Book Club

Published on May 14, 2024

5 min read


library My kind of library

I recently got back into reading after a few months hiatus, and realised this blog would be an ideal place to keep track of what books I've been reading, and share any recommendations with the world (should anyone actually be reading this!).



Currently reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Atomic habits by James Clear

I started reading this after a stag do, just when I was contemplating all the things that I should really be doing in life 🥲. The book argues that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions which over time create a new identity - initially, it might be doing two push-ups a day, or waking up five minutes early. Clear calls these small changes "atomic habits." The book draws from proven ideas in biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible.

The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

Steve Jobs led me to The Lean Startup, a book I'd been meaning to read for many years. The book is based on applying the tenets of lean manufacturing to startups. Lean manufacturing is a process developed in Japan at Toyota, which aims to eliminate waste to increase efficiency. Incidentally, I had previously had some exposure to lean manufacturing when I was interning at Illumina, where I was tasked with building automated software to highlight waste in their lab processes to reduce turnaround times for their sequencing of NHS samples. The Lean Startup aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable. This is achieved by adopting rapid scientific experimentation, early product releases, and what Eric Reis calls 'validated learning'.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

A fantastic read. Before this, I knew very little about Steve Jobs. He certainly was an odd fellow. So fascinating to hear about the beginnings of Apple; the excitement that Jobs and Wozniak must have felt in those early days is palpable. As someone who works in Tropical Medicine - a field heavily funded by the BGMF - his relationship with Bill Gates is also particularly interesting.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

A really wonderful book about the multigenerational saga of the Trần family. It depicts the struggles and triumphs of the Vietnamese people as they navigate the challenges of colonialism, communism, and the war with the United States. I realised when reading this, I knew so little about the Vietnam War, and the atrocities committed by the US government. There is so much loss and heartbreak in the story, and yet life and love endure on, in a really beautiful way.

The Odyssey by Homer, translation by Robert Fagles

After reading a few books about Greek mythology, including Stephen Fry's excellent Mythos and Heroes, I decided to read an actual classic itself, beginning with the Odyssey, one of Homers two epic poems. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was pleasantly surprised by its readability; I don't read of lot of poetry and the book is written in verse, but for the most part, it reads like prose.

The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher

What an awesome book - this has been blowing my mind for the last couple of weeks. It's about the evolution of language, the destructive and creative forces which cause it to change, such as economy, expressiveness, and analogy. I'm learning Hindi at the minute, and its actually really helped me to understand why some of the things in English and Hindi are the way they are.

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

In 2023, I really got into running. At the time of writing, I'm also in Kenya, and after a recommendation from a friend, figured this could be a good shout. It was. Although the book purports to be about finding the 'secrets' to the exceptional feats of Kenyan runners, it really is just about the authors journey to Kenya with his family, and the wonderful people he meets there. In reality, there are no 'secrets'. And its a really lovely read. Get me to Iten!!

A few favourites that pre-date the blog


Nelson Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom

Everyone on earth should read this book! It's been some years since I read it, but I always remember it having a profound impact. The world would be a better place if we all had to read it.

Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene

I owe a lot to this book. I read it during a formative period, inbetween my Bachelors and joining LSTM to study for a masters. It really opened my eyes to the wonderful world of evolutionary biology, and I've been hooked ever since. It also helped to awaken a thirst for knowledge which has remained with me.

The Ramayana - Linda Egenes and Kumuda Reddy

This was the first (and only) version of the Ramayana I've read. The Ramayana literally means the Journey of Ram, and tells the story of Rama, the prince of Ayodha, who wages a war against the demon king Ravana to rescue his wife, Sita. And it is this victory of light triumphing over evil for which we celebrate Diwali. It's a really beautiful book.

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