Stepan ParunashviliTwitter

My favorite books

Yesterday at lunch, our teams interns and me started talking books, and the hour flew by. At the end a task was opened up to share some favorites. Here it goes 😊

Books that have influenced my thinking the most

  • Antifragile by Nassim Taleb — goes over the idea that in certain domains, the extremes are what matter, I base a lot of my life on the philosphy that stems from that

  • Principles by Ray Dalio — Dalio’s rules for operating at life and business. I loved his idea of “the machine” of achieving your goals, and how many interactions can be generalized as “another one of those”. Aside from his concepts, I stole his idea of a Principles list, which I keep, and a Situations List.

  • The Red Queen by Matt Ridley — fascinating book, about the constant race that occurs within species through sexual selection.

  • Stoic authors: Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, A Guide to the Good Life — From these authors I gained the idea of focusing on what we can control. I also love how these philosophers were doers, their philosophy is rooted in reality. A great essay to start with is “On the shortness of life” by Seneca

  • Models by Mark Manson — Philosophy book disguised as dating advice. I gave this to my sister I liked it so much! The main idea is to be vulnerable and real in relationships

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen — David spent all his life perfecting the way to manage your life and work — his ideas have influenced pretty drastically how I operate on a day-to-day basis

  • Feeling Good by David Burns — If you find yourself having a lot of ups and downs in mood, this book helps greatly. His ideas for the way which we misperceive reality was an eye opener for me.

  • Essays by Paul Graham — I think PG’s thoughts are going to last the test of time. Many ideas on building wealth, friendships, hacking, and painting are keystones to my philosophy. I even made a book from it once to make things easy

Fiction I have re-read over and over again

  • Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa — This goes over the story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it’s a tale of historical fiction I found so rivetting, and had me researching a lot of Japanese history :>

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas — I’ve read this book multiple times, with the first time being when I was about 13. Each time, I see a different side of this story. It’s an 18th century tale of badassery, where the protagonist just kicks bum

  • The Works of Rafael Sabatini — In a span of 5 months I read 30 of his books. They’re all simple plots, but nourish the adventurer, and the hero within you. I’d recommend you start with Captain Blood, then Scaramouche

  • The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho — The idea that we are all one, and a part of the “soul of the world”, is something I’ve grown to internalize

  • The Prophet by Khalil Gibran — This is the only poem-book I have found to like. Such beautiful verse, it’s a pleasure to re-read

Some fun books

  • Chimpanzee Politics — This book got me diving deep into a bunch more books on chimps. Rivetting story about a tribe that was being studied. Many applications to human behavior.

  • The other side of the leash — A book on dogs and how they think. Called my parents afterwards and asked them to get a dog

  • Total Recall by Arnold — Arnold has so much raw ambition and belief in himself, it’s pretty astounding. Have read many of his books, and found them invigorating

Leaving the best for last….

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Mario Kondo :). Will turn many slobs into masters of cleaning


Oky doke, those are the main recommendations that come to mind. I wrote from memory to make sure these were really the books I liked, and not the ones I wanted people to think I liked :). This is a snapshot of my mind in August 2018


Update 2020

About 2 years have past. I would add 2 books and a series to this list:

  • Hazlitt's Economics in one Lesson & Hayek's Road to Serfdom. The ideas in these books show with clarity and precision just how much our world is ruled by higher order effects. In the macro, intentions and our first assumptions lead us astray. These books catalyzed a journey of reflection and reading for me. At the end of it, I formed a more nuanced world view, which respects what we can't understand. It needs to be the right time. If you are deeply wondering just how the world works, these are the books to start out with.
  • The Wooster series by P.G Wodehouse. His writing is a joy to experience. You can't help but laugh through the chapters, and he makes it all seem effortless.

Finally, a call to action: any book recommendations for me? :)


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