UCLA ACM’s Winter Reading List

It’s now the middle of February 2017. If you’re stuck in the 6th week doldrums of the quarter system, why not kick back and crack open a book?

How to Win Friends and Influence People — Dale Carnegie, [PDF]

This archetypical people-skills book is now 80 years old, but it’s messages and lessons will never go out of style. Dale Carnegie shows how to effectively charm, convince, and criticize. As engineers, it’s easy to pretend that your soft skills aren’t important, but learning how to talk to people not only can help you succeed but will also greatly enrich your life.

The Lean Startup — Eric Ries, [Amazon]

“The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious.” — Wired

The Florentine Deception — Carey Nachenberg, [Amazon]

“[Carey Nachenberg’s] novel boasts equal servings of excitement, suspense and humor. . . . [He] tackles multiple genres — thriller, action, comedy — and champions each one with panache.” — Kirkus Reviews

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman — Richard Feynman, [PDF]

Richard Feynman’s funny and fascinating autobiography is a genuinely good read. Throughout the book, you see flashes of the brilliance of Richard Feynman.

The Pragmatic Programmer — Andrew Hunt and David Thomas, [PDF]

Interested in writing better code? This is the book for you! Straight from the programming trenches, The Pragmatic Programmer cuts through the increasing specialization and technicalities of modern software development to examine the core process — taking a requirement and producing working, maintainable code that delights its users. It covers topics ranging from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse.

Neural Networks and Deep Learning — Michael Nielsen [PDF]

Machine learning is hot right now, so why not learn the theory driving new ideas like self-driving cars or voice recognition! This is an online book that is free for all. ACM AI is having a reading group for this book, starting next week from 6–7, so you won’t even have to read this one alone!

The Code Book — Simon Singh, [Amazon]

This book is a great way to get introduced into the thrill of cryptography. Learn not only about how important historic ciphers, like the Enigma machine were cracked, but also how modern day public key cryptography works. There are also 6 puzzles at the end of the book — so get cracking!