Machine Learning by Tom Mitchell

Date read: 2018-12-12. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

I learned a lot from this book. The author assumes very little prior knowledge about math and statistics. For that reason, he takes care to explain equations thoroughly from a rigorous and intuitive perspective.

The book is old, and you’ll see many references from 1980s and 1990s. However, the content isn’t about any specific technology it’s about the foundational ideas in the field of machine learning. For that reason, the content is still relevant in my opinion.

I would recommend this book to anyone machine learning beginner who wants to dive deeper into the field.

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Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

Date read: 2015-12-15. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

Some companies choose greatness over growth. For these companies the most important thing is not money. As a result, all of the companies described in the book are privately held, free from the obligation to create good financial for public investors. This leads to companies that have a fantastic influence on the communities around them and on their own employees. Burlingham describes this intangible quality that small giants all have as mojo. It’s a sense that there’s really something going on at a company, and all the employees are excited about it and want to be a part of it.

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Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Date read: 2015-11-29. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

Two two different kinds of companies:

  1. Companies that take the world from 1 to many.
  2. Companies that take the world from 0 to 1.

It’s hard to create something brand new, but it’s certainly worth it. When companies copy other companies it helps expand the reach of certain services around the world. These types of businesses contribute to the globalization of the world. Take a product or service and make it available everywhere. On the other hand, when companies create something new (that is, something at least 10x better than the closest substitute) they really push society forward. Think about the leap in efficiency between a typewriter and a word processor. Those are the kinds of 10x improvements that characterize outstanding companies.

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The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Date read: 2015-11-12. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

Advice about how create and grow a startup company. One of the core points of this book is the idea of pivoting. I.e. changing the direction of the company based on empirical evidence. The evidence takes the form of performance measurements compared to a baseline. AB testing, referred to in the book as split testing, is encouraged as a means to create such measurements. A concrete scenario would go like this: serve half of the customers the current version of the landing page, and the other half the current version of the app that changes one portion of the landing page (perhaps the phrasing of the main headline). Then use a cohort analysis chart of both versions to compare the performance of both versions of the site.

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Focal Point by Brian Tracy

Date read: 2015-10-19. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

Drives home the importance of focusing on the most valuable activities at any given time. One of the fundamental questions was: where should I put the X in my life? You know “X marks the spot” on a pirates map. In Tracy’s book, the X is the activities in your life that, when focused on exclusively, will yield the most desirable results in the most efficient way possible.

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Good to Great by James Collins

Date read: 2015-09-11. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10