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Sunday, January 10, 2016


A friend asked me to recommend some books, and here are what I came up with. I've reviewed most of them on this blog, but you can also find some new books here.

I used to read a lot of non-fictions, but these days I read mostly fiction and math. Below are the ones that I like enough to write a review. I hate self-help books FWIW.


- Fooled by Randomness (review): I read this book a long time ago, and it completely changed how I think ever since. I discovered that I had a lot of biases (hindsight bias, loss vs gain), and I learned how to think critically, which unfortunately was never taught in my schools.

- "Thấy lại chính mình" (review). I don't think you could find this book at bookstores or on the Internet, but I have a copy, let me know if you want to read it. When I relocated to here from Vietnam, my mom sponsored a project which printed and gave away 1,000 copies of this book. She gave me a copy. The book is a monk's pamphlet, I was skeptical that it was useful, but, oh boy, it was eye-opening for me. In hindsight its ideas are so obvious -- I don't agree with everything -- but I wonder why I didn't "ngộ" until that moment.


- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (review): For a while I was fascinated by marketing and sales. I wanted to learn the tricks to persuade a stranger to buy something from me. I read a lot of books, but this is the most fascinating which is based on real and peer-reviewed scientific researches.

- Purple Cow by Seth Godin (review): this is a marketing book, but I think marketing is all about psychology. As most great books are, the idea of this book is so obvious: to be remembered, be it a brand or whatever, you must do something remarkable. You must be the first, nobody remembers the second man set foot on the moon, but most people know that Neil Armstrong who is the first one. I love reading Seth Godin's blog too. One of my favorite articles is the hierarchy of success.


- The design of everyday things (review): read this book and you never piss in peace again haha! On a more serious note, I think all engineers should read it. If I had enough money, I'd give a copy to everyone that designs websites, household electronics, restrooms, door knobs, water faucets, etc. There are so many stupid designs out there. I once was at a hotel where I had to lift the door knob upward to open it! What the heck were they thinking? We were stuck outside for 15', until someone next door showed us the trick (he was stuck for a while too!).

- Vietnamerica (review): a sad story about our people. I wish someone would make a movie out of it.

Books that I remember but haven't reviewed:

Science fiction
- Rendezvous with Rama: it's one of my first sci-fi reads, still remains one of my favorites.
- A brave new world: if you like 1984, this is a must read. It was written 20 years or more before 1984.
- http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html: haha the most hilarious and original short sci-fi story ever! Also check out http://www.terrybisson.com/page12/page12.html, which is also super funny.
- The hitchhiker guide to the galaxy: a very very funny classic.
- Anything by Isaac Asimov.

- Anything by Randall Munroe of XKCD fame. "What if" for sure will teach you something to impress random people at parties =)
- http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/. Man, I wish I'm disciplined enough to finish these volumes. You should also reach all other books by Feynman. He's the most curious person ever lives on Earth.
- The making of the atomic bomb. If you love history and science like me, you should read this book cover by cover.

- Any recommendations? I seriously need some good books of this genre. Over the years I've read a lot, but most don't leave any impressions (aside from Devotion of Suspect X, and a few short stories of Stephen King). Recently I read Hangsaman which is a strange book, but it's more a psychologic thriller than a mystery.

That's it for now ^^.


huynh tho Tran said...

Chào a Thái!
A có thể cho e xin một bản " Thấy lại chính mình" được không ạ? Nếu được xin phiền a gửi vào email này: thotho073@gmail.com. Cảm ơn a!

thinh le said...

Anh Thái, cho em xin 1 bản copy của "Thấy lại chính mình" được không ạ?

Unknown said...

Em đã đọc review của anh và thực sự nhận thấy cuốn "thấy lại chính mình" là cuốn sách em cần.
Em rất mong nhận được bản copy của cuốn sách.
Email của em: andrewiles1989@gmail.com
Mong nhận được phản hồi của anh.

Hung Hoang Manh said...

Em đã đọc review của anh và thực sự nhận thấy cuốn "thấy lại chính mình" là cuốn sách em cần.
Em rất mong nhận được bản copy của cuốn sách.
Email của em: andrewiles1989@gmail.com
Mong nhận được phản hồi của anh.

Thai Duong said...

Xin lỗi là tôi không thấy comment này sớm hơn. Đây là bản scan của cuốn sách: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_L6MdkbAn4MRzNXOEZTS3dKaU0