Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci is a masterful biography detailing the life of one incredible human being. Even after reading this biography, it is difficult to really wrap your head around how intelligent Leonardo was. I really enjoyed Isaacson's approach to telling Leonardo's story, intertwining art and science the way Leonardo did in all of his works. I also appreciated the theme Isaacson often returned to in his analysis: curiosity. Leonardo experienced the world through a lens of childish curiosity that many of us discard as we enter adulthood. The world in his eyes was never self-explanatory. I may never achieve such a diverse set of talents as Leonardo, but I hope that, like him, I will never grow out of my childish curiosity.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fantastic reminder of the humanity that is lost to history. Textbooks may offer the dates of discoveries, the scientists present, and the big-picture effects, but never will they offer the personal stories that really make up history. The story of Henrietta Lacks is both heart-breaking and uplifting.
Superintelligence is one of the most stimulating texts I have ever read. It is so fantastically thought-provoking that although I planned to read for two hours each night, I often only read for a third of that time and spent the rest of my time deep in thought, contemplating the profound ideas I had just absorbed. Bostrom's analysis of the philosophical implications of an artificial general intelligence and the dangerous path that looms ahead of AI research is a must-read for any student with a serious interest in artificial intelligence.
Stories of Your Life and Others
Stories of Your Life and Others shares wonderfully diverse and interesting plots, with some common themes and personalities that tie them all together. I really enjoy the characters in Chiang's short stories, their raw inner monologues, and the charming, intellectual voice they share. I am not often one for fiction, but these pieces were a pleasure to read.