What I'm reading: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)" by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric―a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

What I'm reading: "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers" by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.

What I'm reading: The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a “smart pill” to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.

Future of the Mind

What I'm reading: Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things. 

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

What I'm reading: Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib

Moving linearly through Tribe’s catalog, Go Ahead in the Rain details how the group and hip-hop at large evolved throughout the 1990s. Abdurraqib’s essays are accessible yet rich, threading various histories to situate Tribe’s place within rap, black music, and black culture. He offers compact introductions to Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, and anyone else who brushed shoulders with or influenced the group. Whether he’s using the Sanford and Son joke buried within “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” to illustrate how little East Coast rappers knew about the West Coast, or examining Q-Tip’s Mobb Deep collaborations to dwell on his many uses of jazz samples, Abdurraqib never misses a chance to be as panoramic as he is granular. A Tribe Called Quest is his muse and his lens into the past.

- Pitchfork review by Stephen Kearse

Go ahead in the rain companion playlist

What I'm reading: Great at Work by Morten Hansen

Why do some people perform better at work than others?

This deceptively simple question continues to confound professionals in all sectors of the workforce. Now, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten Hansen reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance.

Great At Work

What I'm Reading: The Sprint Book by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz

The Design Sprint is a five-day process for solving problems and testing new ideas.

Invented at Google by Jake Knapp, perfected with more than 150 startups at GV, then shared with the world in the bestselling book Sprint.

Three takeaways:

  • Sprint helps with taking ideas, creating a prototype and getting user feedback immediately (well, within 5 days)

  • Running a Sprint allows product teams to quickly validate an idea before heading down the wrong direction.

  • It is an excellent exercise to conduct before developing a big feature set.

Recommended: For product organizations and teams looking to create new features

What I'm Reading: Peak by Anders,Pool, Robert Ericsson

The world's reigning expert on expertise -- K. Anders Ericsson, Ph.D. -- and world-renowned science and technology writer -- Robert Pool, Ph.D. -- team up to present a powerful new approach to mastering almost any skill.

Have you ever wanted to learn a language or pick up an instrument, only to become daunted by the task at hand? Expert performance guru Anders Ericsson has made a career studying chess champions, violin virtuosos, star athletes, and memory mavens. Peak, the first collaboration between Ericsson and Pool, condenses three decades of original research to introduce an incredibly powerful approach to learning that is fundamentally different from the way people traditionally think about acquiring a skill. 

What I'm Reading: Learn Better by Ulrich Boser

Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything

For centuries, experts have argued that learning was about memorizing information: You’re supposed to study facts, dates, and details, burn them into your memory, and then apply that knowledge at opportune times. But this approach to learning isn’t nearly enough for the world that we live in today, and in Learn Better, I demonstrate that how we learn can matter just as much as what we learn.

- Ulrich Boser

Three takeaways:

  • The growth mindset: Learning is not static and dependent on innate intelligence.

  • With the right strategies, learning can be improved and made more effective.

  • Research is showing that self-quizzing is one of the most effective learning methods.

Recommended for: Parents, Teachers, Learning organizations, individuals looking to master specific skills