I read books to make better decisions and improve my life. I also forget a lot.
These book summaries are my way of retaining more information and understanding the books better. I share them online as free tools, and I hope you’ll find them helpful.
About my book summaries
Why are my book summaries so long? My goal is to capture 90% of the value of the book in 10% of the text. If I later forget what a book’s about, I can quickly retain most of its content by reading my summary. Thus my summaries usually have a 10:1 ratio – a 300-page book will be condensed to 30 pages.
Most other summaries I’ve seen capture just 30% of the value in 2% of the text – a 300-page book might be captured in 6 pages. While these shorter summaries contain the main points, I find them unhelpful for actually changing my behavior. When the summaries are too high-level, they flow like water off a duck’s back.
In the same way, no one became more moral just by reading the Ten Commandments.
Instead, I like reinforcing a book’s main points with its key research studies and illustrative anecdotes. I like questioning a book’s assumptions and slotting it into mental models from other books. My summaries also include discussion questions to apply concepts to your own life.
In all cases, if you like a book summary, I encourage you to read the original book. They often contain more color and personality than my writing, and explore subtleties I might ignore.
List of summaries
Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital, by Carlota Perez
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu Goldratt
Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, by Thomas Sowell
Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio
A Theory of Fun for Game Design, by Raph Koster
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong, by Emily Oster
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, by Renee Mauborgne and W Chan Kim
The Upstarts (Uber and Airbnb History), by Brad Stone
Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink
The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight
Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, by Paul Marciano
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives our Success, by Adam Grant
Poor Charlie’s Almanack, by Charlie Munger
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Tim Ferriss
How Not to Die, by Michael Greger