top of page
  • Writer's pictureNovel Nest

25 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time According to Marc Andreessen

Success often finds its roots in the pages of books.

For tech luminary Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, nonfiction literature has been a guiding force on his path to success.

In this post, we'll explore the books that have influenced his journey and continue to inspire those pursuing personal and professional growth.

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

In this brutally honest and insightful book, Ben Horowitz, a seasoned entrepreneur and venture capitalist, shares his experiences navigating the treacherous waters of the tech industry. He offers practical advice and unconventional wisdom for handling the toughest challenges that arise when building and leading a startup. Horowitz's candid storytelling makes this book an invaluable guide for entrepreneurs facing adversity.

“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”― Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Andrew Grove, the former CEO of Intel and a pioneer in the tech world, lays out a comprehensive framework for effective management in "High Output Management." He breaks down complex management concepts into practical techniques and strategies, offering readers a blueprint for optimizing productivity, decision-making, and leadership within organizations.

“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

"Poor Charlie's Almanack" is a treasure trove of wisdom from the legendary investor and Warren Buffett's right-hand man, Charlie Munger. This substantial book compiles Munger's speeches, essays, and thoughts on a wide range of topics, including investing, economics, psychology, and life philosophy. It's an intellectual feast for those seeking to expand their knowledge and decision-making prowess.

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads--and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”― Charles T. Munger, Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman takes readers on a profound journey into the human mind in "Thinking, Fast and Slow." He explores the two cognitive systems that shape our decisions: the intuitive and emotional "fast" thinking and the deliberate and analytical "slow" thinking. Kahneman's groundbreaking research sheds light on the biases and heuristics that influence our choices, making this a must-read for anyone interested in human behavior.

“We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events.”― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

Nassim Taleb, the provocative author of "The Black Swan," challenges conventional wisdom in "Skin In The Game." He argues that individuals who make decisions should bear the consequences of those decisions, introducing the concept of "skin in the game." Taleb explores how this principle applies to various domains, from politics and finance to ethics and decision-making, offering a thought-provoking perspective on accountability.

“The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding, or better at explaining than doing.”― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

Drawing from his experiences as the former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove provides a gripping account of how companies must adapt or face extinction in "Only the Paranoid Survive." He introduces the concept of "strategic inflection points" and shares strategies for recognizing and navigating these critical moments of change. Grove's insights into business transformation and leadership are essential for any aspiring entrepreneur or business leader.

“Businesses fail either because they leave their customers or because their customer leave them !”― Andrew S. Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive. Lessons from the CEO of INTEL Corporation

Matt Ridley challenges pessimistic narratives about human progress in "The Rational Optimist." He argues that innovation, trade, and exchange have fueled humanity's development and led to higher living standards over time. Ridley's book offers a refreshing and data-driven perspective on the potential for human flourishing in an interconnected world.

“Random violence makes the news precisely because it is so rare, routine kindness does not make the news precisely because it is so commonplace. ”― Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

In "Thinking In Bets," former professional poker player Annie Duke explores the intersection of decision-making, risk, and uncertainty. She encourages readers to embrace probabilistic thinking and consider the potential outcomes of their choices. Duke's insights on managing uncertainty are applicable not only in poker but also in business, investing, and everyday life.

“What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of “I’m not sure.”― Annie Duke, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

"Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, former Navy SEALs, offers a compelling framework for leadership. The book emphasizes the concept of extreme ownership, where leaders take full responsibility for their actions and the outcomes of their teams. Through gripping battlefield stories and practical leadership principles, Willink and Babin provide valuable lessons for effective leadership in any setting.

“Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”― Jocko Willink, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

"Becoming Steve Jobs" is an intimate and multifaceted portrait of the iconic co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. Through extensive interviews with Jobs himself, as well as those who knew him well, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli provide a deep understanding of Jobs' evolution as a visionary leader and his enduring impact on technology and design.

“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

David Goggins' memoir, "Can't Hurt Me," is a gripping account of his journey from a troubled and overweight individual to a Navy SEAL and ultra-endurance athlete. Goggins' story is one of relentless self-improvement, mental toughness, and pushing the limits of human potential. This book serves as both a source of inspiration and a practical guide for conquering adversity.

“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.”― David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Robert Sapolsky's "Behave" delves deep into the complex interplay of biology, neuroscience, and behavior. He explores the biological factors that influence our actions, ranging from altruism and empathy to aggression and unethical behavior. Sapolsky's multidisciplinary approach provides a comprehensive understanding of the human psyche.

“The brain is heavily influenced by genes. But from birth through young adulthood, the part of the human brain that most defines us (frontal cortex) is less a product of the genes with which you started life than of what life has thrown at you.”― Robert M. Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Andreas Antonopoulos, a leading expert in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, introduces readers to the fundamental concepts of Bitcoin and decentralized finance in "The Internet of Money Volume 1." Through a series of engaging essays, Antonopoulos demystifies these groundbreaking technologies and their potential to reshape the financial landscape.

“As the adage of the entire internet once went, “I just replaced your entire industry with 100 lines of Python code,” that’s exactly what we’re doing with bitcoin.”― Andreas M. Antonopoulos, The Internet of Money

Stewart Brand challenges conventional environmentalist thinking in "Whole Earth Discipline." He argues that embracing science-based solutions, including nuclear power and genetic engineering, is essential for addressing pressing environmental challenges. Brand's book encourages readers to reevaluate their views on sustainability and innovation.

“We’re engaging in a set of activities which go way beyond the individual life span, way beyond children, grandchildren, way beyond parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, to the whole frame of at least civilizational life.”― Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary

"Secrets of Sand Hill Road" is a comprehensive guide to venture capital and startup financing. Scott Kupor, a veteran venture capitalist, demystifies the world of venture capital, offering entrepreneurs and investors valuable insights into the intricacies of fundraising, term sheets, and building successful startups.

William B. Irvine introduces readers to the ancient philosophy of Stoicism in "A Guide To The Good Life." Drawing from the teachings of Stoic philosophers like Epictetus and Seneca, Irvine provides practical strategies for achieving tranquility, resilience, and a meaningful life, even in the face of adversity.

“pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.”― William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

"The Courage To Be Disliked" is a philosophical dialogue between a philosopher and a student, exploring the teachings of Alfred Adler. The book challenges conventional notions of happiness and interpersonal relationships, emphasizing the importance of personal growth, self-acceptance, and living in the present moment.

“The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.”― Ichiro Kishimi, The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness

Jordan B. Peterson presents twelve profound and practical rules for living a meaningful life in "12 Rules For Life." Drawing from psychology, philosophy, mythology, and his own clinical experience, Peterson offers guidance on personal responsibility, self-improvement, and the pursuit of purpose in an ever-changing world.

“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Philip E. Tetlock's "Expert Political Judgement" scrutinizes the accuracy of expert predictions in politics and other domains. Through extensive research, Tetlock categorizes experts into "foxes" and "hedgehogs" and examines why some excel in forecasting while others consistently fall short. The book sheds light on the art and science of prediction.

“Ignoring the vices of our friends and the virtues of our enemies sets us up for nasty surprises.”― Philip E. Tetlock, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?

In "Conspiracy," Ryan Holiday unravels the riveting story of the legal battle between Gawker Media and the wrestler Hulk Hogan, funded by the billionaire Peter Thiel. The book explores themes of media ethics, privacy, power, and the intersection of technology and justice, providing a thought-provoking look at modern-day controversies.

“You rush in to stamp out the sparks and end up fanning them into flames. This is the risk.”― Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue

"Lone Survivor" is Marcus Luttrell's harrowing and gripping account of a Navy SEAL mission gone tragically wrong in the mountains of Afghanistan. The book offers a harrowing look at the brutal realities of combat, the bonds of brotherhood among soldiers, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“I will never quit. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”― Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Neal Gabler's biography of Walt Disney is a meticulously researched and comprehensive exploration of the life and legacy of the iconic entertainment pioneer. The book delves into Disney's remarkable journey from a humble Midwestern upbringing to becoming a global cultural phenomenon and visionary.

“He had passed beyond the afflictions of this world. Walt Disney had at last attained perfection.”― Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

"Without Their Permission" is a personal and inspiring account by Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, of his journey as an entrepreneur and advocate for the open internet. Ohanian explores the power of the internet to empower individuals, foster innovation, and effect positive change, making it a must-read for those interested in technology and entrepreneurship.

“The ruthless, fickle, and particular users of the World Wide Web have created the most competitive marketplace of ideas the world has ever seen; you either make something people want or people move on.”― Alexis Ohanian, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed

"Zero to One" by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel challenges conventional thinking about startups and innovation. Thiel argues that true innovation involves creating monopolies rather than competing in crowded markets. Through provocative insights, he offers a fresh and contrarian perspective on entrepreneurship and building successful companies.

“The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.”― Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Eric Ries introduces readers to the principles of the lean startup methodology in "The Lean Startup." He emphasizes the importance of iterative development, validated learning, and customer feedback in building successful businesses. Ries' book has become a seminal guide for entrepreneurs seeking to navigate the uncertainties of the startup world.

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”― Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: The Million Copy Bestseller Driving Entrepreneurs to Success


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

Marc Andreessen's list of the 25 best nonfiction books covers a wide range of topics, offering valuable insights and practical guidance for personal and professional growth.

Whether you're interested in entrepreneurship, leadership, psychology, philosophy, or technology, these books provide a wealth of knowledge to enrich your life.


bottom of page