Arts & Entertainment | September 14, 2016 9:00 am

Five Books That Changed My Life: Othman Laraki

A reading list from a man who wants to save your life

The quote is wrong: it’s the books — not the clothes — that make the man. 

Which is why, once every month or so, we like to ask some seriously visionary guys to curate a reading list for us.

Today, sharing the five books that changed his life: Othman Laraki, co-founder of Color Genomics, the startup that wants to save lives by bringing affordable genetic tests to the marketplace. If you’d pay $249 to better understand your risks for certain hereditary cancers, check them out.  

Below, his picks. 

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
“A thought-provoking exploration of hypotheses cutting through the origins of humanity as it stands today — not just through a biological lens, but a perspective of social fabric, language and other constructs that define humanity.”

Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee 
“Fascinating walk through the history of cancer through the ages. This is one of the best-written and accessible books about cancer, guiding the reader through thousands of years of evolving understanding and treatment of the disease.”

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker 
“Beyond the evidence around the long trend of declining violence through history, this book drives reflection around the machinery and drivers behind human violence and altruism. The last chapter of this book is also some of the best writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading.”

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
“Similarly to Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon shows Stephenson’s ability to create a fabulous story, with great technical accuracy and startling prescience around how technology ends up being used.”

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
“If you enjoy falling down a conspiracy theory historical rabbit hole, this book takes the prize. Not for the faint of heart, making it through this book requires frequent look-ups of historical facts to even know what Umberto Eco is talking about — but like climbing a beautiful mountain, with the right mindset, you can enjoy the scenery while grinding your way up.”