Hi! I'm Justin Emond, founder of Third and Grove, the best little agency in the whole world.

I believe that work makes the man, that you are what you read, and that the United States is the answer.

Also check out below current reading list, greatest hits, and best of lists.

Books I've Read

An annotated list of everything I have read since 2017:

  1. The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley Book, by Jimmy Soni A fascinating look at the origin story of the people that shape the tech industry today.
  2. First, Break All the Rules Book, by Marcus Buckingham Could have been an essay rather than a book, yet still fascinating insights on managing people.
  3. Scaling People: Tactics for Management and Company Building, by Claire Hughes Johnson In the grand tradition of the best textbooks: deeply insightful, powerful reference material, a must read, and painfully dry.
  4. The Fourth Turning Is Here, by Neil Howe Would have been twice as good if it was half as long. I don't believe the future is knowable, but a compelling argument about the rhythms of Anglo-American society.
  5. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder, by David Grann Reads like a fiction thriller. A wild, entertaining, visceral look at life in the 19th century at sea, and all true.
  6. Marriage and Civilization: How Monogamy Made Us Human, by William Tucker I love a book that changes my broad view of the world, and this delivers.
  7. A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, by Sai Gaddam , Ogi Ogas I'll never look at women the same way again.
  8. How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything In Between, by Bent Flyvbjerg, Dan Gardner A must read for any tax payer, project manager, or leader. Just remarkable.
  9. Sulla: The Last Republican, by Arthur Keaveney The poorly written biography of Rome’s greatest hero, villain, and fool.
  10. How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, by Esther Wojcicki Should be required reading in 12th grade.
  11. Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages, by Dan Jones An engrossing look at the world on the eve of the Western miracle.
  12. Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World, by Allan C. Hutchinson Despite the typos a great mind expander.
  13. Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine, by Thomas Hager A good overview of the major innovations in medicine.
  14. Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber, by Andy Borowitz An interesting premise undermined by a middling mind stunted by the disease of partisanship. Nearly clutches victory from the jaws of defeat in epilogue. Nearly.
  15. For Blood and Money: Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug, by Nathan Vardi A terrific story of blood cancer medicine development and innovation.
  16. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, by Toby Wilkinson Somehow the author takes the profound fascination that ancient Egypt often engenders (and does in me) and makes it boring.
  17. Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World, by Ryan Britt A fun read for a fan (like me).
  18. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, by Peter Frankopan It’s not often a 500 page book undermines its own grand premise in chapter 1. Still, a wonderful account written by a profoundly biased author, unabashedly basking in his own ignorance.
  19. The Seven Fat Years, by Robert L. Bartley In 1978 four men met at a restaurant in DC called Michael 1 to save the world, and they did. This is their story. Read it to understand today's fight against inflation.
  20. The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence, by Robert J. Samuelson A fascinating, and timely look at the inflation in the 70s. Want to understand what is happening right now? Read this book.
  21. American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears, by Farah Stockman The tale of a coastal elite finding out that 65 million Americans are not white collar. Still a great read.
  22. Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny, by Edward J. Watts A deeply fascinating and terrifying look at how the great Roman Republic fell into The Roman Empire. Prescient?
  23. The Price of Time: The Real Story of Interest, by Eddie Chancellor An engrossing history of interest rates. It would have been a better, more compelling read if it were 100 pages shorter, but still a terrific romp.
  24. The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land, by Thomas Asbridge I wanted a comprehensive contained history of The Crusades, and this delivered. Gripping, fair, balanced, and refreshingly modest.
  25. The Great Demographic Reversal, by Charles Goodhart, Manoj Pradhan A fascinating look at one of the major trends underway that will have sweeping global consequences.
  26. The Twelve Caesars, by Suetonius A wild read from ancient Imperial Rome, with a personal look at some of the early rulers.
  27. Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, by Hal Brands Delenda est Beijing.
  28. How the World Really Works: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Past, Present and Future, by Vaclav Smil Cliffs notes for the world of 2000. But finally a decent book by this guy, but I still don't get Bill Gates' love affair with this dismal, often naive author.
  29. Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants, by James Vincent Another insufferable European in love with the metric system writes a sometimes enjoyable history of measurement.
  30. Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy, from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II, by Tracy Borman An enjoyable history of the English monarchy.
  31. When McKinsey Comes to Town, by Walt Bogdanich, Michael Forsythe Neither fair nor balanced, but a compelling story of avarice, amorality, and anti-Americanism (the parts on China are chilling reading).
  32. For Profit: A History of Corporations, by William Magnuson Magnificent if you don't read history or biography, unevenly fascinating if you do.
  33. Green Lights, by Matthew McConaughey Trippy and glorious.
  34. Adrift: America in 100 Charts, by Scott Galloway The author should stick to essays.
  35. The Power Law: Inside Silicon Valley's Venture Capital Machine, by Sebastian Mallaby. Wonderfully written, fascinating for anyone in tech or who wants to understand one of the pieces that makes our country great, but also falls victim to the disease of the biography: falling in love with your subject.
  36. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, by Merlin Sheldrake. An eye-opening account of the fungal world we all live in.
  37. Red Roulette: An Insider's Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption and Vengeance in Today's China, by Desmond Shum. China is an empire of evil and a threat to anyone that values liberty and justice. A chilling read.
  38. Predatory Thinking, by Dave Trott. An entertaining, light read about lessons from the agency trenches.
  39. The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World, by Edward Shawcross. When folly meets hubris. A wild tale of history well-told.
  40. Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts. An engrossing biography of a man who put his own ambition above all else. Napoleon comes off as both a genuis and in some ways quite limited.
  41. Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, by Niall Ferguson. The author isn't able to keep the narrative thread tight, but the premise is compelling and well-supported by the facts: We live in a world created by The British Empire. Still, an important and fascinating read.
  42. Applied Wisdom: 700 Witticisms to Save Your Ass(ets), by Alexander Ineichen. A wonderful collection of financial wisdom. If your world view is like Warren Buffet, read it.
  43. Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, by Helen Joyce. One of two books I read to get perspective on gender identity. Eye-opening and a must read.
  44. Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, by Various. Argues that many gender identiy issues are untreated mental illness. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
  45. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind. A little long but a wonderful account of an insane fraud. So good.
  46. The Most Powerful Idea in the World, by William Rosen. A big idea book that delivers.
  47. Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West, by Catherine Belton. If you want to understand why Putin invaded Ukraine, read this book.
  48. The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino. Weird, but some good lessons.
  49. The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy, by Christopher Leonard. One of those books that makes a decade watching the economy be completely bonkers suddenly make sense. Wonderfully written, and will be considered prescient when the current bubble inevitably bursts.
  50. Career and Family: Women's Century-Long Journey Toward Equity, by Claudia Goldin. The best books convincingly challenge conventional wisdom with data and reality. The conclusion of this book will be hard to accept for many, but as they say, them's the facts.
  51. Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers, by Andy Greenberg. A skilled written exposé of the history and state of state-sponsored Russian cyber warfare. Even more timely with the current crisis in Ukraine.
  52. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, by Friedrich A. Hayek. Appallingly written, but the central thesis is powerfully persuasive. Despite a century of murder, poverty, and terror, hope mystifyingly springs eternal for socialism.
  53. The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone, by Edward Dolnick. Well written linguistic detective story of the decoding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Wild and unexpected.
  54. Grant, by Ron Chernow. Chernow tells an engrossing story of one of the most misunderstood Americans. The finest fighting General ever born in America. All of us today owe our lives to the talent of Grant and the virtue of Lincoln.
  55. Numbers Don’t Lie: 71 Things You Need to Know About the World, by Vaclav Smil. You remember that painfully naive European during your study abroad that liked to point out all the reasons he thought America was not exceptional? He wrote a book and it's as uninformed as you would expect.
  56. Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics, by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon. An illuminating read about the discovery of electricity.
  57. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, by Stephen Brusatte. A good, not great, history of paleontology. Obvious in retrospect, but a keen reminder that paleontologists fall into the same trap as archeologists.
  58. The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis, by Tim Lee, Jamie Lee, and Kevin Coldiron. Not skillfully written, dense, but greatly broadened my understanding of the global economy by shining light on something I didn't even know existed. I suspect the authors are a bit off the reservation, so read with caution. But still read it.
  59. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, by Erik Larson. Holy moly this book is remarkable.
  60. Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, by John Preston. A terrific page turner about a classic con man billionaire. Also a reminder that every business fraud is as same as it's fascinatingly different.
  61. The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union, by Serhii Plokhy. A well-written and compelling narrative that offers a more thoughtful understanding of the fall of the Soviet Union than convention wisdom offers. The best kind of history book.
  62. Finite & Infinite Games, by James P. Carse. Every philosophy book I've read (admittedly a short list) is written by a smart person with absolutely nothing to say. After reading this book my streak remains unbroken.
  63. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris. An incredible biography about an incredible American. Proves that truth is better than fiction in the hands of a talented writer.
  64. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates, by Daniel H. Pink. There's a certain kind of business book I stopped reading because they are consistently shallow and all of their value would have been better conveyed by a one page summary. I should have remembered that before picking up this largely useless read.
  65. Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon, by Colin Bryar, Bill Carr. A remarkable textbook about a remarkable company. Still a textbook though: dry, badly written, with fascinating content.
  66. Junior: Writing Your Way Ahead In Advertising, by Thomas Kemeny. A really insightful and fun read about how to write better copy. Just terrific. Great for anyone (like me) that wants to improve their writing.
  67. Trump's Democrats, by Stephanie Muravchik, Jon Shields. The best books give me a 180-degree change on how I previously understood something important. This book delivers on that. I recommend it for any person on the political left.
  68. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas S. Kuhn. A wonderful read that makes you see the world of scientific progress fundamentally different than you did before reading it. Terrific.
  69. Democracy: A Life, by Paul Cartledge. A vital topic covered by a writer not up to the task. Disappointing.
  70. The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking), by Katie Mack. The best kind of science book: Wonderfully written, wonderfully accessible, and wonderfully fascinating.
  71. The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi, by Richard Grant. An entertaining and unique look at the legacy of slavery in the US through the lens of the most fascinating small town in America that you've never heard of.
  72. Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, by Charles P. Kindleberger. An insightful narrative history of financial bubbles for the last several hundred years. Helps you understand the future folly that is always around the corner.
  73. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, by Peter Heather. Presents a compelling challenge to the convention wisdom of Roman decline. A terrific topic butchered by the author. Meandering and unfocused.
  74. Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization, by Richard Miles. An admirable attempt to tell the story of the fall of Carthage from the North African perspective, but falls short given the insurmountable lack of historical record from this empire.
  75. Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork, by Reeves Wiedeman. An engrossing story of sunken cost fallacy writ large. Also insight into the Great Age of Tech Venture Capital that we are all living through. Highly recommended.
  76. Introduction to the Philosophy of History, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Not so much a book as an opaque diatribe. Some interesting ideas, but ultimately the facts don't support his thesis: As much as we don't want it to be true history mostly is random.
  77. Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric, by Ted Mann and Thomas Gryta. A wonderfully entertaining read about how a cultural rot of misaligned incentives put in place by Jack Welch rotted the core of one of America's great businesses.
  78. The Radicalism of the American Revolution, by Gordon S. Wood. A remarkably insightful book that gets to the very essence of America, and a keen reminder of what profound luck it is to be a part of this ride.
  79. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO, by Bob Iger. Sometimes the most important parts of a business memoir are what didn't make the book. While Iger comes off as surprisingly shallow, there are many keen leadership lessons to learn from this read.
  80. The Great Influenza, John Barry. A talented writer takes a deep look at the 1918 flu pandemic. Obviously a timely read, and just wonderful.
  81. Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit, by Ashley Mears. Stretched a bit thin to make it book length, but an interesting look at a big world invisible to most of us.
  82. Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. For those that read similar books to those listed here, half of this you will already know. The other half, however, will be absolutely mind-bending. So good.
  83. A Practical Way to Get Rich and Die Trying, by John Roa. The first book I know of written by a modern professional services company founder. As much bullshit as insight, which, coincidentally, is just like agency sales.
  84. Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of Salesforce.com, by Marc Benioff. I'm very late to this party, but a terrific read with some great business lessons. Salesforce is far more interesting a company than I expected.
  85. Black Rednecks and White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell. We all live an echo chamber, whether we admit it or not. A terrific read that will expand your perspective.
  86. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. As compelling (and enjoyable) as an intimate dinner with an anti-vaxxer.
  87. Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, by Michael Shellenberger. I'm an environmentalist. After reading this I am embarrassed by how misinformed I was.
  88. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky. I had no idea that a little fish native to New England waters played such a big role in world history. Delightful.
  89. Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker. A truly remarkable book. We could go a long way to fixing many of our toughest societal challenges if this was required reading your senior year in high school.
  90. The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, by Timothy C. Winegard. Good, not great. More tell than show. Still, a fascinating topic and worth the read. This little insect has had profound impacts on the entire course of our species, continuously, since the start of human history.
  91. Sam Walton: Made in America, by Sam Walton. A remarkable memoir by a remarkable man. In the 2000s it was fashionable in the business press to bash Wal-Mart. Too little credit has been given to the titanic achievement of this iconic American retailer.
  92. A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, by William J. Bernstein. A wonderful world history from the perspective of trade. Insightful, well-written, and thoroughly enjoyable. Required reading for anyone interested in history.
  93. The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, by William Dalrymple. A hugely enjoyable and insightful history of one the history's most important businesses. While I suspect the author was trying to emphasize the negatives of The Company, quite the opposite is effectively argued. A keen reminder of why one of the most crucial insights from Landes' Wealth and Poverty of Nations is asking what was there before.
  94. When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub. A fascinating memoir of a remarkable producer in the modern entertainment business. And everything that entails.
  95. Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman. One part insider's guide to two decades of Hollywood and one part screenwriter training. A fun read by the writer of the beloved Princess Bride.
  96. The Man Who Solved the Market, by Gregory Zuckerman. A thrilling account of how the world's greatest investor became so successful. And no, this isn't about Warren Buffett.
  97. The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store, by Vicki Howard. A fascinating history of American retail brutalized by morbid, dreary prose. Worth it, but only just barely because of how crucial the lessons from a century ago are relevant to retailers today.
  98. Nelson: Britannia's God of War, by Andrew Lambert. Falls into the trap of academic writing: Instead of writing about the thing, it writes about other writing about the thing. Nelson, a remarkable historical figure, deserves a better biography.
  99. The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, by Jon Gertner. Now I understand why Bill Gates' first stop on his time machine vacation would be Bell Labs in 1947. Terrific read. You must read The Rise and Fall of American Growth to fully understand what happened during this remarkable time.
  100. Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon. A compelling and fascinating look at why the North fought the American Civil War. Wonderful read.
  101. Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems, by Abhijit V. Banerjee Esther Duflo. Occasionally interesting and often misinformed. There is something about the field of economics -- the math perhaps? -- that often make economists painfully myopic. Sadly that is the case here.
  102. The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by Robert J. Gordon. A big idea book that delivers. Truly a perspective changer for understanding so much of the remarkable promise, politics, and progress of the 20th century.
  103. No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls, by Latané Conant. A fascinating, timely handbook by a remarkable marketing leader in the business to business sales space.
  104. Upheaval, by Jared Diamond. By the same author, the Pulitzer winner Guns, Germs, and Steel is one of my all time favorite books. This one is not his best, and I wouldn't recommend it.
  105. Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future, by Ian Morris. Never has an author written so much and said so little. Also the first (and only) book where I am certain I am better read on the topic than the author. There are some salient points and some fascinating insights into some of the major drivers of historical trends, but overall it fails to deliver.
  106. The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for a New Era, by Gretchen Bakke. An insightful, enjoyable deep dive into a ubiquitous piece of our infrastructure we use every minute of every day but hardly notice. Also a timely read relating to Climate Change and renewable energy.
  107. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordan Ellenberg. Both a love letter to math and an unofficial sequel to How to Lie with Statistics. A good read about how math is used to deceive. A bit scatter shot, but still quite enjoyable.
  108. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors, by Patrick Lencioni. The second business fable I've read by this author and another instructive lesson delivered crisply. Recommended.
  109. Creativity, Inc, by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull. An engrossing history of Pixar, but, more crucially, a deeply insightful field guide to creating a corporate culture of creativity.
  110. The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future, by T. Boone Pickens. Oh man, this guy had fun at being alive. Great, fun memoir.
  111. Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution, by John C. Bogle. I'll quote Warren Buffett for my review: "If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle." If you own any mutual funds read this book.
  112. The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business, by Peter Coughter. A highly useful instruction manual on how to give an amazing presentation for consulting gigs.
  113. The Panic of 1819: The First Great Depression, by Andrew H. Browning. A deep look at the first economic crisis in America is a fascinating lens for looking at American capitalism today. Terrific read.
  114. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer. A hilarious, enjoyable guide to grammar and writing.
  115. Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, by Bing West and James N. Mattis. The finest book on leadership I have ever read. The General is everything this country was designed to create. I don't need to know what his political leanings are; I wish he was President.
  116. The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, by Eugene Rogan. A wonderful and engrossing history of the the First World War focused on the often ignored middle eastern front. Long, but well written.
  117. Meditations: A New Translation, by Marcus Aurelius and Gregory Hays. Unlike anything I've ever read before, or likely will. An intimate and odd collection of the personal notes of the last great Emperor of Rome.
  118. Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, by Rose George. I thought this was going to be a deep science read on the wonders of blood but it's actually a policy book covering topics like the state of HIV and menstruation culture. It was OK.
  119. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. A quick business fable style book about the importance of team work for organizations looking to execute. Good, pragmatic stuff.
  120. A Vital Question, by Nick Lane. A fascinating theory on the evolutionary force that created complex cellular life from simple bacterial cells, with consequences for animals like us. Great read.
  121. Megamistakes: Forecasting and the Myth of Rapid Technological Change by Steven Schnaars. A delightful, quick out-of-print read about how bad people are at predicting technology trends. Written almost 30 years ago but so very relevant to the chatter about jobs going away today. Convinced me that my years-long belief that most American jobs were on the verge of disappearing was complete folly. I suspect jobs in 2040 will look just like today.
  122. How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. A classic published in 1954. Hilarious and insightful about how easy it is to manipulate insights from data.
  123. The Predators' Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the Junk Bond Raiders by Connie Bruck. I will read just about anything about the Wall Street excess in the 1980s, and this book does not disappoint. Really great inside account of what started the leveraged buyout era we still live in.
  124. The Bonanza Kings: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Fortune in the American West by Gregory Crouch. A terrific account of the people that made money from the Comstock Lode. Focuses on John Mackay, the richest American you've never heard of.
  125. The Lessons of History by Will Durant. Super fast read written by a Pulizer Prize winning duo behind massive history tomes (that I have not read) on the patterns they see from history.
  126. It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson. Another interesting and fast read from the Basecamp kids. However, like all of their books and writing I fear that much of their advice is simply unrealistic as it is based on their unique position (which they don't even seem to understand is so unique): Owning a recurring revenue business with absolutely outrageous margins. I'm convinced if they ever published a profit and loss statement most people would write off all of their advice.
  127. A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan. An extraordinary account of the Vietnam War. The breadth and yet personal depth of this book is a triumph.
  128. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure by Thomas E. Ricks. A sad and compelling analysis of the second US war in Iraq. The profound folly of the second Bush administration is hard to debate after reading this one. Many parallels with the Vietnam War, so reading this one right before A Bright Shining Lie was useful.
  129. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik. This reads like a love letter by an autistic person to materials science. Great science read.
  130. Who Is Michael Ovitz? by Michael Ovitz. I personally think Ovitz is one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of the 20th century and I don't think he gets his due. His memoir is terrific.
  131. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson. I love a big idea book that takes a unique view on a big issue. This one does not disappoint.
  132. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power by Daniel Yergin. A comprehensive history of petroleum from discovery of oil to the time of publication (1990). Another book that changed my strong opinion that "oil was evil" to a much more (I hope) nuanced and accurate one. We live in the age of carbon, which reminds me I need to read a book about the carbon bubble.
  133. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. A beautiful and sad book about cancer. What struck me is even after a century of medical research we still don't really understand the fundamental chemistry and biology of how cancer works.
  134. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt. This is one of my all time favorite books. Incredibly well-written and well-argued theory as to what got us into and out of the dark ages, straight into our own Declaration of Independence. Good to read with How The Scots Invented the Modern World and Everything In It.
  135. The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind, by Michael Gazzaniga. A great science read on how the latest theories of how a brain works and creates that extraordinary consciousness experience we all enjoy.
  136. Army of None, by Paul Scharre. This is the only book on this list I skipped reading some of. Some interesting ideas around warfare and automation, but, if what he writes is accurate I have grave concerns that our military leadership lacks a fundamental understanding of the microprocessor. When it comes to war silicon is the new gasoline.
  137. Do Open: How a Simple Email Newsletter Can Transform Your Business, by David Hieatt. A really great, fast read on how to make email work. Also a sobering read as it forces you to accept how hard it is to make email work for your business. If anyone in your organization suggests creating an email newsletter to drive leads throw this book at their head (but, like, nicely).
  138. EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, by Justin Bariso. EQ is something I struggle with personally, so this was a helpful guide for me on how to think about what actually makes people act the way they do.
  139. Washington: A life, by Ron Chernow. This might be the best biography I have ever read, both because of how well-written it is (Chernow is super talented) and because of how startling it was to find out that Washington wasn't a great figure in the traditional sense but rather it was almost as if he was designed to be exactly what we needed at the founding of our great republic.
  140. Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. The engrossing account by the Wall Street Journal reporter that took down a Silicon Valley superstar. So good.
  141. Where are the Customers' Yachts? Or, A Good Hard Look at Wall Street, by Fred Schwed. A hilarious account of the perils of professional money management.
  142. 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise, by Zack O'Malley Greenburg. A fascinating look at the business of hip hop. I didn't expect Diddy to be the most impressive business person of the three.
  143. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard. The memoir of the founder of Patagonia. Made me a devotee of the brand.
  144. Blue Magic: The People, Power and Politics Behind the IBM Personal Computer, by James Chposky. An out-of-print fascinating history of the first successful personal computer, or, how IBM created and lost a huge market. I think anyone in the tech industry would really enjoy this book.
  145. Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies, by Charles Koch. Say what you will about the politics of the Koch brothers (some is fair, some isn't), but Charles Koch's management of Koch Industries is one of the greatest success stories in the history of American capitalism.
  146. Principles, by Ray Dalio. After reading this book I can't decide if Ray has been successful because of or in spite of his lunatic approach to transparency in business. Still, some terrific wisdom in here. And I suspect he is a really good systems thinker when it comes to macro-economic issues.
  147. The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, by Walter Scheidel. A wonderful and depressing read on wealth inequality, one that changed my perspective on the topic considerably.
  148. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The author is by all accounts a fanboy of JFK, so you have to read this with that in mind, but boy this is a big, beautiful inside look at the Kennedy administration.
  149. Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy, by Stian Westlake, Jonathan Haskel. I love big idea books and this is one of of those. They make a compelling argument that the fundamental nature of the US economy has, for the first time in over 150 years, changed.
  150. Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty, by Patrick Lencioni. Another quick business fable style book about consulting. A super interesting read if you work in the services business.
  151. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard. Makes an argument for what made Rome, Rome. Not what I expected or was taught in school and pretty damn fascinating. One of my all time favorite books.
  152. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. The rise of search engines, and Google especially, has given us something we have never had: A source of truth about what people actually believe. A very timely read.
  153. Clashing Over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy, by Douglas Irwin. I read this comprehensive history of US tariffs because I wanted to understand what they were and what was going to happen with Trump's. Very enjoyable read.
  154. Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street, by Michael Lewis. Another amazing look at greed and excess in 1980s Wall Street. Yes, please.
  155. Limping on Water: My 40-year adventure with one of America's outstanding communications companies, by Philip Beuth. Capital Cities is the greatest company you have never heard of, formerly run by the duo Warren Buffet called probably the best managers of the twentieth century. An insiders account by an early and long time employee.
  156. Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough, John Helyar. A deep look at one of the earliest and largest leveraged buyouts ever. Engrossing.
  157. The Ascent of Gravity: The Quest to Understand the Force that Explains Everything, by Marcus Chown. An enjoyable physics book for the masses, really the history and future of gravity research.
  158. Personal History, by Katharine Graham. The Pulitzer prize winning autobiography of the owner and publisher of The Washington Post is startling for the author's vulnerability in the account of her life and the major US events she participated in, like Watergate. Simply extraordinary.
  159. Hess: The Last Oil Baron, by Tina Davis, Jessica Resnick-Ault. I did not find this book well-written.
  160. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success, by William N. Thorndike. A look at leaders in business that drive real value for shareholders, the old-fashioned way.
  161. Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency, by James A. Miller. This book is really an edited transcript of interviews of the people involved in the creation and dominance of the greatest talent agency in American history. I'm not sure I would read another book of this writing style, but it was a fascinating look at this impressive organization.
  162. I Love Capitalism! An American Story, by Kenneth Langone. Capitalism is the greatest force of moral good in the history of our species. Don't believe me? Well, I have a reading list for you and this book is on it.
  163. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans Rosling, and Ola Rosling. I like (though they don't) to remind my friends and family in conversation that if we had a parade every day for a decade it still would not be enough to celebrate the unprecedented elevation of literally billions of people from poverty to middle income that the West has achieved in the last seventy years. Don't believe me? Read this book and you just might.
  164. The People's Tycoon, by Steven Watts. A beautiful biography of Henry Ford and the birth of American consumerism. Henry Ford was not the man you thought he was.
  165. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter L. Bernstein. A badly written account of the history of probability, which is a fascinating topic on its own but unintentionally funny when you read lots of books on Wall Street excess.
  166. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. Not so much a history as an argument for what the unique trait that makes us human really is. If Harari was a stronger writer and had a better editor I'm convinced this would have won the Pulitzer. Required reading.
  167. When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, by Roger Lowenstein. Oh man, if reading books about finance has taught me one thing it's that people are neurologically wired to believe future outcomes are predictable. Great book.
  168. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet . A really interesting and insightful read from a retired Submarine Captain on a different way to think about leadership.
  169. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight. The history of the Nike as told by it's founder. Such a great read for anyone interested in business.
  170. The Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman. An incredible read about the folly that lead to the outbreak of World War I. A well-deserved Pulitzer winner. Reading this allegedly helped Kennedy deal with the Cuban missile crisis, whose deft handling (in doubt after Bay of Pigs) every American benefits from.
  171. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T. J. Stiles. Vanderbilt may have been the most fascinating son of a bitch of the nineteenth century. Also a great history of transportation, the dominant sector in that era.
  172. Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel, by Tom Wainwright. The result of using economics to understand the global drug trade. Multidisciplinary for the win.
  173. The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World, by Pedro Domingos. I wanted to understand machine learning better so I read this book. A great introduction and deep dive into this newly popular realm of computer science.
  174. Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism, by Bhu Srinivasan. An enjoyable comprehensive history of American business.
  175. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future , by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson. A light introduction to the major trends driving in technology right now.
  176. Make Your Own Neural Network: A Gentle Journey Through the Mathematics of Neural Networks, and Making Your Own Using the Python Computer Language, by Tariq Rashid. Another book I read to understand machine learning. Gets a little heavy into the math for non-practitioners, but still good.
  177. Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information, by Robert Wright. I don't know man, maybe I'm not old enough? This book was about three smart people who went a little off book in their old age. I did not enjoy it.
  178. Benjamin Franklin, by Carl Van Doren. A must-read about one of our important Founding Fathers.
  179. Judgment in managerial decision making, by Max H. Bazerman. A touch dry, but interesting stuff about managing people in organizations.
  180. Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy - and How to Make Them Work for You, by Geoffrey G Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary. This book really helped me grasp platform businesses, which is useful in today's technological scene.
  181. Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, by James Wallace, Jim Erickson. The story about a hugely talented, petulant geek that helped create the personal computer revolution. Terrific read.
  182. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, by Peter Bevelin. An attempt to distill the right way to think about things based on one of America's most wise elders: Charlie Munger.
  183. Outliers: The Story of Success , by Malcolm Gladwell. Love him or hate him Gladwell writes some thought-provoking stuff.
  184. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin. The science of why we are all stupid is useful to know.
  185. Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner, by Connie Bruck. A book about how Steve Ross turned a family funeral home and Manhattan-based mob run parking lot company into the largest media empire in the world. If I could have a cocktail with any CEO, Ross would probably be it.
  186. Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, by Garrett Hardin. You know I really can't figure out if this guy is on to something or he's just another Malthus. Made me think though.
  187. In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, by Steven Levy. Enjoyable read into the origin of Google. Also a really funny bit about diapers.
  188. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., by Ron Chernow. Another Chernow gem. A must-read if you are interested in the history of the nineteenth century.
  189. The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins. Another book in the category of cracked my head open like an egg. A great book for an amateur (like me) to understand evolution.
  190. The Industries of the Future, by Alec Ross. A timely, sweeping analysis what the major growth industries of the next fifty years are. His former position in the Clinton State Department gives him a useful global perspective.
  191. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, by Matt Ridley. Delightful survey of the genes that make us who we are.
  192. The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond. There are always interesting ideas to be found in a Diamond book, and this one doesn't disappoint.
  193. Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. God damn this is a fucking great book. Just read it.
  194. Andrew Carnegie, by Joseph Frazier Wall. Carnegie was a titan of the twentieth century, and his life story is a fascinating rags to riches tale of hard work and heaps of luck.
  195. Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Identify and Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Business, by Andy Grove. An early and long-time CEO of Intel and one hell of a leader. This book recalls how he pulled off a rare feat for a successful, established company: a second act.
  196. High Output Management, by Andy Grove. A field guide to modern management. Excellent.
  197. Influence: Science and Practice, by Robert Cialdini. The first book you need to read on the hard-wired folly of the human brain.
  198. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by William Ury, Roger Fisher. An important, alternative idea on how to approach negotiations.
  199. Fiasco: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader, by Frank Partnoy. Another great read about another no-so-great crisis on Wall Street.
  200. Models of My Life, by Herbert A. Simon. Somewhat long but interesting autobiography of an early, important thinker on artificial intelligence and economics.
  201. A Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals about the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe, by Gino Claudio Segrè. I love a good, narrow science book and this one does not disappoint. Temperature is a lot more fascinating than I expected.
  202. Ice Age, by John Gribbin, Mary Gribbin. Super fast but detailed read on the history of the science of ice ages, with the single most fascinating epilogue I have ever read in my entire life.
  203. How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur L. Herman. So good! A big idea book if there ever was one.
  204. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin. His unfinished biography. Not a good biography of the man, but some good insight into him.
  205. Deep Simplicity: Chaos, Complexity and the Emergence of Life, by John Gribbin. Another terrific science book with wider implications.
  206. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor, by David Landes. Of all the books I have ever read this one changed me more than any other. Should be required reading in public school.
  207. The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy, by Robert G. Hagstrom. How the Oracle of Omaha thinks about investing.
  208. The Greatest Trade Ever, by Gregory Zuckerman. Another inside look at a Wall Street crisis. Super engaging and hard to put down.
  209. Business Adventures, by John Brooks. Bill Gates says this is his favorite business book, and it is a great one. There is always much to learn from other people's folly. I suspect the greats learn from their own like no other.
  210. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. Classic folk wisdom is wisdom for a reason. A foundational read on building wealth and building a business. As relevant today as it was a hundred years ago when it was written.
  211. Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information by Robert Wright. I did not like this book, nor did I enjoy it.
  212. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin. A fascinating and enjoyable look at the Supreme Court in the era of the contested 2000 election. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court are as talented as they are flawed. They are people after all, just like us.

Current Reading List

My current reading list, March 2024 to September 2024:

  1. The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917-2017
  2. Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn
  3. From Predators to Icons: Exposing the Myth of the Business Hero
  4. Pathogenesis
  5. Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign
  6. The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend
  7. Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World
  8. Know What Matters: Lessons from a Lifetime of Transformations
  9. Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure

Greatest Hits

In no order, these books (enjoyably) cracked my head open like an egg:

  • The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
  • A Bright Shining Lie
  • How the Scots Invented the Modern World
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  • The Radicalism of the American Revolution
  • Washington: A life
  • Enlightenment Now
  • Black Rednecks and White Liberals

Suggested Reading Lists

Looking to see the world from a differenet angle? I humbly suggest, in this exact order:

  1. How the Scots Invented the Modern World
  2. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor
  3. Guns, Germs, and Steel
  4. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
  5. Deep Simplicity: Chaos, Complexity and the Emergence of Life
  6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  7. Megamistakes: Forecasting and the Myth of Rapid Technological Change
  8. Washington: A life
  9. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World
  10. Enlightenment Now
  11. The Radicalism of the American Revolution

The culture thesis:

  1. Black Rednecks and White Liberals
  2. The Most Powerful Idea in the World
  3. The Radicalism of the American Revolution
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  5. The Selfish Gene
  6. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  7. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
  8. Wealth and Poverty of Nations

The best about business:

  1. Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner
  2. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
  3. How to Lie with Statistics
  4. No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls
  5. When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead
  6. Sam Walton: Made in America
  7. Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire
  8. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
  9. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
  10. Blue Magic: The People, Power and Politics Behind the IBM Personal Computer
  11. Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies
  12. High Output Management

For history lovers:

  1. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
  2. The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
  3. Clashing Over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy
  4. A Bright Shining Lie
  5. Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War
  6. The Guns of August
  7. The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

On leadership:

  1. Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead
  2. Who Is Michael Ovitz?
  3. Where are the Customers' Yachts? Or, A Good Hard Look at Wall Street
  4. Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies

And science of course:

  1. Deep Simplicity: Chaos, Complexity and the Emergence of Life
  2. Ice Age
  3. Outliers: The Story of Success
  4. The Selfish Gene
  5. The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator
  6. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
  7. The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind

Books I started but could not finish:

  1. Enzo Ferrari: Power, Politics and the Making of an Automobile Empire -- After 150 pages and two serious mentions of supernatural magic in a biography I had to dismiss this as utter drivel.
  2. The Rise of English -- Less a book and more a form of punishment.
  3. Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them: A Cosmic Quest from Zero to Infinity -- I thought was going to be a book about math but it was a meandering unexciting book about physics.