I’ve thought about what I might tell a younger self to “fast forward” my life, and I think the most important thing I’d do is give a list of books that changed the way I thought. For reference, I include when I read the books (I started college fall ’09.)
- The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand (summer 2010), for reminding me for urging me to be direct and not constrained by what other people think. (see I agree partially with Ayn Rand)
- Norwegian Wood, Murakami (spring 2011), for telling me that maybe unlike in Ayn Rand, we need each other to figure things out (unlike Ayn Rand-like love, the characters use love/friendship is a journey of helping each other grow. In Rand, love is a meeting of perfect people).
- (Anything Murakami would have worked here.)
- Moral Calculations, Mero (summer 2011): game theory can be used to explain a lot of problems or seeming paradoxes in the world that you wouldn’t realize otherwise.
- Godel Escher Bach, Hofstadter (fall 2012), for teaching me to ask questions about the way I think.
- Stories of Your Life and Others, Chiang (1/2013), for a precisionist kind of writing, that’s the union of a very math/science POV and good story, one I’m trying to develop myself
- Trefethen’s Index Cards (1/2013) for exemplifying the power of putting thoughts down concisely (part of the inspiration for this wiki)
- Society of Mind, Minsky (2/2013), for thinking about human intelligence, and the analogies it gives for intellectual activity in general.
- Princeton Companion to Mathematics, Gowers (started summer 2013), because it gives the key ideas and questions behind a lot of math subjects, and says why they’re important – things that my many math classes never told me.
- A Jane Austen education, Deresiewicz (9/2013), because like Bill Deresiewicz I hadn’t learned about what friendships and Love really meant, and how to understand and connect with other people.
- some nonfiction books (any really, just because they broaden my perspective)
- some books about education (because they made me rethink the way I learn)
Several books I read when I was a kid I only appreciated when I grew up:
- Hope for the Flowers: see http://holdenlee.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/butterflies/.
- The Phantom Tollbooth: After Milo goes on an adventure, nothing concrete is different in his life but he sees everything in a new light. Whether you see interesting things around you is a function of your mindset.
See also Links for life for some websites that changed my life.