HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Robert C. Martin

4.7 on Amazon

43 HN comments

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems

Martin Kleppmann

4.8 on Amazon

34 HN comments

The Martian

Andy Weir, Wil Wheaton, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

27 HN comments

The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery

David Thomas, Andrew Hunt, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

27 HN comments

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson, Jonathan Davis, et al.

4.3 on Amazon

24 HN comments

The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You

Rob Fitzpatrick and Robfitz Ltd

4.7 on Amazon

22 HN comments


Frank Herbert, Scott Brick, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Seveneves: A Novel

Neal Stephenson, Mary Robinette Kowal, et al.

4.1 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Matthew Walker, Steve West, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

19 HN comments

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir, Ray Porter, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

Chris Voss, Michael Kramer, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman, Patrick Egan, et al.

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Don Norman

4.6 on Amazon

15 HN comments

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

Christopher Alexander , Sara Ishikawa , et al.

4.7 on Amazon

15 HN comments

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jbrotonAug 5, 2021

If you haven't read it yet, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is an excellent novel that explores something along those lines

mikewarotonJune 29, 2021

I read Snow Crash, I see what you're trying to do. ;-)

epsonJune 14, 2021

Snow Crash is his best book. Imaginative and punchy as fuck.

Cryptonomicon is very good too. Should be a must read for people who want to make another Tor :)

Incomparison, Reamde is slow and boring.

Ar-CurunironJune 14, 2021

Anathem was (surprisingly!) my first book by him. I then read Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, and am now a cryptographer, in no small part due to these books =)

q_andrewonMar 24, 2021

Snow Crash is parody literature, but the fantasy is built around very good predictions about the future. He coined the word "avatar" for virtual characters, and the book contains a direct inspiration for google maps.

shpongledonJune 14, 2021

I'd recommend some of Stephenson's earlier works: Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Reamde, Anathem are all great. I actually think Seveneves is one of his weakest books.

MivLivesonJuly 31, 2021

Snow Crash is one of my most lent books. People either get it quickly or it just fizzles out for them. I feel like a lotta his work is like that too. You gotta wanna read 20 pages of Sumerian mythology and a sword fight on motorcycles in the same book.

noduermeonJune 14, 2021

The Diamond Age as the follow-up to Snow Crash is also a great piece of sci-fi.

Cryptonomicon is fun, I re-read that recently. I wouldn't really call it sci-fi, though. More like historical fiction..

wintermutestwinonJuly 31, 2021

> _The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer_ is my favorite of his novels. Superb pacing, fascinating vision of technology, and strong sociocultural relevance. Plus, _The Diamond Age_ knocks the stuffing out its ending!

That makes two of us! I always doubted there were others, so welcome to the club :)

I tried to get my wife into it but failed because the intro to the book is very much not like rest. All the talk of implanting guns in the head made it seem like it was going to be action sci-fi. The intro to Snow Crash is also not like the rest, but it is so hilarious that I don't mind. I always assumed that his editor(s) didn't know what to do with it, but knew there was so much awesomeness that they just left it as-is.

kragenonMar 25, 2021

> I was always under the assumption that they independently coined the word.

I guess it's possible? I certainly hadn't heard of Habitat in 01992, or indeed until after I met Chip, and the correspondence with the Hindu concept is quite arresting. But then again, I never had a Commodore 64, and Neal Stephenson always loves to be plugged into everything that's trendy. Farmer and Morningstar gave a paper http://www.fudco.com/chip/lessons.html at The First International Conference on Cyberspace in 01990, which seems like the kind of thing you would maybe go to if you were writing a novel like Snow Crash in 01990. But they say Habitat (or rather Club Caribe) only had 15000 users at the time.

> (if you're familiar at all with TVTropes,

I love TVTropes! If we're talking about the cyberspace avatar trope rather than the use of the word "avatar" for it, you could maybe trace that back to Vinge's 01981 True Names, as mentioned in the talk I linked above.

ryanSrichonJune 14, 2021

Agreed. I wasn’t a big fan of seveneves.

Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash are must reads. Anathem is a beast that I just couldn’t get into, though I tried several times.

TRcontrarianonJuly 23, 2021

The founding text is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992). It's short, funny, entertaining, and full of new ideas in a freewheeling early 90's spirit. The list in the comment you are replying to is not bad, since most interactions you will ever have with someone about a metaverse will hinge on shared descriptions you have with them of a metaverse, so whichever books you hear about the most are by definition the most useful ones to read.

Almost everyone has read or heard of Ready Player One (2011), which contains extensive descriptions of its own corporate dystopic metaverse, albeit one that I find insufferably cliche and unoriginal.

Metaverse descriptions are descended from the first cyberspace descriptions in Neuromancer (1984) which is a beautiful book worth a read.

throw1234651234onJuly 23, 2021

Neal Stephenson's earlier work has "more soul" - Snow Crash / Diamond Age actually has characters you care about and like, his later novels get increasingly more abstract, though even better in the technical sense. I think the only character I remember from Seveneves is the cannibal leader, that's it.

"A Deepness in the Sky" was REALLY good. The Forever War was good for the concept.

In short, yours looks like a great list I will come back to, thank you.

However, I do strongly dislike Remembrance of Earth's Past / The Three Body Problem - it's vastly overrated in my opinion and the characters make no sense. The best part of it was the intro to the first book which gave an interesting glimpse at history.

ben_wonMar 24, 2021

I really enjoyed Snow Crash; I felt that Seveneves was two completely different books that were coincidentally in the same universe, nether of which felt bad in isolation, but they definitely didn’t feel unified.

I wasn’t a fan of Quicksilver, but as that was the first historical novel I’ve listened to, and as it was award winning, I assume it must be more about my tastes than the quality of the writing?

jillesvangurponJune 14, 2021

I'm currently re-reading Seveneves again. Great book. I even like the third part which many people have criticized. However, that might have actually planted the seed for this new book.

This book looks like it might be a bit in the same spirit in the sense that our home planet is abused a bit. Part three of Seveneves is about the aftermath of essentially terra forming Earth in the distant future after it gets destroyed in part 1.

People think about other planets when it comes to terra forming but of course our home planet might be the easiest one to practice on and doing so might get a bit urgent as we seem to be destroying it. Great premise for a near future science fiction novel.

If you are looking for recommendations. Ian Banks can be a bit hard to read but can be very entertaining. Arthur C Clarke wrote some awesome science fiction. More recently, The Martian (Andy Weir) was great. And Andy Weir just published another book that's on my list to read soon. The expanse series of books (James S. A. Corey) is a good read. 2312 (Stanley Robinson) is also worth a look.

And of course if you at all enjoyed Seveneves, you might want to read the rest of what NS wrote. Anathem is great. Snow Crash, the Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon are classics at this point.

throw1234651234onJuly 23, 2021

I know what you are talking about, despite being on the opposite end of that spectrum. Snow Crash / Diamond Age are cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk ala Gibson and completely different from Stephenson's other books.

I couldn't even get through Cryptonomicon, and Jack Shaftoe did not strike me as a believable genius, nor his story. Anathem kind of strafed the line - it had SOME character development, and SOME action, but was mainly world-building / intellectual exploration. Stephenson's other books fall too far on that spectrum for me.

madjinonMay 4, 2021

Webaverse | Senior Software Engineer (full-stack) | Remote | Full-time

Webaverse (https://webaverse.com/) is building an immersive virtual world in the browser where users can socialize, game, and monetize their creations in. We have raised a seed round and are looking for gamedev-minded web hackers.

We‘ve built a fun and free way to create digital assets on our site, in-game, or using our unique discord bot built with web tech. Our technology is centered around an Ethereum sidechain and cross-signing technology that enables tokens to cross blockchains.

The tech is 7 years in the making, and is open source: https://github.com/webaverse

We're looking for Engineers that meet the following requirements:

  ** Strong web engineering skills (JS, profiling, optimization)
** Understand WebGL shaders + rendering pipelines
** Experience/interest in Crypto/Web3 applications
** Comfortable in greenfield startup projects
** Self-starters that can quickly learn something
** Enjoys working on and documenting bleeding edge code
** Good at written and verbal communication

Technologies we use: Ethereum, IPFS, Three.js, AWS, Node.js, React, Next.js, WebRTC, WebXR

We are mission driven to bring ownership, self-expression, and less friction into building the best version of the Metaverse.

You'll be working with the founders on the hardest and most valuable interoperability problems in game development. If you're interested in sci-fi concepts and/or enjoyed reading Snow Crash feel free to say hi.

Email: hello@webaverse.com

HikikomorionMay 6, 2021

One of my favourite cyberpunk novels was inspired by this, Snow Crash.

3GuardLineupsonJuly 23, 2021

yall need to read Snow Crash

daveslashonJuly 28, 2021

This is a good point. Perhaps they're a utility and/or common-carrier only in certain contexts? The article points out "Public utility comes from a contractual relationship between the government and that entity that is supposed to be the public utility". Other's have pointed out that when government employees use Google search, there's no contract in place. The latter may be true, but I'd argue that there is a contract in place when schools are paying for the Google Apps service and Chromebook hardware.

If you have to use the Google products in a school, and the school has a contract with Google, that seems like a utility and/or common carrier. The analogy that I use with my friends is "You have Verizon for your mobile phone, yeah? I have ATT. We can call/text each other, right? Of course - that's how phones work. What would you think if you could ONLY call Verizon customers, and if you wanted to call/text me, you had to get an ATT phone? And what about all those land lines, customer service lines, etc... how annoying would it be if everyone had to have the same phone company, and the companies kept coming and going in and out of vogue? All the older people user Company X, Millennials are all on Y, and the kids are all about Z...."

Most people think that's an awful, terrible world to imagine. That said, it reminds me a little of Neil Stephenson's "Snow Crash" ~ one review says "Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous.... you'll recognize it immediately"

no_protocolonJune 29, 2021

Read Snow Crash

RebelgeckoonApr 11, 2021

Neuromancer is probably the typical example but I personally didn't love it.

I'd recommend Altered Carbon and it's sequels. There's also a Netflix adaption with a solid first season (although s2 went a bit off the rails)

A personal favorite of mine is Snow Crash. It's a very self aware cyberpunk novel (could maybe even be considered a parody, at least in part). If you're not familiar with Stephenson's writing style, be aware that you won't miss too much if you skip the 10 page infodump on Sumerian grammar that pops up in the muddle of the book.

kstrauseronJuly 29, 2021

I don't own a VR set, so this is talking about ideas rather than any specific implementation.

Every time I've heard someone mention having a VR setup, in a social/non-work setting, someone has asked them if they've checked out porn on it. In fairness, we've all read Snow Crash etc. and wondered how close we're getting to that stuff in the real world. Now, the big question: do you want Facebook to have a record of porn you've viewed, even if it was for 5 minutes out of curiosity? Can you imagine the "interesting" ads you might start getting if you did that?

I consider this similar to "why do you care if you're being watched if you have nothing to hide?". I'm not doing anything illegal there, but I don't want a camera in my bathroom. Similarly, even if I'm not doing anything illegal online, darned if I want Facebook to have a record of everything I do.

mark_l_watsononJuly 31, 2021

I like the reference to the book Snow Crash in which a metaverse environment gave people relief from a shitty world. This may be prescient: I think that the human race will servive the next 100 years (and if we don’t, I take comfort in believing that the Universe is teaming with life), but no-travel low-energy use ways to work and play with even more entertainment alternatives may be a necessity.

I worked on VR projects for SAIC and Disney about 25 years ago, and as much as I criticize Facebook over privacy issues, I like Mark Z’s vision here, in addition to Microsoft’s vision of shared virtual workspaces and AR augmentation. Being an Apple fanboy, I also anticipate their future products and systems in this space.

I have been joking/teasing family and friends for many years that governments would fade to black and corporations would rule all. I am 70 and retired so it feels like being naked no longer being associated with a large corporation (I may un-retire). I am channeling William Gibson here, but affiliations to corporations may become the new citizenship. Entrepreneurs will exist to service corporations with new tech and ideas but with little chance of forming mega-corporations themselves.

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