Not exactly the best way to control a network device. But it is what we have.
Plus, every machine tries to do something different with the non-standard stuff.And different parts of the APIs (called MIBs) from the same vendor follow different reference conventions, so you end up asking a lot of (mostly useless) data to be able to change something from up to down.
Avoid it if you can and use something simpler, like sshing to the device.
Then, maybe, PayPal's NVP APIs. Quite a mess (although, I guess, I can understand why it's that way), with docs not really covering the fine details, esp. all the possible failures.
Didn't know it could take so much code for polling simple data for IDs.
It's been a few years, but from memory:
IIRC you could e.g. install new keys, but not quite list them (somehow only almost), and you couldn't remove them again.
Amusingly you could also tell the API was developed by three different people, who preferred different API styles (I remember one was fond of callbacks, the others apparently not so much). Reading the documentation was pretty funny because you got pretty good at spotting which functions had been created by Alice, Bob or Charlie. That was the only thing that was fun about it :-)
It's unreliable, unstable, poorly documented, and yet every manager wants to use it because hey Facebook are a big company their Api must be great right?
TL;DR - automate your Babel config options based on targets.
babel-preset-env: A Babel preset that can automatically determine the Babel plugins and polyfills you need based on your supported environments.
It takes the data from compat-table  to generate a mapping  between a Babel plugin and the first version that a browser/env supports. We calculate the least common denominator of your targeted envs to determine the final set of plugins to compile with.
(Feel free to ask questions, I help maintain Babel and the preset). Just released a 1.0 a few weeks ago and looking for more help and usage! Looking into more help with removing unnecessary polyfills, and determining plugins based on performance via benchmarks of native/compiled.
And yes there is a lot of work that goes into making this work correctly (and in the foreseeable future with ES2015+). Would appreciate any help moving forward. And maybe we should just replace/recommend this preset instead of anything else to fight the fatigue..
: https://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es6/: https://github.com/babel/babel-preset-env/blob/master/data/p...
* Most people familiar with JS will pick up on them very easily
* It makes "patterns" like immutable data and some straightforward async code MUCH easier (object spread, async/await, etc...)
* node.js supports it (with a slight speed penalty, however it hasn't bottlenecked us yet so we aren't worrying about it yet)
* Most modern browsers support many of the features, and those that don't the polyfills and compilation is pretty much "drop in" with the rest of our build system.
* Dead code elimination has completely changed how we architect our projects for the better
* const gives us less bugs by preventing overwriting and scope confusion
* One of the main applications we are using it on only supports newer browsers that support ES6 natively anyway (due to needing certain browser APIs), so using the full extent of those browsers doesn't seem like it's going to cause any issues.
* There doesn't seem to be any downside. We are only using stuff which is already in the spec, or close enough to being finalized that we are comfortable. If performance is an issue we can just not use it in performance critical code, and it's just nicer to work with.
I will say that it's not all daisies and roses though. We are worried what will happen if the module loading spec goes in another direction than we think it will, not to mention that interfacing with external ES6 libraries is either done through transpiled common-js code (which loses most of the benefits of ES6), or through "hacky" solutions like a "nonstandard" field in the package.json which lets something like webpack load the ES6 version (which we have no idea what features they are using, might need transpiled, might need fixed, etc...).
Like anything, it's a bit of a gamble. But I'm confident that we will save more time and have less bugs by using the new features than we will lose to fixing modules to be inline with the spec or dealing with incompatibility problems.
I think it all depends on your context and use case. If you're running code on the server, there's no reason to compile down to ES5 if you know that your node version can run your code without modification. At my company, we write browser-based tools for scientists, so we have a bit more flexibility in asking users to use modern browsers. We still use babel and target ES5, but we may move off of it before normal consumer websites do.
Whenever the cost of supporting old, ES5-only browsers (measured by the amount of time spent debugging/adapting code * dev hourly rate) surpasses the income brought in by users on those browsers, it's probably time to make the switch.
For the web app case, you obviously don't want to just cut out access to those users (that would be pretty bad customer service! that can totally ruin your reputation), so you also need to factor in the costs of educating your users about the upgrade, giving them enough time and/or providing an alternative means of using your app. (ex: an Electron-based app installer)
Considering how good the polyfills and transpilers currently are (assuming you already have those set up) the maintenance costs of supporting ES5 are very low. It makes very little financial sense to not support it for existing applications ATM.
If you're just starting with an app, that is going to launch in one year or more (assuming you're focused on a general audience , instead of a specialized market like corporate where browsers are updated more slowly) then I'd probably already start without worrying about ES5 at all.
Two things: template strings and arrow functions. Async is life-changing, but lack of support - can't use it yet.. Greatest feature since XMLHttpRequest IMO.
I can write ES6, stick babel.js on it and my code will be both present-proof and future-proof.
If that's not what you meant, perhaps "justify" would be a better word to use. Or maybe just: "Why?"
I limit myself to ES5 code on the client side for now and probably at least next year too.
By writing code that is compatible with the platform it runs on I'm able to avoid having a slow, lengthy or complex build process to reach that state.
ES6 also nudges the code toward a bit more uniformity that can lead to better medium term maintainability.
There are several big reasons:
1) ES5 "classes" cannot extend ES6 classes (it's not possible to emulate a super() call in ES5), so:
1a) All the extendable built-ins are basically ES6 classes. If you want to extend Array, Map, Set, HTMLElement, Error, etc. you really should use ES6, and deal with emulating extending those classes in the compilation step.
1b) Really useful patterns, like ES6 mixins ( http://justinfagnani.com/2015/12/21/real-mixins-with-javascr... ) don't work when ES5 and ES6 versions are mixed in a prototype chain. That is, an ES6 mixin, compiled to ES5, can't be applied to an ES6 superclass. So if you distribute ES5 you're forcing everything above you on the prototype chain to be ES5.
2) It's much easier to debug uncompiled code, and all major browsers (as of Firefox 51) and node support ES6 well. Shipping uncompiled ES6 is a dream to work with comparatively.
3) ES6 is a much better compilation target for things like async/await because of generators.
4) ES6 is easier to statically analyze, so tools like TernJS and TypeScript (which can do analysis of regular JS too) can give better completions, etc.
5) It makes the pipeline from source -> packaging -> depending -> building for deployment much simpler.
Packages shouldn't assume too much about their eventual environment. That used to mean not assuming that the environment had ES6 or things like Promises. But times change and now that all the current environments support ES6, packages shouldn't assume that environments _don't_ support it.
So packages shouldn't directly depend on polyfills that most current environments have (Promise, Object.assign, new Array methods, etc.). Instead they should target standard ES6 and let the app developer who knows what they're targeting choose the necessary polyfills and down compilation. There's really too much bloat from packages forcing the inclusion of multiple Promise polyfills, or versions of core-js.
Also, it used to be that compiling dependencies was a major pain. You'd likely have to write custom build rules that compile and stage each dependency - because each dependency might have different language features and polyfill they might use. Now the packagers like WebPack and Rollup are so good at finding all dependencies statically, and we have a new stable plateau of language features in ES6, that the packager can compile everything it needs.
Of course if you use features beyond ES6, then those should be compiled to ES6. This implies a rule of thumb to move forward: Once all major browsers and node LTS have a feature, start assuming that feature and don't compile it out. For example, once Firefox and node LTS get the exponentiation operator, start distributing ES2016 (see http://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es2016plus/ ).
As a developer, the new versions of EcmaScript include good features that make easier the development of our applications. Also, ES6 is not a beta, it's a new version of the language. We are talking about frontend, so the execution environment of our application is unknown. However, the benefits of using the new features are big.
For me, the most important one is the new methods on basic types. With old versions of EcmaScript, I needed to rely in third party libraries to add some functionalities to my project. With the new versions of ES, my code is more independent from external sources.
Also, Babel provides backward compatibility for old versions of the language. As I mentioned, we don't know the execution environment of our project, but the TC39, the committee behind the decisions of the new features, has thought in this. Adding backward compatibility is a requirement for new features in the language.
My understanding of the American history of racism was basically that it was generally getting better over time. Slavery, Civil War, Jim Crow, and then the civil rights era. What this leaves out was that things got rapidly better after the civil war for a few decades, and then got substantially worse. And that it didn't get worse in the south; all over America white people drove out non-whites from their towns. They created "sundown towns", places where African-Americans weren't allowed after dark.
This is an era that goes unmentioned in most official local histories, and I never heard about it growing up white. That was the case even though it was happening all around the area I grew up. E.g., not far from where my family lived was a major vacation area built by and for well-off African-Americans because they were kept out of the white ones:
I had literally never heard of the place, let alone known its history, even though I know the name of almost every town an village nearby.
Deep Work - Cal Newport (recommended)
Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Gilbert (recommended)
Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals - Heidi Grant-Halvorson (lots of great stuff in here, highly recommended)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley (I really like biographies and Malcolm X was a pretty interesting person. recommended)
Making It in Real Estate: Starting Out as a Developer - John McNellis (meh)
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (I'm not big on sci-fi, so this book surprised me with how good it was. recommended)
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl (I'm not sure how much I got out of it, but worth it just for learning about Frankl's unique experiences and perspectives. recommended)
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (meh)
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture - David Kushner (One of those books that makes you want to lock yourself in a room and program for hours. Carmack's dedication and intellect is especially awe-inspiring. recommended)
It was written in 1935 during the rise of totalitarian regimes in Italy and Germany, but before WW2. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that the American democracy was immune to the disease of dictatorship.
The novel speculates how a populist figure could manipulate people through fear, racism, corporatism, local militias and bald-faced lies.
He wins the popular vote and turns the US into a totalitarian dystopia.
It's fascinating to get a glimpse into people's understanding of the world before WW2 broke out. I pictured a series of catastrophes that were surprises to most people. But it's clear from this book that the horrors were anticipated in advance.
I went in expecting nothing and almost abandoned half way through the first book as it seemed like a Hunger Games / Divergent rip off (and I didn't even like either of those particularly), but holy crap after about half way into the first book I was hooked. I powered through all three in a week and a half. The books are pure fun. Didn't make me think too much, and had plenty of action, politics, twists, broken friendships, violence, sex, rape, torture, etc. Not exactly YA I would say, but then again the material isn't exactly complicated either.
All in all, if you need a break from serious reads and enjoy sci-fi / fantasy, check this out. The books were absolutely written to be made into a movie trilogy at some point and I can't wait for it.
Books Read in 2016:
1. The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge- Poundstone, William
2. My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos- Schechter, Bruce
3. One Summer: America, 1927- Bryson, Bill
4. The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earths Past, #1)- Liu, Cixin
5. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit- Godin, Seth
6. At Home: A Short History of Private Life- Bryson, Bill
7. Kings of Kings (Hardcore History, #56-58)- Carlin, Dan
8. Blueprint for Armageddon (Hardcore History #50-55)- Carlin, Dan
9. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal- Klaff, Oren
10. William Shakespeare: The World as Stage- Bryson, Bill
11. So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love- Newport, Cal
12. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles- Pressfield, Steven
13. In a Sunburned Country- Bryson, Bill
14. Cannery Row- Steinbeck, John
15. Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers- Weinberg, Gabriel
16. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World- Newport, Cal
17. Starship Troopers- Heinlein, Robert A.
18. No Touch Monkey!: And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late- Halliday, Ayun
If you're looking for a book on the British Empire, this isn't it. Of course, the Empire is an essential topic in the book; however, Tombs focus remains centered on Britain, and, more specifically, England itself. For example, when discussing the Seven Years War, Tombs emphasizes how events abroad affected domestic politics without going into great detail about the international events themselves.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in English history.
The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, by Matthew B. Crawford. This is Crawford's second book, and I recommend his first, Shop Class as Soulcraft, even more highly. This is modern philosophy, intense and grounded in the history and conventions of philosophy, but not unreadable if you're patient. Crawford started working at a Washington think tank, and bailed for a more honest life as a vintage motorcycle mechanic. He walked away from wealth and "success" in favor of ethics and peace. His focus is on the intellectual and moral value of working at a craft, using your hands and your mind in concert to create and maintain things of lasting value. When you work with the physical world, you must shape yourself to the physical world, as much as you bend the physical world to your will. In this book, he talks less about the value of work, and more about the structure of society. It has some fairly extensive critique of the Enlightenment philosophy that molded American government and ethics, and pretty brutal takedowns of many of our institutions today, which he considers wrongheaded and actively interfering with a good life. He'll make you think, for sure.
The second book is Drift into Failure: From Hunting Broken Components to Understanding Complex Systems, by Sidney Dekker. The subject is how we analyze failures in very complex systems (such as airplane crashes, bridge collapses, etc). Such systems are built extremely carefully and at great cost, with extensive engineering for safety and reliability, and regulatory oversight. Yet sometimes, they fail anyway. Analyzing such failures can take years and is never (honestly) reduceable to some single-sentence cause. Yet that's what we try to do. Dekker argues that the reductionist approach of the scientific method, our entire way of doing rigorous thinking, is inadequate for complex systems, because there are too many interactions. Scientific method depends on reducing variables, and sometimes, variables can't be reduced. Again, this is fascinating stuff that will really change how you think.
- Statistics Done Wrong by Alex Reinhart. Plenty of gotchas with real world examples from academia. Well written and easy to read.
- The Circle by Dave Eggers. This one was scary. About imaginary corporation (a blend of Facebook and Google and Amazon) and probably not too distant future. If you liked Black Mirrors, you will love this.
- Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous. Classic novel with interesting thoughts about engineered society, where every human is assigned class, purpose in the society and feature at birth.
- Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal by Bilton, Nick. Read this book in a weekend, really well written and well researched about the inception of Twitter.
- Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Tetlock, Philip E. A study on people with above average ability to forecast feature events (mostly geo-political). Talks about measuring predictions and improving them.
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Brilliant book about overlooking rare events which have dramatic consequences because 'it's unlikely to happen'.
He's creating a truly magnificent universe with the Cosmere. As I understand it, he expects it to reach 32+ books total. It's all centered around Stormlight Archive, which is an ongoing 10 novel series.
The killer detail that helped win me over as a big fan was the fact that he communicates with his fans. He's a fast writer, but he still gives updates. After a few years of following GRRM, having an author that so openly speaks with his fans is a breath of fresh air. I think everyone is usually aware that estimates are never truly accurate, but at least it gives you an idea of what the author expects to accomplish. If he says he's hoping to get the next Stormlight Archive book by the end of next year, I know that doesn't mean it's definitely going to happen. But that's fine, at least he's being open and communicating with his followers.
Honestly, I think Stormlight Archive has blow away pretty much everything else I've read.
This year I discovered a genre called LitRPG  and picked up all the major books in the genre. It's very light reading, for when you just wanna go off on a brief adventure. I enjoy videogames but I tend to find myself too tired or busy to want to go into the grind myself, so this made for an entertaining proxy.
In no particular order...
Cixin Liu -- The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest. Good read, as you'll see on everyone else's list.
Neal Stephenson -- Seveneves. Really good but arguably his weakest in some time; I wish the first three-quarters of the book were shorter and the final quarter a book in and of itself.
Cal Newport -- So Good They Can't Ignore You. I found this longer than necessary but an excellent kick in the pants.
Marcus Aurelius -- Meditations. Feels like a good "life reference" rather than a straight-through read.
Roald Dahl -- Boy, Going Solo. These were fun when I first went through them years ago, and they still _are_ fun, but the lens through which I view live has become one increasingly allergic to entitlement, and boy, if you want entitlement, look to the Brits at the end of the imperialist era.
Ed Catmull -- Creativity, Inc. Read this for work. Enjoyable but ehh.
Peter Tompkins -- The Secret Life of Plants (unfinished). I tried but couldn't get past the rampant bad science.
Steve Martin -- Born Standing Up. This was a fun profile of a comic that I appreciate; if you're already a fan it's worthwhile, otherwise skip it.
Derek Sivers -- Anything You Want. You can blow through this in a day and you should.
Worth highlighting, my most influential read this year:
Tara Brach -- Radical Acceptance. I loved this. No: I _needed_ this. Rather than the many philosophy-influenced books you'll find in this thread that are really business books with new buzzwords, this is just about loving yourself and building on that to live life fully. This will not (at least directly) help you build a startup. This will (directly) help you build important relationships.
+Effective Computation in Physics. Probably the most practical full-environment treatment of Python I've seen. Write, test, package, distribute. Third party libs.
Effective Python, Brett Slatkin. Sort of an "N ways to improve your Python." Part of a series edited by Scott Meyers.
Getting my C mojo back:
I left C/C++ 15 years ago. C++ will likely stay left, but I miss C.
+Reading 21st Century C, Ben Klemens. The first half is the development environment, which is great, since there's some new stuff since I left, and lots of stuff I've forgotten or never knew.
Rereading Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets by Van der Linden. The guy's a riot. It's dated but still relevant. The inside baseball stuff on problems seen while working in Sun's compiler group is fascinating.
Rereading C Interfaces and Implementations, Hanson. Hoping this will serve as my C version of Large Scale C++ Design by Lakos. Honestly though, the literate programming style of presentation is off-putting. Are we still talking about that?
* Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. If you can read only one book on startup this year, read this book.
* Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.
* Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works.
* Alibaba's World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business.
* Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle.
* Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble. You will like or hate this book a lot, but it's surely an interesting read and perspective.
* Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Good book that gives you a framework to become more optimistic.
* Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
* The Three-Body Problem Trilogy. Great, great sci-fi.
* Understanding ECMAScript 6. Best ES6 reference book.
* Node.js Design Patterns. Best Node book for intermediate/advanced developers.
* CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems. Great, great book on advanced CSS tips & tricks.
* Mastering Selenium WebDriver. This is probably the only good book on Selenium among so many bad books on this topic.
* Grokking Algorithms: An illustrated guide for programmers and other curious people. This is a good book but might be too basic for many people. Recommended for those who wants to quickly refresh their algorithms knowledge.
3. Tribes by Seth Godin
4. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
5. The Industries of the Future by Alex Ross
6. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews
7. The Science of Getting Rich: Financial Success Through Creative Thought by WALLACE D. WATTLES (The Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reads)
8. Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
9. Principles by Ray Dalio
10. Como Ganar Amigas e Influir Sobre las Personas by Dale Carnegie
11. Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian
12. Tribe by Sebastian Junger
13. Sapiens A Brief History of Humanity by Yuval Noah Harari
14. This is Water by David Foster Wallace
15. How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
16. Walt Disney By Neal Gabler
17. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
18. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
19. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
20. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine
Out of all these, I would recommend only a few:
- The Rational Optimist
- Walt Disney By Neal Gabler
- How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking.
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
* The Short Drop (The Gibson Vaughn Series) - Matthew FitzSimmons
* The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
* Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution - Neil deGrasse Tyson
* Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future - Ashlee Vance
* Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries - Neil deGrasse Tyson
* The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest To Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind - Michio Kaku
* An Innocent Client (Joe Dillard Series Book 1) - Scott Pratt
* WIRED - Douglas E. Richards
* Phantoms - Dean Koontz
* Breakthrough - Michael C. Grumley
* Knots And Crosses (Inspector Rebus) - Ian Rankin
* Founders at Work - Jessica Livingston
* The Tumor: A Non-Legal Thriller - John Grisham
* Kick the Drink... Easily! - Jason Vale
* Hide And Seek (Inspector Rebus) - Ian Rankin
* Tooth And Nail - Ian Rankin
* Nexus (The Nexus Trilogy Book 1) - Ramez Naam
* Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow - Yuval Noah Harari
* Biocentrism - Bob Berman
I usually can't read a book after seeing the movie or show, but the BBC version was so good and I read reviews that they left out quite a bit. The book definitely had a lot more detail, and was even more entertaining.
- "Flash for Freedom" by George McDonald Fraser.
A part of series of historical fiction starring Harry Flashman, a cowardly degenerate who always ends up admired and revered by all around as a hero. This one is set amongst the 49ers, the Battle of Little Big Horn, and more.
- "Neverwhere" By Neil Gaiman.
Fantasy novel about a regular guy in London sucked into a magical "London below". I thought it was clever writing, and the audiobook read by the author was surprisingly good.
- "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen.
Post-apocalyptic novel about the effects of an EMP attack on the USA.
- "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank.
Another post-apocalyptics novel, about conventional nuclear attack on many sites in the USA.
- "Cibola Burn" by James S. A. Corey.
Part of the Expanse Series that has been made into a show on SyFy. These books aren't page turners for me, but overall they are entertaining enough.
- Owner's Share by Nathan Lowell
I forget who recommended I read the Solar Clipper series several years ago, but I have been following them for a long time and look forward to it. It's part of a series, so start with the first one (Quarter Share) and continue from there.
- Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno
- Programming Beyond Practices by Gregory Brown.
- Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed by Henry S.F. Cooper Jr.
For the rest of the books I read this year: https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/3965760
- Elon Musk: Inventing the Future - Ashlee VanceTotally worth to get insight into the Elon. Kinda changes the superhero/good guy image everyone has but you end up with more respect for him whatsoever.
- Thinking fast and slow - Daniel KahnemanAwesome book presenting modern psychology. You'll get insight into how humans work.
- Rework - Jason Fried, David Heinemeier HanssonNice, albeit small book regarding how the creators of rails manage their company. So very nice insight.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers - Ben HorowitzI started reading this but it was too business centric for me so I stopped, however if you're a business owner it might be worth it.
- Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel - Rolf PottsThis is a nice/into book if you're interested into digital nomading, long term travel in general.
- The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas TalebThis in my opinion is a superb book if you are interested in statistics/philosophy. He presents the chaotic structure of our world and why extreme events are more common than we think.Definitely suggested.
- The art of Learning - Josh WaitzkinThis is a book that presents the Author's (Chess and Tai Chi Chuan World champion) way of learning. Has some pretty useful insight.
: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12415621: https://github.com/kostistsaprailis/non-tech-books-for-devel...
 - https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/106689.Ask_HN_Books_you_...
 - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1060933-listopia-list-l...
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat ~ Oliver Sacks, 1985. This book contains tales of some of the Sacks's patients. A very interesting read. 
- The Mind's Eye ~ Oliver Sacks, 2010. 
- Spy Catcher (Autobiography of a MI5 agent) ~ Peter Wright, 1987. 
- Applied Cryptography ~ Bruce Schneier, 1994. Approachable and succinate language of this book makes it easier to understand. 
I cannot recommend Masters of Doom highly enough to anyone on this website. It's about the rise of Id games and the technological and cultural breakthroughs they made in the industry. Kushner expertly weaves a tale about video games, programming and entrepreneurship in a way that few can. His attention to detail is masterful -- not simply an overabundance of detail, but detail in all the places it belongs. I really felt like I was there with the two great Johns, just as invested in the future of Id as they were.
I also read:
The Martian, Andy Weir --Loved it, but not for everyone
Streams of Silver, R.A. Salavatore --A fun read, disappointing ending
A Clash of Kings, George R.R. Martin --Wonderful
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius --Also wonderful
The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba & John Stevens --Platitudinous bullshit and an affront to O'Sensei
I highly recommend this book since it's good on so many levels.
Unlike quackery books into self improvement, her book describes her research and journey into human achievement using the scientific method.
2. Anils Ghost (Michael Ondaatje) - Drama with a war background. Nice read.
3. Financial intelligence for Entrepreneurs - Very useful now that I have a small company of my own.
4. How to Speak How to listen (Mortimer Adler) - Worth it. I enjoy public speaking and this was well written and quite useful.
2016's been a bad year for me as far as books go.
Non Fiction: White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
It sometimes reads like "A People's History of the United States", but the chapter about Andrew Jackson's election would seem like they were forcing the analogies to the 2016 election if not for the fact that it was published beforehand.
Fiction: American Godshttps://smile.amazon.com/American-Gods-Tenth-Anniversary-Nov...
I think lots of people will like this book, but certainly those who are into road trips across America.
How to Read a Book, Mortimer J. Adler
High Output Management, Andy Grove
Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson
Programming Pearls, Jon Bentley
Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson
Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein
Tyranny of Words, Stuart Chase
Golden Mean, Annabel Lyon
Disrupted, Dan Lyons
Big Data, Nathan Marz
Practical OO Design in Ruby, Sandi Metz
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, Rainier Maria Rilke
Anatomy of a City, Kate Ascher
Language and Thought by Chomsky
Hero of a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
Language and Responsibility by Chomsky
Magic, Science, Religion by Malinowski
Meditiations by Marcus Aurelius
Oranges by John McPhee
The Dream of the Enlightement, Anthony Gottlieb
Nonexistant Knight/Cloven Viscount, two novellas by Calvino Italo
Deltoid Pumpkin Seed by John McPhee
Infrastructure by Brian Haynes
I'd recommend almost all of them, but especially the first two, and Autobiography of Red(poetry).
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky - I went back to Dostoevsky because I needed a break from business books... Something to distract me from work in the evenings. Dostoevsky's overly descriptive narrative does a great job of transporting my mind to 19th-century Russia and far, far from my work and other present-day concerns.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and Deep Work by Cal Newport - Pairing them together because they both reminded me the same important lessons: 1) Do fewer things and do them better, 2) Being overly busy is not a sign of success.
Of all the books I've read, this one resonated with me the most. It discusses the process of art making, both the personal process of finding your work and learning how to get better, as well as the issues with being judged through your work. If you treat your projects/code more like art than science, I think this book will be an enjoyable and provoking read.
Race Against The Machine - a concise and informative discussion of the impact of technology on employment, income distribution and macro economics. Highly recommended as well.
This year was rough for me as I had to deal with severe symptoms of anxiety that eventually led to panic attacks. I tried to understand the phenomenon and tackle subjects such as anxiety, consciousness and perceptual experience. Three books are especially interesting in that regard:
- The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness - Antonio Damasio - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/125777.The_Feeling_of_Wh...
- Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety - Joseph LeDoux - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398722-anxious?ac=1&fr...
- Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception - John Searle: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22104265-seeing-things-a...
The first two books are dealing with the neurophysiological aspects, with a focus on the brain and the specific areas involved with physical sensory experiences and/or consciousness. It explains how some areas of the brain are linked to fear and anxiety (fear conditioning, fight-or-flight response, etc.). Reading "The Feeling of What Happens" gives you all the necessary knowledge to fully understand the second book which is a tough read. The book "Anxious" also gives you a glimpse on different methods to treat and prevent symptoms of anxiety (Cognitive behavioral Therapy, SSRI, beta blockers, meditation, etc..). The last book is theoretical but comes as a good complement and gives you a broad understanding on the notion of perception (which is central to the first book).
Knowing which parts of the brain are involved with fear and anxiety and how everything fits together helps me controlling my emotions when physical symptoms of anxiety are appearing (the trigger to panic attacks).
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It - McGonigal, Kelly. Great book
The Feynman Lectures on Physics - Feynman, Richard - He is a great teacher, you will love physics even if you didnt like it.
Stumbling on Happiness - Gilbert, Daniel Todd - Great book about how our mind works
I had to survive - Roberto Canessa: He is a survivor from the the Andes tragedy, half of the book is about that and the other half about what happens next, he become one of the best paediatric cardiologists in the world.
2. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)
3. The Fellowship of the Ring (J. R. R. Tolkien)
4. The Sin of Certainty (Peter Enns)
5. The Bible Tells Me So (Peter Enns)
6. Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations
7. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
8. Elantris (Brandon Sanderson)
9. A Wild Sheep Chase (Haruki Murakami)
10. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Haruki Murakami)
11. Freedom TM (Daniel Suarez)
12. Lightning (Dean Koontz)
13. Daemons (Daniel Suarez)
14. Foundation and Earth (Isaac Asimov)
15. Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
16. Fear and Loathing in Las Veges (Hunter S. Thompson)
17. Foundation's Edge (Isaac Asimov)
18. The Doors of Perception (Aldous Huxley)
19. Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
20. Tortilla Flat (John Steinbeck)
21. The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
* Born a Crime by Noah Trevor
* Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
* Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Alexievich, Svetlana
* Ex-Formation by Hara, Kenya (best book I read this year)
* A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson, Bill
* Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian (applying algorithm theory to daily life)
* Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Voss Chris (meh)
* Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Knapp Jake (meh)
* All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr Anthony (loved it)
* The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro Kazuo (loved it)
Somehow tech/startup related:
- Spelunky, Derek Yu: book about creating the game of Spelunky + notes on game design
- Disrupted, Dan Lyons: book about "old" guy working in startup
- Hatching Twitter, Nick Bilton: book about Twitter
- A Wild Sheep Chase, Haruki Murakami: modern Japanese novel
- The Hills of Chianti, Piero Antinori: story about wine company and notes on wine making, wine marketing and other stuff from one of the most notable wine company from Italy (700 years old, owned by one family whole history)
- The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clark: scifi classic
Once you realize virtually every conversation with a human is also a negotiation, the need to study it becomes clear.
Best Book I read this year : Deep Work by Cal Newport and One World Education by Sal Khan.
Best fiction : Laughter in the Dark by Nabokov.
## Deep Work by Cal Newport
## The life changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo
## So good they cant ignore you by Cal Newport
## Serious men by Manu Joseph
## Strangers on a train
## One world education by Sal Khan (Highly recommend it)
There are several wonderful takeaways from the book which I will try to list :
- The current model of education is broken. The Prussian system was designed to isolate workers from thinkers and factory laborers from office bearers. In an era where we need lots of original and creative minds to solve problems, it just doesnt work.
- Conventional education system leads to a lot of gaps in learning, which are not addressed. For example, in spite of scoring 90% in math, you might have missed out on a key concept which will come back to haunt you later on.
- The system of homework is broken. It prioritizes quantity over quality and is meaningless.
- The testing system is just a snapshot of the students learning and does not says nothing about a students potential to learn a subject.
Sal goes on to propose a futuristic schooling system where students would use Khan Academy or an equivalent medium to progress at their own pace and use their classrooms for pursuing creative activities and enhancing his/her learning. Another interesting idea which he proposes is to dismantle age-wise segregation and group them based on the levels they are at in terms of progress made.
I think Sal Khan is a fantastic role model for kids and adults alike. A former hedge fund analyst turned educator is shaking up the fundamentals of our education system and tackling problems which are deeply rooted and slowly turning political as well. Heres to a bright Sal-led future for education!
Overall, I would give the book 4.5/5. Visionary. Excellent. Ambitious!
## The Invisible Hand
## Disgraced by Ayad Akthar
## Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
## Laugher in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov
Some of the books I've read this year and recommend are
1. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi (Found this book through the author's essay (basically, an abstract from the book) in NY Times. I love it. It is the story about the life of the neurosurgeon who was battling with his cancer.)
2. The Bridge to Brilliance - Nadia Lopez (Found this book from Humans of New York page. It is the story about a school principal trying to open up a school, getting school and other struggles along the way.)
3. The Phoenix Project - I think HN audience would know it. Fun read.
4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (This is the book I've been meaning to read but only did it awhile ago. It's beautifully written. It opens up my minds about aging and the struggles that elder people face it. It also reminds me that it is most important that one gets to enjoy life till it ends.)
The other books I read are 5 books of Haruki Murakami. Among them, I really enjoyed Wind Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark a lot.
My Goodreads for "read-2016" (although I am hoping to read a book before end of the year) is at https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/22920556?shelf=read-20....
Chapman worked for sometime in sales and later product management at MicroPro (WordStar), Ashton-Tate, Novell, etc... so it has quite an "inside-look" feel and the subject matter sounds like it's treated fairly.
The narrative is quite the page-turner for a non-fiction book, but my only qualm with it is that Chapman can be pretty sophomoric and unnecessarily gratuitous in his lampooning and shaming of business leaders or strategies which flirts with undermining the otherwise really insightful analysis.
It's a little dated (Microsoft is still king and Apple the scrappy underdog), but I think it's an important context for anyone following tech today.
- The Art of Being Unreasonable ( Eli Broad )- Alibaba ( Clark )- The Box ( Levinson )- King Icahn ( Stevens )- Expert C Programming ( Linden )- A Passion to Win ( Redstone )- Chaos Monkeys ( Martinez )- A Truck Full of Money ( Kidder )- The Hidden Wealth of Nations ( Zucman )- Dead Wake ( Larson )
I'd recommend it if you're looking for some math reading.
1. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future
2. The Code Book - Simon Singh
3. Fermat's Enigma - Simon Singh
4. Deep Work - Cal Newport
5. Smarter Faster Better - Charles Duhigg
7. So good they can't ignore you - Cal Newport
8. Distributed Systems for fun and profit
9. Classic Shell Scripting
Things I partially read and hope to complete some time:
1. The music of Primes
3. Founders at work
4. Your Memory: How it works and how to improve it
Things I would recommend:Fermat's Enigma and The Code Book are very interesting reads if you are into Mathematics. They are both written very well and you don't need to know too much of Mathematics to understand it. On the other hand The Music of Primes started of very interesting and then got a bit too heavy for an evening read. If you can chug along I think it would be a good one too.
Of all the self help books I mentioned I think Duhiggs Smarter, faster better is the one that stands out. It is more of an analysis of various teams and people and how they got to work efficiently.
Founders at work is a long read but something that you can read a chapter independently and that's why it is under half read but definitely something to look at.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek -Dillard, Annie
The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick -Mandelbrot, Benot B.
Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories -Blackwood, Algernon
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience -Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly
Death in Venice -Mann, Thomas
Whites -Rush, Norman
The Room -Selby Jr., Hubert
Book of Numbers -Cohen, Joshua
Maggot: Poems -Muldoon, Paul
The Peasant in Nineteenth-Century Russia -Vucinich, Wayne S.
The Mezzanine -Baker, Nicholson
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender -Ugrei, Dubravka
What Is Life? with Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches -Schrdinger, Erwin
Dictionary of the Khazars -Pavi, Milorad
Honored Guest -Williams, Joy
Martyrs and Miracles -Trickey-Bapty, Carolyn
Noa Noa -Gauguin, Paul
Their Eyes Were Watching God -Hurston, Zora Neale
Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party -Stewart, George R.
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale -Melville, Herman
Eileen -Moshfegh, Ottessa
Haute Surveillance -Gransson, Johannes
Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development -Matthews, W.H.
A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret History of Chemical and Biological Warfare -Harris, Robert
Our Lady of the Flowers -Genet, Jean
*The House of the Dead -Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
Current: Black Swan, Nassim Taleb
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis (an old favorite, recommended)
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco (some interesting parts, but overall a disappointment)
Theology and Sanity - Frank Sheed (recommended; a very written description of the Catholic faith; weaknesses are it's long and it's aimed to a mid 20th c. audience)
Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal's Pensees - Peter Kreeft (recommended; a good exposition of Blaise Pascal's thought)
Catholicism: A journey to the heart of the faith - Robert Barron (recommended; a good explanation of Catholicism for the common person)
His Master's Voice - Stanislaw Lem (recommended; very intellectual look at the problem of first contact)
The Industries of the Future - Alec Ross (the robotics chapter is best; other parts are more light-weight; easy read)
Clouds of Witnesses - Dorothy Sayers (not my favorite Sayers mystery, but enjoyable)
A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle (recommended)
Why Gender Matters - Leonard Sax (recommended; most of the book is based on good science, but he does go out on a limb a time or two.)
Old School - Tobias Wolff (recommended; a world before widespread TV where high school boys actually got excited about literature)
Infinite Space, Infinite God - Karina and Robert Fabian editors (story quality varies; I enjoyed some of them)
The Sign of Four - Arthur Conan Doyle (recommended)
On Stranger Tides - Tim Powers (recommended; I love Powers, but Anubis Gates and Last Call are better. Still, if you like pirates you should like this)
The Art of Worldly Wisdom - Baltasar Gracian (interesting)
Aquinas at Prayer: the Bible, Mysticism, and Poetry - Paul Murray (recommended; this shows a different side of Thomas Aquinas)
Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy - Mortimer Adler (recommended; I almost think this should be required reading)
The Pilgrim's Regress - C.S. Lewis (I enjoyed it, but the ideas Lewis argues against are somewhat dated.)
Edit for formatting
Personally, this book really hit home, as I had recently left a team/project much like the one described in the book, however I think anyone working on a software project at a decent sized company will be able to relate to many of the problems presented early in the book.
The Martian - Andy Weir (slightly more entertaining than the movie)
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results - Gary Keller (great for improving ones focus on the task at hand while having the big picture in mind)
Not Fade Away - Laurence Shames (note to self: it's never too late to appreciate all we have and have had. recommended)
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration - Ed Catmull (excellent stories and a unique POV on Jobs)
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose - Tony Hsieh (a bit higher level than I had hoped for, but still worth a read)
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - Michael Gerber (recommended)
How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (meh, I could take it or leave it)
Tribal Leadership - Dave Logan (applicable tactics and strategies to achieving happiness-- recommended by Tony Hsieh via 'Delivering Happiness'. Highly recommended)
Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore (solid concept, however this was a dry read... for me)
The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs - Ryan Holiday (recommended)
The War of Art - Steven Pressfield (a great way to cure procrastination)
Peopleware - Tom DeMarco (not for me)
So Good They Can't Ignore You - Cal Newport (IMHO this book would have been better as a blog post)
The Lean Startup - Eric Ries (recommended)
As a Man Thinketh - James Allen (quick read, highly recommended)
The Effective Executive - Peter Drucker (terrific book chalked full of wisdom. recommended)
The Magic of Thinking Big - David Schwartz (recommended)
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us - Seth Godin (recommended)
Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life - Maxwell Maltz (first published in 1960, this incredible book has been, hands down, the most impactful book I read all year. This book helped me finally weed out pervasive negative though patterns and much, much more. Highly recommended if you're open to it)
Also, dolphins in space.
If you are unfamiliar with this author, you may remember him from his essay on a particular persistent trope in sci-fi writing linked on HN:
I enjoyed the Uplift series (written in the eighties and nineties) a lot, and was pleasantly surprised to learn of a short story bundle that came out just this year. It includes a novelette that takes place in the Uplift universe, wrapping up some loose ends.
The story bundle is named Insistence of Vision, named for the opening story. The name is indubitably a nod to John Varley's (sublime!) short story The Persistence of Vision (also the name of the story bundle it is collected in, recommended for any sci-fi fan). I always find short sci-fi stories refreshing in that they provide a chance to explore more radical ideas and settings that would be hard to facilitate in longer works. Brin is one of those authors who succeeds in titillating the reader's imagination with interesting what-ifs and extrapolations without feeling contrived. Recommended.
The Tao Te Ching by Lao TzuTranslated by Gia-Fu Feng (19191985) and Jane English (1942)
Here is the audiobook read by Jacob Needleman, with additional commentary at the end. You can listen to it repeatedly on daily commutes, gives you something to consider:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACr-EGYv71k
Dhammapada, The Sayings of the BuddhaTranslated and edited by Thomas ByromWhile Byrom's translation is not generally well received among literary scholars, I enjoy his poetic edits, and believe it is easier to remember the verses in everyday life. I carry it a Shambhala Pocket Classics edition with myself, usually, and read it as a reminder whenever I lose the way.
Again, read by Jacob Needleman:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbtSvgL2fEU
- Reamde, by Neal Stephenson. What a let down, very formulaic.
- Vortex, by Robert Charles Wilson (sequel to Spin and Axis). Spin is a must-read, Vortex was quite pleasant and brings a satisfying closure to the series.
- Permanence, by Karl Schroeder (re-read). Lots of awesome tidbits (property, rights, AR, anthropocentrism) scattered through an entertaining semi-hard sci-fi space opera.
- La Zone du Dehors, by Alain Damasio. A spiritual sequel to 1984.
- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (finally!)
- The Affinities, by Robert Charles Wilson
- La Horde du Contrevent, by Alain Damasio (in progress). A fantastic, ontologic, poetic story about the wind.
As well as a couple non-fiction:
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! This is made of pure awesomesauce and perfectly captures the kind of spirit at the root of hackerdom.
- Pale Blue Dot, by Carl Sagan (in progress). Humbling.
- Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. Surprised me in many ways.
2. Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez - A first person memoir about an aqui-hire by Facebook / Twitter. Interesting to learn about the differences in corporate culture and how Ycombinator works behind the scenes.
3. Economics in One Lesson: by Henry Hazlitt - Explains classical economics in a way where I now can understand what politicians are talking about.
4. The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factoryby John Seabrook - How pop music is made. It's surprising how assembly-line it actually is, and how many people work behind the scenes. Google "topline writer," for one.
5. Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton - A third-person account of Twitter's origin and subsequent CEO-shuffling. Wow, I can see why the board would want to replace Jack and Ev--they are not management material, which is why it's perplexing that Jack is back (unless it's board politics, again).
6. Disrupted by Dan Lyons - a memoir by a 50-something writer (who now writes for HBO's Startup - he wrote White Hat / Black Hat - the one where Ross had the tequila bottle incident) trying to deal with the culture of a young goofy startup culture in Boston. Another corporate culture book that was interesting, and made me glad I don't have to deal with office politics. Lyons is kind of jerk who doesn't realize it, though.
7. Steve Jobs - by Walter Isaacson. However, it's missing a lot from the "NeXT" time, surprisingly. If you're interested in Chrisann Brennan's perspective, check out her The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs--though be forewarned it's pretty whiney and I really just skimmed over most of it. Her perspective on why he was attracted to Laurene Powell is interesting, though.
8. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance - It's an authorized biography, so there's that, but it's still an interesting read.
- Ted Chiang - Stories of Your Life and Others.
- Lawrence Weschler - Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees. A quality biography of Robert Irwin based on interviews over decades, and helps you learn to appreciate minimalist art to boot.
- Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
- Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions
- Burton G. Malkiel - A Random Walk Down Wall Street
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah. Saw myself in several of these characters
- Nikos Kazantzakis - Zorba the Greek
- Jack London - John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs. Illustrates all of the interesting ways in which a person is tempted to drink: when someone else buys you one, when it's cold outside, ...
- Danny Bowien - The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook. Lots of stories between the recipes.
- David Byrne - How Music Works
- Meg Jay - The Defining Decade
- Ernest Hemingway - A Moveable Feast
- Magdalena Droste - Bauhaus 1919-1933
- Arimasa Osawa - Shinjuku Shark
- Zadie Smith - Changing My Mind
- Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart
- Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Marie Kondo - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- Haruki Murakami - The Strange Library. A fifteen minute read.
- Tim Ferriss - The Four-Hour Workweek. Good tactics for saving time; bad business advice.
- Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle
- John Berger - Ways of Seeing
Food: A Cultural Culinary History - The Great Courses (if you've ever searched for 'authentic' food, I strongly, strongly recommend this book. It was one of my favorite listening experiences of the year)
City of Thieves - David Benioff (Wonderful storytelling, I recommend the audio version just for the performance)
The Elephant Whisperer - Lawrence Anthony (Another example of great storytelling, highly recommended)
Little Princes - Conor Grennan (Conor does a good job of teleporting you to another world and capturing the inner spirit of being a child anywhere in the world)
The Inner Game of Tennis - Timothy Gallwey (A great paradigm for practice and improvement)
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl (For some, this will be life changing. ~3 hour read is all)
Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss (I've only read through one time, but I plan to use this as a sort of reference book. I agree true that you'll enjoy 50%, love 20% and never forget 10%, but what falls under each category is different for everyone)
The Three Body Problem - Liu Cixin (I haven't read any sci-fi in a few years, this was a great reentry to the genre for me)
The Food Lab - J Kenji Lopez-Alt (If you want to know the why as well as the how when you cook, this book is for you)
Dune - Frank Herbert (been waiting more than 20 years to read this. If you haven't seen the movie from 2001 highly recommended, else not)
The Psychopath Code - Pieter Hintjens (psychology book, highly recommended, allowed me to understand a whole lot more of the "toxicity" in society)
Python for Informatics - Charles Severance (too easy for crowd here, and for me, but quite good for newbie programmers. Note: Python 2.x; not 3.x!)
Ghost in the Wires - Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon (good humor, great suspense, likeable main character)
Kingpin - Kevin Poulsen (a less likeable main character but nevertheless suspenseful)
And a bunch of cookbooks which I won't bother you with, I didn't fully complete any of them either.
I'm very happy that all the books I read were a hit, but did not read nearly as many as I wanted to. To restate, I can recommend all of the above. But they're not all new from 2016 (if that was the intention I apologise).
Extreme Ownership: Jocko Willink - entertaining listening in the car, perhaps no so much if you tried to read it. An impressive balance of storytelling and principles. (6/10)
Maximum City: Suketu Mehta - as someone who has lived in Mumbai for nearly five years, this book captured the pulse of the supercity as no other has. Able to describe the inherent beauty of modern India without resorting to the typical cliched western neuroses about the place. (8/10)
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics: Carlo Rovelli - Got recommended this book multiple times. Brief and succinct so Carlo must be commended for that. As a pop-science book it kind of paled in comparison to Bill Bryson's "Complete History" (6/10)
Rebels: Aris Roussinos - A raw, honest and powerful book that tells a story about many of the world's conflict zones from the perspective of someone who may get shot themselves. Refreshing and beautifully upsetting all at once. (7/10)
Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis - A broad spectrum of thoughts about meaning and purpose that have obviously been considered for many years and then condensed in a very succinct way (8/10)
Business Adventures: John Brooks - A recommendation by Buffet and Gates, entertaining read with business principles built in (7/10)
Tools of Titans: Tim Ferriss - Obviously written for those of us who have allowed our attention spans to be destroyed by the constant sugary stimulation of the internet, Tim nails the balance of useful thoughts and observations from a broad array of guests while keeping it succinct and entertaining. (7/10)
Design of Everyday Things- Don Norman
The Prince- Nicollo Machiavelli
Being Mortal- Atul Gawande
High Output Management- Andrew Grove
Elon Musk- Ashlee Vance
Red Plenty- Francis Spufford
The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway
Sapiens- Yuval Noah Harari
The Four Agreements- Don Miguel Ruiz
The Inner Game of Tennis- W. Timothy Galleway
My Gita- Devdutt Pattanaik
One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Istanbul- Orhan Pamuk
The Stranger- Albert Camus
- Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
- Tools of Titan by Tim Ferriss
- Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen
- Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction by Chris Sims
- Build Better Products by Laura Klein
- Capital in the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Picketty
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
- Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez
- Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin
- Grit by Angela Duckworth
- Love Sense by Sue Johnson
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Working Effectively With Legacy Code by Michael Feathers
- Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
- Sprint by Jake Knapp
- Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
- Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
- Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock
- The Inner Game Of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
- Design Sprint by Richard Banfield
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
- The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
- Advanced Swift by Chris Eidoff
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Some of these books are older and had been on my list for awhile. Some were released this year. Most of these books are very good. I usually stop reading bad books by the end of the first chapter.
- Summae Technologiae by Stanislaw Lem
- The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem (reread)
- Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
- The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
- The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
- Embassytown by China Mieville
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- Perchance to Dream (stories) by Charles Beaumont
- Highrise by J.G. Ballard
- In a Glass Darkly and Other Stories by Sheridan Le Fanu
- The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling (checkout my openly annotatable edition https://hc.selectedintelligence.com)
- All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
- New American Stories edited by Ben Marcus
- This is The Way by Gavin Corbett
It's been a very fictional year. I guess I wasn't enjoying reality enough to read about it.
Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger - I had no idea what was going on, i just know i enjoyed it
American Gods - slow starting but great book
Leviathan wakes - book that the netflix series 'the expanse' is based on
A Song of ice and fire books 1 to 3
"Armada" was a nice simple story very much along the lines of "Ready Player One." "Daemon" was surprising -- an interesting 'what if' regarding the evolution of AI.
* Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate, Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey
* Homeworld, Out of the Black (books 3 & 4 in the Odyssey One series) by Evan Currie
* Furies of Calderon, Academs Fury (1 & 2 of the Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher
* The Aeronauts Windlass also by Jim Butcher
* The Queen of Zamba by L. Sprague de Camp
* Giant of World's End by Lin Carter
* Batgirl of Burnside (graphic novel)
* Here is Your War by Ernie Pyle - the 1st of his books chronicling American soldiers in World War 2
* Vagrant Viking by Peter Freuchen - auto-biography of the Danish explorer/Nazi resistance fighter/writer/film-maker
* Voices of 1776 by Richard Wheeler - the Revolutionary war in the words of people who were there.
The non-fiction books surprised me because I really enjoyed all of them and I usually only read fiction or technical books. The Odyssey One books by Evan Currie also stood out to me because I found the first one for a low price on Kindle and I was blown away by the story.
Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson (recommended)
Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari (audiobook recommended)
Boomerang - Michael Lewis (great if you have a light interest in macroeconomics)
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (recommended)
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell (recommended)
Joyland - Stephen King (great, short read)
Creativity, Inc. - Ed Catmull (Parts on the history of Pixar were interesting)
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. It took our reading group about six months to read it. Our discussions really added to my understanding and enjoyment.
Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History. From Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics to recently disclosed Russian attacks on American computer systems.
Harry Turtledove, Joe Steele. An alternate history in which Josef Stalin's parents immigrate to the U.S. and their son becomes President in 1932 instead of FDR.
George Dyson. Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe. Focuses on John Von Neumann and the computer he built at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.
Helped me understand why I object to assholes, and the real damage an asshole does to a group.
The sections on asshole capitalism, aka entitlement capitalism, are fascinating and relevant.
* Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin. I thought this was a stupid premise (guy travels the universe in a huge ship with cat companions?) but a friend strongly recommended it and I found it stupidly readable and very entertaining.
* Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh. Deeply interesting and humane book about the work of an eminent brain surgeon.
* The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence In History And Its Causes by Steven Pinker. Strong persuasive central thesis even if though I didn't agree with all his arguments. Very wide-ranging book with many ideas from philosophy and history.
* Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. Informative and scary book about zoonotic diseases. Like a non-fiction cross between the detective, horror and sci-fi genres.
* The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Read this because I felt I should rather than out of pure interest, but it was a good decision: fascinating biography and startling how intelligent and occasionally ruthless Mandela was.
- "Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
- "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafn
These are beautifully written books-- true art. I read intellectually stimulating, non-fiction material every moment of my life. Fiction counterbalances that frenzied information consumption.
I also read 2/3 of SevenEves by Neal Stephenson. Although the first 2/3 were good, I can't recommend the book due to the last 1/3. Those who read the book will know what I'm talking about.
* Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders (David Marquet)
* Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun on the Job (Dennis Bakke)
* Ne vous rsignez pas ! (Bruno Le Maire - French politician)
* Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (Michael Hiltzik)
* Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (Dan Lyons)
* Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Scott Berkun)
* Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (Thomas Sowell)
* The Success of Open Source (Steve Weber)
* Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Cathy O'Neil)
* Programming in Lua (fourth edition - I read every edition)
I started reading (and will probably finish by the end of the year) Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension (Samuel Arbesman).
As for what I recommend, it depends what you are into, but I would say I really enjoyed Making Things Happen, which is a must if you have any kind of project management to do, and Basic Economics.
It's a history of oil over the last 150 years. Sounds boring. It's not. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
This book has made me realize that the history of the world over the last century and that of oil are almost one and the same.
Rosemary's Baby https://www.amazon.com/Rosemarys-Baby-Ira-Levin-ebook/dp/B00...
Make: Analog Synthesizers https://www.amazon.com/Make-Analog-Synthesizers-Ray-Wilson-e...
Android UI Design with XML https://www.amazon.com/Android-UI-Design-XML-Tutorial/dp/147...
- "All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders
- "The Shards of Heaven" and its sequel "The Gates of Hell" by Michael Livingston (fictional story set in Roman times)
- "The Last Breath" by Charlie Magee
- "The Guns of Empire" by Django Wexler (Book 4 of The Shadow Campaigns series, which I highly recommend)
- "The King's Traitor" by Jeff Wheeler (original take on Arthurian legend)
- "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik
- "End Game" by Lindsay Buroker (Book 8 of her sci-fi series, The Fallen Empire, which is a pretty fun series overall. Short and sweet adventures.)
- "Soulblade" by Lindsay Buroker (Book 8 of her fantasy series, Dragon Blood, which is another great series. All of Buroker's books are good, imo.)
- "Ghost Talkers" by Mary Robinette Kowal (It's WWII, ghosts are real... and they're spies.)
This year I also read books 1-3 of The Expanse, and I think they would also be in this list, except I haven't reviewed them yet. I'm currently reading Book 4, with the recently published book, Babylon's Ashes, in the queue. I fully expect these to make it into the top 10.
Obviously, I enjoy sci-fi / fantasy the most, but across a wide range of sub-genres. For non-sci-fi, my top read was "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi, which really changed the way I organize my finances.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
When Three Worlds Collide
The Story of Human Body
Incognito: the secret life of your brain
Deep Work - Cal Newport
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise - Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool
The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
Do the Work - Steven Pressfield
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - Ashlee Vance
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike - Phil Knight
The one that surprised me the most was the last one on that list. I don't usually read memoirs but this one was recommended by a few people so I picked it up and found the honesty with which he describes his mistakes refreshing and useful.
Other than that I found "1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed" by Eric Cline a very interesting read, especially when it comes to methods described to figure out what happened over 3000 years ago. Contrary to it's title it's not very sensationalistic and it doesn't appear to make any claims it cannot back with some sort of evidence (and it tries to present both sides of the argument if something is uncertain).
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and
The Icewind Dale trilogy / Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore.
Ember was a very nice take on post-apocalyptic fiction; a Steampunk city surrounded by absolute darkness that still managed to retain a semblance of normal everyday life. Something about the setting felt very homely despite its inconveniences.
The Drizzt series is of course a guilty pleasure full of good old-school role-playing fantasy tropes. It does a nice job of providing my Dungeons & Dragons fix while I wait for a new video game.
Genghis Khan https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93426.Genghis_Khan_and_t...
Mistakes were made (but not by me) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/522525.Mistakes_Were_Mad...
Sapiens - a brief history of humankind https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23692271-sapiens
A little history of the world https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61505.A_Little_History_o...
That last one I just finished and look forward to re-reading real soon. It's written by a German and from a European point of view.
A few other good ones but not top of my list of recommendations:
The church of fear - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17201748-the-church-of-f...
A brief history of time - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3869.A_Brief_History_of_...
Looks who's back - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17289087-look-who-s-back
- The Power of Habit - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12609433-the-power-of-hab...
- The Greatest Salesman in the World http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/356896.The_Greatest_Sales...
- Originals http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614523-originals
- The One Thing http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16256798-the-one-thing
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- Rework by Jason Fried
- Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
02. The Firm: The secret history of McKinsey and it's influence on American business
03. The Simpsons and their mathematical secrets
04. League of denial
05. The Martian chronicles
06. The Sixth extinction
07. Lost stars
08. The Devil in the white city
09. China in ten words
10. The Fourth revolution
11. Red Mars
12. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe
13. Grit: Passion, perseverance and the science of success
14. The Signal and the noise
15. The Third chimpanzee
16. The Willpower instinct
17. The Master algorithm
18. The Emperor of all maladies
And I'm reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
Honestly, I really enjoyed League of Denial about all the shady stuff the NFL did around CTE, Lost Stars which is an incredible Star Wars book, The Willpower Instinct, and 1491. Everything else was kind of take it or leave it. I doubt I'll read as many books next year
Kim Zetter - Countdown to Zero (on Stuxnet virus and how it was smuggled into the nuclear facility; very interesting)
Gary Kasparov - Winter is Coming (we should consider Russia a dictatorship by now; though until recently, western politicians treated it as a democratic partner country)
Mark Goodman - Future crimes (wide spanning book on crime in the age of the internet)
Philip E. Tetlock - Superforecasting (how amateurs can consistently beat domain professionals in forecasting all kind of stuff)
Venkat Subramaniam - Programming Concurrency on the JVM (good overview of your options (diy with locking / akka / clojure & STM))
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami (I love Murakamis novels, recommend starting with Hard Boiled Wonderland though)
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball - Haruki Murakami
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammet (Surprising just how much San Francisco is in it)
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James Cain
Seveneves - Neal Stephenson (recommended)
Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway (recommended, refreshing language)
Running Lean - Ash Muraya
Lean Customer Development - Alvarez
Talking to Humans - Giff Constable
Hooked - Nir Eyal (probably not need the book to get the thesis)
Sprint - Jake Knapp
Juno Beach - Mark Zuehlke
Anti-Education - Nietzsche
- The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
- The 48 Laws Of Power
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
- Crossing the Chasm
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
- Europe: A History
- The Penguin History of Europe
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Every of the books was awesome. The only thing is that I haven't finished Europe: A History from Norman and read The Penguin History of Europe instead because the Norman book was just too long for me. But It has way more details.
I switch between business-related books and non-business related (it can be everything from philosophy to language history to hardcore science) but I don't read fiction (The Richest Man in Babylon is fictional, but still the focus is on self-development).
Hope you could see some titles that might interest you.
- Alibaba - The house that Jack Ma built by Duncan Clark https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25817524-alibaba
- Shoe Dog - A memoir by the creator of NIKE by Phil Knight https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27220736-shoe-dog
- Originals - How non-conformists move the world by Adam Grant https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614523-originals
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress 
 - https://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html
 - https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Harsh-Mistress-Robert-Heinlein-e...
- Jeff Hawkings "On Intelligence" (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1561177903 )
- Cal Newport "So Good They Can't Ignore You"
- Cal Newport "Deep work" (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1777252642 )
Business - Making Things Work by Yaneer Bar-Yam
Investing - Charlie Munger The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin
Essays - Michel de Montaigne Complete Essays ($.99 on Kindle!)
Physics - At Home in the Universe by Stuart Kauffman
Software - An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language
Current Events - Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
Fiction - The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
Music - Jerry on Jerry (audiobook is a recorded interview of Garcia!)
Biography - Benjamin Franklin An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Autobiography - A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
All of these are highly recomended!
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Honorable mention from 2015: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I have just started Homo Deus and my first impression is that is is a worthy sequel.
Dracula by Bram Stoker - because it was mentioned in the previous one and it's amazing how many elements we borrowed / changed / rewritten in the new works compared to the original.
What a crazy life he led.
"Napoleon: A Life" - Andrew Roberts
A gigantic book that still felt rushed because of how much he did during his life.
"Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization" Kriwaczek, Paul
Interesting introduction but I was hoping for more of a focus on a specific period of time. Instead if covers several thousand years of history.
"Buddhism Without Belief" - Stephen Bachelor
"The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment" - Copenhaver, Brian
"The Philosophy Book" - Will Buckingham
Great into to the history of Philosophy
"The Vindication of Man" by John C Wright
Great, great series.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany (recommended for HP nostalgia)
Elon Musk - Ashlee Vance (recommended)
Shoe Dog - Phil Knight (highly recommended)
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell (meh)
The Gene - Siddhartha Mukherjee (currently reading, recommended so far)
- Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French
- Maya: A Novel by CW Huntington, Jr
- The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young
- Flask Web Development by Miguel Grinberg
- Buddha's Diet by Tara Cottrell
- A Feast of Vultures by Josy Joseph
- Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection by John Man
- Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
- Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar
- Goliath by Tom Gauld
- This Will Never Happen Again by David Cain
- Cure by Jo Marchant
- If Its Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India by Srinath Perur
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
- The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
and a few others that aren't worth recommending; all the above are.
Will most likely end up being the best nonfiction book I've read all year.
- Limbus, Inc. - Book III (I liked I and II better tho)
- Sleeping Giants (Themis Files) - a sleeper recommendation by a coworker that I KNOW will end up as a movie.
- Underground Airlines (Modern day, but the Civil War never happened)
- The Nightmare Stacks (A Laundry Files Novel)
- Lovecraft Country
I read a LOT more than what's listed here, but these are the noteworthy ones. I read a book every couple of days. Lots of military monster-hunting fiction, zombie apocalypse pulp, manly adventure novels, self-help stuff, etc.
Then there was The Kite RunnerAlso, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle MaintanenceThen Becoming a Technical Leader by Gerald
I wish I had read more.
Freakonomics, is a good one about economy from a new angle of view
- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay
- The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agents Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer
- Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
- The Passion Trap: How to Right an Unbalanced Relationship by Dean C. Delis Cassandra Phillips
- The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes
2. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
3. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
4. The Movie Doctors by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo
5. It's Only A Movie by Mark Kermdode
6. Dark Night by Paul Dini
7. Dark Days by Randy Blythe
8. David Fincher Interviews by Laurence Knapp Graphic Novels - Scott Pilgrim Series, New 52 Batman series and Batman/TMNT crossover.
If anyone can recommend more stuff I'd be interested in based on this stuff please go ahead I want to read more this coming year.
* City and the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
* The Master Magician - Charlie N. Holmberg
* The Algebraist - Iain M. Banks
* Hunters of Dune - Brian Herbert (in progress)
Non Fiction Pick:
* Command and Control - Eric Schlosser
Personal: The Subtle Art of not Giving a f*ck
Sci-Fi: Red Rising
Fantasy: Powder Mage, Age of Myth
And a plug, but on topic - book mentions on HN: http://hackernewsbooks.com
Also the entire Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (currently midway through the final book).
Becoming Steve Jobs / Rick Tetzeli & Brent Schlender
Remote: Office Not Required / David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried
Rum Punch / Elmore Leonard
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: Easy to read and entertaining. I actually had to spend a good 10 minutes going thru the plot to understand what happened, felt great to get it.
(Unfinished) Barbarian Days: a book on surfing
p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong. Its a well written book on a very complex topic. 
- Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (as well as his other detective novels)
- Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon
- The Martian
- Dark Forest (and the Three Body Problem)
- Age of Myth by Michael Sullivan
- Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
Ask GaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Give and Take by Adam Grant
Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg
What medium are you reading these books on?
Physical, ebooks, pdf, kindle?
- The New Thing- Michael Lewis
- Mastering Docker
- Akka In Action
- Mastering Gradle
- Functional Programming in Scala and Closure
- How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big - Scott Adams (Highl Recommended)
- The Charisma Myth
... Yeah I'm on a Buddhism and Kerouac kick right now
A Mind for Numbers - Barbara Oakley
The Road to Character - David Brooks
Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)*
I was blown away by how completely delightful it was to read. I went in to it with a lot of trepidation about its length and esoteric fixation, but found myself completely immersed in the book in a way that I hadn't been since I was kid. I didn't pick up any hard and fast lessons from the book (indeed, its thesis is mostly that life is hard and the easy answers that are out there are toxic), but I definitely came away from it feeling like it was a bit more acceptable to share what I really thought and felt with others. Reading the book is like entering an intimate communion with DFW's mind and it reinforced in me the importance of inter-human connection in that way.
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story (D.T. Max)
DFW's biography, which I read after Infinite Jest. I highly recommend reading after IJ to get more background on where the books idea's came from. Two things I learned: 1. IJ basically took him ten years to write, 2: An incredible amount of it is drawn from personal issues and experiences, his struggles with addiction and loneliness were very real and he greatly downplayed them in his interviews.
The Invention of Nature (Andrea Wulf)
The best historical book I've ever read. Von Humbolt was one of the greatest scientists to ever live and I can't believe I'd ever heard of him before. The book itself does a great job of tying together the ideas of many great thinkers: Humboldt, Darwin, Thoreau, Muir, Goethe.
The Conquest of Happiness (Bertrand Russel)
Great little 'self-help' book from Russel. Perhaps a bit quaint in its datedness and Englishness, but a lot of the ideas still hold true. His thoughts on boredom were the high point of the book IMO.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)
The most 'make an adult of you'-feeling book I read this year. After attending an 'MBA bootcamp' style course, this book was the gritty, personal account that helped me tie all those lessons together. I got a job with a startup shortly afterwards and because I've never studied business (or worked in a real company before), I refer to the lessons in this book a lot.
My Struggle, first volume (Karl Ove Knausgaard)
Still reading this one and not entirely sure what to think. It's entertaining, heartfelt, and provides that sense of communion that good fiction needs. The book's purpose seems totally up in the air, however.
The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross
The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
The Prince by Machiavelli
William S Borroughs: A Life by Barry Miles
Programming in the 1990s by Edward Cohen
On Numbers and Games (again) by John H. Conway
* Oxygen (Lane)
* The Vital Question (Lane)
* Mitochondria and the meaning of life (Lane)
* Life Ascending (Lane)
* Shoe Dog (Knight)
* Heat (Buford)
* Thinking Fast And Slow (Daniel K, 3rd time reading it)
* Fluent Forever (Wyner)
* Dark Money (Mayer)
* Elon Musk (Vance)
* The Black Swan (Taleb, 5th time reading it)
Irvin Yalom, Love's Executioner
Gavin Extence, The Universe vs. Alex Woods
2. Stephen King: Joyland
3. Ray Kroc: Grinding it Out
4. Antonio Garcia Martinez: Chaos Monkeys
5. Jonah Berger: Contagious
6. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Finding Flow
7. Calum Chase: Surviving A.I.
8. Dan Ariely: Payoff
War is a Racket, Smedley Butler
The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins
Mans Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
Foundation, Isaac Asimov
My favourite books of the year were Brian Jacques Redwall series.
I like ambient music, and I'd call this an ambient book.
Pavane by Keith Roberts
The Spire by William Golding
Running Man by Stephen King
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
- Sapiens ~ Yuval Noah Harari
- Mindset ~ Carol Dweck
- Why we do what we do ~ Edward L. Deci
- Capital in the XXIst century ~ Thomas Piketty
How to Read a Book - Mortimer Adler. Really helped me feel more comfortable reading technical books and large books. I've probably worked through more tech/textbooks this year than all other years combined. (It's not a particularly high number this year, it was just low all the other years, haha).
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius, Gregory Hays translation. I highly recommend this translation if Meditations is a book that's interested you. It's written very informally and casually. Like Aurelius writing in a notebook before bed. While other translations are very length and flowery with descriptions and overly formal.
Superintelligence - Nick Bostrom. This one gets talked about a lot on here. I bought it because it's a topic I'm very interested in, but I was expecting more hype than real content. I must say, I was very pleasantly wrong about that. Bostrom makes some really solid arguments about what superintelligence might mean and many ways it could potentially arise.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo. I didn't like most of this book. But the tips for tidying up, as well as the surge of motivation you magically get just after reading it made the book worth it.
Test-Driven Development with Python - Harry Percival. Obey the testing goat! Thanks to this book, all my current professional projects are using TDD. I had been making an effort to test code before, but generally after writing the code. The biggest benefits, for me, of writing tests before the rest of the code is that 1) My projects are organized so much better than before. 2) My tests feel much more comprehensive than they ever did previously.
Surprise books. These I wouldn't recommend for everyone here, but they're the most interesting ones I personally found this year:
Obfuscated C and Other Mysteries - Don Libes. Someone on HN recommended it, and I managed to find a used copy for $6. Just incredible if you love C, low level code, and hardcore tricks and optimizations. Some of the chapters explain winning entries to the IOCCC, and some explain strange tricks with C that probably aren't too useful in current day applications and may not even work on modern hardware. Not just insightful, but also very funny.
Computational Fairy Tales - Jeremy Kubica. Recommended to me by someone in IRC. Aimed mostly at kids, it's a fairy tale that involves computing. Princess Ann has to save the kingdom from a prophecy of doom. Along her journey every encounter indirectly describes a comp sci concept, such as showing an ogre how to repeatedly hit metal to make a sword mimics a FOR loop. A magical town where all the people only speak in completely boolean terms ("Is the castle that way?" Ann points. "No, it's that way" the villager points the same direction as Ann, but a fraction of a degree to the side). I think I picked up some good examples for explaining computers to kids without getting into jargon. Very cute, though I didn't finish it because I got tired of the simplicity, would recommend for a child.
Trust me I'm lying - Ryan Holiday
Inherent Vice --- Thomas Pynchon
The Great and Secret Show --- Clive Barker
Jurassic Park --- Michael Crichton
The Mothman Prophecies --- John A. Keel (1)
The Wind in the Willows --- Kenneth Grahame
Ender's Game --- Orson Scott Card
All Quiet on the Western Front --- Erich Maria Remarque
The Drought --- J. G. Ballard
The Dead Father's Club --- Matt Harris
Children of Men --- P. D. James
The Islanders --- Pascal Garnier
Silence of the Lambs --- Thomas Harris
Inherit the Wind --- Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
The Butt --- Will Self
Inside Outside --- Philip Jose Farmer
The Panda Theory --- Pascal Garnier
Fanshaw --- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter --- Nathaniel Hawthorne
This Census-Taker --- China Mieville
The House of the Seven Gables --- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The A26 --- Pascal Garnier
The Blithedale Romance --- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Weird --- Edited by Jeff VanderMeer & Ann VanderMeer (2)
Front Seat Passenger --- Pascal Garnier
The Wealth of Networks --- Yochai Benkler
Field Notes from A Catastrophe --- Elizabeth Kolbert
What Ever Happened to Modernism? --- Gabriel Josipovici
Escape Velocity --- Mark Dery
What We See When We Read --- Peter Mendelsund
(1) Author described as non-fiction, publisher hedged bets and labelled in as such, supposedly.
(2) If only this book could be picked by Subterranean or Centipede press so it'd be a better printed and bound book than Tor ever seems to want to do.
I always recommend Ballard, even when not wanted. Relevant quote:
A story by J. G. Ballard, as you know, calls for people who don't think. One begins with characters who regard the physical universe as a mysterious and arbitrary place, and who would not dream of trying to understand its actual laws. Furthermore, in order to be the protagonist of a J.G. Ballard novel, or anything more than a very minor character therein, you must have cut yourself off from the entire body of scientific education. In this way, when the world disaster be it wind or water comes upon you, you are under absolutely no obligation to do anything about it but sit and worship it. Even more further, some force has acted to remove from the face of the world all people who might impose good sense or rational behavior on you, so that the disaster proceeds unchecked and unopposed except by the almost inevitable thumb-rule engineer type who for his individual comfort builds a huge pyramid (without huge footings) to resist high winds, or trains a herd of alligators and renegade divers to help him out in dealing with deep water. Algis Budrys, Galaxy magazine (December 1966)
In non-fiction I'd recommend Dery's Escape Velocity; It's from the 90s but still deals too presciently with many of the issues around the near-religification of modern electronic technology. And Josipovici if you lean toward depressive jolts of existential anxiety (it deals mostly with the arts, but I think there's a broader life applicability).
Surprising how innovative and densely populated the people of ancient americas were back then.
- Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy. The way Hardy 'smuggles' Jude's viewpoint into the narrative is so ridiculously well crafted, a pleasure to read.
- Legend Of The Galactic Heroes - a big anime from the 80s which was based on Japanese soft SF novels, which are now finally being translated. Worth a read if you're into space operas and large scale politics, I'm happy that the age of ebooks allows for such 'niche' interests to get translated.
- Secondhand Time: The Last Of The Soviets, Svetlana Alexievitch. It's her 'usual' style, a selection of interviews with a 'chorus' of shorter interviews, this time about the fall of the Soviet Union. Lots of interesting stuff from people whose world was replaced with another world overnight.
- The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815, Tim Blanning. This is actually an entry in the long row of Penguin History of Europe, but I haven't read the others. It examines certain aspects of change in Europe (starting with how transport networks moved from mud roads to proper streets and culminating in how the nation state was invented)
- Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe, Norman Davies. As the title says, a collection of essays on small kingdoms and countries which have only existed for a short time, some for which no current country claims 'ancestry'. It's always important to remind yourself what a random patchwork current European borders are.
- Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe. This is a collection of notes on young Eckermann's conversations with the aging Goethe. Goethe is famous for always challenging himself, always trying to create, make and be involved until his last day, it's absolutely inspirational. Before this book I didn't understand why he's such an icon for Germans (and I read a few biographies), but I get it now, he lived the 'man is his own marble' saying.
- Introduction to Machine Learning with Python, Mueller and Guido. This is essentially a more detailed version of the scikit-learn documentation with more elaborate exercises (even though some of it overlaps), highly readable. The scikit-learn documentation itself is among the best python package documentation out there and is something you can read 'cover to cover'.
- Write Great Code - I've only started to read this one, it's very much about the basics of what a computer does when you're running high level code, so you can adjust your coding style. So far it's very useful.
- Discovering Statistics Using R, Field/Miles/Field. A very opinionated, highly amusing (the constant humor may annoy some), huge waltz through statistics and how to use the methods and interpret their output in R.
The Alchemist -- reread one of my favorites of all time
Candidate -- reread
Infinite Jest -- takes 300 pages to "get" David Foster Wallace's style and 500 pages to enjoy it, but well worth the investment. Probably one of my favorites of all time now.
The Brothers Karamazov (in progress) -- Have been wanting to read more Russian Literature and apparently Infinite Jest borrows many plot points from Brothers Karamazov. I just started it a few days ago...
* Non-Fiction *
String Theory -- another book by David Foster Wallace containing a few essays on tennis. Even if you don't like his fiction, I doubt anyone would argue that the eponymous essay isn't great.
Open -- Andre Agassi's autobiography
Inner Game of Tennis -- reread
Winning Ugly -- Read this twice in 2016 (reread in progress). My mental game is volatile to say the least.
My System (in progress) -- Aron Nimzowitsch's Chess study
In a Sunburned Country -- Bill Bryson's description of his trip to Australia
Sailing Made Easy -- ASA 101/102
Coastal Cruising Made Easy -- ASA 103
Buying Your First Sailboat
Open Water Diver Manual -- PADI Open Water Certification
Enriched Air Diver Manual -- PADI Nitrox Certification
Adventures in Diving Manual (in progress) -- PADI Advanced Open Water Certification
Shadow Divers -- Diver's in the 90's discover a German U-Boat just dozens of miles off the coast of New Jersey
Triple Your Reading Speed -- It definitely works, but its only applicable to simple texts like popular fiction and maybe news articles/blogs. I guess it probably does still benefit denser stuff though.
The Origin of Conciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind -- This is quite possibly the work of a crank, but there's some interesting ideas that seem not impossible. A lot of his arguments are clearly cherry picked and loads of sentences like, "The statue had a big ear, obviously an example of bicameralism".
Piano Handbook (in progress) -- Been working on the exercises in this and started learning the piano as an adult, two years ago. Just two chapters of eighteen to go...
Jazz Piano (in progress) -- Will focus on this once the above text is done
The Wine Bible (in progress)
Porsche: Origin of Species (in progress)
Millionaire Next Door (in progress) -- In strong conflict with the ideas presented in the text above...
* Technical Non-Fiction *
Functional Programming in Scala
Learning from Data
Optimization Models; Califiore, El Ghaoui (in progress)
Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets (in progress) -- Not great. Very little motivation to finish this one...
Had the goal of 30 books, at least 8 of which had to be textbooks. Not quite there, but there's some really dense stuff this year, so I'm not too worried. I had no idea how little fiction I was reading; will need to adjust that next year.
The Measure of Reality- How quantification has completely changed the face of society. Very interesting stuff. This has probably been my favourite read this year.
Nightfall- Interesting ideas of the role of religion in society and mass hysteria
Speaker for the Dead- Really fascinating book. I love sci-fi where there is an alien species that humans have trouble understanding for whatever reason
Books I unrecommend:
Heretics of Dune - Ugh. Tedious. I actually couldn't finish it. Didn't start Chapterhouse either.
Information Doesn't Want to be Free - Pretty basic. How many footnotes do you really need before you just include them in the text?
Was on maternity leave this year so there are quite a few. Those marked * are also recommended.
Guns Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond *
The Vital Question - Nick Lane *
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath *
Convergent Series - Larry Niven *
Cosmos - Carl Sagan *
World of Ptaavs - Larry Niven
The Integral Trees - Larry Niven
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
The Girl with Seven Names - Hyeongseo Lee *
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values - Robert M Pirsig *
The Thrilling Adventures Of Lovelace And Babbage (Comic) - Sydney Padua
The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 - Roger Zelazny
The Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250 - 1600 - Alfred W. Crosby *
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C Clark *
The Time Dweller - Michael Moorcock
Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card *
Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card *
Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible - Tim Gunn *
The Gods Themselves - Isaac Asimon *
The Hugo Winners vol. 3 - Various
Between Planets - Robert A. Heinlen
The Martian - Andy Weir *
Perelandra - C S Lewis
Heretics of Dune - Frank Herbert (Unfinished, couldn't do it.)
Nightfall - Isaac Asimov *
Foundation's Edge - Isaac Asimov *
Foundation and Earth - Isaac Asimov *
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlen *
Information Doesn't Want to be Free - Corey Doctorow
Engines of Creation: The Coming Era Of Nanotechnology - K. Eric Drexler *
Planets for Sale - A.E. van Vogt
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Brave New World
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Non Fiction: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. This was a great read that resets you and puts things in perspective.
- Elon Musk bio
- Deep Work
- Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, #13)- Robert Jordan
- Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know - Jerry Kaplan
- The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, #12) - Robert Jordan
- Ashley Bell - Dean Koontz
- Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Timeand What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything - George Musser
- What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter - Jeffrey O. Bennett
- Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software - Charles Petzold
- The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom - Stephen M. Stigler
- Deliver Us from Evil (A. Shaw, #2) - David Baldacci
- Total Control - David Baldacci
- Second Foundation (Foundation #3) - Isaac Asimov
- Foundation and Empire (Foundation #2) - Isaac Asimov
- End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3) - Stephen King
- Foundation (Foundation #1) - Isaac Asimov
- Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity - David Foster Wallace
- The Meaning of Science - Tim Lewens
- Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition - Guy Kawasaki
- The Last Mile (Amos Decker, #2)- David Baldacci
- Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble - Dan Lyons
- Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution: How Cloud Computing Is Transforming Business and Why You Can't Afford to Be Left Behind - Charles Babcock
- It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business - Jason Jennings
- Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die - Eric Siegel
- Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes Are High! - Jeff Thull
- The Bazaar of Bad Dreams - Stephen King
What would I recommend out of this batch? Pretty much all of the fiction titles, and out of the non-fiction, I'd call out these as particularly recommended:
Mastering The Complex Sale, by Jeff Thull
Code, by Charles Petzold
It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow by Jason Jennings.
The one I'd call out as "not recommended" is
The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom by Stephen M. Stigler. I guess it has it's place, but it didn't turn out to be as enlightening as I'd hoped it would be.
What's nice about it is that it's broken up into very small paragraphs, many of them unrelated to the ones surrounding it. So it's easy to read it for 30 seconds and still get value out of it, when you're a busy person like me (whether due to profession or family or both).
* Code Complete, 2nd Edition by Steve McConnell. I can't say enough good things about this. I have kept referring to it in the months since I read it for the first time.
* Computation Structures by Stephen A. Ward. I have read most of this one; it's a good reference for understanding computers at various levels of abstraction.
* Simulation and its Discontents by Sherry Turkle
* Scientific Computation: Python Hacking for Math Junkies by Bruce E. Shapiro. Good for getting back into Python after a few years away.
* Accelerating MATLAB Performance by Yair Altman. Altman has an exhaustive knowledge of MATLAB and this book is a must for anyone doing serious work in MATLAB.
* Doing Data Science: Straight Talk from the Frontline by Cathy O'Neil
* The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, by Peter Heather. Very well researched and written narrative examining how the Empire fared in the 3rd-5th centuries. Has a different perspective than the usual "Barbarian invasions ended the empire".
* One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. I love everything Bryson writes. This is no exception.
* Rocket Ranch: The Nuts and Bolts of the Apollo Moon Program at Kennedy Space Center by Jonathan H. Ward. Also read Countdown to a Moon Launch: Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey by the same author. Ward writes the most amazing technical histories. It's quite obvious that he spent massive amounts of time piecing together exactly how things at Kennedy worked during the Apollo years. It's full of amazing little details like which firing rooms were used for which mission, how the entire Saturn V stack was rap-tested (literally having people lie on their backs on a work-platform and synchronously press against the rocket with their legs to try to get it to resonate), and so much more. If you are an Apollo program enthusiast you must read these two books.
* Kelly: More than my Share of it All by Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson. The man was a far better engineer than writer. A much better look at Kelly's business life was put together by his protege, Ben Rich (with Leo Janos), in "Skunkworks: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed".
* Fighter Pilot, by Robin Olds. Autobiography of one of the brashest, best aces of World War II and Vietnam.
* American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day, by Robert Coram. Not as well-written as Coram's biography of John Boyd. Or maybe Boyd just appeals more to my fighter-jet engineering side.
* Chickenhawk by Robert Mason. Amazing account of what it was like to be a combat rotary-wing pilot in Vietnam.
* The M1 Garand Owner's Guide by Scott A. Duff. Worth it for Garand owners.
* Atlas Obscura: A Guide To the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer. The print book is beautiful and ever fascinating.
* This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, by Naomi Klein. Like a lot of popular non-fiction, this could have been an excellent long-form article instead.
* The Mandibles: A Family, 20292047 by Lionel Shriver. A book with a high concept story and poor execution.
* The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick. Not my first time reading it, but just as enjoyable on this go-around.
* QB VII by Leon Uris. Fiction, but based on some of Uris's own experiences as the defendant in a libel suit. A solid read.
* Noble House, by James Clavell. The only book in his Asian series I hadn't read. Amazing, as are all the rest.
* The Tao Trilogy by Wesley Chu. Eh. First book was decent, it got tedious after that. Only finished it all because I was on a business trip with poor internet access.
* The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow. I also read the follow-up, The Cartel. Winslow researched these books for years and they are powerful indictments of the War on Drugs. They're also good fiction, but many of the characters have real-world analogues. I spent quite a bit of time during/after reading these looking up the real-world history of the drug wars since 1975.
When breath becomes air - Paul Kalanithi: Haunting, beautiful, moving and perfect. Life is surprising and we cant legislate for the things that are thrust upon us.
Shoe dog - Phil Knight: How a gang of misfits can changed the world. Favourite entreprenurial journey I've ever consumed.
Sapiens - Yuval Harari: Wow, nothing else to say.
The Future of the Proffesions - Richard & Daniel Susskind: This is a tough read, it was a slog, but it was worth it. The world is changing before our eyes. Professions will die, not just entry level labour intensive jobs.
Contagious - Jonah Berger: If you own a business you want things to go viral, Jonah enlightens you to the possibilities of how.
Platform Scale - Sangeet Paul Choudary: Excellent and rigorously supported. An infusion of practicality and academia. A look behind the curtain of the collaborative economy.
The Third Wave - Steve Case: The low hanging fruits have been picked, now what? The internet of things is coming, but what does that mean.
The Sharing Economy - Arun Sundararajan: Im a believer in the sharing/collaborative economy but im worried, the way people are being treated is deplorable. A projection of whats to come.
Grit - Angela Duckworth: Why do some people succeed and others dont? Why did the child prodigy fail? Why do some people drop out of school and others thrive? Favourite book of the year.
Black Box Thinking - Matthew Syed: Cognitive dissonance, why do we think the way we do. Why cant we change our minds even when we are wrong?
Clay Water Brick - Jessica Jackley: Want to learn what it takes to change the world?
Behind the Cloud - Marc Benioff: Marc Benioff is a genius.
Postcapitalism - Paul Mason: Does capitalism work? This seems even more pertinent following recent political upheaval. First Brexit now Trump, this gravitas of what this book conveyed wasnt really certain until those moments occurred. The world is changing, brought forth by massive economic migration and the erosion of borders. Can we stay the same or must we evolve to survive?
Zero to One - Peter Thiel: Classic.
Presence - Amy Cuddy: I was going to omit this from the list on account of the fact some of the science of the book being flawed. I couldnt, I loved it. It spoke to me about my own issues facing impostor syndrome.
Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh: Tony is my mentor, he just doesnt know it, yet.
Peers Inc. - Robin Chase: Could zipcar have been uber if the technology existed? It doesnt matter, but reading this I felt like I was learning about a secret nobody knew about. Chase was ahead of her time, probably too far, but the book is gold.
Things a Little Bird Told me - Biz Stone: Sometimes billion dollar ideas are about luck arising from failure.
Business For Punks - James Watt: Do things your way or fail trying to please other people. Business for punks is brash, unapologetic and sure of itself. It doesnt make any excuses, instead it forces it down your throat. In the same way Brewdog is a business like no other so is this book. Its irreverent and certain. Its the best business book i read this year, without queston.
OrphanX - Gregg Hurwitz: out Bourning Bourne, out Bonding Bond and out Reachering Reacher.
The Wayfarers books The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit were quite good. Fantastic world building and characters, although the plots seem to meander about with not too much purpose.
Recently ploughed through The Expanse series.
Dark Matter was a good read if you like parallel universes.
The Rho Agenda series was a surprisingly good read.
Quantum Night was something a bit different from Robert Sawyer.
Farmer in the Sky is one of those books I re-read every few years.
And Barsk: The Elephants Graveyard would probably have to be rated my favourite for the year.
Not really a horror fan, but stumbled into the I Am Not a Serial Killer series by accident a few years ago and love it. Read the forth and fifth in the series this year. If youre more a psychological thriller than horror fan, give it a go anyway. (Shame about the awful movie adaptation.)
Fool Me Once upholds Harlan Cobens usual good quality reads.
Memory Man and its sequel were good reads. Must chase up more by this author some time.
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
According to my goodreads list Ive ready sixty books this year (so far). Although looking back through them while compiling this list, some of them were short stories. It will be interesting to see what my page count is when I do my yearly reading stats in a couple of weeks.
Here's an unordered list of the best:
[BUSINESS / SELF-IMPROVEMENT]
- "Work Rules!" - about Google's culture and values
- "Search Inside Yourself" - about mindfulness, meditation, and the impact on your life.
- "What got you here won't get you there" - Liked a lot more than I expected.
- "Re-read Innovator's Dilemma" - a great classic; never gets old.
- "How will you measure your life" - from the same author. Also excellent.
- "The Best Service is No Service" - good overview on why Amazon's customer service is so good
- "Crucial Conversations" - half is common sense; half is good tips to practice everyday.
- "Fluent Python" - was afraid it'd be too basic, but not really. Enjoyed it a lot.
- "Think Complexity" - about algorithm complexity, data structures, etc. Great read.
- "Python Data Science Handbook" - meh.
- "Fundamentals of Deep Learning" - good intro. Helped me solidify some concepts from Andrew Ng's ML course
- "Deep Learning" - by Goodfellow and Bengio. Just started, but really liking it.
[STARTUPS] (all excellent; in order)
- "The Hard Things about Hard Things"
- "Zero to One"
- "The Founder's Dilemmas"
- "The Launch Pad"
- Trilogy: "Off to be a wizard / An Unwelcome Quest / Spell or High Water"
- "Infinite Jest" - tried but failed to finish. May try again later.
- "Ready Player One" - nice, but repetitive after a while. Good read before the movie comes out.
- "What If?" - xkcd FTW
- "How to Read a Book" - good concepts, but should be a 10 pages blog post, not a book
- "Spark" - Science of the Exercise and the Brain - Long, but good
- "Sugar Shock" - still reading; hopefully will help me cut my sweet cravings
- "The New New Thing" - about Jim Clark's life, one of the very first entrepreneurs
- "Machines of Loving Grace" - about the research and the rise of AI
- "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution"
- "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs" - About Pixar's story. Liked more than Isaacson's biography
- "The Innovators" - great summary of computer industry, from the 1800's till today
- "Ghost in the Wires" - Kevin Mitnick's story. Had started years ago, but finally finished it
- "Idea Man" - about Paul Allen's story. Quite an impressive man.
The supply-demand dynamics have changed a lot in the last couple years. I'd roughly break it out into two groups: people with work experience + strong software development skills, and those without. The first group is in higher demand than ever, and tend to add a lot of value to companies that really need it.
The second group has gotten extremely crowded, especially from STEM graduates - usually with a masters or phd - who have completed MOOCs or bootcamps. Supply keeps growing while demand is flat or shrinking (especially as executives get burned by "data scientists" who don't know how to help them build things of value). There's a huge crunch here; a lot of people I know in this group have been searching for jobs for months, eventually settling for a low quality job or giving up entirely :(
I think you also need to not confuse the growing ease of machine learning tools with the role becoming more accessible. There is a wide gap between tooling and knowledge to use those tools appropriately and creatively.
And may I never write another HN comment on my cell phone again.
The major issue is that Data Scientist is a very fuzzy term with it being applied to everyone from undergraduates with Stats degree and to those with PhDs and papers at KDD/ICML/NIPS/CVPR.
However rather than doing a Frontend or Mobile developer coding bootcamp, a data science bootcamp is likely to lead to more transferable skills in case you wish to get an MBA etc.
There are a lot of people who know more about modeling, software engineering, statistics, machine learning, analytics, and so on than I do. But I excel at bringing everything together and solving difficult business problems. It's really difficult to train someone to be this way. It takes a lot of time, experience, skills, and a unique disposition to be an effective data scientist. At least to be the kind of data scientist I am. And I'm still early in my career.
Just my two cents. I suspect there will continue to be a glut of people who, on paper, have the data science skills, but lack all the intangibles. Who knows, maybe the various programs and boot camps will start doing business scenario learning: here's a tough real world problem where we don't tell you how to solve it, but we desperately need you to figure it out. Go!
General data science is in need. I can get contracts easily, I know that people looking for competent people need to wait; especially as it is a skill much harder to pick than, say, front-end web dev (unless someone starts from a highly quantitive background like physics, modelling in biology, etc). My general impression are:
- ML (especially practical one, like logistic regression and random forest) is often integral parts of many data analyses (or at least a plus),
- there are not as many jobs solely focused on ML; and if so, often they require some specialistic expertise,
- and even less only for deep learning (also, for DL there is relatively high threshold for having skills at "hireable" level).
Some of my tips on how to learn data science: http://p.migdal.pl/2016/03/15/data-science-intro-for-math-ph... (on purpose I put the emphasis on general data exploration/analysis before machine learning).
Right now however the theme I've heard from the higher ups has been profitability, and this applies to all tech companies in general. Easy capital is gone and now companies are in the spotlight for not making profits.
So at least from my company's perspective, it's not that data science is saturated, it's that we're trying to not break the bank and hire too much.
In my opinion, you could start by defining what is a data science, a quant, or a machine learning job. Because that's not clearly defined. It means different jobs to a lot of people, jobs that are all hard to learn and absolutely NOT interchangeable.
I think making the transition from the first role to the second role comes with experience, both with the toolsets, and thinking about the problem as a whole.
I can't speak to anything regarding ML, but for whatever it's worth in our segment of the market we have seen a lot of competition emerge in a big way the last few years. Former academic-type firms who specialized in bespoke economy analysis reports are starting to build software around all of the data that is out there since it's never been easier to collect and normalize it. I think it's a stretch to say the market is approaching saturation for us, though.
The bias might stem from the fact that we have some huge names in AI doing research here, but the data points seem clear (we say undergraduate education is slow to catch on, right?): the topic as a whole isn't overrated.
However, there seems to be a lack of understanding by people working in tech of the differences (in uses, theory, implementation) between ML, AI, NN, DL, etc. This might stem from a lack of understanding of the foundations of these topics (ex: statistics, vector calculus) or simply because we can abstract a lot of this away (ex: TensorFlow).
I'm going to speak primarily about applied data science. This means a data scientist who is solving a business need by doing ad-hoc analysis or building a reusable solution (e.g a R+Shiny dashboard) to a business problems.
Jobs: There are plenty of jobs out there, but you have to be careful. Many "Data Science" jobs are really BI, Business Analyst, or Sales Engineer types of jobs where some VP got it in their head that they need a Data Scientist. These jobs are great for people who are okay with Technology and Data Science being 10% of their job - and many people are like that. They don't care about engineering, coding, or tech and statistics beyond the minimum to do their jobs. But if you really want a job that involves solid tech and stats/ML skills you will be unsatisfied at these types of jobs.
Right now there are plenty of hard business problems that people want to turn into Data Science problems because they think it'll give them a competitive edge or something to market and show off. This results in more data science job openings. However, they are not really data science problems. As somebody else said, people will eventually realize they are not getting the value they need with data scientists doing these types of jobs. Then they'll replace that person with an MBA with some DS coursework (e.g. MBA who can use KNIME or SAS Enterprise Miner) or eliminate the position.
People: I interview people and I know people at other organizations who interview candidates for Data Science roles. MOOCs and many degree programs (including 2 year MS degrees) are pushing out people who have a very superficial overview of data science. Basically they teach them about every ML algorithm in the known universe and the functions to call them them in R/Python/SAS. The end result is a mediocre coder or non-coder who boils everything down to a confusion matrix or root mean squared error. But they cannot actually think through a business problem or see why a low error doesn't equal a good model (see http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations)
Finding good people is hard and you have to be flexible to realize great people can come from different backgrounds.
If you're hiring: Get the above out of your pathetic small minds and start hiring the smartest people you can find. Look for successes in any industry. Your business isn't that unique. The best people can learn it much faster than you did.
I'm hiring 6 people in a range of roles between "pure" data scientists to more data engineer/SWE roles. The exact mix depends on who we can get.
The ability to find good people is the biggest constraint on the work we do.
Our current team ranges from applied mathematicians (as in they are Math professors) to people with traditional SWE backgrounds. Basically we are a long long way from saturated.
If you're serious about machine learning - build a blog or online repository of quality work and use that to get a job instead
This depends quite a bit on critical thinking, a good fundamental ability to analyze a problem and understand its parameters, then manage the logical operations required to deliver the feature and solve the problem.
As for why I think it's on HN every day: I also like to think of an innovation pipeline happening something like this:
[---------explore------|----------exploit-----------] ,->developers -> engineers/scientists -> data scientists->--, /----------<----------------<--------------------<----------/
I also believe that most traditional companies do have data scientists, but they havent really start incorporating machine learning into their products, they are analyzing information about their customers, but their products are not reliant on using data. Once that becomes more common, things will pick up.
Personally I stick it all in US index funds and am averaging more than 20%/year over the last five years (although I'm not supposed to look at it).
Also, "For USA citizens" isn't disjunct from "For those living in Europe", and "Europe" is quite diverse (even if one reads it as 'in the EU', tax laws may affect what's 'best')
Also, avoiding the euro may, depending on what you want to do with the funds, add exchange rate risks, with their pros and cons (higher variability of ROI). If you want to spend the money in what now is an euro country, I don't think there is a way to take exchange rate risks (either because of investing in other currencies or because of not knowing a possible euro exchange rate)
And I think option B should be disqualified as it doesn't meet your requirement of 'passive' (you know that, based on the remark 'too much hassle')
There are currency hedged funds if that's an issue for you.
Disclaimer: I work there
Seems quite bond heavy though. If you have a choice, 60/40 stocks/bonds (preferably global, equal-weighted vs cap weighted for the stocks to take advantage of the higher growth of small and mid caps).
Let me say something about Option B: Being a landlord is not passive. There are many young people here, some who have made some good money, that buy and rent property. If they describe it as easy it's because they likely haven't owned the property long enough to have to pay for big maintenance projects, or long enough to have had bad tenants.
Investments are an efficient machine, and they don't produce easy money. The long-term real returns on real estate are steady and low. TINSTAAFL. Any advantages come from being able to leverage a down payment with a mortgage, which may or may not be possible for a rental property.
- The Road to learn React - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13170837
It was a fun distraction on a Friday...
I wrote that as a single draft in 20 minutes and threw it live. I didn't (and still don't) consider it to be one of my better pieces of writing, but it must have resonated with people because it immediately pinned itself to the number one slot here and stayed there for an entire day.
So yeah, that was fun.
No idea it would get that big
1.) Try to engage with customers on retainer basis
2.) Approach other design agencies or development studios
3.) Attend local meetups/hackathons and conferences
4.) Contribute to Open Source
5.) Don't rely on Google or Website leads
6.) Approach customers with specific solutions, help them understand the value of good design. Send them POC
7.) Approach clients similar to what services/ products you earlier delivered
8.) Talk with your friends
9.) From your contacts Facebook, LinkedIn etc. create influencer list and talk with them once in a month
10.) Send me good wishes and some money if this helps you :p
When you meet, make sure that you look like an expert in what you do. :) This alone got me quite some clients.
I started using CodeAnywhere earlier this year to manage a small PHP+mysql geospatial email system for an aviation charity I do the tech for...so wanted something cheap (its $120 a year?) and able to teach a non-tech how to go in and make a change (as I don't want them making edits in the github UI). I was also using my Chromebook a lot while traveling and using shared space, so I needed a decent dev environment without Chrome plugins/jankiness/slowness from a 4gb system.
They have Android and iOS apps that make changes when on the go a touch easier, though code on a Nexus is pretty rough on a plane :-)
So far, pretty good - initially they were making changes to how containers were created and destroyed, causing some changes in the syntax of how a container is defined thus causing mine to be troublesome. However, their support was pretty responsive and got it sorted out.
gomix.com as mentioned here already is pretty new but has been reliable for me so far. It is a fogcreek venture so I imagine it will mature pretty quickly.
- A cheap VM on Digital Ocean close to my location
I have never been so productive before and they give me more flexibility than any cloud dev service at a much cheaper price point. And now after two or three years, I am a tmux, vim, console pro. Everything else compared feels slow and limited.
I dislike the proprietary ones, I don't think proprietary developer tools should be supported anymore tbh, but they force you to use them only-for-x and that means you're looking at alternatives every other time too!
I guess it depends on what you're looking for - i.e. some new kind of collaboration workflow or a nice GUI or some other IDE features.
By day I am a .NET developer who typically uses Visual Studio. I do all of my development on an Azure VM with all of my dev tools on it. This is very useful because I can access it from anywhere and don't muck up a physical machine doing it. I use a standard F4 instance and stay under my free MSDN credits most months as long as I remember to turn it off (automation has fixed this recently ;). Not exactly what you mean, but lots of the same benefits.
But, I do like to tinker and see what all the cool kids are using, so have tried most of the ones you mention as well. I do think this model will become way more common, but none have stuck so far for me. Most of that is that I have customers that use VS and have a hard time imagining them using anything else. But I also felt the "free SKU" on some of these to be a little limiting. One or two projects or public-only projects means I have to commit to use in my day job. I don't fault them for making money, but there is a barrier there that limits me from using or recommending it. Also, if I'm learning something new - especially tooling like webpack/grunt/gulp/yo/etc.- it can be difficult to translate "getting started" style documentation to the specific environment. If something goes wrong, I'm unsure if it's the environment or me (though I assume the later ;)
As many have suggested, gomix is changing this some for me. I've used it to learn node a bit more, and as a place for one-off tests of JS/HTML/CSS issues. As with the others, I feel like I'd have a hard time recommending it for production use at the moment, but really like it for things I don't necessarily want in my or my customers' source control. It's zero-friction and "just works" for a certain class of problem.
My _hope_ is that these mature so that 1) there is less vendor lock-in and barrier-to-entry and 2) get more popular so that certain types of applications don't need a full on dev environment to code for.
It used to have a minimal set of things you could install but moved to a clean Ubuntu box that you can pretty much muck about with and install what you like.
For Rails, it is perfectly suited and very easy to spin up an Ubuntu VM and play.
I used Cloud9 before hand and though this was a while ago, I had a demo of an Express thing with MongoDB and about 15 mins before said demo it started falling apart.
I believe the uptime is pretty great, just a lasting impression of failing just at the wrong time.
Codio seems to have pivoted however to be more about offering educational institutions the ability to create courses etc. so though powerful, that is what the developers are focused on now
Occasionally the version number of things lag behind in Codio and that is my biggest gripe. That and PHP boxes not having mod_rewrite enabled out the box, but that is just me
When she has an issue, I hope onto the collaborative workspace, and we either chat using the in-app function, or do a Skype voice call.
For collaboration, it is great. The environment is pretty slick as well. I haven't used it for a "real" project yet, though. I'm not quite sure how the collaborative functions would work with a VCS, for example.
To change that you have to make it where the rewards are not worth it risk. this is by increasing difficulty and closing those favorable circumstances.
perceived_chance_of_getting_caught * perceived_penalty > perceived_benefits
I did not find a very good book on advanced level.
2. Keep 6 months reserves in cash (maybe 12 depending on my view of the current political outlook)
2. If I had plans to staying put for at least 3-5 years, a down payment for a modest home in a good neighborhood, possibly a fixer, something I could rent out in a few years if I moved. I am young(ish) and have good earning potential so am confident that taking out a mortgage at current historically low rates and investing the rest in the stock market will provide higher returns in the long run than paying a house off immediately.
4. Put the rest in low-fee index funds.
If you don't already have a burning passion to pursue something that this money enables you to do and you have other sources of income already, don't go looking for a hole to throw your money down.
Unless it's money you can afford to lose, your investments should be "boring banking stuff".
That leaves 490k. I'd put 100k into wealthfront, so they will use individual stocks instead of etfs for tax loss harvesting.
I'd take 90k and invest it in AA or A rated municipal bonds, if you are in a state where gains are tax free, creating the beginnings of a bond ladder. We expect the fed to raise interests rates 3 times next year so I'd probably split this 15k for the first raise, 25k for the second raise and 50k for the third raise.
if I have a 401k I'd invest the maximum 18k in 2016 and contribute the 18k in 2016, making purchases immediately after interest rates go up in dividend stock etfs, reit etfs, broad market etfs, and a small cap etf. Likewise 5500 each ear for an ira, or possibly a roth IRA, depending on current income levels.
I'd save 153k in a savings account like synchrony bank with 1.04 apy interest. Part of that should be a year's expenses, the rest used to purchase stock in solid companies if the market crashes. I'd want to adjust this after a market crash year.
Then I'd split 300k into 100k for a broad based index etf, 50k in a small cap etf, 25k in a midcap etf, 75k in a large cap etf, 25 k in a bond etf. I'd spend 5k on individual stocks using a robinhood account, so I could get a feel for the market. The remaining 20k would be for taxes on any dividends, idly playing the market so I wouldn't touch the bigger investments, and an emergency fund, again placed in a synchrony or equivalent savings account.
Real estate isn't risk free, but even in down cycles you don't lose all your value, e.g. a $200k house doesn't become worth $0. The key wealth generator (not get rich quick scheme) in the history of the US and most Countries is real estate (land/property etc). This means finding and buying in the right areas and not being afraid to cross state lines etc. Leveraging the $500k in California won't get you really far, but doing it most other places will let you really do quite well and you can have passive income coming in within a few months.
Also, done right, you'll still have a significant amount of the money to invest into other things like the stock market to diversify yourself.
1/3 VBR 1/3 GLD 1/3 TLT
Honestly, you'll probably be ok just buying a standard ETF such as SPY or QQQ (more volatile), waiting 5 to 10 years without doing anything and cash it in.
I'd invest it by buying some books about investing first.
2- Buy a place there
3- Spend it for the rest of your life
under 55, I'd keep 400k in stock market.
Maybe bet a bit on raising interest rates as a hedge.
This is the flaw in your thinking, the word Potentially. Good engineering means you worry about actual problems and not potential problems (within reason ofc). Your actual problem is that you haven't written the web application, so you do that first. For doing that, Python is an excellent choice.
"But what about web-scale?" Well, chances are your product will fail for some reason and never become successful therefore thinking about scaling problems now is a waste of time. In my experience, scaling problems comes much later than most people think. I've worked on an interactive site in Django that served 60k visitors per day without problems. It was the database that gave us the most performance problems not Python.
The main advantage of JVM and CLR for large scale development is support for static types. But, Python has a standard for type annotations (https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0484/) which allow you to have all the language services which are available for static languages (refactoring, completion, etc) available for the Python. Not all libraries have these annotations, but you can provide it yourself, or separate code with annotations from code without annotations.
You should also take into account that JVM, and CLR have much better runtime performance than Python, almost on par with C++, so you should think about this if it's important for your app to use resources as efficiently as possible, but typically it's not as important for SaaS projects.
For other applications Python is way too slow... although PyPy helps a lot.
As for things like static typing and maintainability, it's certainly possible to do with Python. You also have the power to write horrible unmaintainable code. Unit testing tends to be much more more important in Python. And you can add static typing to Python these days, via external tooling.
Some ideas and tools for building long-term maintainable Python, originally written as guide for Java developers: https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/10/30/python-for-java-deve...
Would I recommend python for something the size I do now? No. I would recommend any other language that has strongly enforces types and compile time checks (like Java). They add an extra layer of safety on unit tests. I have dreams of rewrites that are in C# or Java.
Just today I fixed 2 bugs because of unexpected types being used.
This is the key piece of information based on which I will give you my advice. If you know Python and use it already, then go build it in Python.
If you do grow to that level of scale, python will be the least of your worries. You will figure it out then. Just build in python and release the damn kraken.
Today, after some large projects, I miss strong typing but not enough to change everything. You need more tests, but I can live with it.
We integrated with a large retailer in a complex project with only two developers and I think Python was the reason to it. Too many open source things already done and fast iterations.
There is a lot of information available on the American space programs all over the internet, but if you would like to read about their Soviet counterparts, give Rockets and People  a go.
Finally, to get an idea of what it is like to live in outer space nowadays, Chris Hadfield's autobiography An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth  is a good read.
In general, writing solid, production level code takes time. I have had developers throw up code that mostly works and can't understand why when I go to make it production ready it can take 10x longer to do it correctly. But even if you have lots of experience you will underestimate some tasks and they take you 3-4x longer then you expected.
Overall, the more time you spend in design the less time you are writing code. And the more tests you write (in general) the less you'll revisit code. Also, the smaller each chunk of work is, the better. I try to use the rule a function/method has to fit on a laptop screen view. Doing this means you keep each function/method doing only one thing and believe it or not will speed up your development not slow you down. There are those exceptions when the function is uber simple but maybe has lots of if/else for state transitions or something similar where with whitespace and comments etc the method is 2-3 pages.
Qwerty is more reliable for development with more ease to reach special characters.
Ie. this is a non-problem, solved since 1984.
If you're doing development in a dynamic language, just about anything half-modern is more than sufficient. Faster clock speeds matter more than the number of cores (ie, prefer a 3.5GHz dual-core to a 3GHz quad-core).
If you're compiling large code bases, the more cores/cache you can get, the better. (You won't find "the best" in a laptop.)
A lot of AI development requires GPU hardware. Again, you're looking at a desktop workstation for the best results.
RAM - I say get as much as you can afford. (You can always set up a tmpfs for maximum awesomeness when doing IO-bound operations.)
As for SSDs, the measure you care about is random 4k writes at low queue depths (QD <= 4, typically measured in IOPS as opposed to MB/s).
Also consider the importance of human interface devices. If you're not 100% happy with the keyboard, mouse and screen, it's not worth your trouble. Those things have a far greater impact on your productivity than you might realize.
A few months ago I bought and modified a Chromebook to run Linux natively and it works great for non-compiled language development.
Here's what you get for $350:
- 1.7 GHz Celeron 3215U (or an i3 for $45 more)
- 4GB of RAM
- 13.3" 1920x1080 IPS display (165 PPI)
- 128GB SSD (or a 256GB model for $50 more with room to grow)
- Full size SD card
- 2.9 pounds
Full review and write up can be found below:
But if you do need minimums, I will say 8-12 GB RAM at the least (I like 16 GB) and CPU is anyone's guess.
For me, a few things like fan noise (which is almost none in my macbook pro), size of screen (I don't like large screens like 15 inch or more), keyboard and trackpad behavior etc are what matter most.
Otherwise, just get a MacBook Pro, a high end MacMini or an iMac; you will be able to develop for all the major platforms (even Microsoft Visual Studio is being ported to macOS!).
The AirPods are by far my favourite.
The newer EarPod design (the ones that aren't the oblate spheroids) fit my ears really well, and so do the AirPods.
I find them much more comfortable than the PowerBeats (which uses the same W1 chip).
The pairing felt much better with the AirPods.
They surpassed my expectations. iCloud syncing of bluetooth pairing information is nice. Being able to hear the sound in my environment is also good when exercising.
Invoking Siri is so much faster using the EarPods an it is with the Apple Watch.
You can also double tap the side to answer calls (which I didn't hear about in any of the reviews).
We use SIP phones at work, and I've found an app called Groundwire (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/groundwire-business-caliber/...) that integrates with call kit.
Re: Having them fall out.
I have not been able to get them to fall out, even when trying.
All in all, a worthy purchase, a few :O moments, and the ability to wrestle with my dog and forget they're in, but still be listening to music... Pretty fun moments.
But the main thing that no one but apple seems to get is the "recharge story". It's obnoxious to have to plug these things into a micro USB.
The Apple Watch and AirPods are how everyone should be doing recharging - a cradle that stores your device while it charges it.
Over the years, I have participated in various kinds of support groups for various things. They are often incredibly depressing and are often drama fests where it is difficult to really talk about solutions. Social pecking order and "respecting" the pain of people who can't get their act together becomes far more important than actually being useful to people who desire to move forward. This means anyone with real answers is shouted down by the folks saying it cannot be done.
So, I will suggest you put some thought into how you intend to keep the focus on problem solving. It is all too easy for "support" groups to just become places to vent and not places to get real solutions.
I am semi interested, but I am not going to give you my city and I am not sure I am a good fit for your group. But I would be happy to exchange a few emails. (And I have posted this HN discussion on my blog.)
I used to be part of a couple of communities like this and while they are amazing a mastermind is a thousand times better.
Besides, the pay is shit. European companies think 40k is a great salary for an engineer. Better rates to be had in murica. much better. 3-4x+ better.
There are a million of workplace laws and regulations that are hard to apply for someone who's working from home. E.g. I have heard from people working at home that their desk and chair needed to be inspected to make sure it is compliant (ergonomics etc).
So yes, it's happening. I say this as someone who generally prefers to work onsite...
What is really common, is reasonably generous attitude towards working from home. Few of my colleagues have arrangement with my manager that they can work from home indefinitely and basically come to office only when they feel like it, because of ~1h long commute from one part of the city to the other. Company policy is 1xWFH/week.
Overall, remote working in Europe is mostly done for US companies. EU companies are usually mentally disabled.
if you have 100K users, track 10 Events mer month, you are at 1M event, which will cost you $ 100 on segment based on MTUs and $100 on mixpanel based on 1M events.
What are the services you are currently using?
[Disclaimer] I am working on building a new analytics platform myself, purely on the data drill-down, dashboards and reporting etc. Cost of ingestion is relatively high, and segment is actually one of the cheaper pure ingestion service I am aware off.
Now we experiment with Keen.io  to track events for different/new features in our tool. We started to track events from our backend, but for user behaviour we would use it to track events from the frontend as well.
 - https://mixpanel.com/
 - https://keen.io/
Disclosure: I've done dev work for Astronomer.
I'm interested in how people use a combination of server side and client side tracking. Everything in my jurisdiction is front end.
I've tried for very long to find a good electronic solution. Up to and including writing my own wiki with various extensions customised to my diting style, and hunting around for every note taking app under the sun.
The problem, I find, is that nothing beats the flexibility of being able to take out multiple sheets of paper and move them around, annotate them, put them back in. It creates a flexibility in workflow no tool I've tried have managed to match.
The physical presence of the paper also makes it much easier to avoid forgetting a page exists.
I'm not happy with it, but I keep coming back to it after each desperate attempt at making something else work better.
Evernote it is not: The sharing story is pretty BYOB, in that what you get out is an HTML (or whatever other format) document, and sharing it, whether readonly or not, is on you. There's document publishing functionality, but it requires some setup and an upstream host that can take files via FTP/SFTP/etc. Same goes for syncing, if that's something you want; Dropbox works for me, and there are many alternatives.
Your use case sounds like it would require some tooling around org-mode to achieve. If you want something that does what you need straight out of the box, it probably won't make you happy. But you asked what we use to take notes, and for me that's org-mode; the things it does well are many, some of them unique in my experience, and that makes it worth my while to invest effort in adding the occasional capability I want which doesn't exist by default.
(And for meetings where people are touchy about laptops, or realtime capture on a call, I have a clipboard and a paper tablet. But it's ephemeral; anything needing kept goes straight into an org file at the earliest opportunity.)
I still use Evernote for quick storage and access of images, pdfs and long-form notes as the search is great. However, their tag/notebook organisation system has annoying redundencies and is clunky in places. I would love to bin it but can't find a suitable alternative. Bear is promising but not quite there. Apple notes doesn't allow linking between notes.
I've thought about maybe a Surface would be nice for that, but haven't really tried it.
I think you'll have best luck with multiple tools like you're doing now.
It's an infinite blank space of text in 2D. Also see the beta: https://beta.walloftext.co
I don't think you'll find a notes application that has code highlighting, but perhaps I'm wrong...
I love the idea of having different notebooks, being able to easily merge text, code, mathematics and images into one note, and make 'cookbooks' out of them.
Someone make it for Windows please.
So in the end I wrote my own static wiki generator (QuickWiki: https://github.com/VictorBjelkholm/quickwiki). It basically takes a folder full of markdown files, automatic links to other pages and generates a static website (that looks something like this: https://victorbjelkholm.github.io/quickwiki/home/ )
Apart from that I haven't taken a note for the last 3 or 4 years. I had stacks of unsearchable notebooks with near-unintelligible scrawl in them, and rather than improving/indexing my note-taking I just gave up on it, reasoning that if I had gotten away with bad note-taking for 15 years then I could probably get away with none at all.
Turned out I was right. Without having notes as a crutch I end up concentrating harder on understanding and remembering on what people are saying. YMMV but it works well for me
Bullet journal is also worth checking,however I don't feel like we love each other.
Git + Vimwiki setup:
It makes it really easy to tag, organize, share and with the archive feature you can get todo list functionality.
Day-to-day sketches and TODO's and little note lists: I keep a spiral note book next to my keyboard. I'm a leftie so it's upside down. I use the blue Pilot Drawing pens in various thicknesses. They dry instantly, so no ink smudges. Nice.
In addition to these I keep a day-to-day diary in .txt documents on my computer, I just open them in Sublime text or vim and make a new one every month. I try to just write four or five lines about what I've done every day as well as what I need to do tomorrow.
It has a convenient Markdown editor with live previews, sorting notes by notebooks, and has web and mobile versions. The notes are stored in dropbox and your browser's local storage, also they have imports and exports for backup.
Also its completely opensource and I can be sure that theres no snooping on my notes.
I loved it!
However, recently I've moved to linux for my daily computing needs and I have yet to find something to fill a void.
I'm using notion.so for most notes and paper for hand written stuff.
It's sad that in 2016, there's no nexus type tablet running android (with updates) that has pen support :/
 - https://www.onenote.com/
 - https://www.notion.so/
I keep a paper based day planner and a notebook with my ideas, thoughts, etc in it. Recently I have been also trying to keep track using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil using an app called Nebo. I'm not ready to switch yet. (And for that matter I have never been able to switch in 40 years).
Paper to me is long lasting. I can start something in a notebook, shelve it and then pick it up again. No need to update the OS or the app I used to create it (if it still exists).
Mostly because it just creates a bunch of .txt files, which are easy to handle (sync, backup, read via ssh, ...), and by placing them in subdirs you get a hierarchy.It is mostly for text, but it supports links, links between notes, links to files, pictures, code, lists, checkboxes, latex, gnuplot, ... and if you really need something you can create your own tool.
Simple markdown files, with a script to create a new date-stamped document for each day , opens it in vim, and then commits the change and pushes to a bitbucket private repo for backup, after I close vim .
It also includes a script for converting all documents to a nice epub ebook, for offline reading, browsing, searching etc in calibre e-reader.
Some benefits that made me go this direction, instead of, say evernote or the like:
- Offline storage
- Syncable via git (I'm keeping a backup in a private bitbucket repo)
- Easily convert to any format via pandoc
- Can edit effortlessly in my terminal-based environment (bash, tmux, vim)
- Really automateable
I've tried almost everything to automate paper->computer (typing rather than writing, Livescribe pen, iPad pro + apple pencil, many many devices that are now dead) and none have been as good as just a decent (not super special) pen and a notepad. I prefer an engineering pad or quadrille or in a pinch dot-grid, but really anything works as long as you don't lose it.
The trick I learned was every day or so to move them into the computer, which I do by typing them in (and simply taking a photo of drawings). I usually type in Emacs or right into Evernote. I try to do it every evening as one of my last tasks, as part of reviewing my day & looking at the next day. If it's a multi-day sketch-it-out effort I wait until the few days are over. Dictation has become good enough that I can actually read aloud the relevant parts of a bunch of sheets of paper (in the order I care about) and then quickly fix them up. This is actually the only use case for dictation I've found on my computer.
The benefits: First of all, typing them over forces you to review them, organize them slightly, and skip over the irrelevant stuff. This is really important after a design effort since you throw away what you think are truly dead paths, and all your cross-out go away. If I need one, this typing is often the base of my design document. Second: I've seen meeting notes I've taken that don't justify being typed in. In which case, why did I even go to that meeting?
Interestingly, when I was a kid my mum told me she used this technique both in school and in work, which I dismissed as a ludicrous waste of time. Only decades later when I evolved the same approach did I remember her advice.
Take photo with phone. Send to whoever else needs to know, e.g. meeting minutes.
My notepad is A4 paper cut in half (yeah, A5, but company only stocks A4) with a big bull-clip in the top. When notes are no longer needed, just shred them.
On the digital side I use OneNote.
If anyone is interested, this guys instagram says it all: https://www.instagram.com/desk_of_jules/
For Windows and Linux, there's Cherrytree (http://www.giuspen.com/cherrytree/). I'm not using it myself, it's just something that I found when looking for Evernote alternatives. It has syntax highlighting and can handle images.
Good luck with finding a solution.
I just recently started using it, finding it rather nice, though it still feels rather 'beta'.
It's intended for collaboration rather than specifically for note-taking, but it looks like it addresses some of my issues with respect to flexibility for note-taking. I'm not convinced they've got the pricing and market fit perfect yet, but it looks quite interesting.
(Disclaimer: I'm having some conversations with the founder, but we've not done business)
Other apps I have tried and used over the years:
- http://www.mweb.im/ (markdown)- https://ulyssesapp.com/ (markdown)- http://lightpaper.42squares.in/ (markdown)- http://alternoteapp.com/ (Evernote GUI)- Many, many others
Notebooks really stands out because it has a great iOS app, syncs via Dropbox (plain files), and handles TXT/MD/HTML + Custom CSS&JS.
The Mac app is not great, but it's adequate. I frequently talk to the author and they are rewriting it to be more "Mac friendly", but that's a bit away (1 year maybe?).
For the longest time, I tried to stay true to Markdown, but as I get older, I just want things to be easier, and to look nicer, and I now prefer writing everything in WYSIWYG. Since I have custom styles, I can stick to standard structure (ie H1, p, ul, ..), which is in spirit close to Markdown (ie structure only). And I can still customize when I want complicated things (I wrote a couple special classes for some use cases).
Plus, it works with the filesystem, so you get folders, which I personally prefer to all this tagging BS. It makes it easier to have everything in one place: work stuff and personal stuff, and to keep it all neat and tidy. Also, because it's files, it's always available offline (iOS app too).
The iOS app is like a small file manager, so I also keep pictures, PDFs, and some other docs. So I always have all my important stuff on hand, no matter where I am.
Overall, I think it's a great app, which still has room to grow (better GUI on desktop, encryption, ...)
- piece of paper and pen
- Clear https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clear-tasks-reminders-to-do/... (not only as Todo App, but also to make outlines for topics)
- Sublime Editor + Markdown + (private) GitHub repository
But OneNote and ten-finger-typing makes up for that. If I need to share it, I can easily copy it in to an email, everyone can receive these without needing another account.
You might want to look into http://www.codefoster.com/codeinonenote/, a code highlighter for OneNote
Quiver: suports markdown and syncs via Dropbox
Mindful: chrome extension
I started a blog, using Nikola. Not perfect, but it can support markdown, rst, ipy etc, plus pretty much anything else the web can.
Not exactly a TODO list, but for publishable things, it's pretty flexible if the thought isn't private.
For the rest I use Google Keep which I've found to be quite handy. Nice UI and it's available everywhere. I've already sold my soul to Google so why not let them get my notes as well.
If there's something that I need to copy/paste later then I just have "Clipboard.txt" on my desktop. Not prettiest but it's fastest and easiest.
If I need to plan something bigger then I use Trello.
Love having the xournal files go to my personal server that I can browse through with my laptop or desktop later on, anywhere, anytime, without having to bring around binders and notebooks.
I also like that you can erase and move blocks of ink around.
The default notes app on my Samsung until I changed phone, Private Notepad now. This is for short random notes.
Several markdown files on my laptop especially for work related stuff.
I also have a real notebook in my desk to sketch diagram and flow, I find it very effective.
1. vimwiki in a tmux session in an XMonad scratch buffer. Pandoc for occasional PDF output.
2. Some screenshot / screencast gif scripts around byzanz and scrot.
Long term notes? Evernote - though I'm not happy with them. Just haven't found a replacement yet.
But I ordered Surface Pro 4 this week. So going to try OneNote on SP4 soon.
This gives me some formatting as I go without being distracting.
Usually though I find a pen and paper works best.
For me, I went back to school about 5 years after a liberal arts undergrad to get a BS in computer science, and it has worked out. I was about 27, but there were numerous men and women in my classes in their late 30's and early 40's, all making the switch to CS to keep their skills sharp and better support their families. Some had been lawyers, accountants, and other white collar jobs--and they decided to make the change anyway.
So, yes, it's common, and employers understand that people are coming to programming from many different paths/backgrounds these days. (At least the ones who aren't snobbish.)
Most importantly: use what you perceive as your weaknesses as your strengths. You know a ton about accounting. Use that!
Doing programming work that overlaps with your previous career will probably yield the highest immediate pay, since you have domain knowledge in that area already. (And why waste it?)
That would be my angle to get into programming: find a company that programs accounting systems/financial software of some sort and offer your skills. Their end-users are accountants who have the same problems/frustrations as you. Why not discuss with them and help solve those problems directly? Offer them what they don't have yet, and only you do.
You'll actually find that you'll be picking up stuff faster than younger people just starting out.
Since your interest is frontend dev, your main challenge would be wading through the sea of frameworks and tools.
I knew some HTML, CSS and PHP and had been setting up websites for family and friends. I started freelancing in addition to my day job. Moved to creating PHP web applications and taking on more and more advanced work.
I slowly picked up larger projects, better clients until I got to the point where I was freelancing full time. Now I have a few clients that keep me busy working remotely. I have had a few contract positions 3 to 6 months at a time but mainly it's been freelance since I made the switch.
It's lots of work, you're constantly learning and trying new things. If you enjoy that and have a knack for programming go for it.
I have interviewed with some local companies I wouldn't say I was passed over for younger employees, mainly just not a good fit not enough experience. I can see where some companies would prefer younger candidates.
I would say GO FOR IT but maybe learn/get back in the game by freelancing/keeping your day job. Unless you can afford to quit your day job during the transition.
I would also recommend learning full stack instead of just focussing on front end, it's becoming more blended anyway. Front end is moving toward React, Angular, and Vue.js and is as complex more tightly coupled to the backend.
Also I would focus on learning Laravel (PHP) or Rails (Ruby) I think these are higher paying with more job openings/interesting projects.
Laravel has a great ecosystem, check out LaraCasts.com.
Rails is great as well.
Good Luck with the transition.
There is a huge range for front-end. You have people doing basically cut-up for marketing sites to people building front-ends that can scale up.
My four big buckets I look for from a Front-End are:
* Technical, can you make it work
* Maintainable, can someone else keep it running and update it
* Scalability, can you scale the solution up to millions of people (to be honest, most front-end don't need to worry about this)
* "Precog", can you anticipate the issues that arise from users and their wide range of browsers + OS + hardware
Is excellent if wanna do development, but why not apply your experience instead? Also in all this 10 years you have build some contacts to get your foot in.
I know that accounting and crud apps are not "sexy" and boring.
But you know what is worse and more boring?
Jah, sorry, I can't resist.
But honestly most "front-end" work is not amazing at all.
Maybe building visualizations, charts and stuff like that. But pages and apps in front-end is alike build forms, but harder, more complicated and with less performance than native code.
I'm in the process of build a point-of-sale app, and I will envy to have you background instead, or have a partner with that skills.
So, I'm telling you:
You have valuable skills that are higher than Js. Js/html/css is just a tool (that pay, because the front-end work have become more crazy and requiere more effort triying to be somethings is not made for), but in itself not become yet-another-front-end-dev when you already have a better position to offer.
whatever you do, good luck.
You'll be competing with younger folks for entry-level positions. I'd consider a portfolio of code or personal projects on Github/etc. that show your style, coding and otherwise.
Can you make the switch? It just totally depends on you. You will need to be aggressive in looking for work, you'll have to demonstrate you are qualified and you'll need to show people samples of work. The samples can be personal sites, little things you built, open source you contributed to whatever. You would be essentially a junior web dev, so your expectations of pay and position should be in line with that, if you accept those things and can do the work, absolutely you can make the switch.
What you do need is a passion or interest in this field. Age and/or work experience in other fields brings allot of advantages towards employees, something every 'totally new to working' all have yet to find out.
Frontend nowadays is very awesome, it is my day to day job as well (31 yr old), and I really enjoy it.
The way I see it might not be how you see it. Your question reminds me about the joke with the writer who said he wants to become a doctor after retirement. - The conclusion of the joke was that to start a new career takes time.
I'm currently 35 and spent many years in biochemistry, and did a lot of coding on my own personal time (and am doing contract work currently). One of the frustrations is that going through the hiring process, I get a lot of accolades from the interviewers, and seem to do well to extraordinary on coding challenges - but there's something that I'm not "matching right". In several cases, I've been told that they were seeking "senior devs" even though I've been referred via an agency that should have filtered out all but "junior dev" positions.
I suggest getting insight into the "unwritten rules" of hiring, which is what I'm going to start to ask about. There is a myth that the valley (or indeed the world) is a meritocracy, but in reality, you have to 'figure out the game'. Good luck!
I've coded my first "Hello World" at 26yo and now at 36 I'm working as an iOS contractor and making 6 digit figures (in ) and couldn't be more thankful to past me!
It is not something I would pursue on a whim: the grass is always greener and I assure you front end is a complete shit show, as sexy as it seems right now.
as for not being able to compete that is up to you, as long as you have solid skills and can prove it you your age wont matter.
1. Zed Shaw of the "Learn Python the Hard Way" said programmers are dime a dozen. What's really valuable is a programmer who has experience from another domain such as history, engineering, medicine etc (and accounting in your case). I cannot recall exactly where he said it but I remember reading it and chuckling to myself.
2. Are you sure you want front-end dev work? Why not back-end? Exactly what skills are in demand?I recommend you watch this video on state of tools available in web dev including front-end, back-end, and DevOps as of 2016.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBzRwzY7G-k
I should warn that the shelf life of front-web dev skills seems to be much shorter than IT. In fact here's a list of tech skills, ordered with longest to shortest shelf life IMHO. Not sure about DevOps but my feeling is it has longer shelf life than programming...
IT > DevOps > Back-end > Front-end
Going into IT years ago, I knew I needed to keep learning new stuff to stay relevant. I slacked off a bit (due to family situation) and paid the price. With dev work, you need to spend even more time to learn new stuff to stay relevant. Often, you will have to spend your personal time to do so.
3. You should keep your day job as you try to break into coding. You don't want financial pressure to stress you out. And that means you will have to squeeze out every available hour of your life and devote it to studying/practicing. That means no weekend activities, no TV/video-game at night, etc. The less you do such things, the faster you can switch into dev career.
4. Do you have the environment that will allow you do real productive studying/coding/studying? If you have kids, can you avoid school pickup/dropoff? Will you have big chunks of time daily to devote to coding practice? Personally I need at minimum 30min - 1hr before my brain switches on and gets productive.
Basically your family around you have to pretend as if you had 2 full time jobs or you were studying for Bar exam or in med school. And they should expect what 6 months to a year of this.
Do you have a desk where you can set up 2 x 24" monitors and your laptop with a comfortable chair? Or maybe a standup desk?
5. Get github and own web server (DigitalOcean, Linode or Amazon AWS) going and start posting your work. Curate what you post on Github. I use bitbucket for personal projects and use github only to post what's reasonably presentable.You probably don't have contacts in the industry. And that means finding a job almost exclusively based on job postings. And because of your lack of prior experience in the industry, you will often get passed over for others who do. So your secret and only weapon would be examples of your work that is easily accessible to recruiter/hiring-manager. Especially for dev work as there's no certifications to get like in Windows or Linux world.
Setting up github/bitbucket means learning Git. Not really coding but you will need to know it for a dev work nonetheless.
Setting up website on Linux to host your code is another non-coding task but still valuable skill to have.
6. Your first job as a dev may not be that dream job. What I've learned is that jobs posted on jobsites almost always have more negatives than positives. If it was really a desirable job with good environment, someone would've referred their friend/ex-coworker. So set your expectation accordingly for your first dev work. You can either turn it into a better job or move on to a better job/company. Whether the position is discouraging or not, once you get in, kick as_. That will open more doors, either more responsibility, or a different company or even freelance work.
I started down the path of switching from IT to dev because I wanted freedom of remote work, freelance, start a product/website to make income on the side, etc. None of that has come to fruition except for remote work but no regrets. I no longer have to open boxes of laptops, stick on inventory tag and add it to inventory excel list, get interrupted with help requests every 10 min, or worry about where to keep spare packing material (because manager wants tidy work space but not providing adequate storage space) to have available for overnighting that laptop to replace a broken laptop of a remote worker.
Well there I go, spent another hour doing something else other than practicing coding.
Do you still think the yearly insurance price is competitive with other offerings in the market?
Is the insurance price being adjusted for inflation only?
If so, is your salary adjusted for inflation?
Do you like working there?
Our website is invaluable. We have all our ad landing pages there so it's a constant source of warm local leads. I think it's grown in importance since we tightened the integration with Facebook and Instagram. We don't really do much search/display advertising, it's all social proof, boosted posts, ads to get people to our events, "people whose friends have liked our page," etc.
If the website's importance is 10/10 I'd put Facebook at an 8 and Instagram at a 5. I'd take simple website + solid FB ad strategy over flashy website + leaky bucket ad strategy 100% of the time.
So, SMB owners then try to find some other way to get a presence, many of which make it difficult to use your own website. Facebook, for example, is setup in a way where your FB biz page is highlighted, but the url to your actual site is obscured and buried.
Aside from your examples of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter...I've also seen SMB's move their ecommerce sales to Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and the like.
I opened an escape room business in Idaho about 3 months ago, and we have a website, facebook page, google (+,mybusiness,etc), twitter, and instagram account.
Our website is so important because it's how we connect people to our booking system, and for ranking in Google and we link our Adwords account to it as well.
Then we send people to our website first and on our business cards, promo materials, signs, and more, because it has our FAQ, email contact form, photos, the format we want, Book Now link, the message we want at the top, details about our services, and more.
I couldn't imagine just trying to manage all this with just a Facebook page or Google stuff. People would be very confused.
If I said, just got to our Facebook page, you'd be surprised at how many people say they aren't on Facebook. If I say go to our Google+ page they don't even know what I'm talking about. People call all the time to book because they say "I don't do the Internet thing" (not kidding)
Asking people for reviews is easiest through Facebook. I don't even know how to tell people to review me on Google. Not many folks here appear to be on Yelp it seems. But having a "Review us on..." section of our website will be nice when I add it, and then again, I can just send people to the site.
Lastly, the website is where I can put company specific information like our downloadable flyer, rules and regulations, orientation info, faq, specific details about each of our rooms, some player stats, and official info about our promotions.
So yes, a website for a small business is extremely important in my opinion.
That being said, I have heard of people just going to a Facebook Page, but I believe these are people who don't see the value in connecting EVERY aspect of the web to maximize their online exposure, and don't see the benefits they could reap if they use all these tools together effectively.
We've built a solid amount of websites for small businesses, and in most cases they don't care about maintenance. So in the end they spent a solid amount on a website and hosting, don't change anything for four years and build a new site. Having gained nothing in between.
Having a Facebook page doesn't cost you anything, and on the plus side, if you maintain it you will get free exposure by appearing alongside organic posts on users' timelines. You'll have to work for your likes, but it's your responsibiliy to provide fresh and interesting content. The more users engage with your posts, the more visibility you will get as well.
Twitter seems to be mainly for support and quick updates when you have service problems and Instagram is nice if you have something more in the graphics or design sector. In my country it's also mostly used by geeks and doesn't work if you want to reach a general crowd.
However, as a customer it all depends on what I'm looking for. Want a new tap for the kitchen sink? I'm not going to look for that on Facebook, you'd best have a website with some examples and pricing. If I want to go to a restaurant I only care about their contact information and the menu. If I can find that on Facebook or the Google sidebar, I'm happy.
Google could have dreamed up an Adwords Lite for SMBs and stop defaulting to broad match. If done well it could have made Adwords worthwhile for those who can't just hire an adwords consultant and spend 4 figures. I know several SMBs who would never touch Adwords again. The two I know who use adwords well both have someone pretty technical around. One of those does more on Etsy than their site.
As @tyingq says Google's updates have mostly promoted brands and large businesses. Now add the freshness updates and they're hurting all the mainly static small sites. Facebook did much the same when they hugely cut the views pages can achieve. FB went from hugely helpful to almost a waste of time for many.
It's little wonder so many aren't seeing the point.
- Restaurants seem to keep them up. They need to post menus, and links to OpenTable and other reservation sites.
- K-12 Schools keep their own sites
- Other small businesses (martial arts schools, dry cleaners, etc) seem to be leaving their old sites on standby. Big drop in forum activity.
Conversely, as a web developer, I have stopped working with this segment completely. Non-tech organizations of 1-2 people are way more hassle to deal with than larger organizations.
I currently work for a small business that sells dedicated lines, MPLS etc. They invest heavily in their website and use it to generate leads for the sales team.
Myself, on the other hand, I switched from a Wordpress powered blog to a simple, html "About me" website, mainly because I didn't use it and didn't want to keep up with the maintenance.
I can understand if smaller companies, that need nothing more than a business card on the web, use Facebook or some other hosted service for their presence.
I'm sure there are some SMBs that really do have a need for a website and it really is important to them, but for the verticals that we dealt with, there was a huge perception gap between the perceived and actual value of the website and a profound misunderstanding of the preferences of their customers. The question of whether SMBs still care about their websites is, to me, less interesting than the question of whether SMBs should care about their websites.
It's been a lot worse for them since Facebook started asking for money in order to promote posts, but the ease of use and features of Facebook coupled with an audience beat a website hands down.
Companies included home cooking / office meals, small design and deco items sales, nail polish and beauty supplies, even a general hardware store.
I do think a website is important, but a Facebook page even more so.
Another huge channel here is WhatsApp.
I would've expected a website 5 years ago, but they seem fine.
Google "The Poutinerie" and their 'website' comes up top billing ( London based peep )
In this particular case I distinguished between businesses which are location based and businesses which are able to sell their goods and services on the Internet. For those who are able to sell on Internet, there is plenty of options for e-commerce solution etc, but for local businesses it doesn't make economically sense to maintain website.
During my research I talked with 50 local small-business owners in SF and each one of them had website. They all agreed that it is luxurious expense and half of them had problem to maintain the site and only 10/50 were able to update their website at least once a month. What was kind of shocking for me to find out was that around 60% of these people was paying $50+/month for shitty website and almost nobody was willing to spend more money on their website.
When asking about social media(Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp) - 95% had profiles there and were actually having them more updated than their business websites. Unfortunately, majority of the owners were pretty skeptic about the advertisement there and never tried, for example, targeted FB ads. Most of them never heard about this option.
Here is couple of findings:
- When asking, why do they have a website, some of them replied that it is must have in eyes of the customer - you don't exist if you don't have website, right?
- When asking what's their monthly number of visitors on their websites, 60% didn't know.
- When asking about the most used communication channel, almost everyone said phone. One barber was actually running WhatsApp group and worked pretty well for him.
- When asking how much they will be investing into a website - the majority said that they will not increase their costs for web and ads.
From my point of view, web is actually total nonsense for local businesses, it's unnecessary expense and the owners could do much better if they orient on social media and local advertisement. The real problem for them is that they are not willing to maintain 10 social network accounts and constantly update them, because they need to run their real business as well.
One funny thing I found out was that 10 out of 50 said that old-fashioned promotional flyer into mailbox still works best for them and has the biggest response and they will spent more money on that. Kinda surprise for me in SF in the beginning of 2016.
I've heard of business using those as alternatives to their own websites. To me I'd much rather own my own website site, but I think I'm in the minority.