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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rammy1234onMay 6, 2021

Get a good night's sleep for 7-8 hours. One tip that can improve your over well being and lays a good foundation for rest of everything you are going to do in life

Will recommend the book - "Why we Sleep"

DoingIsLearningonMay 10, 2021

Alexey Gusey had a fair criticism of Matthew Walker's 'Why We Sleep':


He sort goes a bit ad hominem on some parts but he has a lot of fair points.

seaman1921onApr 7, 2021

To everyone replying - "i can sleep even after drinking 100 coffees" - caffeine consumption affects certain stages of your sleep even though you might fall asleep, source is the book 'why we sleep'. All stages of your sleep are important, so if you are only getting rem sleep it is not good.

onethoughtonApr 3, 2021

But “Why We Sleep” - recommends CBT-I as “the one of the most effective treatments for insomnia “ ... so why is it bad for people who suffer from insomnia? Your experience seems to echo the point the book makes.

JoeMayoBotonMar 23, 2021

Currently Reading: Code Breaker/Walter Issacson (current favorite author)
Previous: Why we Sleep/Matthew Walker

pedalpeteonJuly 27, 2021

If I did, we wouldn't be going this challenging and hi-tech route :)

You can try all the sleep hygiene stuff you want, but if you're not improving the neurological function of your brain while you sleep, you're not improving the effectiveness of sleep, and since your natural ability to sleep degrades as you age...

The Oxford University Neurology of Sleep textbook is surprisingly approachable. Most people start with Dr Matthew Walkers, Why We Sleep. There are websites dedicated to tearing apart his science, but that goes a bit far. The guy does an excellent job of bringing the importance of sleep to light, and explaining the basics. He also owns up to the "mistakes" or things that have been learned since the book was published.

bwh2onApr 25, 2021

Agreed. You can read about hacks and techniques to improve sleep all you want, but many people will fail to consistently implement those. Why We Sleep gives you the "why", highlighting consequences of poor sleep and the "how" science of those techniques working.

sidm83onJune 9, 2021

Its not just short breaks. Effect of a good night's sleep are almost magical in this respect.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is filled with examples on how sleep plays an outsized role in our lives.

One relevant example from the book that comes to mind is an experiment where they instructed some college students to type out a particular sequence of characters on a keyboard and then measured their performance across two days. The group which had a good night's sleep had dramatic improvement in their typing coordination overnight.

Apparently the author got an insight to pursue deeper into cognitive effects of sleep after a chance encounter with a pianist after a speech he gave on benefits of sleep, where the pianist told him how he struggled with new compositions on evenings and then magically gets them right after a good night's sleep.

wfnonMay 18, 2021

This is basically what Matthew Walker (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Walker_(scientist)) sort of alludes to in his book, "Why we sleep". It's a good book. He specifically mentions hydras as well (iirc)... he's a neuroscientist who is a crazy maniac about sleep and he cites newest research and delivers a very clear message of urgency.

Lots of fascinating stuff there, highly recommend if you're interested.

TenokeonApr 11, 2021

The majority of comments seem to have the belief that the need for 8 hours of sleep is truth, and seem to mostly be making up various excuses why the increase in sleep here doesn't show results.

As far as I can tell, the 8 hours figure is on pretty shaky grounds and most believe it due to pop-science books like 'Why we sleep' and it could easily be the case that this is just another study showing how exaggerated that claim is.

nonbirithmonApr 3, 2021

The problem is that there are both some inaccuracies with the takedown, the book is still factually inaccurate in dangerous ways even though it is accurate in others, and ultimately neither source gives a satisfactory conclusion to the question of how you should approach sleep issues.

There is something about the Why We Sleep controversy that is uniquely frustrating to me, having dealt with sleep problems for years. If I hadn't read HN then I probably would have read that book for far longer than I did. What about the people that might not read HN and still aren't aware of the tangible harms it can cause? It currently has a 4.4 out of 5 on Goodreads and pages of written five-star reviews, proving the utter uselessness of such a metric for topics like health.

It seems the solution is research from a variety of different sources. That worked pretty well for actually sorting out my sleep issues, because I was more careful. But the thing is, time is finite. In the programming realm we can't always do the same militant validation for the thousands of microdependencies a single npm project can pull in. The amount of available information is exploding, and much of it is becoming obsoleted constantly. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. And when we decide to trust the creator as being an "expert" as a compromise, we will inevitably encounter sources like these.

crazygringoonMay 17, 2021

Lack of sleep is a huge public health danger that our society refuses to take seriously so far.

I highly recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (2018) [1]. It goes into great detail how driving while tired late at night is no different from driving drunk in terms of resulting fatalities -- yet driving while tired is entirely legal while drunk will lose your license.

It's also terrifyingly eye-opening in the number of hospital fatalities from sleep-deprived doctors, surgeons, residents, and nurses with their extremely long shifts.

This is a conversation America needs to be having. Thankfully there are hard-won limits on how many hours a day drivers and pilots can drive and fly... but it's a vastly larger problem than just those professions.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1501144324

dwdonAug 16, 2021

You will likely also find Lex Fridman's conversation with Matt Walker "Why we Sleep" last week interesting.

About 65 minutes in (just after a great discussion on coffee and caffeine) they go into how sleep (and dreaming) facilitates memory and learning - basically the creation of new schemas (models) and the updating and rewiring of existing ones.

What made it interesting was how it meshed with Hawkin's ideas from a completely different angle.

He also touched on why we forget things which is closer to the OP (like not remembering where you parked your car two weeks ago, but remembering where you parked it today), and how some people don't/can't forget things. Also the intricacy of things that we remember (like a particular pair of shoes someone was wearing when we first met them).

kevinkelleronJune 9, 2021

I too read Why We Sleep, and found it quite interesting. Then I found out that there is some controversy regarding its claims.

Previous discussions on HN:

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21546850

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26684519

TBH I haven't made up my mind about the book yet, just thought you should know about these things too.

Buttons840onMay 18, 2021

The book Why We Sleep mentioned an experiment. Some plants obviously change during day or night, extending leaves during the day and letting them droop at night, something like that from what I remember. People thought the plant was just reacting to the sunlight, until they put the plant in total darkness for several days and observed it going through the same cycles. The plant was not only responding to light, but also to an internal timer. Depending on how you define sleep, this is sleep. Granted plants don't use sleep for all the same purposes as animals.

pedalpeteonApr 3, 2021

I personally believe sleep research is at the same stage as the food pyramid was in the 80s.

As someone who is also currently doing sleep trials for our start-up (https://soundmind.co), I can understand why. Clinical sleep trials are time consuming and expensive. Try getting a volunteer to sleep in a lab for more than a few nights, then try to get thousands of people doing that, like you would in a drug trial, also try to factor in all the things that person would have done that day which would affect their sleep, as well as factoring in what their sleep was like the previous 3 or more nights, and how that would affect on going sleep.

When I read Why We Sleep, I remember thinking that the conclusions Dr Walker was arriving at seemed wrong much of the time, and seemed sensationalist. At the same time, I've seen him interviewed where he walks back things like the link between circadian rhythm and blue-light.

I'm not sure if the expectation is that he writes a rebuttal to his own work, or a living document about how the science has changed?

I think we need to look at the emerging field and understand that sleep is still something we don't understand well, and that much of the research is still a moving target.

inv13onMar 20, 2021

My very TLDR summary:
The older people at the firm had the same experience coming into this business. So they expect every new comer to behave the same. Its that simple.
Doctors do that with residents which I think is more concerning.
I read about it in a book called why we sleep[1] about sleep.
[1] - https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Sleep-Unlocking-Dreams/dp/1501...

mariedavidonApr 25, 2021

reading Why we sleep, by Matthew Walker. After reading this book I decided to put sleep quality above everything and it helped me take the adequate measures. What worked for me was : lowering my caffeine intake (no more than 2 coffee), no caffeine in the afternoon, no screen in the evening, no work 2 or 3 hours prior to go to bed, increasing exercise and sunlight exposition in the day. Oh and good earplugs !

jimnotgymonApr 3, 2021

I had a purely practical issue with "Why we sleep". The book says multiple times that you cannot run a sleep deficit and then make it up later. So what should I do if I have run a deficit? If the deficit reduces cognitive function, and I can't make it up with more sleep, does it follow that for every short nights sleep I will have a permanent reduction in cognitive function? If I turn my alarm off and let my body decide it makes me sleep for longer after a deficit, is my body wasting its time?

It doesn't feel like this can be 100% true

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