Upstart’s Book Club: Social Distancing Edition
By Simon Lepkin, Senior Software Engineer
I founded Upstart’s book club back in 2016, because I wanted to read Edmond Lau’s The Effective Engineer but needed peer pressure to get me through it. As we worked our way through the book, I found our discussions to be at least as useful as the contents of the book. Fortunately others felt similarly, so after we finished that one, we selected another!
We started out reading engineering books, but placed no restriction on nominations. After a few rounds of voting and reading (down with plurality voting; long live ranked-pair!), our selections had drifted pretty far afield, and we’d gathered participants from other departments. Here’s a representative sample of our selections, in the order we chose them.
- Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
- Doing Good Better by William MacAskill
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by David Kahneman
- Quiet by Susan Cain
- Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’m grateful that the book club has been able to continue meeting during this difficult time. We were already having our discussions in Zoom, to enable both offices (in San Mateo and Columbus) to participate. So it’s been an excellent way to stay connected with my colleagues. Our latest book, Between the World and Me, was selected in the middle of May, and then suddenly became extremely relevant during these weeks of protest.
You should work at Upstart! We are still hiring, and even though we’re all working remote for now, you can still read books, share pictures of your cat, and remake consumer finance with us.