Shreya Shankar

2020 Bookshelf

December 11, 2020 in #personal · 3 min read

This note is a list of books I attempted to read in 2020. I probably also read other books, but the ones in this list were explicitly mentioned in my journal entries over the past year. Note that I made up these categories — it is very possible that a more reputable source classifies the same book in a different genre.

Upon reflection, I wish I read more fiction and less “hustle porn.” In general, I wish I read more. I am also not very good at finishing everything I start, but I don’t think this is a good metric to optimize for.


  • UNIX: A History and a Memoir (Brian Kernighan) **
  • The Art of Doing Science and Engineering (Richard Hamming)
  • The Mythical Man-Month (Fred Brooks)
  • The Alignment Problem (Brian Christian)
  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (Nir Eyal)
  • [UNFINISHED] The Elements of Programming Style (Brian Kernighan)
  • [UNFINISHED] Practical Statistics for Data Scientists (Peter Bruce & Andrew Bruce)
  • [UNFINISHED] The Rust Programming Language (Steve Klabnik)
  • [UNFINISHED] The Psychology of Computer Programming (Gerald Weinberg)
  • [REREAD] Don’t Make Me Think (Steve Kruger)
  • [REREAD] Designing Data-Intensive Applications (Martin Kleppman)
  • [REREAD] The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)


  • An Untamed State (Roxane Gay) **
  • Pachinko (Min Jin Lee) **
  • Pages for You (Sylvia Brownrigg) **
  • Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) **
  • The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
  • Transcendent Kingdom (Yaa Gyasi)
  • The Farm (Joanne Ramos)
  • American Dirt (Jeanine Cummins)
  • Rodham (Curtis Sittenfeld)
  • [UNFINISHED] Born Confused (Tanuja Desai Hidier)
  • [REREAD] The Glass Castle (Jeannete Walls)
  • [REREAD] Rules for Virgins (Amy Tan)
  • [REREAD] Difficult Women (Roxane Gay)
  • [REREAD] The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)


  • Untamed (Glennon Doyle)
  • So Sad Today (Melissa Border)
  • Open Book (Jessica Simpson)
  • Can’t Hurt Me (David Goggins)
  • The Man Who Solved the Market (Gregory Zuckman)
  • Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert)
  • Manic: A Memoir (Terri Cheney)
  • A Promised Land (Barack Obama)
  • Antifragile (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
  • The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
  • The Wizard and the Prophet (Charles C. Mann)
  • Bottle of Lies (Katherine Eban)
  • [UNFINISHED] Merchants of Doubt (Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway)
  • [UNFINISHED] Alone Time (Stephanie Rosenbloom)
  • [UNFINISHED] Born a Crime (Trevor Noah)
  • [UNFINISHED] Fooled by Randomness (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
  • [UNFINISHED] Hacking Darwin (Jamie Metzl)
  • [UNFINISHED] The New Jim Crow
  • [UNFINISHED] I Feel Bad About My Neck (Nora Ephron)
  • [UNFINISHED] Ignorance (Stuart Firestein)
  • [REREAD] The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch)
  • [REREAD] Option B (Sheryl Sandberg)

Hustle Porn

  • How to Fall in Love with Anyone (Mandy Len Catron)
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (Lori Gottlieb)
  • Radical Candor (Kim Scott)
  • 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week (Tiffany Shlain)
  • Your Money or Your Life (Vicki Robin)
  • Thinking in Bets (Annie Duke)
  • If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? (Raj Raghunathan)
  • Overwhelmed (Brigid Schulte)
  • [UNFINISHED] Swearing Is Good for You (Emma Byrne)

** Top 5 books that elicited strong emotions. I finished reading these in (at most) a couple of sittings.

Shreya Shankar likes systems and machine learning.