Paul Graham's favorite books

  • Very Good, Jeeves!
    Paul Graham

    Wodehouse is so good that I get distracted by his perfection. Not a word wrong.

     — Source

  • Fauna & Family
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • The Copernican Revolution

    The Copernican Revolution

    The Copernican Revolution

    Thomas S. Kuhn
    Science
    4.10 (727)

    The significance of the plurality of the Copernican Revolution is the main thrust of this undergraduate text

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Maisy Mouse Collection
    Paul Graham

    My favorite books for bedtime reading to 2 year olds

     — Source

  • Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

    Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

    Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

    Stephen Williams
    History

    First published in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

    Paul Graham

    One of the best books about the late 3rd century

     — Source

  • The Lord of the Rings

    The Lord of the Rings

    The Lord of the Rings

    J.R.R. Tolkien
    Fiction
    4.37 (2,483,527)

    The first volume in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. “A unique, wholly realized other world, evoked from deep in the well of Time, massively detailed, absorbingly entertaining, profound in meaning.” – New York Times

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • A Mathematician's Apology
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Albert Einstein
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

    Jane Austen
    Fiction
    4.57 (30,592)

    This new edition includes all of the completed novels of beloved author Jane Austen. Jane Austen’s stories of clever women, elusive love, and social mores have struck a chord with millions of fans who consider her work compelling, heartwarming, and essential. Adapted time and again for screen and stage, these enduring classics remain as enjoyable as ever, and are the perfect addition to every home library. This collector’s edition includes all six of Austen’s completed novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. New readers will be enchanted once they open the genuine leather cover, see the specially designed endpapers, and read these brilliant stories, while readers familiar with Austen's genius will enjoy the introduction from an acclaimed Austen scholar that provides background and context for the works they’ve always loved.

    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

  • Sea Flight

    Sea Flight

    Sea Flight

    Hugh Popham
    History
    4.00 (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; thereafter 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.?His 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, proved to be less than brilliant machines, the Seafire proving far too fragile for the rigours of carrier operations. But it is this story, incorporating the kind of detail that is missing from many wartime memoirs, that makes this book so fascinating.

    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

  • Life in the English Country House

    Life in the English Country House

    Life in the English Country House

    Mark Girouard
    History
    4.23 (248)

    Based on the author's Slade lectures given at Oxford University in 1975-76.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's books that are hidden gems

     — Source

  • The Old Way

    The Old Way

    The Old Way

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
    Social Science
    4.22 (425)

    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 little was known about our human origins. Today, our beginnings are better understood. And after a lifetime of interest in the bushmen, Thomas has come to see that their lifestyle reveals great, hidden truths about human evolution. As she displayed in her bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Thomas has a rare gift for giving voice to the voices we don't usually listen to, and helps us see the path that we have taken in our human journey. In The Old Way, she shows how the skills and customs of the hunter-gatherer share much in common with the survival tactics of our animal predecessors. And since it is "knowledge, not objects, that endure" over time, Thomas vividly brings us to see how linked we are to our origins in the animal kingdom. The Old Way is a rare and remarkable achievement, sure to stir up controversy, and worthy of celebration.

    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
    4.44 (31,424)

    The inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC This was a brutish, primitive hatred, as characteristic of the horror of war in the Pacific as the palm trees and the islandsa Landing on the beach at Peleliu in 1944 as twenty-year-old new recruit to the US Marines, Eugene Sledge can only try desperately to survive. At Peleliu and Okinawa - two of the fiercest and filthiest Pacific battles of WWII - he witnesses the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that each soldier has for his enemy. During temporary lapses in the fighting, conditions on the islands mean that the Marines often can't wash, stay dry, dig latrines, or even find time to eat. Suffering from constant fear, fatigue, and filth, the struggle of simply living in a combat zone is utterly debilitating. Yet despite horrendous conditions Sledge finds time to keep notes that he would later turn into a book. Described as one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war, With the Old Breed tells with compassion and honesty of the cruelty, bravery and deaths of the men he fought alongside, and of his own journey from patriotic innocence to battle-scarred veteran. 'Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific - the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary - into terms we mortals can grasp' Tom Hanks

    Paul Graham

    Read this book

     — Source

  • How To Win Friends and Influence People

    How To Win Friends and Influence People

    How To Win Friends and Influence People

    Dale Carnegie
    Self-Help
    4.21 (712,149)

    INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER OVER 30 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE How to Win Friends and Influence People by bestselling author Dale Carnegie is one of the most groundbreaking self-help books of all time. This book has now sold over 30 million copies worldwide, helping and inspiring millions of readers along the way in achieving their true potential. According to Carnegie, the ability to communicate effectively is the key to success. In this book he shows how to hone your innate abilities to connect with other people and flourish, whether in personal relationships or in business. Carnegie’s rock-solid and time-tested techniques will help you: • Win over people • Avoid making enemies • Handle complaints and avoid arguments • Keep your relationships smooth and pleasant • Become a good conversationalist • Increase your earning power And much more… Change the way you handle relationships and life’s challenges. A timeless classic that will appeal to self-help, business and general readers alike! Dale Carnegie was a lecturer of public speaking at YMCA New York. He had also served in the US army during World War 1. He published his first book in 1936 and became a sought after self-help author and speaker. Some of his other works include How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and The Art of Public Speaking. “Everybody in the world is seeking happiness—and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.” —Dale Carnegie

    Paul Graham

    The one book we encourage startup founders to read is Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's critically important for anyone in business.

     — Source

  • The Iliad
    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • The Harmless People

    The Harmless People

    The Harmless People

    Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
    Social Science
    3.95 (415)

    “A study of primitive people which, for beauty of . . . style and concept, would be hard to match.” —The New York Times Book Review In 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 in the 1980s, Thomas has now updated her book to show what happened to the Bushmen as the tide of industrial civilization—with its flotsam of property rights, wage labor, and alcohol—swept over them. The result is a powerful, elegiac look at an endangered culture as well as a provocative critique of our own. "The charm of this book is that the author can so truly convey the strangeness of the desert life in which we perceive human traits as familiar as our own. . . . The Harmless People is a model of exposition: the style very simple and precise, perfectly suited to the neat, even fastidious activities of a people who must make their world out of next to nothing." —The Atlantic

    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

  • Born Red
    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • The Making of Europe

    The Making of Europe

    The Making of Europe

    Robert Bartlett
    History

    This provocative book shows that Europe in the Middle Ages was as much a product of a process of conquest and colonization as it was later a colonizer. "Will be of great interest to. . . . (those) interested in cultural transformation, colonialism, racism, the Crusades, or holy wars in general. . . ".--William C. Jordan, Princeton University. 12 halftones, 12 maps, 6 diagrams.

    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

  • Wing Leader
    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's books that are hidden gems

     — Source

  • The Fry Chronicles

    The Fry Chronicles

    The Fry Chronicles

    Stephen Fry
    Biography & Autobiography

    But when he arrived at Cambridge he was a convicted thief, an addict, and a failed suicide, convinced that he would be expelled. Instead, university life offered him love and the chance to entertain. He befriended bright young things like Hugh Laurie, now the star of House, and Emma Thompson. This is the hilarious and utterly compelling story of how the Stephen the world knows (or thinks it knows) took his first steps in the worlds of theater, radio, television, and film. Tales of scandal and champagne jostle with insights into hard-earned stardom. The Fry Chronicles is not afraid to confront the chasm that separates public image from private feeling, and it is marvelously rich in trademark wit and verbal brilliance.

    Paul Graham

    Reading The Fry Chronicles. As perfect as Wodehouse.

     — Source

  • The Inimitable Jeeves

    The Inimitable Jeeves

    The Inimitable Jeeves

    P. G. Wodehouse
    Fiction

    “To dive into a Wodehouse novel is to swim in some of the most elegantly turned phrases in the English language.”—Ben Schott Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic short story collections in the English language. This classic collection of linked stories feature some of the funniest episodes in the life of Bertie Wooster, gentleman, and Jeeves, his gentleman’s gentleman—in which Bertie's terrifying Aunt Agatha stalks the pages, seeking whom she may devour, while Bertie’s friend Bingo Little falls in love with seven different girls in succession (he marries the last, bestselling romantic novelist Rosie M. Banks). And Bertie, with Jeeves’s help, just evades the clutches of the terrifying Honoria Glossop. At its heart is one of Wodehouse’s most delicious stories and a comic masterpiece, "The Great Sermon Handicap."

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • The Battle of Alcazar
    Paul Graham

    I'm reading Bovill's excellent Battle of Alcazar

     — Source

  • The Ancient City
    Paul Graham

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

     — 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

    Memoirs or Chronicle of the Fourth Crusade and the Conquest of Constantinople were written by knight and historian Villehardouin. It is one of the few primary sources of the Fourth Crusade.

    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

  • Moab Is My Washpot

    Moab Is My Washpot

    Moab Is My Washpot

    Stephen Fry
    Actors

    Too old to rock and roll, to young to die, he covers his public school education and the degradation of a successful career in screen comedy, journalism and writing.

    Paul Graham

    Recommended on Paul's twitter account

     — Source

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Jared Diamond
    Civilization
    4.03 (337,185)

    This book answers the most obvious, the most important, yet the most difficult question about human history: why history unfolded so differently on different continents. Geography and biography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians

    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

  • Guns, Sails, and Empires
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • The Man Who Knew Infinity

    The Man Who Knew Infinity

    The Man Who Knew Infinity

    Robert Kanigel
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.95 (9,088)

    A biography of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. The book gives a detailed account of his upbringing in India, his mathematical achievements, and his mathematical collaboration with English mathematician G. H. Hardy. The book also reviews the life of Hardy and the academic culture of Cambridge University during the early twentieth century.

    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. Johnson
    Technology & Engineering

    Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson led the design of such crucial aircraft as the P-38 and Constellation, but he will be more remembered for the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes. His extraordinary leadership of the Lockheed “Skunk Works” cemented his reputation as a legendary figure in American aerospace management.

    Paul Graham

    How did I not know about this book til now?

     — Source

  • Flying Start

    Flying Start

    Flying Start

    Hugh Dundas
    History

    This is the autobiography of Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE, DSO, DFC, who was one of the most distinguished fighter pilots of World War II. He writes of his wartime experiences, and particularly of his period as Squadron Leader and Wing Commander and his involvement in the Battle of Britain.

    Paul Graham

    Flying Start is a wonderful book.

     — Source

  • Memoirs of My Life
    Paul Graham

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

     — 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 (122,610)

    A one-armed computer technician, a radical blonde bombshell, an aging academic, and a sentient all-knowing computer lead the lunar population in a revolution against Earth's colonial rule

    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

  • On Bullshit

    On Bullshit

    On Bullshit

    Harry G. Frankfurt
    Philosophy
    3.58 (11,467)

    Presents a theory of bullshit, how it differs from lying, how those who engage in it change the rules of conversation, and how indulgence in bullshit can alter a person's ability to tell the truth.

    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 (23,573)

    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. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

    Paul Graham

    Which incidentally I am (re)reading now.

     — Source

  • History of the World
    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

  • The Quest for El Cid
    Paul Graham

    Included on his list of recommended History books

     — Source

  • Hard Drive
    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 Soul of A New Machine

    The Soul of A New Machine

    The Soul of A New Machine

    Tracy Kidder
    Computers
    4.12 (7,373)

    Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder memorably records the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.

    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
    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

  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    Bill Watterson
    Comics & Graphic Novels
    4.79 (37,242)

    Brings together every "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon that has ever appeared in syndication, along with stories and poems from classic collections.

    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 (106,337)

    This classic work of scientific literature, presenting the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, is still both relevant and controversial in the twenty-first century. THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES: A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information A chronology of the author's life and work A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context An outline of key themes to guide the reader's own interpretations Detailed explanatory notes Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction A list of recommended related

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Blankie

    Blankie

    Blankie

    Leslie Patricelli
    Juvenile Fiction
    4.05 (328)

    A young child describes everything he can do with this blankie. On board pages.

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • The Hobbit

    The Hobbit

    The Hobbit

    J.R.R. Tolkien
    Juvenile Fiction
    4.28 (3,123,913)

    A great modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum. “A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible . . . All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts.” – New York Times Book Review

    Paul Graham

    We've already read The Hobbit twice.

     — Source

  • The Extension of Man

    The Extension of Man

    The Extension of Man

    J. D. Bernal
    Science
    4.00 (5)

    A history of physics up to the end of the classical era at the end of the 19th century, just before the discoveries of the subatom and relativity were made.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • The Spectator
    Paul Graham

    Yesterday I read (bits of) The Spectator

     — Source

  • Sunset at Blandings
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • How to Be Topp
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • No Easy Day

    No Easy Day

    No Easy Day

    Kevin Maurer,Mark Owen
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.99 (48,588)

    On 2 May 2011, the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, was killed in one of the most daring and dangerous special forces raids ever attempted. Set down at night deep inside Pakistan, SEAL Team Six's twenty-four-man assault team saw the raid go wrong right from the off. As a helicopter crashed inside bin Laden's compound, so the team were on the back foot in enemy territory : their mission and lives imperilled... As the only account of the planning and execution of the raid by one of the soldiers in the thick of the action, No Easy Day tells the story the world waited a decade to hear, bullet by bullet.

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Dog Man

    Dog Man

    Dog Man

    Dav Pilkey
    4.07 (48,090)

    Howl with laughter with Dog Man, the internationally bestselling series from Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants! George and Harold have created a new breed of justice -- one that is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO! 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

  • Moorish Spain
    Paul Graham

    Fletcher's _Moorish Spain_ is a great book.

     — Source

  • The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History

    The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History

    The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History

    Colin McEvedy
    History

    Traces the migrations and evolution of the races as well as the development of civilizations from prehistoric times to the fourth century A.D.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • My Forty Years with Ford
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Founders at Work

    Founders at Work

    Founders at Work

    Jessica Livingston
    Business & Economics
    3.97 (26,478)

    Now available in paperback—with a new preface and interview with Jessica Livingston about Y Combinator! 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 ideas that made them rich? How did they convince investors to back them? What went wrong, and how did they recover? Nearly all technical people have thought of one day starting or working for a startup. For them, this book is the closest you can come to being a fly on the wall at a successful startup, to learn how it's done. But ultimately these interviews are required reading for anyone who wants to understand business, because startups are business reduced to its essence. The reason their founders become rich is that startups do what businesses do—create value—more intensively than almost any other part of the economy. How? What are the secrets that make successful startups so insanely productive? Read this book, and let the founders themselves tell you.

    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

  • A History of Rome
    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    My Family and Other Animals

    Gerald Durrell
    Biography & Autobiography

    My Family and Other Animals is the first book in The Corfu Trilogy, the inspiration for ITV'sThe Durrells. The bewitching account of a rare and magical childhood on the island of Corfu by treasured British conservationist Gerald Durrell Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell family - acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog - take off for the island of Corfu. But the Durrells find that, reluctantly, they must share their various villas with a menagerie of local fauna - among them scorpions, geckos, toads, bats and butterflies. Recounted with immense humour and charm My Family and Other Animals is a wonderful account of a rare, magical childhood. 'Durrell has an uncanny knack of discovering human as well as animal eccentricities' Sunday Telegraph 'A bewitching book' Sunday Times

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Mohammed and Charlemagne

    Henri Pirenne
    Religion
    3.98 (497)

    2017 Reprint of 1939 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition software. Henri Pirenne's classic history of Europe between the fifth and ninth centuries, Mohammed and Charlemagne, although published on the eve of the Second World War, remains an important work to this day. His famous summary said, "Without Islam, the Frankish Empire would have probably never existed, and Charlemagne, without Muhammad, would be inconceivable." That is, he rejected the notion that barbarian invasions in the 4th and 5th centuries caused the collapse of the Roman Empire. Instead the Muslim conquest of north Africa made the Mediterranean a barrier, cutting western Europe off from the east, enabling the Carolingians, especially Charlemagne, to create a new, distinctly western form of government.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • The Lives of the Artists

    The Lives of the Artists

    The Lives of the Artists

    Giorgio Vasari,Julia Conaway Bondanella
    ART
    3.76 (28,628)

    Beginning with Cimabue and Giotto in the 13th century, Vasari traces the development of Italian art across three centuries to the golden epoch of Leonardo and Michelangelo.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

  • An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope
    Paul Graham

    Trollope's Autobiography is a wonderfully candid and inspiring one

     — Source

  • Harry Potter
    Paul Graham

    As someone who is constantly scouring bookshelves for good books for 7-10 year olds, I can say this is false, at least as regards published novels.

     — Source

  • Plagues and Peoples

    Plagues and Peoples

    Plagues and Peoples

    William McNeill
    Social Science
    3.90 (4,192)

    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 McNeill explores in his new introduction to this updated editon. Thought-provoking, well-researched, and compulsively readable, Plagues and Peoples is that rare book that is as fascinating as it is scholarly, as intriguing as it is enlightening. "A brilliantly conceptualized and challenging achievement" (Kirkus Reviews), it is essential reading, offering a new perspective on human history.

    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

  • Clocks and Culture
    Paul Graham

    I also recommend Clocks and Culture.

     — Source

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    The Complete Sherlock Holmes

    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Fiction

    The complete Sherlock Holmes contains everything written by Conan Doyle on the legendary private investigator. In a single volume all the novels and stories that have passionate all in the world for over 130 years

    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 Confessions
    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Good Night, Little Bear
    Paul Graham

    This evolved from that! Which in turn we got from

     — Source

  • Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days

    William Finnegan
    Biography & Autobiography
    4.24 (21,434)

    Describes the author's experiences as a lifelong surfer, from his early years in Honolulu through his culturally sophisticated pursuits of perfect waves in some of the world's most exotic locales.

    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

  • Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Medieval Technology and Social Change

    Lynn Townsend White,Lynn White (Jr.)
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.71 (217)

    Bibliography.

    Paul Graham

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

     — Source

  • Civilisation

    Civilisation

    Civilisation

    Kenneth Clark
    ART
    4.26 (1,492)

    Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation. The author takes us from Iona in the ninth century to France in the twelfth, from Florence to Urbino, from Germany to Rome, England, Holland and America. Against these historical backgrounds he sketches an extraordinary cast of characters -- the men and women who gave new energy to civilisation and expanded our understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also highlights the works of genius they produced -- in architecture, sculpture and painting, in philosophy, poetry and music, and in science and engineering, from Raphael's School of Athens to the bridges of Brunel.

    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 (92)

    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

  • A Story Lately Told

    A Story Lately Told

    A Story Lately Told

    Anjelica Huston
    Biography & Autobiography
    3.33 (2,649)

    The Academy Award-winning actress and director shares the first half of her unconventional life, from her childhood in Ireland and her teen years in London to her coming of age as a model and budding actress in New York.

    Paul Graham

    Anjelica Huston's Story Lately Told is wonderful

     — Source

  • The Gallic Wars
    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — 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 (1,494)

    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 of responsibility. Here is a portrait of Bradley as he was in college, before his time with the New York Knicks and his election to the U.S. Senate—a story that suggests the abundant beginnings of his professional careers in sport and politics.

    Paul Graham

    Mentioned on his twitter account

     — Source

  • Concorde

    Concorde

    Concorde

    Geoffrey Knight
    Concorde (Jet transports)

    Paul Graham

    Mentioned on Paul Graham's Twitter

     — 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 (214,224)

    A book which speaks directly to the confusions and agonies of existence, detailing a personal, philosophical odyssey.

    Paul Graham

    Included in Paul Graham's book list

     — Source

View similar people