88 books like The Soul of a New Machine

By Tracy Kidder,

Here are 88 books that The Soul of a New Machine fans have personally recommended if you like The Soul of a New Machine. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of House

Witold Rybczynski Author Of Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City

From my list on architecture for non-architects.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. Although I’ve written more than twenty books on a variety of subjects, I was trained as an architect and I’ve designed and built houses, researched low cost housing, and taught budding architects for four decades. I was architecture critic for Wigwag and Slate and I’ve written for numerous national magazines and newspapers. Perhaps more important, my wife and I built our own house, mixing concrete, sawing wood, and hammering nails. I wrote a book about that, too.

Witold's book list on architecture for non-architects

Witold Rybczynski Why did Witold love this book?

Architecture is always a collaboration between the architect who conceives the project, the builder who must realize it, and the client who starts it—and pays for it The protracted building process, which is often stressful, is always a complicated pas de trois. No one has written about this better than Tracy Kidder, who describes the complex choreography by following (in real-time and in detail) the construction of a family home in New England.

By Tracy Kidder,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the New York Times bestseller House, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tracy Kidder takes readers to the heart of the American Dream: the building of a family's first house with all its day-to-day frustrations, crises, tensions, challenges, and triumphs.

In Kidder's "remarkable piece of craftsmanship in itself" (Chicago Tribune), constructing a staircase or applying a coat of paint becomes a riveting tale of conflicting wills, the strength and strain of relationships, and pride in skills. With drama, sensitivity, and insight, he takes us from blueprints to moving day, shedding light on objects usually taken for granted and creating a vivid cast…


Book cover of The Medical Detectives: The Classic Collection of Award-Winning Medical Investigative Reporting

Edith Forbes Author Of Tracking a Shadow: My Lived Experiment with MS

From my list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a novelist, I am endlessly curious about people and like hearing their stories. As an erstwhile computer programmer and farmer, I also have a lifelong interest in science and natural history. When I find those two divergent interests have cross-pollinated in a single gracefully-written book, I am a very happy reader. I love books that weave together an intriguing scientific question with the human story of the scientists pursuing an answer to that question.

Edith's book list on curious people on the hunt for new knowledge

Edith Forbes Why did Edith love this book?

Ever since my seventh-grade science teacher used my flyaway hair to demonstrate static electricity, I have loved science, and I also like mystery stories. This classic collection of short pieces is a favorite in both arenas. It is like a true crime series in which the villains are microorganisms and molecules. Unraveling puzzles involving all manner of medical issues, from rabies to toxic chemicals, these case-study stories kept me riveted from beginning to end. Mostly written from the 1940s to the 1960s, they also touch on some shocking medical practices that one hopes are now outdated.

By Berton Roueché,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Medical Detectives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic collection of award-winning medical investigative reporting.

What do Lyme's disease in Long Island, a pig from New Jersey, and am amateur pianist have in common? All are subjects in three of 24 utterly fascinating tales of strange illnesses, rare diseases, poisons, and parasites-each tale a thriller of medical suspense by the incomparable Berton Roueche. The best of his New Yorker articles are collected here to astound readers with intriguing tales of epidemics in America's small towns, threats of contagion in our biggest cities, even bubonic plague in a peaceful urban park.

In each true story, local health authorities…


Book cover of Survive the Savage Sea

Margalit Fox Author Of The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History

From my list on stories that read like police procedurals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Considered one of the foremost explanatory writers and literary stylists in American journalism, Margalit Fox retired in June 2018 from a 24-year-career at the New York Times, where she was most recently a senior writer. As a member of the newspaper’s celebrated Obituary News Department, she wrote the front-page sendoffs of some of the leading public figures of our age. The author of three previous books, Conan Doyle for the DefenseThe Riddle of the Labyrinth, and Talking Hands, she lives in Manhattan.

Margalit's book list on stories that read like police procedurals

Margalit Fox Why did Margalit love this book?

In January 1971, the Scotsman Dougal Robertson embarked with his wife and children on what was to be the dream of a lifetime: an extended sea voyage aboard their 43-foot wooden schooner, the Lucette. Eighteen months later, as she plied the Pacific some 200 miles west of the Galapagos, the Lucette was rammed by a pod of killer whales; the Robertsons had barely enough time to flee the ship before it sank. They spent the next 37 days adrift, first in the ship’s inflatable raft and later, after the raft gave out, in its tiny dinghy. They braved storms, sharks, and the perpetual lack of food and fresh water before they were rescued by a passing ship. First published in 1973, Robertson’s gripping, day-by-day account of their ingenious survival tactics is a classic of the castaway-narrative genre.

By Dougal Robertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Survive the Savage Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June 1972, the 43-foor schooner Lucette was attacked by killer whales and sank in 60 seconds. What happened next is almost incredible. In an inflatable rubber raft, with a 9 foot fiberglass dinghy to tow it, Dougal Robertson and his family were miles from any shipping lanes. They had emergency rations for only three days and no maps, compass, or instruments of any kind. After their raft sank under them, they crammed themselves into their tiny dinghy.

For 37 days-using every technique of survival-they battled against 20-foot waves, marauding sharks, thirst, starvation, and exhaustion, adrift in the vast reaches…


Book cover of The Wooden Horse: The Classic World War II Story of Escape

Peter Grose Author Of A Good Place to Hide: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II

From my list on World War 2 from several different perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve now written three histories of World War 2. A Very Rude Awakening tells the story of the Japanese midget submarine raid into Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May 1942. An Awkward Truth deals with the Japanese air raid on the town of Darwin in northern Australia on 19 February 1942. (The raid was carried out by the same force that hit Pearl Harbor ten weeks earlier.) These two books have both been filmed. My third book, A Good Place To Hide, is my pairing for this page. Last but not least, if you want a signed copy of my books, then do my friend Gary Jackson and me a favour by going here and clicking on the link "Buy Books and DVDs."

Peter's book list on World War 2 from several different perspectives

Peter Grose Why did Peter love this book?

This is, quite simply, the greatest escape story of all time.

I’ve chosen this book because I’ve read it so often, at least five times, mostly when I was a teenager. It is brilliant storytelling, and it may just be the book that most got me hooked on World War 2 history.

It tells the story of a tunnel dug from under a vaulting horse in the middle of an exercise yard in a German POW camp. The original plan was for a mass escape of prisoners through the tunnel, but in the end, only three prisoners made it back to England and freedom. All brilliantly told.

By Eric Williams,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Wooden Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eric Williams, Royal Air Force bomber captain, was shot down over Germany in 1942 and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, the infamous German POW camp. Digging an underground tunnel hidden beneath a wooden vaulting horse, he managed to escape after ten months and, accompanied by a fellow officer, made his way back to England. In this thinly fictionalized retelling, Williams relates his story in three distinct phases: the construction of a tunnel (its entrance camouflaged by the wooden vaulting horse in the exercise yard) and hiding the large quantities of sand he dug; the escape; and the journey on foot…


Book cover of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Alex Tapscott Author Of Web3: Charting the Internet's Next Economic and Cultural Frontier

From my list on technological innovation and what drives it.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was while on the job as an investment banker that I first heard about this new thing called Bitcoin, before the word "web3" entered the vernacular. Initially I was skeptical but curious. But I became convinced the underlying technology of blockchains was ushering in nothing short of a new internet. My father Don Tapscott and I agreed to collaborate on a major research initiative that became the international best-seller, Blockchain Revolution. Since then, I have traveled to 40 countries and seen first-hand how blockchain and now Web3 is changing the world, setting the stage for a new digital age. My new book charts a course for this coming transformation.

Alex's book list on technological innovation and what drives it

Alex Tapscott Why did Alex love this book?

Savvy entrepreneurs and executives have always been able to spot what’s just over the horizon. T.J. Stiles’ book charts the epic and sometimes unimaginable life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who helped to shape our modern world through a combination of sheer will and vision.

He built his fortune on steamships but divested of those assets when he saw that the railways he had built were opening up America’s bountiful frontier. He traded legacy technology for something better. In business, as in politics and life, history does not repeat, but it often rhymes.

By T.J. Stiles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First Tycoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

In this groundbreaking biography, T.J. Stiles tells the dramatic story of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, the combative man and American icon who, through his genius and force of will, did more than perhaps any other individual to create modern capitalism. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, The First Tycoon describes an improbable life, from Vanderbilt’s humble birth during the presidency of George Washington to his death as one of the richest men in American history. In between we see how the Commodore helped to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan,…


Book cover of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Maryanne O'Brien Author Of The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

From my list on communication and building trusted relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a work in progress, on my way to becoming a conscious communicator and an even better human being. I believe that intentional communication and (the) quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, careers, and societies. I’ve spent decades guiding people and cultures to foster open communication, cultivate self-understanding, and deepen trust, from large Fortune 500 to small businesses. Building communication skills is a practice that leads to self-transformation and finding meaning, and happiness. Each of these books will help you to better understand yourself and others, and learn to communicate at the level of trust.

Maryanne's book list on communication and building trusted relationships

Maryanne O'Brien Why did Maryanne love this book?

If you’ve been avoiding having a difficult conversation, this book is for you.

It provides a step-by-step guide for preparing to have difficult conversations and navigating the waters once you’re in them, both personally and professionally. You’ll learn to see your own defensive barriers to communicating well (defensiveness to silence) and how to apply strategies for overcoming these obstacles and creating a safe and productive environment.

It’s a valuable resource you’ll come back to again and again, because people are complex, and communication is the bridge to building trust. 

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan , Al Switzler

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Crucial Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate

"[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time."
-from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations."
-Mark Victor Hansen, cocreator of the #1…


Book cover of The Pragmatic Programmer: Your Journey to Mastery

Chris Zimmerman Author Of The Rules of Programming: How to Write Better Code

From my list on programming for people who want to be good at it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent most of my life writing code—and too much of that life teaching new programmers how to write code like a professional. If it’s true that you only truly understand something after teaching it to someone else, then at this point I must really understand programming! Unfortunately, that understanding has not led to an endless stream of bug-free code, but it has led to some informed opinions on programming and books about programming.

Chris' book list on programming for people who want to be good at it

Chris Zimmerman Why did Chris love this book?

This book’s title is absolutely perfect! There’s no agenda here other than identifying things that will make you a more effective and productive programmer.

That leads to a book packed with solid advice, whether it’s about how to write code or how to think about your career. The authors are consultants, so there are plenty of clear and interesting examples drawn from many different problem domains. That’s super fun for someone like me who’s hyper-focused on a single kind of programming.

By David Thomas, Andrew Hunt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Pragmatic Programmer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the most significant books in my life." -Obie Fernandez, Author, The Rails Way

"Twenty years ago, the first edition of The Pragmatic Programmer completely changed the trajectory of my career. This new edition could do the same for yours." -Mike Cohn, Author of Succeeding with Agile , Agile Estimating and Planning , and User Stories Applied

". . . filled with practical advice, both technical and professional, that will serve you and your projects well for years to come." -Andrea Goulet, CEO, Corgibytes, Founder, LegacyCode.Rocks

". . . lightning does strike twice, and this book is proof." -VM…


Book cover of Software Engineering at Google: Lessons Learned from Programming Over Time

Chris Zimmerman Author Of The Rules of Programming: How to Write Better Code

From my list on programming for people who want to be good at it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent most of my life writing code—and too much of that life teaching new programmers how to write code like a professional. If it’s true that you only truly understand something after teaching it to someone else, then at this point I must really understand programming! Unfortunately, that understanding has not led to an endless stream of bug-free code, but it has led to some informed opinions on programming and books about programming.

Chris' book list on programming for people who want to be good at it

Chris Zimmerman Why did Chris love this book?

A thoroughly fascinating (and fascinatingly thorough) look at engineering practices at Google.

It’s an encyclopedia written by a bunch of authors, so some of the chapters are a little dry, but for those of us who aren’t on teams with 25,000 engineers it’s spell-binding to see what programming at that sort of scale looks like. Some of the chapters prompted us to think really hard about the way we do things at Sucker Punch.

By Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck, Hyrum Wright

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Software Engineering at Google as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today, software engineers need to know not only how to program effectively but also how to develop proper engineering practices to make their codebase sustainable and healthy. This book emphasizes this difference between programming and software engineering.

How can software engineers manage a living codebase that evolves and responds to changing requirements and demands over the length of its life? Based on their experience at Google, software engineers Titus Winters and Hyrum Wright, along with technical writer Tom Manshreck, present a candid and insightful look at how some of the world's leading practitioners construct and maintain software. This book covers…


Book cover of The Innovators

Alex Tapscott Author Of Web3: Charting the Internet's Next Economic and Cultural Frontier

From my list on technological innovation and what drives it.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was while on the job as an investment banker that I first heard about this new thing called Bitcoin, before the word "web3" entered the vernacular. Initially I was skeptical but curious. But I became convinced the underlying technology of blockchains was ushering in nothing short of a new internet. My father Don Tapscott and I agreed to collaborate on a major research initiative that became the international best-seller, Blockchain Revolution. Since then, I have traveled to 40 countries and seen first-hand how blockchain and now Web3 is changing the world, setting the stage for a new digital age. My new book charts a course for this coming transformation.

Alex's book list on technological innovation and what drives it

Alex Tapscott Why did Alex love this book?

In The Innovators, Walter Isaacson reminds us that “innovation occurs when ripe seeds fall on fertile ground.” Like the earth beneath our feet, we stand on stratum upon stratum of technological innovation, each with unique markers of its age.

Sometimes, the right idea, person, or group of people arrives at the right time to sow the seeds of something new. Isaacson explores how this phenomenon, teaching us how the collaboration of many individuals working across time and space helped usher in the first digital age in a highly readable survey of the main players and events.

As we stand on the brink of a second digital age, we would do well to search our history for lessons before stepping into the future.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Innovators as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovatorsis Walter Isaacson's story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and a guide to how innovation really works.

What talents allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their disruptive ideas into realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

In his exciting saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He then explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution,…


Book cover of Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

Rick Umali Author Of Learn GIT in a Month of Lunches

From my list on working in the computer industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

My curiosity and enthusiasm for computers and what they can do has not faded since I first encountered them in grade school (with the Commodore VIC-20). At this stage in my life, I’m thrilled that I can still get paid to play with them and make them do things. The computer industry is both my daily grind and my playground. You can come at this field casually, or intensely, but as long as you can interact with the computer, the computer will welcome you. The five books in this list paint the possibilities of work in this challenging but rewarding industry: failure, success, immortality, and everything in between. Enjoy!

Rick's book list on working in the computer industry

Rick Umali Why did Rick love this book?

Most of my work experiences have been with startups, but that statement is a bit misleading. To be more accurate, I worked at early-stage companies, since the smallest company I worked for was already 35 people. Chaos Monkeys conveys both the excitement and drudgery of founding a real start-up (Antonio starts with two other co-founders).

Antonio’s book takes us from his cushy job on Wall Street to making the leap to running his own venture. Antonio’s flavorful style is the perfect voice as he takes you into those meetings at which money is exchanged, contracts are signed, and options are handed out. His company’s exit and his summation of what was gained and lost are the bread and butter conversations of anyone who’s ever worked in a high-tech startup. This is an illuminating and insightful book.

By Antonio Garcia Martinez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chaos Monkeys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

An adrenaline-fuelled expose of life inside the tech bubble, Chaos Monkeys lays bare the secrets, power plays and lifestyle excesses of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists and money cowboys who are revolutionising our world. Written by startup CEO and industry provocateur Antonio Garcia Martinez, this is Liar's Poker meets The Social Network.

Computer engineers use 'chaos monkey' software to wreak havoc and test system robustness. Similarly, tech entrepreneurs like Antonio Garcia Martinez are society's chaos monkeys - their innovations disrupt every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and holidays (Airbnb) to television (Netflix) and dating…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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