Recognized for his influential contributions to the tech sector and startup ecosystem, Sam Altman has emerged as a trailblazer of the generative AI revolution – ushering in a new era of innovation, entrepreneurship, and social discourse. Born in 1985, he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and learned how to program and take apart a Macintosh computer at the age of 8.
Altman dropped out of a computer science degree at Stanford to focus on Loopt, a location-based social networking app that sold in 2012 for $43 million. By 2014, he was named president of renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator, where he helped nurture numerous fledgling enterprises into global industry leaders.
Now CEO of OpenAI, a vanguard in artificial intelligence research, Altman has become a leading voice behind ethical AI advancement. Advocating for democratized access to the technology so its benefits can be distributed globally, he is a strong proponent of universal basic income as a solution to automation-driven socioeconomic challenges.
In a 2015 Twitter AMA, Altman was asked to name his top book recommendations for a young startup founder. From Plato to Peter Thiel to poker theory, check out his reading list below, and complement with the bookshelves of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.
Sam Altman’s Reading List
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel (also rec’d by Elon Musk)
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by Isaac Newton
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro (also rec’d by Jonathan Franzen)
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh (also rec’d by Jack Dorsey)
The Constitutional Convention by James Madison
Winning by Jack Welch
(via Y Combinator; photo by Joel Saget)
Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Sam Altman’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop page.