Reading List

I read a lot, so not every book will make it to the list, keep tabs on my reading on the main blog with the Book Review label. 

The book titles below have influenced me in some way.  Some fiction/nonfiction.  Many are popular within the business and finance world, but I hope to have some gems in here. Also, note that the links are affiliate links. Thanks!



  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - This book hits the list because the Hispanic/Latino culture has had a tremendous role in my life.  I spent a few years in SoCal in my youth, learned Spanish, and carried it through college.  I had a professor who had a PhD in Don Quixote! I love this story of self-delusion and the parody it makes of other hero's journey type tales.
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Like Don Quixote, we have another fool's journey.  The exception here is that while Quixote assumed he was a knight, Arthur Dent knows he is helpless. My dad turned me on to Monty Python at a young age, so I think I've inherited a fondness for British humor.  There are so many wonderful moments in these books, from the Improbability Drive to 42, that tickle my bones in some many ways.  (I've also read many of Adam's other works and recommend those as well.)


  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engel - This was my first experience where a writer fused math and science with a fictional narrative. I was hooked.  
  • 1984 by George Orwell - I can't say too much more about this timeless piece that hasn't already been said.  I first read it in high school, along with Animal Farm.  It continuously astounds me how much of his concepts can be found in modern life, from the language we use, to propaganda, to Big Brother.
  • Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov - how can you not have a work by this prolific science writer?  I particularly like the foundation series because of the invented field of psychomathematics which is predicting the destinies of civilizations across universes on a massive timescale
  • The Scythe Series by Neil Schusterman - This is the most actuarial science fiction I have ever read, when a cloud based AI has made it so humans don't have to die. However, it turns out that immortality creates some unintended side effects, so the 'Sythes' are deployed to ensure death rates continue according to historic trends.


  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - I didn't pick this one up until college, but I found it incredibly compelling.  Say what you will about Rand's utopia, I find her writing style intoxicating. It pulses with an agenda and I find it incredibly effective.  And it was from this work that I incorporate the maxim ' challenge your premises' into my daily life.  I've had several beer accompanied discussions about this work.
  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I find this story to be quite beautiful.  There is haunting question at the end of the book about which story do you prefer and that just echoes in my brain. I've a had sort of evolution of religion in my life (it's still taking shape) and this story just captures that journey well.


  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien -  This classic anthology, as well as the Hobbit was passed to me by my grandma.  I loved the whole universe/mythology that Tolkien created, the epic battle scenes, and character arcs.  And while the legendary creatures like elves, dwarves, and hobbits have their peculiarities, it is what Tolkien has to say about humans that I find most compelling.
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn - This one is not for the faint of heart.  It is quite disturbing.  The story is about a sideshow couple that wants to breed their own freaks. Buried in macabre though are some really eloquent passages about the nature of humanity and what is beauty. See more on my writing blog about this book. 


  • The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams - The Dilbert author has a few books out there.  The Dilbert Principle should be required reading for anyone in corporate America.  Win Bigly is his latest and is on my list.


  • The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver - While the anecdotes about the successes and failures of statistics are appreciated, the core value of the book comes in requiring an honesty about the work we do with the weapons we have.
  • Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil - Like Silver's text, this author a.k.a Math babe, highlights the dangers of WMDs. This is a good one to stay grounded when using mathematical models to affect the lives of real people.  I remember the day I realized the numbers I was calculating involved a real person and was not just a problem in a textbook.
  • The Grapes of Math by Alex Bellos - Bellos is one of those who tries to bring math to the masses. He also writes Here's Looking at Euclid, and is a big contributor to math puzzles. 
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives  - Fun anecdotes of historic mathematicians and statisticians who developed the mechanics of probability.


  • Winning Conditions by Christine Hofbeck.  Christine is an actuary who was the runner up on the reality TV show, survivor. Her book offers key insights to professional and personal success.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill - At times this one feels a bit out there, but there are some good takeaways about the role of philanthropy and the idea of a mastermind group.
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely - A cornerstone of the field Behavioral Economics, Ariely is a fun one to follow.
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis - The Big Short, Liars Poker, and Blindside are also all great reads. Moneyball was the first one of his I read and I became an instant fan. I love how Lewis has a knack for focusing on characters. 



  • Blue Zones by Dan Buettner - when you spend a good portion of your life studying the risk of death or illness, stuff like Blue Zones starts to work its way into your brain. This book studies pockets in the world with the highest concentration of people living past 100. 
  • Paleo Principles by Sarah Ballantyne - After watching my wife go through some wild health struggles, this encyclopedia really helps makes sense of how food affects the whole body.
  • Lifespan by David Sinclair - Sinclair starts to hint at what could be possible in the near future with current advancements in longevity.


  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking - It's a textbook, but yet there are some very interesting conjectures about our origins and the presence of God that make this one a bit more intriguing than a typical textbook


For this section, I'm simply going to list my favorite poets/poems.
  • Shakespeare
  • Odgen Nash
  • Shel Silverstein
  • Pablo Neruda

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