Reading is one of the most important parts of my life, and has been since I was a little kid. In this post, I want to list out all the books that I feel have changed my life for the better. I won’t summarize or say what the book is about, but only briefly explain how each book changed me.

This also is not a list of my favorite books (altough many here I would count as such). Instead it is the books that I felt changed me the most after finishing them.

You can find all the books I have read here.

Personal Development

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

    For teaching me how to change from being one of the most antisocial kids in middle and high school to being called a very sociable extrovert.

  2. Siddhartha

    For teaching me that extremes are never the answer in the search for bettering yourself, and it’s better to just live simply.

  3. Talent Is Overrated

    For teaching me that it’s not just how many hours you put into something, but that you need deliberate practice.

  4. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

    For teaching me that hard work beats talent that doesn’t work.

  5. The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead

    For teaching me no-nonsense, non-PC practical advice for life.

  6. Springboard to Success

    For teaching me how to organize and reflect about what’s important to me.

  7. Models: Attract Women through Honesty

    For teaching me that people (not just romantic interests) are attracted to people who are honest with who they are, are open with what they want, and cut the bullshit.

  8. The One Thing

    For teaching me to not multitask with my goals and self improvement, and instead hyper focus on a small amount of goals at a time.


  1. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

    For teaching what it means to be a ‘jack of all trades’ kind of person and how much is possible to accomplish in a short lifetime.

  2. Yes Man

    For teaching me to say ‘Yes’ to most things. I actually tried this for a year and it changed my life drastically.

  3. Man’s Search for Meaning

    For teaching me what is important in life when you have nothing to live for.

  4. Steve Jobs

    For teaching me that world builders in their specialized fields can be assholes in their personal lives, and to keep them separate when judging someone in either.

  5. Thinking Fast and Slow

    For teaching me to be aware that our brains are not rationale and we let emotions make a lot of ‘gut’ decisions (for better and worse).

  6. One Up On Wall Street

    For teaching me to try and get opinions on things, not just from the experts in that field, but people affected by it, because the experts are often trapped in a bubble.

  7. The Selfish Gene

    For teaching me to not take life so seriously because at the end of the day, we are all just vessels being used by our genes for survival.

  8. What It Means to Be a Libertarian

    For providing me with a baseline value system on being a lowercase ‘l’ libertarian.

  9. Hackers

    For teaching me about the mindset of the geniuses that created the computer and internet revolution that we all enjoy today.

  10. Economics in One Lesson

    For teaching me the basics of economics (caveat: libertarian spin).

  11. Nothing to Envy

    For teaching me that no matter how bad things get here, life is still ‘great’ compared to most other places.

  12. Blood, Sweat and Pixels

    For teaching me how brutal the game design industry is and persuading me to switch from Game Design to Computer Science.

  13. The Glass Castle

    For teaching me how terrible parents can be and to make sure I never end up like that.

  14. Cracking the Coding Interview

    For teaching that getting into top tech companies is doable with hard work and hundreds of hours of practice.

  15. There are No Children Here

    For teaching me to have more compassion for people dealt the poverty hand at birth and to accept that no matter how much help they might get, they often can never escape.

  16. Bad Blood

    For teaching me how many bullshitters there are in Silicon Valley, and how they operate.

  17. Why Information Grows

    For teaching me how to see literally everything in a completely new way (as ways of organizing information).

  18. The Prize

    For teaching me how to see the world through the lens of a single hyper valuable resource (in this case: oil).


  1. Flowers for Algernon

    For teaching me that it’s ok to become stressed and lost when you undergo a lot of change very quickly.

  2. The Fountainhead

    For teaching me to find meaning in work, the value of creation, and to not live/create for what society expects of you, but for what you find valuable and worthwhile.

  3. East of Eden

    For teaching me that some people are just plain bad, and that’s ok, but more importantly to look for the good in people instead of always searching for the bad.

  4. Angle of Repose

    For teaching me to not hold grudges and forgive people.

  5. Shogun

    For teaching me that there exist cultures that are so different from what I’m used to, but I can still respect them even if I don’t understand them. Also made me fall in love with Japan.

  6. The Subtle Knife

    For teaching me to confront my fears about death.

  7. A Farewell to Arms

    For teaching me how painful love can be.

  8. The Lord of the Rings 1-3

    For teaching me what a perfect journey and reading experience is.

  9. The Count of Monte Cristo

    For teaching me that revenge is often deserved and easy to cheer for.