47 Books Recommended by Patrick Collison


CEO of Stripe

Patrick Collison, is an Irish entrepreneur from County Limerick. He is the co-founder and CEO of Stripe, which he started with his younger brother, Jon , in 2010.

  • Net worth: 1.1 billion USD (2017) Forbes

1. The Making of Urban Japan by André Sorensen

During the twentieth century, Japan was transformed from a poor, primarily rural country into one of the world’s largest industrial powers and most highly urbanised countries. Inte…


2. Napoleon by Andrew Roberts

Draws on the recent publication of Napoleon’s thousands of letters to share new insights into his character, motivations, and relationships….


3. The Martian by Andy Weir

The Sunday Times Bestseller behind the major new film from Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I’m…


4. Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis

With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As…


5. Doing the Impossible by Arthur L.slotkin

Apollo was known for its engineering triumphs, but its success also came from a disciplined management style. This excellent account of one of the most important personalities in e…


6. Skunk Works by Ben R. Rich

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America’s high-stakes quest to dominate the skies Skunk Works is the true story of Americ…


7. The Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts

In this revelatory book, Callum Roberts uses his lifetime’s experience working with the oceans to show why they are the most mysterious places on earth, their depths still largely…


8. Whole Earth Field Guide (MIT Press) by Caroline Maniaque-benton

The Whole Earth Catalog was a cultural touchstone of the 1960s and 1970s. The iconic cover image of the Earth viewed from space made it one of the most recognizable book…


9. Poetry Notebook by Clive James

“Clive James is more or less the only living poet who manages to be both entertaining and moving.” ―Edward Mendelson, Columbia UniversityClive James is o…


10. The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch

In our search for truth, how far have we advanced? This uniquely human quest for good explanations has driven amazing improvements in everything from scientific understanding and technology to politics, moral values and human welfare. But will progress end, either in catastrophe or completion — or will it continue indefinitely? In this profound and seminal book…


11. The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch

An extraordinary and challenging synthesis of ideas uniting Quantum Theory, and the theories of Computation, Knowledge and Evolution, Deutsch’s extraordinary book explores the deep…


12. Fooling Some of the People All of the Time, A Long Short (and Now Complete) Story, Updated with New Epilogue by David Einhorn

A revealing look at Wall Street, the financial media, and financial regulators by David Einhorn, the President of Greenlight Capital Could 2008’s credit crisis have been minimized…


13. Mass Flourishing by Edmund S. Phelps

In this book, Nobel Prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps draws on a lifetime of thinking to make a sweeping new argument about what makes nations prosper — and why the sources of t…


14. From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner

In the early 1960s, computers haunted the American popular imagination. Bleak tools of the cold war, they embodied the rigid organization and mechanical conformity that made the mi…


15. From the Ground Up by Goodwin Steinberg

Architect Goodwin Steinberg presents an insider’s view of the development of Silicon Valley―what went right, what went wrong, and how conditions conspired to create the high techno…


16. The Art of the Metaobject Protocol by Gregor Kiczales

The CLOS metaobject protocol is an elegant, high-performance extension to the CommonLisp Object System. The authors, who developed the metaobject protocol and who were among the gr…


17. Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1–5) (Silo Series) by Hugh Howey

This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same…


18. The Perversity of Things by Hugo Gernsback

In 1905, a young Jewish immigrant from Luxembourg founded an electrical supply shop in New York. This inventor, writer, and publisher Hugo Gernsback would later become famous for l…


19. Self to Self by J. David Velleman

This collection of essays by philosopher J. David Velleman on personal identity, autonomy, and moral emotions is united by an overarching thesis that there is no single entity deno…


20. The Cowshed by Ji Xianlin

If a Chinese citizen has read one book on the Cultural Revolution, it is likely to be Ji Xianlin’s Memories of the Cowshed, a candid account of his year of imprisonment on the camp…


21. How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

In the 1980s and 1990s many in the West came to believe in the myth of an East-Asian economic miracle. Japan was going to dominate, then China. Countries were called “tigers” or “m…


22. A Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr

During the late eighteenth century, innovations in Europe triggered the Industrial Revolution and the sustained economic progress that spread across the globe. While much has been…


23. The Starship & the Canoe by Kenneth Brower

The story of a father and son who search for life’s meaning in very different ways. “In the tradition of Carl Sagan and John McPhee, a bracing cerebral voyage past intergalactic ho…


24. The Singapore Story by Kuan Yew Lee

Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profo…


25. Thinking Forth by Leo Brodie

Thinking Forth applies a philosophy of problem solving and programming style to the unique programming language Forth. Published first in 1984, it could be among the timeless class…


26. The Dream Machine by M. Mitchell Waldrop

A study of the evolution of the modern computer profiles the work of MIT psychologist J. C. R. Licklider, whose visionary dream of a “human-computer symbiosis” transformed the cour…


27. Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

“Beautifully written and meticulously researched.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This updated study of the economics, politics, and ecology of water covers more than a century of public…


28. Society Of Mind by Marvin Minsky

An authority on artificial intelligence introduces a theory that explores the workings of the human mind and the mysteries of thought…


29. Softwar by Matthew Symonds

In a business where great risks, huge fortunes, and even bigger egos are common, Larry Ellison stands out as one of the most outspoken, driven, and daring leaders of the software i…


30. Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

In the bestselling tradition of The Soul of a New Machine, Dealers of Lightning is a fascinating journey of intellectual creation. In the 1970s and ’80s, Xerox Corporation brought…


31. Anthropic Bias by Nick Bostrom

Anthropic Bias explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by “observation selection effects” — that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition…


32. Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

Human beings occupy a dominant position on our planet, not because we have stronger muscles or sharper teeth than other species, but because we have smarter brains. Our brains deve…


33. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

Dead Souls is a satirical examination of 1800’s Russian nobility and society. The work is often called Gogol’s greatest. It is also considered a Russian prose poem. In post-Napoleo…


34. The Planet Remade by Oliver Morton

Despite the on-going political horse-trading over emissions targets, each piece of new scientific research offers further evidence that no feasible reduction in the emissions can n…


35. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

The billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur behind such companies as PayPal and Facebook outlines an innovative theory and formula for building the companies of the future by creat…


36. The Grid by Phillip F. Schewe

The electrical grid goes everywhere — it’s the largest and most complex machine ever made. Yet the system is built in such a way that the bigger it gets, the more inevitable its c…


37. Maverick by Ricardo Semler

The CEO of a Brazilian firm explains his revolutionary management theories, involving a concentric circular structure rather than a corporate pyramid, giving power to employees and…


38. The Great Convergence by Richard Baldwin

From 1820 to 1990 the share of world income going to today’s wealthy nations soared from 20% to 70%. That share has recently plummeted. Richard Baldwin shows how the combination of…


39. Genentech by Sally Smith Hughes

In the fall of 1980, Genentech, Inc., a little-known California genetic engineering company, became the overnight darling of Wall Street, raising over $38 million in its initial pu…


40. Concrete Economics by Stephen S. Cohen

History, not ideology, holds the key to growth. Brilliantly written and argued, “Concrete Economics” shows how government has repeatedly reshaped the American economy ever since Al…


41. If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens … WHERE IS EVERYBODY? by Stephen Webb

Do you believe in extraterrestrials? Among serious and speculative thinkers, scientists, philosophers, and even science fiction writers there is an amazing variety of theories, and…


42. SALT Summaries, Condensed Ideas About Long-term Thinking by Stewart Brand

Condensed ideas about long-term thinking summarized by Stewart Brand (with Kevin Kelly, Alexander Rose and Paul Saffo) and a forward by Brian Eno. The condensed ideas about l…


43. How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

Like people, buildings change with age, forced to adapt to the needs of current occupations. This provocative examination of buildings that have adapted well, and some that haven’t…


44. Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

The main driver of inequality — returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth — is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thom…


45. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we ta…


46. Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew Citizen Singapore by Tom Plate

Political genius is never without controversy, or without mystery. This is what makes it so interesting and so rare. Is Lee Kuan Yew the feral, authoritarian figure that Western cr…


47. Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture by Ulrich Conrads

Nearly every important development in the modern architectural movement began with the proclamation of its convictions in the form of a program or manifesto; the most influential o…


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