What I Read in 2020

5,850 pages across 19 books

The Elements of User Onboarding

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Intercom on Onboarding, 2nd edition

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

“To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.”

— Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths, Algorithms to Live By


“Dawn was close. The weaker stars had already disappeared, and even the brightest were uncertain of themselves.”

— Clive Barker, Weaveworld

“That which is imagined can never be lost.”

— Clive Barker, Weaveworld

The Order of Time

“For a moving object, time contracts. Not only is there no single time for different places—there is not even a single time for any particular place…. “Proper time” depends not only on where you are and your degree of proximity to masses; it depends also on the speed at which you move.”

— Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

Reality is Not What It Seems

“I believe that this example demonstrates how great science and great poetry are both visionary, and may even arrive at the same intuitions. Our culture is foolish to keep science and poetry separated: they are two tools to open our eyes to the complexity and beauty of the world.”

— Carlo Rovelli, Reality is Not What It Seems

Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word

The Blade Itself (The First Law #1)

“But that was civilization, so far as Logen could tell. People with nothing better to do, dreaming up ways to make easy things difficult.”

— Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

“We are made of the same stardust of which all things are made, and when we are immersed in suffering or when we are experiencing intense joy we are being nothing other than what we can’t help but be: a part of our world.”

— Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me …”

— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The Art of War

“Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

“Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.”
— Neil Gaiman, The View From the Cheap Seats

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

“I’ve made a policy of trying to hire people who are smarter than I am. … Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening.”

— Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

The Silent Patient

“You become increasingly comfortable with madness — and not just the madness of others, but your own. We’re all crazy, I believe, just in different ways.”

—Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)

“Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us.”

—Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged

Common Sense

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer…”

—Thomas Paine, Common Sense



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