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The essential Marc Andreessen summer reading list

Tech venture capitalist Marc Andreessen during a discussion called The Now and Future of Mobile at the Fortune Global Forum Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
The reader.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s a well-known fact that Marc Andreeseen grew up in a small town where access to information was limited. The Netscape founder famously learned to program from a library book, and he’s still quite the prolific reader of books, if his Twitter feed is any indication.

Over the last two years, Andreessen aka @pmarca—who with Ben Horowitz founded the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz—has tweeted more than 80 book recommendations, according to, a “people-first review engine” created by a pair of developers in India.

So what is Andreessen reading? Mostly nonfiction, especially related to Silicon Valley, venture capital, politics, and the economy. There are a few surprises though, including a title about hippos (really). Here’s the full reading list:

Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality by Neal Gabler
What @pmarca says about it: “A favorite book”

Oh Yeah? by Edward Angly
What @pmarca says about it: “Long out of print: One of my favorite books, ‘Oh Yeah?’ from 1931, experts speak heading into the Great Depression.”

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
What @pmarca says about it
: “Yes, very good book.”

And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina by Paul Blustein
What @pmarca says about it
: ”Another excellent book, on currency crises and bailouts”

American Hippopotamus by Jon Mooallem
What @pmarca says about it
: ”Amazing story/book by @jmooallem on American hippopotamus industry that never was.”

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
What @pmarca says about it
: “you read it and think, those fools, then oops, that’s us today with pot.”

Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East by Christopher M. Schroeder
What @pmarca says about it
: “Chris’s book is excellent if you haven’t read it”

Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism by Eric Burns
What @pmarca says about it
: “Outstanding book on this topic(media thriving on manufactured outrage) in colonial America”

Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation, 2nd Edition by Andrew Metrick
What @pmarca says about it
: ”Grad school made me partial to texts.”

How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business by Dave Hitz
What @pmarca says about it
: “Yep, great book! (context – how to survive a market crash. how netflix, google survived…)”

Me and Ted Against the World : The Unauthorized Story of the Founding of CNN by Reese Schonfeld
What @pmarca says about it: “That was the original business plan for CNN(a TV station which just presented a bunch of viewpoints + getting cameras into good places).”

Cybernation: The Silent Conquest: A Report to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions by Donald N. Michael
What @pmarca says about it: “Thank you @patrickc for introducing me to this marvelous book”

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
What @pmarca says about it: “Yep. Why Nassim Taleb’s book “Antifragility” resonates so much with VCs; that’s what we do.”

The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson, Sr. and the Making of IBM by Kevin Maney
What @pmarca says about it: “Kevin Maney talks about this in his book:– transcripts of IBM exec staff meetings are spellbinding.”

The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz
What @pmarca says about it: ”Outstanding book on how we misremember the past”

Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha
What @pmarca says about it: ”Remarkable book on the current political situation in Russia: — sparked controversy pre-pub”

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David F. Swensen
What @pmarca says about it: “Swensen is great. 2 books. One tells pros how to invest. The other [this title], for individuals, says ‘Don’t do any of that, you can’t win’ … Both are completely honest and correct. His advice for individual investors is largely identical to Bogle, and Buffett”

Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment, Fully Revised and Updated by David F. Swensen
What @pmarca says about it: “VC is sub-S&P500 return w/ far higher risk overall, but top 5-10 firms do extremely well over full cycles. … David Swensen, probably the leading venture LP of his generation, talks about this in his book”

Keynes and the Market: How the World’s Greatest Economist Overturned Conventional Wisdom and Made a Fortune on the Stock Market by Justyn Walsh
What @pmarca says about it: “Fascinating – what the managers of endowment funds can learn from Keynes doing the same job”

Marketing High Technology by William H. Davidow
What @pmarca says about it: “Underappreciated classic.”

The Ultimate Resource 2 by Julian Lincoln Simon
What @pmarca says about it: “People and studies I referenced onstage at #WSJDLive today… Economist Julian Simon and his book ‘Ultimate Resource II'”

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
What @pmarca says about it: ”There is also a third kind, discontinuous innovation. Read the Christensen book :-).”

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
What @pmarca says about it: “This book by @mikejcasey and @paulvigna is a new must-read on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency!”

The Other Path: The Economic Answer to Terrorism by Hernando De Soto
What @pmarca says about it: “A legendary book on that topic from another time and place” (His tweet is a response to the following question: “Is there a secular way to disrupt that pattern and give these young men and women jobs and purpose so they have no time for radicalization?”)

The Myth of America’s Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies by Josef Joffe
What @pmarca says about it: “Related to this excellent post … is this equally excellent book”

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
What @pmarca says about it: ”The classic tech business book ‘Crossing the Chasm’ goes through this in some detail.” (This is a response to a person’s question about what “vertical” means.)

Up Your Game: 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top by David Bradford
What @pmarca says about it: “New book from my friend David Bradford — great gift for any recent or upcoming college grads :-).”

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey
What @pmarca says about it: ”Yes! An outstanding book.”

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee
What @pmarca says about it: ) “One of the most interesting topics in modern times is the ‘robots eat all the jobs’ thesis; best book on topic”

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld
What @pmarca says about it: “Third aspect of valuation of tech companies often misunderstood–this time private valuations set by VCs and other private investors”

Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
What @pmarca says about it: “Yep a very interesting book.”

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby
What @pmarca says about it: “Yes very good book”

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu
What @pmarca says about it: “Re-reading Tim Wu (@superwuster) book ‘The Master Switch’ — really outstanding history of communication tech. … Overall an outstanding book and well worth reading to understand where we came from and maybe where we are going”

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman
What @pmarca says about it: “To get deeper than that, the best book I’ve read is ‘The Half Life of Facts’. Very interesting questions.”

Millionaire: The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist Who Invented Modern Finance by Janet Gleeson
What @pmarca says about it: “Excellent book on John Law’s life is ‘Millionaire’ by Janet Gleeson”

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
What @pmarca says about it: “But @bhorowitz’s book still makes great gift for entrepreneurs & future entrepreneurs (ages 8-108) in your life :-).”

Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State by Dr William H. Janeway
What @pmarca says about it: “With reference to VCs raising money from universities. Read Bill Janeway’s book — he’s brilliant — great VC + great economist.”

Emanuel Goldberg and His Knowledge Machine: Information, Invention, and Political Forces (New Directions in Information Management) by Michael Buckland
What @pmarca says about it: “The best rule of thumb is that if something looks truly original, one just doesn’t know all the precedents.”

Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty by James H. Austin
What @pmarca says about it: “It’s the best book I’ve read on the role of luck, chance, and serendipity in medical research — or, for that matter, any creative endeavor.”

Bad for You: Exposing the War on Fun! by Kevin C. Pyle, Scott Cunningham
What @pmarca says about it: “Ah HAH! My new favorite book. Thank you @doctorow.”

Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success by Art Kleiner
What @pmarca says about it: ”In my experience, financial models get constructed to validate the CEO’s preferences more than otherwise.This is the book that really crystallized it for me”

Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery by David Warsh
What @pmarca says about it: ”How does innovation correlate to wealth of a nation?”

Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan by Alex Kerr
What @pmarca says about it: ”Systematic wiring of the microeconomy and business culture, designed as if that were the goal. An awful lot of it is in this book: Dogs and Demons”

The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House by McKay Coppins
What @pmarca says about it: “Greatly enjoying @mckaycoppins book ‘The Wilderness’–timely and informative.”

The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s by John Brooks
What @pmarca says about it: “History related to 1960 crash.”

A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth by Alexander J. Field Ph.D.
What @pmarca says about it: “this book made a huge impact on how I think about the 1930s-1950s”

Infinite Loop by Michael Malone
What @pmarca says about it: “Infinite Loop is great.”

Head First Python by Paul Barry
What @pmarca says about it: “The book that opened the world to me in ~1981”

Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox…How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean by David Gelernter
What @pmarca says about it: “Recommend reading David Gerlenter’s ‘Mirror Worlds’, on how our virtual & physical worlds improve one another”

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook
What @pmarca says about it: “I have (seriously) always wondered how they do this. Can’t wait to read this book.”

The Great Mirror of Folly: Finance, Culture, and the Crash of 1720 by William N. Goetzmann, Catherine Labio, K. Geert Rouwenhorst Ph.D., Timothy Young, Robert Shiller
What @pmarca says about it: “And this one I *really* recommend, it’s a gorgeous, amazing book about an enormous crash in 1720”

The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner
What @pmarca says about it: “And the time one man (JP Morgan) saved the US economy single-handedly”

This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen M. Reinhart
What @pmarca says about it: ”Also this is a good book on the historical perspective”

Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929 (Pivotal Moments in American History) by Maury Klein
What @pmarca says about it: “I love that book.”

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
What @pmarca says about it: “Highly recommended: Vernor Vinge’s novel ‘Rainbows End’ — will prove to be quite prescient.”

The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy (by Joel Mokyr)
What @pmarca says about it: “I highly recommend Mokyr’s books”

The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 (The New Economic History of Britain seri) by Joel Mokyr
What @pmarca says about it: “I highly recommend Mokyr’s books”

The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress by Joel Mokyr
What @pmarca says about it: “I highly recommend Mokyr’s books”

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein
What @pmarca says about it: “Three highly recommended books!”

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
What @pmarca says about it: “Three highly recommended books!”

Master Of The Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro
What @pmarca says about it: “Three highly recommended books!”

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
What @pmarca says about it: ”Read Steve Martin’s book ‘Born Standing Up’. Seriously. ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.'” (Andreessen’s advice for startups that want to pitch his firm.)

The Big Score: The Billion Dollar Story of Silicon Valley by Michael S. Malone
What @pmarca says about it: ”When I arrived in Silicon Valley in Jan 1994, I sought out all of the written material I could on startups & venture capital… Actually I later discovered that the best book of all was out of print: Michael Malone’s ‘The Big Score’.”

In All His Glory: The Life and Times of William S. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting by Sally Bedell Smith
What @pmarca says about it: “In a great market – a market with lots of real pottential customers – the market pulls product out of the startup. Another great book very much in the same vein”

The Weightless World by Diane Coyle
What @pmarca says about it: “Fantastically prescient book on the increasingly weightless economy, free from @diane1859!”

Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business by Mark Robichaux
What @pmarca says about it: “A good book about John Malone”

No: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home by Jim Camp
What @pmarca says about it: “Favorite book on negotiation. Definitely recommend! Some people are thrown by the title. But it’s really good.”

The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
What @pmarca says about it: “Trump is just the latest in a long line of demagogues selling paranoia in American politics. Highly recommend book”

The Halo Effect: . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers by Phil Rosenzweig
What @pmarca says about it: “Halo Effect is a very, very, very, very good book.”

High Output Management by Andrew S Grove
What @pmarca says about it: ”Our standard recommendation is high output management”

We Were Burning: Japanese Entrepreneurs And The Forging Of The Electronic Age by Bob Johnstone
What @pmarca says about it: “Outstanding book, highly recommended, tells stories of great Japanese entrepreneurs and innovators in 1960s-1970s”

The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer
What @pmarca says about it: “‘The True Believer’ by Eric Hoffer, 1951”

The Billionaire Who Wasn’t: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune by Conor O’Clery
What @pmarca says about it: “Secretive and one of the world’s most amazing philanthropists. This book is extraordinary and the story is unbelievable but true. Highly recommended.”

Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years by Cari Beauchamp
What @pmarca says about it: “Also highly highly recommended”

Breaking The News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy by James Fallows
What @pmarca says about it: “the book ‘Breaking The News’ by @JamesFallows is thought provoking and recommended”

Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street’s Bluff by Christine S. Richard
What @pmarca says about it: “Rereading ‘Confidence Game’. Valeant in so many ways could have been a classic Ackman short.”

Nostalgia for the Absolute by George Steiner
What @pmarca says about it: ”Religion used to be about religion. Now, in the West, religion is about politics, economics, and science/technology.”

Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment by Gregory Berns
What @pmarca says about it: “Happiness is overrated. Satisfaction is underrated. One of the most important books I’ve ever read”

Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution by Lisa Jardine
What @pmarca says about it: “Sad to hear of passing of great historian Lisa Jardine. Read in her honor ‘Ingenious Pursuits’!”

The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability by William W. Lewis
What @pmarca says about it: “The route to higher wages is higher productivity, which mainly happens through application of technology.This is quite an excellent book on the topic.”

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
What @pmarca says about it: “Steve Blank is a super-experienced Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur… a dude with serious street cred…”

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