A list of interesting books

We often come across articles or books that ignite our interest for a particular topic, but over time, we tend to forget about their existence, which can diminish our initial excitement. Even when all the information is available to us, we may not come to the idea to look for it. In other words, we need to keep references to what has already moved us in some positive way and use them to return to the patterns of thinking that we found were most beneficial to our progress. In order to remember something, it has to be made practical and useful; it is not enough for it to just exist as a reference. Some of you have chosen to use tools like Evernote as a reminder of the interesting bits they have seen (quotes, links etc.). This is fine, but everyone is different, so there will be no universal solution.

I also like to return to such information, but at the same time I want to have a list of materials that could be useful in the future in order to keep my interest. What I like to ask myself is this: “Which titles would you look for if you had access to a library that you have never visited before, but one that has an overwhelmingly big catalogue?” An option would be to just go and look around, take one book, read a bit, bring it back, and repeat this cycle for all titles that seem interesting to us—if we can stay focused that long. In cases where we seek to change or expand our worldview, this can be useful more often than we think. But at the same time, reading in this way doesn't lead to deep insights and the randomness of thoughts makes it somewhat less useful. Another option would be to go to the library with a list of titles we wish to look for. Since the list is specific and the books are likely to be on the same topic, taking the time to read them will lead to better understanding than in the previous case. The danger of this is that we go blindly through the library, unreceptive for the treasure it holds and then regret our shallow choice later.

Over time, each article or book we read will recommend more of the same type. It would have been easy to just try to forget these additionals or leave them unexplored when we had a chance. (Or skip the various references, because the font with which they were written was too small.) This is why I have created a small list of potentially interesting books (also available at GoodReads). These include a variety of titles that aren't restricted to few particular genres (although, if you like romans, you won't find much here). These books were recommended from various sources, which is why I thought it would useful to mark their titles. Included are also titles which I found interesting while looking for other titles. I am not recommending any of them to you; consider them from the point of view of your own interests to determine how useful they could be. This list a result of my own reading over a period of years. It is by no means complete or comprehensive; many other titles certainly deserve to be included here as well. It is just a small subset of all available books, whose number continues to grow very fast. Finding quality content becomes progressively harder, which is in conflict with the simplicity that a web designer is looking for.

GoodReads seems to be a nice place to keep track of what you read or want to read in the future. However, the site is relatively slow to open from my country. Many times I received an error message that their server is over capacity, so I was unable to access the content. In other cases, the log in could take more than 10 seconds. Although searching for a book title was relatively fast (when it appears when you start typing), viewing its corresponding page and comments was also slow (6-8sec/page). Initially, adding a new book to the list (after visiting the book's page) took around 5 seconds, only recently has this situation improved. If I wanted to click and add many books at once, this would appear to me as eternity. And if I wanted to add just one at the moment of discovery, the time needed for log in, search, book addition and log out may not seem well spent. I usually chose to add a couple of books at once to justify a login session. The service remains closed, with other users getting access to our feed only after adding them as friends, which may not always be what we want.

Such recurring actions that aren't optimized for is where we can spend a lot of time. When we use something often, it has to work as smooth as possible or we have to find a better way. I have decided to host a copy of the list here, which will allow me to spend less time on it. The books are listed by title and main author only, excluding any ratings. Some books receive high ratings based on their popularity or how easily comprehensible they are, which in my opinion can't be a good measure of the true value a book. Other books with fewer stars sometimes bring to life unexpected connections we were unaware of, which can be valuable when exploring ideas for new projects. If you want to learn more about a book on the list, a direct link will lead you to the Amazon's search results page (as long as they keep their URL intact), where you can see how the book looks like, what other people think of it or how you can purchase it. This avoids having to store images whose copyright I don't own; comments, which will burden the list or duplicate functionality that is already available elsewhere.

Note that sometimes the author of a book can be more important than the book itself. In other words, we shouldn't be searching only for books, but for people as well. Very often the authors keep online versions of their books and in addition to that offer publications, speeches they have given or other useful materials for free. A conversation with a person we respect is still a valuable experience that won't be found in a book. For a full list of authors to each book, please visit the Amazon website.

I hope that this will help you to discover some interesting new books or maybe even share your own list with everyone.