My Reading List
Below is a list of resources, including books, individual blog posts and entire blogs that I have read and believe are worth sharing. I share it here in case anyone is interested. They are grouped into broad categories to make it easier for you to find what you are interested in. The specific ordering of the resources in each category bears no meaning.
I sincerely welcome constructive criticism about this list. The main reason that I make this public is in the hopes that anyone who finds it can expose my naiveté, explaining why an item on this list should not be here or why it should be taken with a grain of salt. Help me broaden my perspectives and learn new things that I could not conceive on my own - I absolutely enjoy this process! I look forward to your recommendations and feedback. This post will continue to grow with irregular updates.
Artificial Intellgience / Natural Language Processing
deeplearning.ai's The Batch
- A weekly newsletter that summarizes the most important events in AI. It covers any significant news related to AI, whether it be computer vision, NLP, or hardware developments.
Sebastian Ruder's website and newsletter
- I enjoy reading Sebastian's newsletter as a starting point for getting myself updated with a nice variety of areas in NLP. He also wrote many useful blog posts with advice on doing research.
Jay Alammar's blog.
- Excellent visualizations for understanding concepts relevant to modern NLP, from NumPy to the inner workings of Transformers.
Personal Development / Career
- Paul Graham's website
Tim Dettmers on How to Pick Your Grad School
- A comprehensive post on factors to consider when picking a graduate program. While some factor may be more important for someone interested in research in computer science, most of his explanation is general enough to be applicable to any area of study.
Personal Finance / Investing
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- This was my gateway into thinking more seriously about my personal finance. His analogy of every dollar being workers that are working hard to make money for you caused a major shift in how I think about money and how I should spend it. Understanding assets versus liabilities was equally significant.
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
The Little Book that Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt
- An easy read on value investing; so easy that some readers criticize it for oversimplification. Although it may not be interesting to an experienced investor who has the time and dedication to use the plethora of financial products available, to most people it will serve as a good introductory guide on what value investing is and its strengths. Recently, I've found reviews saying that the book is a proponent of an outdated investing approach given how the market is currently a growth market where growth stocks vastly outperform value stocks. There may be some truth to this given only the recent performance of growth stocks and stocks chosen by the magic formula, but it would be interesting to see how the formula holds in the longer run. Either way, the book is still useful in learning about some basic financial metrics to understand
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- The first book that piqued my interest about human history. It challenged many things that perceived as the "norm" and painted the bigger picture about humanity and our place in this world.
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
- It seems as though this book didn't reach as many people as did Sapiens, because I met a lot of people who read Sapiens but not Homo Deus. It's a shame because, although there are definitely some overlap in the two for the sake of both being self-contained, Homo Deus did a good job for me in painting the trajectory of our society with reference to the dramatic transformations in society accompanied by technological developments, with a focus on changes in human faith. The future that Harari paints seems bleak, somewhat counterintuitively, due to a confidence in continuous technological developments. As we gain more knowledge about ourselves, as it becomes more evident that there is no such thing as the 'human soul', and as we continue to chase our obsession with growth, most human beings may be deemed less valuable than sophisticated data processing systems that are more competent in powering growth. As we realize humans are just complicated biological algorithms, and thus really just another form of data processing systems that are less productive than silicon-based artificial intellgence, we will become obsolete or merged into data-processing systems as 'Dataism' becomes the dominant creed. But his words serve more as a warning to prevent the future that extreme dataism may bring forth, intending similar effects that Das Kapital had in enabling the upper class to read about the potential dictatorship of the proletariat and circumvent such an upheaval. Although my personal background in artificial intelligence makes his descriptions of the future far-fetched and something that I won't experience quite in full during my life time, I appreciate Harari's ability to illustrate the bigger picture that I am often blind to.
- Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
- This book contains 'Story of Your Life', the basis for the major motion picture Arrival, which is a movie that I enjoyed a lot. In fact, it was my admiration of the movie's scientific detail and intriguing connection of language and time that drawed me to this book. I wished that each of the stories were longer, because as I reached the end of each of them, I felt the urge to linger to find out more interesting detail and their implications of the settings in the fictional world. I hope he writes long stories one day.
- Exhalation by Ted Chiang
- I read this book after reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and I wondered if Chiang had read the book as well before writing his stories. What's Expected of Us describes a world in which people face the fact that humans don't have free when they realize they can't do anything to trick the Predictor, a simple device that blinks one second before one presses the button. This is in line with the hypothesis in Homo Deus that humans do not in fact have a soul but are highly complicated algorithms that respond to stimuli in a predictable way. In The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Chiang describes self-infused pharmacological treatment to improve productivity and fool ourselves to feel and think in a particular way. Harari mused upon a future where humans are actively tinkering themselves once we attain an extensive understanding of our own biological processes. It almost felt preordained that I read fictional descriptions of futures that were outlined by the book I read just before. With this chilling sensation at the back of my head, I was once again reaching the ends of each short stories with the feeling that they were short, hoping that I could stay in these conjured worlds for longer. I appreciate how Chiang attends to scientific detail and injects philosophical musings all the while laying out an engaging plot that contains a colorful mix of human sentiment that we can relate to.