Readings

Currently making my way through Infinite Jest and On the Road. Looking for fun, longer reads.

Ongoing list of some all-time favourites and other iconic readings. The life ones are paired with songs to read to. My (current) favourite cs links can be found here.

I do not necessarily agree with all of the thoughts included in readings below. Thanks to anyone who recommended readings on this list! Suggestions always welcome.

Do Things Faster

Productivity - Sam Altman

HOWTO: Be more productive - Aaron Swartz

Maker’s Schedule - Paul Graham

Productivity Archive - Brad Feld

How Do We Live & How Do Others Live? Vignettes

The Trouble with Optionality - Mihir Desai Harvard Commencement Speech

You can never create enough option value—and the longer you spend acquiring options, the harder it is to stop.

Considering Nontraditional Summer Opportunities - Rohan Pavuluri

A close-to-home related example on the topic of optionality.

This is Water - David Foster Wallace

You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.

L’Étranger - Albert Camus

C’était à cause du soleil.

Slouching Towards Bethlam - Joan Didion

It is impossible to think of Howard Hughes without seeing the apparently bottomless gulf between what we say we want and what we do want, between what we officially admire and secretly desire, between, in the largest sense, the people we marry and the people we love.

Why go out? Sheila Heti

The first thing I did in my search for an answer to Why go out? was write down a list of every single reason I could think of to go out – there were about twelve.

This Is the Life - Annie Dillard

You enjoy work and will love your grandchildren, and somewhere in there you die.

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

Be Better

Invention of Objectivity - Aaron Swartz

Indeed, objectivity wasn’t even invented until the 1900s.

If - Rudyard Kipling (poem)

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.

Principles - Ray Dalio

I just want to be right—I don’t care if the right answer comes from me.

The Undoing Project - Michael Lewis

No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.

Politics and the English Language - George Orwell

It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

You and Your Research - Richard Hamming’s speech, courtesy of Sam Altman’s blog

If you do not work on an important problem, it’s unlikely you’ll do important work.