Books read is just a vanity metric. If you read one book a year that changes your life, that’s all it takes.

Naval Ravikant

So here’s a very few books that had an impact on me. Or that I would recommend to a friend. In no particular order.

The list is highly personal — when you read a book is just as important as the book itself.

This Will Make You Smarter, edited by J. Brockman

The book is a collection of mental models. It was my first introduction to the concept, something which would open me up to an entire world of self-growth and discovery, and eventually to the rest of the books on the list. It hit me at the right time, and the content did actually make me smarter (or so I think.)

The Black Swan, by N. N. Taleb

Taleb is brash, and it takes a little to get used to his style. But by the end you start seeing things from his point of view, and the style only amplifies the book’s effect on you.

Per se the concept explained in the book may not seem all that revolutionary at a first look — unexpected things happen — but he looks at it from a different point of view, exploring ramifications you hadn’t thought of. Worth re-reading, and a good entry book for the rest of his Incerto series.

The Lessons of History, by W. and A. Durant

Will and Ariel Durant spent 40 years writing a sprawling 11-volume magnum opus on the history of human civilization. Then they wrote this 100-page book summarizing what they believed were the lessons to be learned from history. If you had to read only one history book in your life, let this be it.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by D. Kahneman

Our brain is split into two: one part thinks deeply, and the other doesn’t think all that much. But it sounds a lot better when Kahneman says it.

This book changes how you see your own brain. Perhaps by the end you’ll be more forgiving towards it. A must read.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, edited by E. Jorgenson

This book is Naval’s maxims and lessons that were already available on the Internet, in one neat package.

Naval completely changed my view on money, wealth, and entrepreneurship. It may be a case of “the right time,” but it hit me and I still feel the effects years later.

The Knowledge Project Podcast, by Shane Parrish

Can I put a podcast on a bookshelf? I hope I can.

This is the smartest and most impactful podcast on the Internet. Each episode, Shane interviews a different guest, each of which has a lot to teach. Some episodes will impact you more than others, but the ones that do, really do. If anything, it led me to discover awe-inspiring people I didn’t know about.