The list author says: "Over the past 5 to 10 years, I've read some fiction and non fiction books which are coming to mind now that I am a new assistant professor setting up an experimental biophysics lab from scratch. I'm not a memorizer of books, but I can remember really good nuggets from all of these books and since they aren't all from the same genre, I figured it may be useful or fun for others to try some of them out. Particularly if you're in some field (such as science) where you are managing people and have basically no training in it at all."
"It's hard to believe that I made it all the way through physics graduate school without anyone recommending that I read this book! Rhodes does an amazing job painting a picture of the physicist or chemist in the early 1900s when the structure of the atom and nucleus were being discovered. It's quite possible that this book rescued my career."
"I was obsessed with this book for a long time. While the book is developed from an analysis of publicly traded companies (founded on a lot of very good research, not just data mining), the lessons apply very well to personal life. Particularly interesting are the concept of the "Level 5 Leader" and the "hedgehog concept.""
"This book is also about business and founded in extensive research about how the best managers manage their people. For people to succeed in their careers, they need: knowledge, skills, and talents (innate, unteachable). A great manager can recognize (a) what talents a job requires and (b) what talents employees have. The "Sunday Night Blues Test" is very interesting."
"I tend to read fiction (and even non fiction) just for sort of entertainment "in the moment" and really don't retain a lot consciously. A really gripping story, but then it also is very relevant to the pressures one man faces to use unethical behavior so he can break out of ordinariness. Very relevant to today's world of scientific research."
"I think this is a classic book on management, but somehow I've never met anyone else who has read it! Well scientists are just plain not trained to be managers, even though that's what we often end up doing. Don't get turned off by the quirky allegory style -- it actually works. It's worth reading this book, it only takes an hour or so."
"Well, I was obsessed with Hemingway for a long time. If you like fun stories, lots of booze, and can ignore the rampant chauvenism (easy for me, I am a man), well then Hemingway is a lot of fun. There are lots of insights into how Hemingway was able to be great, so it can't hurt to have these ideas rattling around one's head when they're trying to start a great research lab."
"I wish I had read this book before I was a post-doc. You may not agree with everything, but I think it can only be a very positive influence if you require every young person in your lab to read this book. And then try to help them with the various recommended strategies."