Super smart famous people are a great source of book recommendations -- many of them are avid readers, after all, and following in their intellectual footprints has to be beneficial. The only problem? You can't just tap them on the shoulder and ask them for their favorite reads.
Many business leaders have done fellow readers a favor and shared 'must read' lists on their blogs or at public events. But others take a less centralized route, occasionally tweeting out a suggestion or comment on a current read. Previously, this only helped you if you obsessively followed a person's feed or happened to be checking updates when they mentioned their latest recommendation.
But now there's a centralized way to check out what books famous folks are sharing on Twitter. The tool, developed by a pair of Indian developers (and discovered by me via Quartz) gathers together the picks of some of the biggest names in startups and entrepreneurship all in one place. Here, for instance, are just a few of the impressive 85 books mentioned by Netscape co-founder turned top VC Marc Andreessen:
1. Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality by Neal Gabler
Andreessen calls this one a "favorite book." The New York Times Book Review called it " thoughtful, in places chilling, account of the way entertainment values have hollowed out American life."
2. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
"Very good book," Andreessen says of this one. For 10 years, Perkins worked "helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business," Amazon explains. This is his memoir.
3. And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina by Paul Blustein
"Another excellent book, on currency crises and bailouts," according to the VC.
4. American Hippopotamus by Jon Mooallem
5. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
"You read it and think, those fools, then oops, that's us today with pot," notes Andreessen of this pick.
6. Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East by Christopher M. Schroeder
7. Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism by Eric Burns
"Outstanding book on this topic (media thriving on manufactured outrage) in colonial America," tweeted Andreessen about this pick. Sound familiar at all?
8. How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business by Dave Hitz
This one covers "how to survive a market crash. how netflix, google survived..." according to Andreessen.
9. Me and Ted Against the World: The Unauthorized Story of the Founding of CNN by Reese Schonfeld
"That was the original business plan for CNN (a TV station which just presented a bunch of viewpoints + getting cameras into good places)," tweeted Andreessen of this book.
10. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Why Nassim Taleb's book 'Antifragile' resonates so much with VCs; that's what we do," Andreessen noted, explaining this pick.
11. The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson, Sr. and the Making of IBM by Kevin Maney
A surprising claim from Andreessen about this book's subject: "transcripts of IBM exec staff meetings are spellbinding."
12. The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz
"Outstanding book on how we misremember the past," tweeted Andreessen.
13. Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha
"Remarkable book on the current political situation in Russia:--sparked controversy pre-pub."
14. The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey
15. The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies by Josef Joffe
"Related to this excellent post http://csen.tumblr.com/post/92162504654/why-the-21st-century-may-be-more-of-an-american ... is this equally excellent book," tweeted the VC.