Saku Panditharatne

Saku Panditharatne

Working on something new, DMs open. Previously @a16z, tech and finance writer, 3d graphics programmer.


20+ Book Recommendations by Saku Panditharatne

  • The Obesity Code

    Dr. Jason Fung

    In this highly readable and provocative book, Dr. Jason Fung sets out an original, robust theory of obesity that provides startling insights into proper nutrition. Flying in the face of the weight-loss recommendations that have failed in the past, this book reveals that obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric imbalance. As he explores the latest in nutritional science, Dr. Fung provides practical, effective advice on weight loss and the treatment of Type 2 diabetes based on sound scientific principles.

    This was a great book -- all about how intermittent and prolonged fasting can drive lasting weight loss

  • In the 1970s and '80s, Japan soared on the superior technology of Sony and Toyota while the West struggled to catch up. Then a catastrophic 1990 stock-market crash ushered in the "lost decades" of deep recession and social dysfunction. They should have plunged Japan into irrelevance; instead its cultural clout soared. Hello Kitty, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and entertainment empires like Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z--artfully packaged, dangerously cute, and dizzyingly fun--made Japan the forge of the world's fantasies, and gave us new tools for coping with trying times. Alt reveals how Japanese ingenuity remade global culture and may have created modern life as we know it. -- adapted from jacket

    Reading Pure Invention, a book about the postwar Japanese entrepreneurs that made the electronics and media industries. It’s really good. Highlight was the story of Sony.

  • This volume represents the first section of F. A. Hayek's comprehensive three-part study of the relations between law and liberty. Rules and Order constructs the framework necessary for a critical analysis of prevailing theories of justice and of the conditions which a constitution securing personal liberty would have to satisfy.

    Reading list, math + law! The Hayek book is phenomenal, just getting started with the others. Always been interested in “law and economics”

  • "Since Alexis de Tocqueville, restlessness has been accepted as a signature American trait. Our willingness to move, take risks, and adapt to change have produced a dynamic economy and a tradition of innovation from Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs. The problem, according to ... Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this tradition--we're working harder than ever to avoid change ... Cowen [believes that] there are significant collateral downsides attending this comfort, among them heightened inequality and segregation and decreased incentives to innovate and create"

    Zero to One, The Complacent Class, Alexander Field’s book on the 1930s economy

  • Lifespan

    Dr David A. Sinclair

    @Sharon_Kuruvila I haven't, but I think Lifespan is probably the best anti-aging book out there. Also, w/ Tom Wolfe, it's a great fucking novel. I just hope I'm not too much like the bottom-feeding Peter Fallow.

  • A Place Apart

    Dervla Murphy

    At the height of The Troubles, Dervla Murphy bicycled to Northern Ireland to try to understand the situation by speaking to people on either side of the divide. Despite her own family connections to the IRA, she travelled north largely unfettered by sectarian loyalties. Armed instead with an indefatigable curiosity, a fine ear for anecdote, an ability to stand her own at the bar, and a penetrating intelligence, she navigated her way through horrifying situations, and sometimes found herself among people stiff with hate and grief. But equally, she discovered an unquenchable thirst for life and peace, a spirit that refused to die.

    From a book I’m reading about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. (It’s a very interesting book, esp for someone who knows next to nothing about the conflict.)

  • An updated edition of a guide to the basic science of climate change, and a call to action. The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most dramatically since the 1970s. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. In this updated edition of his authoritative book, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. Although it is impossible to predict exactly when the most dramatic effects of global warming will be felt, he argues, we can be confident that we face real dangers. Emanuel warns that global warming will contribute to an increase in the intensity and power of hurricanes and flooding and more rapidly advancing deserts. But just as our actions have created the looming crisis, so too might they avert it. Emanuel calls for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases and criticizes the media for downplaying the dangers of global warming (and, in search of “balance,” quoting extremists who deny its existence). This edition has been updated to include the latest climate data, a discussion of the earth's carbon cycle, the warming hiatus of the first decade of this century, the 2017 hurricanes, advanced energy options, the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, and more. It offers a new foreword by former U.S. Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC), who now works on climate action through his organization RepublicEN.

    The Bay Area fire photos are so messed up. Recently read this book by a professor who writes from a pro-technology perspective on what is likely to happen.

  • Haven't You Heard?

    Marie Le Conte

    Mischief, gossip and hearsay - how British politics really works in the 21st Century...

    This is a great book btw. Just really fun to read

  • Statecraft

    Margaret Thatcher

    I wanted to write one more book -- and I wanted it to be about the future. Few leaders have stood on the brink of change to the extent of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Now this commanding world figure draws upon her unrivaled political experience to comment on the threats that democracy faces at the dawn of the new millennium and on the role that Western powers should play in the world's hot spots, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Reflecting on the lessons of the Cold War, Thatcher outlines the foundation of U.S. dominance and its responsibilities as the only global superpower. She offers prescient observations about the dangers posed by Balkan instability, rogue states, Islamic extremism, and international terrorism -- and suggests strategies to counter them. In addition, she examines current trends in Russia, China, India, the Far East, Europe, and, particularly, Great Britain. Noting how every contemporary problem evokes demands for a global solution, Thatcher also warns of overreliance on international institutions at the expense of nation-states. Statecraft is an incisive treatise on power in the age of globalism, written by a legendary world statesman with a matchless combination of principles, experience, and shrewdness.

    Yes, would recommend her book 'Statecraft' for a lot of obvious-when-you-read-it insights, that seems to have slipped out of today's consciousness

  • Forms of Contention

    Hollis Robbins

    Forms of Contention argues for the centrality of sonnet writing to African American poetry, focusing on significant sonnets, key anthologies, and critical debates about poetic form to show that the influence of black sonnet writers on each other challenges long-standing claims that sonnet writing is primarily a matter of European influence. The banishment of much nineteenth- and twentieth-century formal poetry from the black poetry canon in the 1960s because it was too ?traditional? long concealed the African American sonnet's legacy. In the twenty-first century, the sonnet has blossomed as a black poetic form, even while sonnet writers rarely acknowledge the rich history of black sonnets. With digital technology, a century of sonnets published in African American newspapers has reemerged to reveal surprising patterns of influence. Historically, academic study of African American literature has focused on four concerns: the historical and economic conditions of production and publication of black literature; the political and cultural importance of black literature in America; genres of and trends in black literature; and the nature of African American literature as reflective of the black experience. Hollis Robbins engages with these concerns while opening up a fifth conversation: auxiliary genealogies of influence for black aesthetic production that foreground form and that promote new conversations about form generally--namely, how exactly form enables participation and protest and the overthrow and undermining of aesthetic expectation. Thus, Robbins uses the sonnet as a case study for exploring the broader literary history of African American literature, offering a thorough analysis of the contentious relationship of an old-world poetic form to new world poetry.

    Looking forward to this book on African-American poetry by @anecdotal !

  • A Great Leap Forward

    Alexander J. Field Ph.D.

    More like 1942. When the US economy upgraded its technology and kicked into full swing, even when there was a war. (One of the best books ever recommended to me, on the topic)

  • From the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry to president Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package to the highly controversial passage of federal health-care reform, conservatives and concerned citizens alike have grown increasingly fearful of big government. Enter Nobel Prize–winning economist and political theorist F. A. Hayek, whose passionate warning against empowering states with greater economic control, The Road to Serfdom, became an overnight sensation last summer when it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. The book has since sold over 150,000 copies. The latest entry in the University of Chicago Press’s series of newly edited editions of Hayek’s works, The Constitution of Liberty is, like Serfdom, just as relevant to our present moment. The book is considered Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. Here Hayek defends the principles of a free society, casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state and examining the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government—as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge. In opposition to those who call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty. Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights are timelier and more welcome than ever before. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from his enduring wisdom.

    Am surprised "The Constitution of Liberty" is still a fascinating read today. I have it on audiobook and it's full of surprises. Written in 1960, it explains how exactly to make space for what later became the information economy.

  • The Big Score

    Michael S. Malone

    Harrison Allen and Bahari Johnson have loved each other since they were kids. They both get accepted into Duke University, their plan was to marry shortly after college, but Harrison enters into the NBA draft after a year at Duke, leaving Bahari behind. While playing in the NBA Harrison meets Chutney, a struggling model. Will Harrison fall for the beautiful Chutney or will his love for Bahari keep him faithful? Or will Chutney take the lead in this love triangle? This book is a fictional tale of betrayal, lust, the loss of innocence and young love.

    This book is great. I know the cover looks very 80s, but that's because it's about... the 80s. The extreme stories and personalities behind the first wave of personal computing, from Atari to Apple

  • Disciplined Minds

    Jeff Schmidt

    I remember reading this as a student, in my first year, and agreeing 100%. I wondered at the time if I was just being a rebel -- no, it's basically completely accurate

  • This bold re-examination of the history of U.S. economic growth is built around a novel claim, that productive capacity grew dramatically across the Depression years (1929-1941) and that this advance provided the foundation for the economic and military success of the United States during the Second World War as well as for the golden age (1948-1973) that followed. Alexander J. Field takes a fresh look at growth data and concludes that, behind a backdrop of double-digit unemployment, the 1930s actually experienced very high rates of technological and organizational innovation, fueled by the maturing of a privately funded research and development system and the government-funded build-out of the country's surface road infrastructure. This significant new volume in the Yale Series in Economic and Financial History invites new discussion of the causes and consequences of productivity growth over the last century and a half and on our current prospects.

    @eriktorenberg One of my fave books recommended to me

  • Initially published in 2002, The Rise of the Creative Class quickly achieved classic status for its identification of forces then only beginning to reshape our economy, geography, and workplace. Weaving story-telling with original research, Richard Florida identified a fundamental shift linking a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing importance of creativity in people’s work lives and the emergence of a class of people unified by their engagement in creative work. Millions of us were beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always had, Florida observed, and this Creative Class was determining how the workplace was organized, what companies would prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities would thrive. In The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Florida further refines his occupational, demographic, psychological, and economic profile of the Creative Class, incorporates a decade of research, and adds five new chapters covering the global effects of the Creative Class and exploring the factors that shape “quality of place” in our changing cities and suburbs.

    Still think this is the best book on the new economy to be ever written. The biggest change from the 20th century is that "creative" people set the agenda to a larger extent than they used to

  • Servants of the People

    Andrew Rawnsley

    This work dissects the first 1000 days of the Labour government. It measures the successes and failures of the least experienced Cabinet to take office in more than a century.

    @mpbl32 There's the classics: Macintosh team, The Big Score by Michael Malone One thing I like to do is read the bios of everyone so you hear all sides -- I read all the New Labour bios, because they were an especially dysfunctional love square.

  • Narrative Economics

    Robert J. Shiller

    "Economists have long based their forecasts on financial aggregates such as price-earnings ratios, asset prices, and exchange rate fluctuations, and used them to produce statistically informed speculations about the future--with limited success. Robert Shiller employs such aggregates in his own forecasts, but has famously complemented them with observations about the influence of mass psychology on certain events. This approach has come to be known as behavioral economics. How can economists effectively capture the effects of psychology and its influence on economic events and change? Shiller attempts to help us better understand how psychology affects events by explaining how popular economic stories arise, how they grow viral, and ultimately how they drive economic developments. After defining narrative economics in the book's preface with allusions to the advent of both the Great Depression and to World War II, Shiller presents an example of a recent economic narrative gone viral in the story of Bitcoin. Next, he explains how narrative economics works with reference to how other disciplines incorporate narrative into their analyses and also to how epidemiology explains how disease goes viral. He then presents accounts of recurring economic narratives, including the gold standard, real estate booms, war and depression, and stock market booms and crashes. He ends his book with a blueprint for future research by economists on narrative economics"--

    He's writing a book on narrative economics and his name is literally "Shiller"

  • China's Economy

    Arthur R. Kroeber

    China is on track to exceed the United States as the world's largest economy in the next several years. It is already the leading global trading nation. Even though its growth rate has recently slowed from years past, China has had the fastest yearly growth rate of any country for much of thelast three decades. In China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know, Arthur Kroeber offers an overview of the highlights of China's development since economic reforms were initiated under Deng Xiaoping in 1979. He argues that manufacturing, agricultural change, and construction reoriented the economy in the 1980s and1990s through state-owned enterprises, private entrepreneurship, and foreign investment. Those shifts unleashed perhaps the largest migration ever in world history from rural areas to urban centers, accompanied by a no less unprecedented expansion of infrastructure. Changes in the country's fiscaland financial systems vastly increased China's monetary holdings from the 1990s onwards, leading to the country's strategic holding of more U.S. debt than any other nation. Kroeber also examines economic growth as it has been experienced by Chinese workers and consumers, including the mountingproblems of income and wealth inequality, corruption, and environmental degradation. Kroeber ultimately turns to the consequences of Chinese economic growth: its decisive impact on the world economy, its visible and challenging resource extraction from Africa and Latin America, and its increasingengagement with global economic institutions.

    Yes! This is also good on land reform and East Asian economic model

  • This bold re-examination of the history of U.S. economic growth is built around a novel claim, that productive capacity grew dramatically across the Depression years (1929-1941) and that this advance provided the foundation for the economic and military success of the United States during the Second World War as well as for the golden age (1948-1973) that followed. Alexander J. Field takes a fresh look at growth data and concludes that, behind a backdrop of double-digit unemployment, the 1930s actually experienced very high rates of technological and organizational innovation, fueled by the maturing of a privately funded research and development system and the government-funded build-out of the country's surface road infrastructure. This significant new volume in the Yale Series in Economic and Financial History invites new discussion of the causes and consequences of productivity growth over the last century and a half and on our current prospects.


  • Winners

    Alastair Campbell

    How do sportsmen excel, entrepreneurs thrive, or individuals achieve the ambitions? Is their ability to win innate? Or is the winning mindset something we can all develop?In the tradition ofThe Talent Code and The Power of Habit, Campbell draws on the wisdom of an astonishing array of talented people—from elite athletes to media mavens, from rulers of countries to rulers of global business empires.Alastair Campbell has conducted in-depth interviews and uses his own experience in politics and sport to get to the heart of success. He examines how winners tick. He considers how they build great teams. He analyzes how these people deal with unexpected setbacks and new challenges. He judges what the very different worlds of politics, business, and sport can learn from one another. And he sets out a blueprint for winning that we can all follow to achieve our goals.

    This is a fantastic team-building book, not at all what you would expect given the author. All about getting intense, individualistic, creative people to work together