Books and other recommended media

Finding the right “thing”

Passion Economy

The Passion Economy by Adam Davidson

You want to read this if:

  • You wonder if you’re working on the right thing
  • You are working on too many things
  • You want some good anecdotes if you are unhappy while being an entrepreneur

Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

I used this book personally when trying to figure out what to do after the VC experience. Very helpful as it validated some of my prior decisions and also what to explore next.

I’ve recommended this book to so many people, and every time I say “hey, as you work through it I would love to share what I said and iterate on it, too”. Not one person has taken me up on it.

The Good Place

The Good Place by Michael Schur

Let’s say God exists.

Let’s say God decided it’s time to send another message to humans about how to live… without, you know, doing the whole flood thing.

Would God send an angel to somebody and get them to give speeches or write a book or do some special effects?

Or would God try TV?

Take it sleazy.

Startup Tactics

The Mom Test

The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

Yes, this is gendered, don’t @ me. But the realistic discussion how to get folks to talk more about their problems vs your solution is helpful and overall good startup (and life) advice.

Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs

Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs by Karen Berman

Read it. Apply it to your own books. Think better.

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done by David Allen

I re-read this book every few years after I fall off the wagon. The re-start exercises of writing down everything you need to do and projects is worth the time and nominal cost. The two principles of asking “What is my next action?” and “Do, Delegate, Defer” will make you more effective even if you don’t go fully into GTD.

Real Estate

Crushing It

Crushing it in Apartments in Commercial Real Estate by Brian Murray

This book keeps it real and tells you how a person ends up working on real estate and the mental model you have to really understand (“value-add”) if you want to grow a real estate company. I would constantly ask my Dad and investors why and how they were making RE purchase decisions besides “I think it’s in a good location” and never got a clear answer. This book is excellent if you are also saying to yourself, “I don’t want to be in the business of predicting the future of an area 10+ years from now.”


The Family Firm

The Family Firm by Emily Oster

If you’re an analytical, data-oriented person, you will appreciate Emily Oster - the other two books Expecting Better and Cribsheet are also awesome. This one centers on what happens once you can no longer rely on data for the right decisions around your kids… which happens right around 2-3 years old. It helped me get comfortable with our initial private vs public school decision, what sports and activities to focus on, and more.

The Opposite of Spoiled

The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber

The main takeaway from this book is around values and how to best pass those along… and so you’ll probably remember the “Moon Jar” idea most. One piggy bank with three pieces:

  1. spending
  2. sharing
  3. giving

And then you give your kids a weekly allowance equal to their age and ask them to put the money into the bank with no judgments. I am constantly surprised by how our children talk about giving to others during Eid, Christmas, and other times of the year while also saving for the big Lego set they want.

Financial Advice

I Will Teach You to Be Rich

I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I’ve given this book to so many people and re-read it every few years to make sure I’m staying simple and automated. It’s all you need whether you are in debt or sitting on a large estate.

Fun Reads

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

The Nike origin story.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

The Amazon origin story.

The Three-Body Problem Trilogy

The Three-Body Problem Trilogy by Liu Cixin

“The Dark Forest” hypothesis will haunt you.

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson

I tell everyone in the education space about this book. I want the primer. I believe it’s conceptually correct about how risk and follower mindsets affect which part of society you belong to. If you start a school based on this I will throw money at you.


Contact by Carl Sagan

Best book ever. Better than the movie. I will always always talk to you about this book.