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In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.
Quoted from "21 Lessons for the 21st Century"
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A Philosophy of Software Design

John Ousterhout

All programming requires is a creative mind and the ability to organize your thoughts. If you can visualize a system, you can probably implement it in a computer program.

Philosophy of Software Design asserts complexity to be the biggest obstacle in software development and talks about managing complexity at a higher level. It is similar to books like "Code Complete" or "Clean Code" but it feels less tactical and more strategical in comparison. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it helped me increase my code quality.

Clean Code

Robert C. Martin

Clean code always looks like it was written by someone who cares.

"Clean Code" is an easy-to-read introduction to some elements that make code clean. What clean code means is discussed in the book with opinions from several prominent software engineers. The book offers a lot of tactical tips for writing clean code. It is fairly easy to implement your learnings in your day to day work. It has some sections that can be irrelevant or hard to read if you are not familiar with the Java language. Some advice might also not seem relevant anymore since there is tooling in place that takes care of various aspects of the development process. But this is still a great book to read to improve your code quality and make it cleaner.

Mindset

Carol S. Dweck

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?

Mindset is about two main kinds of Mindsets that people seem to have. A Fixed Mindset is where you believe that you are born with fixed abilities, and you either talented in something or not (hence flawed). How well that you fare with a skill is determined by your innate talents. You have limited or a fixed potential. Think of people saying that they are not good with math or art. They accept their current state of knowledge as their permanent state. In a Fixed Mindset, you shy away from challenges, and you identify with your success and failures. You are afraid of being vulnerable.


A Growth Mindset is a belief that we have an unknowable potential. It is the belief that our abilities are not fixed and can be cultivated through effort. We have the potential to improve and change almost every aspect of our nature. What kind of mindset you have affects a lot of aspects of your life. In the Growth mindset, you welcome challenges and effort. It is not about the outcome but the process. You do not identify with your success or failure.


Two ideas stood out to me in this book. First of all, the book talks about the benefits of having a Growth Mindset but acknowledges that you can’t have that mindset in every aspect of your life. There will be areas in your life where you would be content to accept things as they are. After all, you can’t focus on improving everything. It is a trade-off. And that is OK as long as what you accept doesn’t affect the quality of your life.


The second idea follows the first one. You can have a Growth Mindset in one area of your life and have a Fixed Mindset in other areas without even realizing it. The Fixed Mindset is some sort of protection that we develop to protect us from being vulnerable, but it also prevents us from growing. The book shows you how to identify the manifestation of a Fixed Mindset and tools to fight it off.

The Art of Loving

Erich Fromm

Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.

Art of Loving is a thorough exploration of what love is and isn't. The central premise is that love is not something that you miraculously fall into but something that needs to be practiced and cultivated. Love is a form of art, so it requires a certain dedication to itself. It not only explores romantic love but also other kinds of love such as brotherly love or motherly love. The book feels a bit too academic at times, but it was still a worthy exploration of a subject that is so dear to our lives.

The Courage to be Disliked

Ichiro Kishimi

No experience is in itself a cause of our success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences—the so-called trauma—but instead we make out of them whatever suits our purposes. We are not determined by our experiences, but the meaning we give them is self-determining.

"The Courage to be Disliked" is one of the best books I have read in a while. It challenges some of your core assumptions (like there is no trauma or that the interpersonal relationships are the root of all problems) and provides you with a framework to help you structure your life. It shows a lot of healthy ways to think about the way we approach interpersonal relationships.

The 5 Love Languages

Gary Chapman

Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction of having genuinely.

According to this book, there are five different ways that people choose to express their affection towards each other (Physical Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gift Receiving). You might not feel loved or cared for in a relationship if you and your partner have different languages of affection. This is equivalent to people speaking of the same things but not understanding each other due to a language barrier. Being aware of these differences can help you learn the love language of your partner. This book provides a useful tactical model for thinking about relationships, but I wouldn't call it an essential read.

The Power of Now

Eckhart Tolle

All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.

I have been trying to practice meditation for a while before reading Power of Now. This book made me understand and appreciate what meditation tries to achieve. The author tends to get a bit unscientific at times, but it is so well-written that I was not bothered by it. The basic premise is that you are not your mind. You have an awareness that observes your mind, and the strive should be to identify with the Awareness that observes and not with your mind that chatters. "The Power of Now" would be my recommended book for anyone interested in meditation.

10% Happier

Dan Harris

There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can.

10% Happier is the story of how the journalist Dan Harris got acquainted with meditation as an outsider and a skeptic. This book can be a good starting point if you are curious about the practice of meditation but feel distanced by the mysticism that surrounds it. He explains how he got into meditation in a very accessible and relatable manner. It is not a life-changing book by any means but can be a light and entertaining read to get your feet wet with the subject.

Exhalation

Ted Chiang

Every decision you make contributes to your character and shapes the kind of person you are.

Exhalation is a compilation of sci-fi short stories from Ted Chiang. Don't let the length of his stories to discourage you. There is so much emotion, imagination, and intelligence packed in each of his stories. I could read a full-length book or watch a movie based on the stories that he skillfully constructs. There are few stories in this book that likely won't appeal to you at all. However, his better stories are beyond amazing and make it worth all the effort. I had so many favorites in this book, but "Anxiety is Dizziness of Freedom" might be my favorite short story of all time. It constructs a world where the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is real, and there is a device available that allows us to communicate with different branches from the time of the split. It is such a great story that is so rich in detail, emotions, and imagination.

If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

Stephen Webb

One of the deep mysteries of the origin of life is the almost indecent haste with which it arose on Earth.

This is a great book about the possibility of alien life in the universe. It is incredibly imaginative, educative, and entertaining to read. It first explains what the Fermi Paradox is and then offers 50 possible solutions to the paradox. Every solution has something to teach you on subjects like biology, astrophysics, or probability theory. This is a book that is teeming with knowledge, imagination, and inspiration. At the end of the book, the author offers a convincing solution to the Fermi Paradox.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street

Burton G. Malkiel

It is not hard to make money in the market. What is hard to avoid is the alluring temptation to throw your money away on short, get-rich-quick speculative binges. It is an obvious lesson, but one frequently ignored.

12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson

You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.

A Guide to the Good Life

William B. Irvine

The easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have.

Antifragile

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.

Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

Anthony De Mello

We see people and things not as they are, but as we are.

Deep Work

Cal Newport

What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore—plays in defining the quality of our life.

Fooled by Randomness

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A mistake is not something to be determined after the fact, but in light of the information available until that point.

Getting Things Done

David Allen

If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.

How to Make Money in Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times and Bad, Fourth Edition

William O'Neil

The whole secret to winning big in the stock market is not to be right all the time, but to lose the least amount possible when you’re wrong.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Personal MBA

Josh Kaufman

Every time your customers purchase from you, they’re deciding that they value what you have to offer more than they value anything else their money could buy at that moment.

The Conquest of Happiness

Bertrand Russell

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

The Pragmatic Programmer

Andrew Hunt

The greatest of all weaknesses is the fear of appearing weak.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

Thinking in Systems

Donella H. Meadows

There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Yuval Noah Harari

In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Ha-Joon Chang

The free market doesn't exist. Every market has some rules and boundaries that restrict the freedom of choice. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them. How 'free' a market is cannot be objectively defined. It is a political definition.

Accidental Genius

Mark Levy

Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie

If you’re going to make a desperate, hopeless act of defiance you should make it a good one.

Atomic Habits

James Clear

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.

50 Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders 1965-2014

Warren Buffett

Sometimes your associates will say “Everybody else is doing it.” This rationale is almost always a bad one if it is the main justification for a business action. It is totally unacceptable when evaluating a moral decision. Whenever somebody offers that phrase as a rationale, in effect they are saying that they can’t come up with a good reason.

The Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurrence of monstrous proportions.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

John Perkins

The choices we make within the boundaries of the twists of fate determines who we are.

Creativity, Inc.

Ed Catmull

You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.

Dataclysm

Christian Rudder

Tonight, some thirty thousand couples will have their first date because of OkCupid. Roughly three thousand of them will end up together long-term. Two hundred of those will get married, and many of them, of course, will have kids. There are children alive and pouting today, grouchy little humans refusing to put their shoes on right now, who would never have existed but for the whims of our HTML.

Flashpoints

George Friedman

The Enlightenment sought to rid the world of myths, but the nation could not justify itself without them.

God's Debris

Scott Adams

The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth.

Hackers & Painters

Paul Graham

No art, however minor, demands less than total dedication if you want to excel in it.

Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari

People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.

In the Dust of This Planet

Eugene Thacker

The question that runs through these disputatio is the following: What if “horror” has less to do with a fear of death, and more to do with the dread of life?

Influence

Robert B. Cialdini

Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.

Mating in Captivity

Esther Perel

Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.

Models

Mark Manson

Rejection exists for a reason — it’s a means to keep people apart who are not good for each other.

Moonwalking with Einstein

Joshua Foer

It is forgetting, not remembering, that is the essence of what makes us human. To make sense of the world, we must filter it. "To think," Borges writes, "is to forget".

Naked Economics

Charles Wheelan

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it maximized his utility.

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Charles Wheelan

So it is with statistics; no amount of fancy analysis can make up for fundamentally flawed data. Hence the expression “garbage in, garbage out.

Nine Algorithms that Changed the Future

John MacCormick

Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.

Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell

Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.

Predictive Analytics

Eric Siegel

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen. —Earl Wilson

Quiet

Susan Cain

Everyone shines, given the right lighting.

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari

We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.

Scrum

Jeff Sutherland

The Scrum Master, the person in charge of running the process, asks each team member three questions: 1. What did you do yesterday to help the team finish the Sprint? 2. What will you do today to help the team finish the Sprint? 3. What obstacles are getting in the team’s way? That’s it. That’s the whole meeting

Siddhartha

Hermann Hesse

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it

Skin in the Game

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding, or better at explaining than doing.

So Good They Can't Ignore You

Cal Newport

No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it—and the process won’t be easy.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson

There is nothing I dislike more in the world than people who care more about ideology than they do about people.

Stories of Your Life and Others

Ted Chiang

Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment.

Superforecasting

Philip E. Tetlock

For superforecasters, beliefs are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be guarded.

Superintelligence

Nick Bostrom

The gap between a dumb and a clever person may appear large from an anthropocentric perspective, yet in a less parochial view the two have nearly indistinguishable minds.

The 4-Hour Body

Timothy Ferriss

The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.

The 4-Hour Workweek

Timothy Ferriss

Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.

The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande

One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.

The Design of Everyday Things

Don Norman

Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz

“Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.

The Industries of the Future

Alec Ross

Computer language is just another language with its own grammar; it just happens to be much more logical than French.

The Inevitable

Kevin Kelly

We are morphing so fast that our ability to invent new things outpaces the rate we can civilize them.

The Master Algorithm

Pedro Domingos

God created not species but the algorithm for creating species.

The Next 100 Years

George Friedman

The computer focuses ruthlessly on things that can be represented in numbers. In so doing, it seduces people into thinking that other aspects of knowledge are either unreal or unimportant. The computer treats reason as an instrument for achieving things, not for contemplating things. It narrows dramatically what we know and intended by reason.

The Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg

Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change

The Predictioneer's Game

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita

The difference between doing a good job and doing a lousy job is driven by how many people a leader has to keep happy.

The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver

The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.

The Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do.

Tools of Titans

Timothy Ferriss

Losers have goals. Winners have systems.

Tribe of Mentors

Tim Ferriss

Never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to learn something new and rise to the next level of your potential.

What If?

Randall Munroe

But I’ve never seen the Icarus story as a lesson about the limitations of humans. I see it as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.

What Should We Be Worried About

John Brockman

Happy brains are all alike; every unhappy brain is unhappy in its own way.

Super Thinking

Gabriel Weinberg

High-stakes testing culture—be it for school examinations, job interviews, or professional licensing—creates perverse incentives to “teach to the test,” or worse, cheat.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Eric Jorgenson

Happiness is the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running into the past or future to regret something or to plan something.

The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing: 2013 Edition

Jason Kelly

Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

Principles

Ray Dalio

If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential.

Coding for Visual Learners

Engin Arslan

Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuk

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

If It's Raining in Brazil, Buy Starbucks

Peter Navarro

It

Stephen King

It was easier to be brave when you were someone else.

Predictably Irrational

Dan Ariely

People are willing to work free, and they are willing to work for a reasonable wage; but offer them just a small payment and they will walk away.

The Psychopath Test

Jon Ronson

I wondered if sometimes the difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor and a psychopath on Wall Street was the luck of being born into a stable, rich family.

Dune

Frank Herbert

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Lord of Light

Roger Zelazny

His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god.

Foundation

Isaac Asimov

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn

Richard W. Hamming

In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it. In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Because you have the most marvelous youth, and youth is the only thing worth having.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.

The Dark Tower

Stephen King

The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size.

Altered Carbon

Richard K. Morgan

The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.

Ringworld

Larry Niven

Humans," said the puppeteer, "should not be allowed to run loose. You will surely harm yourselves.
2018 © Engin Arslan