“Books are magical. When you read one, you can travel through time and space, read other peoples’ minds, and even talk to the dead. When you write one, you can achieve immortality, spread ideas, and gather influence. When you talk about one, you can instantly connect with others, deepen your understanding, and generate new ideas.”
As someone who spends a significant amount of his spare time studying others, I’ve found that reading their influences is a great complement to reading their writing. Without understanding a person’s influences, it is hard to truly understand their thinking. If they don’t write publicly, then it’s the only way to understand their thinking.
I love to read primary sources (See my Compilations), but I’ve found that my favorite writers often reference other writers. It’s been particularly fun to go back and read those referenced writers, and see if I draw the same conclusions — if not, I ask myself why, what I might be missing, and what the person I’m studying might have missed.
I’ve always loved to seek out the influences of my influences, and while I know I’ll never be able to read everything someone else has ever read, perusing others’ bookshelves has been a fun way to seek out new books (I prefer the serendipity of bookstores over the algorithms feeding me decisions — don’t @ me).
This is an ongoing collection of bookshelves from people I respect — many of whom I’ve already made compilations for. At the top of every Sheet, I’ve linked the sources — some are literally pictures of their bookshelves, others are direct references/reviews of books from their Twitter Accounts, Shareholder Letters, Blog Posts, Essays, or something else.
If you enjoy these Digital Bookshelves, be sure to check out my Compilations and my newsletter A Letter a Day, where I share notes on one letter a day, sometimes from my compilations, sometimes not. It’s the best way to keep up with what I’m reading and see how I think about things.
If you’d like to make recommendations for future bookshelves, connect, or drop a note, feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com or DM me via twitter @kgao1412.
I hope you enjoy!
I spend about 20 hrs/week on these three projects. Given the niche audience, advertisers are very hard to come by. If you’d like to support my efforts, you can do so in one of the following ways:
2) Buy me a coffee
3) Venmo: @kgao9
4) Bitcoin: 1MJuzLRUAtTd6NLFYvDS49z5bTFoKgEez2
– Currently I’m focused on Titles and Authors — if you’d like to help with adding links for each of the books, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marc Andreessen, a16z
Jim Breyer, Breyer Capital/Accel Partners
Chris Fralic, First Round Capital
Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital
Paul Graham, Y Combinator
Steve Jurvetson, Future Ventures/Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Matt Mazzeo, Coatue Management/Lowercase Capital
Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital
Keith Rabois, Founders Fund/Khosla Ventures
Shervin Pishevar, Sherpa Capital/Menlo Ventures
Sarah Tavel, Benchmark/Greylock/Bessemer
Peter Thiel, Founders Fund
Josh Wolfe, Lux Capital
Bill Gates, Microsoft
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Michael Green, Logica Capital/Canyon Capital
Jim Chanos, Logica Capital/Canyon Capital
David Foster Wallace, Writer