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25 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time According To Brian Armstrong, Co-Founder Of Coinbase

Reading is an essential habit for personal and professional growth.

Many successful individuals credit their achievements to the knowledge they've gained from books.

Brian Armstrong, the co-founder of Coinbase, is no exception.

Over the years, he has compiled a list of the 25 recommended nonfiction books that have had a significant impact on his life and career.

These books span a wide range of topics, from science and leadership to personal development and marketing.

Let's take a closer look at Brian Armstrong's top 25 nonfiction book recommendations.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins is a groundbreaking exploration of atheism and the scientific perspective on religion. Dawkins, a prominent evolutionary biologist, argues that belief in God is a product of cultural evolution. He delves into the science of religion, dissecting the concept of God and challenging conventional beliefs. This thought-provoking book invites readers to critically examine their faith and consider the role of religion in our world.

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

In "Lying," neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris takes a deep dive into the ethics of deception. Harris makes a compelling case for radical honesty and explores the consequences of dishonesty in various aspects of life. This concise yet powerful book encourages readers to reflect on the role of lies in their relationships, decision-making, and personal integrity.

“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship.”― Sam Harris, Lying

Buy Lying by Sam Harris On Amazon

Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" is a seminal work that introduces the concept of gene-centered evolution. Dawkins argues that genes are the driving force behind biological evolution, shaping the behavior and traits of organisms. Through compelling examples and vivid explanations, he explores how the self-replicating nature of genes influences the survival and reproduction of species. This book provides a profound understanding of the mechanisms that govern life on Earth.

“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.”― Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

"The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough is an inspiring biography that chronicles the remarkable journey of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of aviation. McCullough paints a vivid portrait of the Wright brothers' determination and innovation as they pursued their dream of powered flight. This book transports readers to the early 20th century, capturing the challenges, triumphs, and historic significance of their achievements at Kitty Hawk.

“If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio. WILBUR WRIGHT”― David McCullough, The Wright Brothers

"High Output Management" by Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel, is a definitive guide to effective leadership and organizational management. Grove shares his wealth of knowledge and experience in this book, offering insights into optimizing productivity, decision-making, and team dynamics. Whether you're a seasoned executive or a budding leader, this book provides invaluable lessons for improving management practices and achieving high performance.

“Remember too that your time is your one finite resource, and when you say “yes” to one thing you are inevitably saying “no” to another.”― Andrew S. Grove, High Output Management

"The Sovereign Individual" is a forward-thinking book by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg. It explores the profound impact of technology on society, governance, and individual empowerment. The authors predict a future where individuals can thrive in an increasingly digital world, challenging traditional notions of governance and finance. This thought-provoking book encourages readers to adapt to the evolving landscape of the Information Age.

“In the Information Society, no one who is truly able will be detained by the ill-formed opinions of others. It will not matter what most of the people on earth might think of your race, your looks, your age, your sexual proclivities, or the way you wear your hair. In the cybereconomy, they will never see you. The ugly, the fat, the old, the disabled will vie with the young and beautiful on equal terms in utterly color-blind anonymity on the new frontiers of cyberspace.”― James Dale Davidson, The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age

"The Outsiders" by William Thorndike profiles exceptional CEOs who defied conventional wisdom and excelled at capital allocation. Thorndike explores the principles and strategies that distinguish these extraordinary executives. This book provides valuable insights into corporate management and investment practices, offering lessons that can benefit business leaders and investors alike.

“There is a fundamental humility to decentralization, an admission that headquarters does not have all the answers and that much of the real value is created by local managers in the field.”― William N. Thorndike, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

"Turn the Ship Around!" by L. David Marquet offers a fresh perspective on leadership and empowerment. Drawing from his experiences as a U.S. Navy Captain, Marquet introduces a leadership philosophy that empowers individuals at all levels of an organization. This book demonstrates how a shift in leadership style can transform organizations and improve decision-making, making it a valuable resource for leaders seeking to create a culture of excellence.

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”― L. David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" is a collection of entertaining anecdotes from the life of physicist Richard Feynman. This book provides a delightful glimpse into the mind of a brilliant scientist and a maverick thinker. Feynman's playful and curious nature shines through his stories, making this book not only informative but also immensely enjoyable.

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.”― Richard P. Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

"Good To Great" by Jim Collins is a comprehensive study of what separates exceptional companies from their peers. Collins and his research team identify companies that made the leap from good to great and analyze the common characteristics and strategies that led to their success. This book offers valuable insights into leadership, strategy, and organizational transformation.

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”― Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

"Becoming Steve Jobs" by Brent Schlender provides a nuanced and personal perspective on the life and career of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. The book delves into Jobs' growth as a visionary leader and his transformation from a young entrepreneur to a technology icon. Schlender's unique insights and interviews with those who knew Jobs intimately offer a more complete picture of this legendary figure.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”― Brent Schlender, Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

In "Loonshots," Safi Bahcall explores the concept of nurturing "loonshots" — radical ideas that have the potential to bring about transformative breakthroughs. Bahcall draws from examples in history and science to illustrate how organizations can create an environment that fosters innovation and supports groundbreaking ideas. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in innovation and organizational change.

“People may think of Endo and Folkman as great inventors, but arguably their greatest skill was investigating failure. They learned to separate False Fails from true fails.”― Safi Bahcall, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

"Made to Stick" by Chip Heath delves into the art of crafting messages that are memorable and impactful. The book introduces the principles of successful communication, exploring why some ideas "stick" in the minds of people while others fade into obscurity. Heath provides practical strategies and real-world examples to help readers make their messages more compelling and effective.

“The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern.”― Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

"When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" by Manuel J. Smith is a guide to assertiveness training and effective communication. The book empowers readers to express their needs, set boundaries, and handle interpersonal conflicts confidently. It offers practical techniques and scripts to navigate difficult conversations with assertiveness and respect.

“You are being manipulated when someone reduces, by any means, your ability to be your own judge of what you do.”― Manuel J. Smith, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty: How to Cope, Using the Skills of Systematic Assertive Therapy

On Amazon

"The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership" by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp explores a transformative approach to leadership. The book focuses on fostering self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and conscious decision-making. Leaders are encouraged to embrace these commitments to create more authentic and effective leadership styles.

“At any particular time, leaders are operating from either fear or love.”― Jim Dethmer, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success

"Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug is a user-friendly guide to web usability and user experience design. Krug emphasizes the importance of creating intuitive and user-centric websites that allow visitors to navigate effortlessly. This book is an essential read for web designers, developers, and anyone involved in creating digital interfaces.

“It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.”― Steve Krug, Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

"The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" is another delightful collection of essays and anecdotes by physicist Richard P. Feynman. In this book, Feynman shares his passion for scientific exploration, curiosity, and the joy of understanding the world. His engaging storytelling style makes complex scientific concepts accessible and enjoyable for readers of all backgrounds.

“I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong.”― Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

"The Dip" by Seth Godin explores the concept of perseverance and strategic quitting. Godin argues that success often requires navigating through "the dip," a challenging period of effort and uncertainty. He provides valuable guidance on when to push through and when to quit, helping readers make informed decisions about their goals and pursuits.

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”― Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

Buy The Dip by Seth Godin On Amazon

"The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive" by Patrick Lencioni offers valuable insights into building effective leadership teams. Lencioni presents a leadership fable that highlights the four essential obsessions of successful executives: building a cohesive team, creating organizational clarity, over-communicating the company's message, and reinforcing clarity through human systems. This book provides actionable strategies for leaders seeking to enhance their organizations.

“fundamental values are not chosen from thin air based on the desires of executives; they are discovered within what already exists in an organization.”― Patrick Lencioni, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable

"The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout offers a comprehensive guide to effective marketing principles. The book outlines key laws that govern successful marketing strategies, emphasizing the importance of positioning, differentiation, and consistency. Whether you're a marketer or an entrepreneur, this book provides valuable insights into building a strong brand and marketing strategy.

“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”― Al Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

"The Female Brain" by Louann Brizendine delves into the neurological and hormonal differences between the male and female brains. Brizendine explores how these differences influence behavior, emotions, and communication patterns. This insightful book provides valuable perspectives on understanding and appreciating the complexities of the female brain.

“During times of physical separation, when touching and caressing is impossible, a deep, longing, almost a hunger, for the beloved can set in. We are used to thinking of this longing as only psychological, but it's actually physical. The brain is virtually in a drug-withdrawal state.”― Louann Brizendine, The Female Brain

"Eisenhower in War and Peace" by Jean Edward Smith is a comprehensive biography of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, covering his military leadership during World War II and his later role as the 34th President of the United States. Smith provides a detailed and balanced account of Eisenhower's life, shedding light on his leadership style, decision-making, and contributions to history.

“Jealousy knows no logic, nor does it respect reciprocity.”― Jean Edward Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace

"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil explores the concept of technological singularity, a hypothetical point in the future where technological progress accelerates exponentially. Kurzweil delves into the potential implications of advanced artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. He offers insights into how these technologies may reshape human society, consciousness, and the very definition of humanity.

“Play is just another version of work”― Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

"Sperm Wars" by Robin Baker explores human sexuality and evolutionary biology, focusing on the concept of "sperm competition." This book sheds light on the biological dynamics at play during reproduction and their implications for human behavior and relationships. It provides a captivating perspective on the evolutionary forces that shape human mating strategies and reproductive behaviors, making it a must-read for those interested in biology, psychology, and human nature.

“Surveys of many cultures around the world consistently show that, in looking for a long-term partner, women prefer men who have, or have the potential of, wealth, status, stability and durability.”― Robin Baker, Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles

"The New One Minute Manager," co-authored by Ken Blanchard, offers effective management principles for today's fast-paced world. It emphasizes simplicity and efficiency in leadership, presenting a concise and actionable approach to managing people and tasks. This updated edition builds on the timeless wisdom of the original "One Minute Manager" and adapts it to the demands of contemporary workplaces.

“Everyone Is A Potential Winner. Some People Are Disguised As Losers. Don’t Let Their Appearances Fool You.”― Kenneth H. Blanchard, The New One Minute Manager


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out more similar list on my on my blog —

These 25 nonfiction books, recommended by Brian Armstrong, cover a diverse range of topics, from leadership and personal development to science and innovation.

Whether you're seeking inspiration, knowledge, or practical advice, there's something on this list for everyone.

So, why not pick up one of these books and embark on a journey of learning and personal growth?


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