that led to the industrial revolution? clocks and culture is a brief history of the changes wrought by and on europe over four hundred years due to technological advances in timekeeping and the rise of a time-aware culture. in his introduction, anthony grafton, henry putnam university professor of history at princeton university, puts this classic book in perspective.

    Paul Graham

    I also recommend Clocks and Culture.

     — Source

  • Flying Start
    Paul Graham

    Flying Start is a wonderful book.

     — Source

  • Blankie

    Blankie

    Blankie

    Leslie Patricelli
    Juvenile Fiction
    4.04 (334)

    Anyone who's spent time with a toddler knows that few crises compare with the (even temporary) loss of a favorite blankie. here, in her humorous, bold graphic style, leslie patricelli plays up this scenario, surely near and dear to every toddler's heart. blankie is an affectionate ode to that special object that comforts many a child through the dramas of each day.

    Paul Graham

    Two books that will be deeply pleasing to their respective audiences:

     — Source

  • Sunset at Blandings

    Sunset at Blandings

    Sunset at Blandings

    P.G. Wodehouse,Richard Usborne
    4.06 (970)

    Wodehouse died before finishing this novel, which uses the blandings formula: a pretty niece brought to the castle to separate her from a suitor; suitor infiltrated under an assumed name by gally; lord emsworth innocently blowing the gaff to an angry sister. wodehouse's notes complete the story.

    Paul Graham

    The writing in the novel Wodehouse left unfinished when he died at 93 is crisp as ever.

     — Source

  • Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Lynn White Jr.
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.74 (226)

    In medieval technology and social change, lynn white considers the effects of technological innovation on the societies of medieval europe: the slow collapse of feudalism with the development of machines and tools that introduced factories in place of cottage industries, and the development of the manorial system with the introduction of new kinds of plows and new methods of crop rotation. one invention of particular import, writes white, was the stirrup, which in turn introduced heavy, long-range cavalry to the medieval battlefield. the development thus escalated small-scale conflict to "shock

    Paul Graham

    White's Medieval Technology and Social Change is the most fabulous book.

     — Source

  • A Story Lately Told

    A Story Lately Told

    A Story Lately Told

    Anjelica Huston
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.33 (2,683)

    Writing with an exuberant love of language and detail, anjelica huston shares her enchanted childhood in ireland, her teen years in london, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in new york.living with her glamorous and artistic mother, educated by tutors and nuns, intrepid on a horse, huston was raised on an irish estate to which—between movies—her father brought his array of extraordinary friends, from carson mccullers and john steinbeck to peter o’toole and marlon brando. every morning, anjelica and her brother visited their father while he took

    Paul Graham

    Anjelica Huston's Story Lately Told is wonderful

     — Source

  • The Quest for El Cid

    The Quest for El Cid

    The Quest for El Cid

    Richard Fletcher
    3.78 (188)

    Rodrigo diaz, the legendary warrior-knight of eleventh-century castile known as el cid, is remembered today as the christian hero of the spanish crusade who waged wars of re-conquest for the triumph of the cross over the crescent. he is still honored in spain as a national hero for liberatingthe fatherland from the occupying moors. yet, as richard fletcher shows in this award-winning book, there are many contradictions between eleventh-century reality and the mythology that developed with the passing years. by placing el cid in a fresh, historical context, fletcher shows

    Paul Graham

    Included on his list of recommended History books

     — Source

  • Hard Drive

    Hard Drive

    Hard Drive

    James Wallace,Jim Erickson
    4.13 (1,530)

    The true story behind the rise of a tyrannical genius, how he transformed an industry, and why everyone is out to get him.in this fascinating exposé, two investigative reporters trace the hugely successful career of microsoft founder bill gates. part entrepreneur, part enfant terrible, gates has become the most powerful -- and feared -- player in the computer industry, and arguably the richest man in america. in hard drive, investigative reporters wallace and erickson follow gates from his days as an unkempt thirteen-year-old computer hacker to his present-day status as

    Paul Graham

    I know of no other collections of interviews with founders. The closest you can get is probably books about specific startups. Hard Drive, about Microsoft, is good.

     — Source

  • The Spectator. [by Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Others]

    The Spectator. [by Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Others]

    The Spectator. [by Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Others]

    Joseph Addison,Richard Steele Sir
    0

    This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. this work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. this work is in the public domain in the united states of america, and possibly other

    Paul Graham

    Yesterday I read (bits of) The Spectator

     — Source

  • My Forty Years with Ford

    My Forty Years with Ford

    My Forty Years with Ford

    Charles E Sorensen,Samuel T Williamson
    4.07 (43)

    In my forty years with ford, charles sorensen-sometimes known as "henry ford's man," sometimes as "cast-iron charlie"-tells his own story, and it is as challenging as it is historic. he emerges as a man who was not only one of the great production geniuses of the world but also a man who called the plays as he saw them. he was the only man who was able to stay with ford for almost the full history of his empire, yet he never hesitated to go against ford when he felt

    Paul Graham

    I particularly liked Sorensen's My Forty Years with Ford.

     — Source

  • Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days

    William Finnegan
    Biography & Autobiography
    4.24 (23,063)

    Barbarian days is william finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. surfing only looks like a sport. to initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. raised in california and hawaii, finnegan started surfing as a child. he has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the south pacific, australia, asia, africa. a bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war

    Paul Graham

    If you read books, read William Finnegan's Barbarian Days. It's one of those rare books that divide your life into two parts: before you read it, and after.

     — Source

  • The Man Who Knew Infinity

    The Man Who Knew Infinity

    The Man Who Knew Infinity

    Robert Kanigel
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.92 (9,559)

    The tale of a relationship between a young indian mathematics genius, ramanujan, and his tutor at cambridge university, g.h. hardy, in the years before world war i. through their eyes the reader is taken on a journey through numbers theory. ramanujan would regularly telescope 12 steps of logic into two - the effect is said to be like dr watson in the train of some argument by sherlock holmes. the language of symbols and infinitely large (and small) regions of mathematics should be rendered with clarity for the general reader.

    Paul Graham

    Exciting news: Robert Kanigel, who wrote the great biography of Ramanujan, has written one of Jane Jacobs.

     — Source

  • Kelly

    Kelly

    Kelly

    Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson
    Technology & Engineering
    4.2 (489)

    Paul Graham

    How did I not know about this book til now?

     — Source

  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    Bill Watterson
    Comics & Graphic Novels
    4.77 (38,233)

    [ | book one | book two | book three ]calvin and hobbes is unquestionably one of the most popular comic strips of all time. the imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger was first syndicated in 1985 and appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers when bill watterson retired on january 1, 1996. the entire body of calvin and hobbes cartoons published in a truly noteworthy tribute to this singular cartoon in the complete calvin and hobbes. composed of three hardcover, four-color volumes in a sturdy slipcase, this

    Paul Graham

    Watterson is like Wodehouse. Because he works in an unpretentious medium, few realize how timelessly great he is.

     — Source

  • The Origin of Species

    The Origin of Species

    The Origin of Species

    Charles Darwin
    Science
    3.98 (109,032)

    Darwin's theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been specifically created; all are locked into a pitiless struggle for existence, with extinction looming for those not fitted for the task. yet the origin of species (1859) is also a humane and inspirational vision of ecological interrelatedness, revealing the complex mutual interdependencies between animal and plant life, climate and physical environment, and—by implication—within the human world. written for the general reader, in a style which combines the rigour of science

    Paul Graham

    One scientist's "take" could be very convincing. The _Origin of Species_ for example. It's not one scientist, one vote.

     — Source

  • Good Night, Little Bear

    Good Night, Little Bear

    Good Night, Little Bear

    Patsy Scarry
    4.29 (7,089)

    First a story, and then a kiss from mother bear, and father bear carries little bear to bed. and that's when the fun begins. father bear gets to little bear's room, but little bear is missing! little readers will see him hiding in the most obvious place but father bear cannot seem to find him. is he under the stove? is he in the garden? is he in the woodbox? only when father bear walks past the mirror does the silliness end, and in a very tasty way. with this,

    Paul Graham

    This evolved from that! Which in turn we got from

     — Source

  • On Bullshit

    On Bullshit

    On Bullshit

    Harry G. Frankfurt
    Philosophy
    3.58 (11,921)

    One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. everyone knows this. each of us contributes his share. but we tend to take the situation for granted. most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. so the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. and we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation

    Paul Graham

    I bought a copy. Thanks! (Did he get such shit for saying the same thing?)

     — Source

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    Thomas S. Kuhn
    Science
    4.02 (24,288)

    A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. the structure of scientific revolutions is that kind of book. when it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach.

    Paul Graham

    Which incidentally I am (re)reading now.

     — Source

  • History of the World (Updated)

    History of the World (Updated)

    History of the World (Updated)

    J. M. Roberts
    4.14 (169)

    In his monumental history of the world, j. m. roberts delivered a powerful vision of human history as a story of change, a deliberate shaping of experience and environment. this revised and updated edition takes into account the great range of events and discoveries that have altered our views on everything from early civilizations to post-cold war globalism. large portions of the text have been rewritten.

    Paul Graham

    You could try reading e.g. Roberts's History of the World, but these broad surveys inevitably feel like textbooks. IMO it's better to take a bunch of "core samples" on individual topics

     — Source

  • Moorish Spain

    Moorish Spain

    Moorish Spain

    Richard Fletcher
    3.76 (351)

    Beginning in the year 711 and continuing for nearly a thousand years, the islamic presence survived in spain, at times flourishing, and at other times dwindling into warring fiefdoms. but the culture and science thereby brought to spain, including long-buried knowledge from greece, largely forgotten during europe’s dark ages, was to have an enduring impact on the country as it emerged into the modern era. in this gracefully written history, richard fletcher reveals the moorish culture in all its fascinating disparity and gives us history at its best: here is

    Paul Graham

    Fletcher's _Moorish Spain_ is a great book.

     — Source

  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    Robert A. Heinlein
    Fiction
    4.15 (125,792)

    It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of a former penal colony on the moon against its masters on the earth. it is a tale of a culture whose family structures are based on the presence of two men for every woman, leading to novel forms of marriage and family. it is the story of the disparate people, a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic who become the movement's leaders, and of mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to the revolt's

    Paul Graham

    I've been thinking about this, and it was probably The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which made me want to work on AI, which led to Lisp.

     — Source

  • The Soul of a New Machine

    The Soul of a New Machine

    The Soul of a New Machine

    Tracy Kidder
    Computers
    4.12 (7,620)

    The computer revolution brought with it new methods of getting work done—just look at today's news for reports of hard-driven, highly-motivated young software and online commerce developers who sacrifice evenings and weekends to meet impossible deadlines. tracy kidder got a preview of this world in the late 1970s when he observed the engineers of data general design and build a new 32-bit minicomputer in just one year. his thoughtful, prescient book, the soul of a new machine, tells stories of 35-year-old "veteran" engineers hiring recent college graduates and encouraging them

    Paul Graham

    The best source of information about startups is probably not business books, but histories of particular startups and industries. The most famous is Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine

     — Source

  • The Double Helix

    The Double Helix

    The Double Helix

    James D. Watson
    Bible
    3.86 (17,009)

    By identifying the structure of dna, the molecule of life, francis crick and james watson revolutionized biochemistry & won themselves a nobel prize. at the time, watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. his uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions & bitter rivalries. with humility unspoiled by false modesty, watson relates his

    Paul Graham

    The most impressive feature of The Double Helix is how much Watson admits he didn't know. He's constantly talking about papers he couldn't understand and important concepts he didn't grasp.

     — Source

  • Dog Man

    Dog Man

    Dog Man

    Dav Pilkey
    4.1 (51,970)

    George and harold have created a new breed of justice. with the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?dav pilkey's wildly popular dog man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one's self.

    Paul Graham

    Don't be so quick to add it to your reading list. Dog Man is aimed at 5-10 year olds.

     — Source

  • The Autobiography of Ben Franklin

    The Autobiography of Ben Franklin

    The Autobiography of Ben Franklin

    Ben Franklin
    Inventors
    3.84 (78,552)

    Benjamin franklin's autobiography is one of the most famous works in american literature. he started it as a private collection of anecdotes for his son, but soon it was transformed into a work of history. this is a charming, self-portrait of one of america's greatest forefathers.

    Paul Graham

    It's a great book, probably in my all time top 100

     — Source

  • An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

    An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

    An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

    Anthony Trollope
    Novelists
    English
    3.83 (438)

    One of the most celebrated and prolific authors of the victorian era, anthony trollope (1815 82) requested that his autobiography be published posthumously. the two-volume work, first published in 1883 and reissued here in the second edition of that year, recounts his childhood, successful career at the post office, and multiple achievements as a writer. well received by the critics of the time, the work reveals the incredible discipline that enabled trollope to write forty-seven novels in the course of his career. of particular interest to literary scholars, the reflections

    Paul Graham

    Trollope's Autobiography is a wonderfully candid and inspiring one

     — Source

  • No Easy Day

    No Easy Day

    No Easy Day

    Kevin Maurer,Mark Owen
    Biography & Autobiography
    4 (49,823)

    From the streets of iraq to the rescue of captain richard phillips in the indian ocean, and from the mountaintops of afghanistan to the third floor of osama bin laden's compound, operator mark owen of the u.s. naval special warfare development group--commonly known as seal team six--has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines.no easy day puts readers alongside owen and the other handpicked members of the twenty-four-man team as they train for the biggest

    Paul Graham

    Simultaneously reading Rousseau's Confessions and No Easy Day. Triangulating...

     — Source

  • The Lives of the Artists

    The Lives of the Artists

    The Lives of the Artists

    Giorgio Vasari
    ART
    3.77 (29,117)

    Packed with facts, attributions, and entertaining anecdotes about his contemporaries, giorgio vasari's collection of biographical accounts also presents a highly influential theory of the development of renaissance art.beginning with cimabue and giotto, who represent the infancy of art, vasari considers the period of youthful vigour, shaped by donatello, brunelleschi, ghiberti, and masaccio, before discussing the mature period of perfection, dominated by the titanic figures of leonardo, raphael, and michelangelo.this specially commissioned translation contains thirty-six of the most important lives as well as an introduction and explanatory notes.about the series:for over

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • Confessions

    Confessions

    Confessions

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau,Patrick Coleman
    3.61 (9,021)

    In his confessions jean-jacques rousseau tells the story of his life, from the formative experience of his humble childhood in geneva, through the achievement of international fame as novelist and philosopher in paris, to his wanderings as an exile, persecuted by governments and alienated from the world of modern civilization. in trying to explain who he was and how he came to be the object of others' admiration and abuse, rousseau analyses with unique insight the relationship between an elusive but essential inner self and the variety of social identities

    Paul Graham

    Simultaneously reading Rousseau's Confessions and No Easy Day. Triangulating...

     — Source

  • Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Henri Pirenne
    Religion
    3.98 (516)

    The final work of the great belgian historian henri pirenne, this remarkable classic — published after his death — offers a revolutionary perspective on how europe under the influence of a roman empire centered in constantinople evolved into the europe of charlemagne and the middle ages.departing from the standard view that germanic invasions obliterated the roman empire, pirenne advances the radical new thesis that "the cause of the break with the tradition of antiquity was the rapid and unexpected advance of islam," and event of historical proportions that prevented the

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • Plagues and Peoples

    Plagues and Peoples

    Plagues and Peoples

    William H. McNeill
    Social Science
    3.9 (4,269)

    Upon its original publication, plagues and peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. from the conquest of mexico by smallpox as much as by the spanish, to the bubonic plague in china, to the typhoid epidemic in europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. with the identification of aids in the early 1980s, another chapter has been added to this chronicle of events, which william

    Paul Graham

    I suspect if you'd read Guns, Sails, and Empires and Plagues and Peoples, little in Guns, Germs, and Steel would surprise you.

     — Source

  • Civilisation
    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • The World We Have Lost

    The World We Have Lost

    The World We Have Lost

    Peter Laslett
    History
    3.65 (93)

    The world we have lost is a seminal work in the study of family and class, kinship and community in england after the middle ages and before the changes brought about by the industrial revolution. the book explores the size and structure of families in pre-industrial england, the number and position of servants, the elite minority of gentry, rates of migration, the ability to read and write, the size and constituency of villages, cities and classes, conditions of work and social mobility.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • Guns, Sails and Empires

    Guns, Sails and Empires

    Guns, Sails and Empires

    Caro M. Cipolla
    3.96 (145)

    So thoroughly do we assume the military and political superiority of the western world that we forget that throughout the middle ages europe was weak, vulnerable, besieged, and almost always on the defensive. this original work explains how europe managed to become the dominant player on the world stage for four glorious centuries, effecting one of the most enormous turnarounds in history. professor cipolla argues that the force that effected this enormous change was the simultaneous development of guns and sailing ships, and the fusion of the two into a

    Paul Graham

    Re-reading Cipolla's amazing Guns, Sails and Empires. An indictment of publishing that it's out of print.

     — Source

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Jared Diamond
    Civilization
    4.03 (353,255)

    "diamond has written a book of remarkable scope ... one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years."winner of the pulitzer prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race.in this "artful, informative, and delightful" (william h. mcneill, new york review of books) book, jared diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. societies that had a head start in food

    Paul Graham

    I suspect if you'd read Guns, Sails, and Empires and Plagues and Peoples, little in Guns, Germs, and Steel would surprise you.

     — Source

  • The Fall of Constantinople 1453

    The Fall of Constantinople 1453

    The Fall of Constantinople 1453

    Steven Runciman
    4.3 (1,254)

    This classic account shows how the fall of constantinople in may 1453, after a siege of several weeks, came as a bitter shock to western christendom. the city's plight had been neglected, and negligible help was sent in this crisis. to the turks, victory not only brought a new imperial capital, but guaranteed that their empire would last. to the greeks, the conquest meant the end of the civilisation of byzantium, and led to the exodus of scholars stimulating the tremendous expansion of greek studies in the european renaissance."... an

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • The Golden Trade of the Moors

    The Golden Trade of the Moors

    The Golden Trade of the Moors

    E. W. Bovill,Edward W. Bovill
    4.09 (34)

    "this book is the liveliest account of african history ever written, covering over [one] thousand years of trans-saharan trade. "finely written and researched. ... this edition will no doubt whet the appetites of a fresh generation of scholars and students for greater knowledge of parts of africa still surprisingly little-known to the outside world." -- journal of islamic studies "a unique source book." - the new york times "utterly enthralling ... splendidly romantic." -- the new yorker

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • Understanding Media

    Understanding Media

    Understanding Media

    Lewis H. Lapham,Marshall McLuhan
    Science
    4.1 (3,407)

    This reissue of understanding media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of marshall mcluhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and mcluhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.there has been a notable resurgence of interest in mcluhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • The Gallic Wars (Military Theory Book, #1)

    The Gallic Wars (Military Theory Book, #1)

    The Gallic Wars (Military Theory Book, #1)

    Julius Caesar
    3.98 (10,758)

    “gaul is divided into three parts.” originally composed for propaganda purposes, julius caesar’s war diary is one of the earliest examples of a military science manual, detailing arms technology, tactical maneuvers, battlefield politics, espionage, intelligence and even the role played by luck in ground and sea campaigns. nine years of fighting is condensed into a tight treatise rendered in lavish, cinematic prose. caesar’s superior forces crush one defiant gallic, german and belgian tribe after another with precise efficiency until an area of almost 200,000 square miles has been conquered. epic

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • Concorde

    Concorde

    Concorde

    Geoffrey Knight
    Concorde (Jet transports)
    5 (1)

    Paul Graham

    Mentioned on Paul Graham's Twitter

     — Source

  • A Sense of Where You Are

    A Sense of Where You Are

    A Sense of Where You Are

    John McPhee
    Biography & Autobiography
    4.09 (1,531)

    When john mcphee met bill bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. a sense of where you are, mcphee's first book, is about bradley when he was the best basketball player princeton had ever seen. mcphee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. but athletic prowess alone would not explain bradley's magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself—his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense

    Paul Graham

    Mentioned on his twitter account

     — Source

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    Robert M Pirsig
    Essence (Philosophy)
    3.77 (219,476)

    Robert m. pirsig's zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance is an examination of how we live, a meditation on how to live better set around the narration of a summer motorcycle trip across america's northwest, undertaken by a father & his young son.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source