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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. by Snively '11

Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

During first semester I published a nice little entry about my bookshelf in my personal blog. It’s now 2008 and my bookshelf has undergone several renovations. What does the bookshelf of an MIT student look like? Let’s go on a tour!

High School Yearbook

For those nostalgic moments.

Sketch Book

Nondescript black sketch book for Toy Design.

Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics, one of my books for Toy Design.


How else would I know about all the awesome hacking that happens at MIT?

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader

This is where I get all of my random knowledge. Seriously, SUCH a good book.

Physics E&M Book

Horribly written and confusing course notes for 8.02 (physics E&M).

Emotional Design

Another book for Toy Design. I haven’t started reading this one yet.


A free gift from the HASBRO building at Toy Fair. $25 value, mine free.

Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College

Would you go to college without it?

18.03 Book

Mmmmmmm, Differential Equations!

Physics Book

This was actually just a cruel joke of a Christmas present. I hate physics, so of course my family buys me a book about physics.

Product Design and Development

ANOTHER book for Toy Design.


I made it about halfway through this before losing interest.

Mechanics and Materials

My first official Mechanical Engineering class. How can I hate and love a class so much at the same time?

18.02 Book

Wait, I took Multivariable Calculus last semester, why do I still have this book!?

Wired Magazine and Phonebook

I found some issues of Wired magazine, they sit nestled closely to a book full of the phone numbers of every single freshman at MIT.


MIT gives all the freshmen a planner. This is mine.

Typography Book

My book from my HASS class last semester. I enjoy looking at pictures of fonts.

1337 h4x0r H4ndB00k

Like I need a book!

Technology Review and Manuscript Book

Everybody at MIT gets a free subscription to Technology Review. The manuscript book is for scratch work on PSETS.

How to survive a robot uprising

Look, at least I’ll be ready, alright? Can you claim to be ready?

21: Bringing Down the House

Look, you’ve gotta read the book before you see the movie. It’s cool, I can picture everything they talk about in the book because I see it every day!

Little Red book of Wisdom

A birthday present from my Grandma. It makes me wise.


A bunch of books and guides for SolidWorks, my favorite computer program ever.


How to Get Around MIT, the one stop shop for MIT info.

So that’s it, that’s my bookshelf! Any questions, thoughts about my books? Note that my Python book is missing from that shelf because I was using it today. I think everything else is present.

39 responses to “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Haha I’m going to need a bookshelf a LOT bigger than that if (when?*sigh*) I go to MIT….lol for all the lord of the rings/harry potters/artemis fowls/garth nixes/pendragons/dan browns/agatha christies…etc etc etc.
    This post was awesome. It’s random information like this that we need as preforsh, not the usual junk schools give you. How else do you know if you will fit it? You go, snively. raspberry

  2. Kamya says:

    haha oops the above post is mine….why do I always forget to put my name in??

  3. Karen says:

    My reserved copy of Bringing Down The House came into the library today! If I get in, my senior project is going to be teaching myself to be ace at poker so that I can afford MIT’s tuition – based off of the movie, of course smile

    Solidworks is pretty awesome, we have Autodesk Inventor and it constantly crashes the computers. Nothing like finally completing an assembly…twice. smile

  4. Snively says:

    @First Anonymous

    I disagree. As my argument I’ll use an analogy.

    When you draw a line on a paper do you go really slowly to make sure that every single point is collinear? If you do then you’ll notice that all of the lines you draw are really jagged and bumpy. The trick is to do a broad sweep when you draw your line. Sure, the ends of the line might look a little off-balance and the line may be curved a bit, it may not even go in the exact direction you want, but it looks more like a line than that jagged mess.

    Try not to analyze every single post I publish. I have my good days, I have my bad days, but by the end of my experience with these blogs what you’ll see as you go through the archives is a nice, broad, sweeping line whose slope is a near-perfect representation of my personality and my experiences at MIT.

    If every post is perfect then you’re trying to hard to make the perfect line, sometimes you’ve got to spew just as much crap as content onto the web because in the end it balances and gives a much better feel.

    I hope this helped explain some more of my philosophy behind blogging. I’d be happy to share more thoughts about the approach I take to writing my posts, but it’s much more fun to discuss when I’m not defending myself against personal attacks. Please, if you disagree with anything I’m doing, could please just ask about my motivations instead of accusing me of various wrong-doings?

    Have a happy pi day everybody, and make sure to check decisions tomorrow (like you needed reminding). I’d check a bit before noon wink

  5. M says:

    I didn’t really like “Wicked.” I guess it was thought provoking, but it was just too depressing to be enjoyable.

    And I love “Bringing Down the House!” The second book by that author, “Taking Vegas” is even more exciting.

  6. Harrison says:

    1) It was my idea for you to buy the 1337 book.

  7. Nihar says:

    Insightful analogy there Michael!
    I believe you were compelled to say something similar a while <a>ago</a>…why don’t some people just learn??

    N BTW 24 HOURS TO GO!!

  8. Oasis says:

    @ Paul –

    If I manage to get an advance ticket again (there should be some other advanced screenings in the New England area), I’m calling dibs on 21 smile bwahaha.

    I will be traveling all over New England and lower Canada during spring break, so plenty of time to “plan” an advanced screening into my schedule. =p

  9. math freak says:

    So about how much space is there for MIT students to keep their own books? I mean, I proudly keep practically nothing in my room except for hundreds of math books and my computer – how many books would one be able to take along?

  10. Haili says:

    Wicked was really hard to slog through, especially the second half. However, the way the Dorothy vs Elphaba “I’m melting!” scene is written is pretty good.

    In other news, that’s a lot slimmer of a bookshelf than I would have expected.

  11. sweet book collection! I’ll have to hit up amazon for a few of those if I get accepted smile

    Oh and happy pi day smile

  12. @shruthi
    This means that Snively’s (and in fact everybody’s) randomness is going to contribute to the heat death of the universe. ADD and ADHD WILL DESTROY THE WORLD!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know ur just trying to help, but isn’t this a bit blogging just for the sake of it? Haven’t you crossed the line?

  14. I have to disagree with you anonymous. I never would have heard about those books on MIT and now because I do I’ll have tons of knowledge raspberry obviously not pointless smile haha

  15. yukiko says:

    i keep all my agenda books from each year in high school. It’s so funny looking back at it!

  16. Hopeful '12 says:

    Bringing down the house is the book that got me hooked on MIT. In 30-some hours I will know if I might be involved in the sequel…

  17. christine says:

    snively, i applaud your dedication to your blogging. i’m not keeping count or anything, but i feel like you blog approximately as often as all the other combined smile you’re the one we can rely on to get our daily MIT fix — thank you and keep it up!

  18. Paul says:

    I love Bringing Down the House, although I do have some issues with it. While it’s a great read, it’s not exactly a gem of literary talent – in my highly biased opinion.

    Only two weeks until 21 comes out, though. I wasn’t able to go to the advance screening in Boston, even though I had a ticket. Blame ozonolysis (or, more accurately, my HASS class). But I am planning on watching it, and blogging about it, while I’m home for spring break. So that’s something to look forward to. ^_^

    Re the anonymous: Snively’s more than capable of defending his own blogging habits, so I don’t think I really need to involve myself here…but I can’t really say I agree with you on this point. This is an amusing, informative entry.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Happy pi day!

    duketipquantumelephants, I’m assuming you went to Duke TIP. Which campus did you go to?

  20. Snively says:


    Ben’s been really busy, that’s why I’m not on the RSS feed list or the drop-down menu on the top of the page. I do, however, have an RSS feed, which can be found here:

    Hope that helps.

  21. Shruthi says:

    How to survive a robot uprising? The little red book of wisdom?

    Now thats what I call random reading. You seem to be very sponataneous with the blogging, higher entropy anyone?

    -Ok, that was lame. But still! Happy Pi Day Snively-

  22. SNIVELY!



    Oops, sorry, CAPS lock got stuck.

  23. Anonymous says:

    None of your textbooks are as thick as I was expecting them to be. Does this mean that MIT classes don’t really use them so much?

  24. Snively says:


    I’ve gotta be honest, it took about 3 minutes of digging around before realizing what you were talking about. I tend to forget what I link to on the main page :p

    Goonies is one of the best movies ever. The best part about it is that it was filmed in Oregon, meaning I’ve been to the city where it was filmed and have actually seen the pirate ship.

  25. David says:


    I liked your explanation for how you blog. It reminds me of Jack Kerouac’s writing philosophy of “Spontaneous Prose”.

  26. OmarA says:

    That Wicked book depresses me. I was in Manhattan this past summer and so we had tried to get tickets for Wicked a couple months in advance, but almost all the seats were taken except for bad ones in the waaay back. I still need to see it. I’m guessing you haven’t seen it on Broadway Snively?

  27. Michael says:

    I have the robot uprising book…tis quite funny, and actually surprisingly informative. Happy Pi day!

  28. somebody says:

    Coming to MIT would be a dream, I’d be pleased if it comes true…Lol

  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m excited that someone else owns the 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k.

  30. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny to imagine that even a MIT student hates physics smile

  31. DHowdy says:

    Your 18.02 Calc book is the exact same one that I’m using this year!

  32. igna says:

    Emotional Design is a pretty excellent book raspberry

    I enjoy your bookshelf smile

  33. Jalpan Dave says:

    I totally agree with Paul. This is an amusing and informative entry. It depends on how you want to look at it. You can either say he’s blogging just for the sake of it or you can use this entry to gain an insight into what books MIT students use and how heavy their course load is or how they balance out between studying and reading other informative books or read certain books just for lighter moments.

    Great post Snively!

    Btw, sorry if Im wrong but your name is not there in the RSS feed list:

    Derrick B. ’08
    Melis A. ’08
    Anthony R. ’09
    Laura N. ’09
    Lulu L. ’09
    Evan B. ’10
    Jess K. ’10
    Keri G. ’10
    Chris S. ’11
    Karen F. ’11
    Paul B. ’11

  34. Snively says:

    Alright, spam has been overrunning this particular entry so I’m going to have to shut down comments. Sorry guys!

  35. @anonymous at 3:34 PM
    West, Term I 2006, Aerospace, Nicole’s rag
    West, Term II 2007, Nano, John
    maybe: East, Term I, Philosophy or West, Term II, Robotics
    I hope to go this year too but they haven’t sent me the forms yet. Maybe because they found out that I applied for the Merit Scholarship this year so I’m not the right grade. Still trying to figure it out.

    As for the quantum elephant bit, perhaps you can understand a bit by looking at William’s aka Stumpy’s presentation:
    That’s not me; I’m Philip

    @Anonymous at 3:56 PM
    I’ve found that many of the best textbooks:
    1)Are eons old,
    2)Don’t waste half of the space on exercises, or on sidebars meant to give extra information that only remotely has to do with the subject,
    3)Don’t bother trying to make it fun (It should be fun in itself YAY, and if it isn’t, suck it up, it will never be in real life if that is the case), and
    4)Are really small, and therefore really cheap (like any other paperback)

    Nowadays books waste so much time dumbing down stuff that they end up making it utterly confusing. Example: I tutor math at my old MS, and it spent a chapter (~80 pages) on percent. One whole section was devoted entirely to converting percents to decimals. Each example had about five steps, making it somehow fill half a page; 6 examples plus an intro page with an “application” (which makes kids think that the entire world can be explained using arithmetic, even things like bridge construction) make it 4 pages, then 150 example problems, that no student in the country will ever do, fill up another 6 pages. This book is over 1200 pgs, probably cost at least 150 USD, and is REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA. No wonder teachers are pressured to teach the tests.

    Anyway, sorry I rant, but if I didn’t have self-control I could scream about this for another 20 pages. I try to balance being concise and squeezing in a few of the things I want to say. Unlike these textbooks, which in this whole post would only have had enough room to convey that, “100 percent is like a hundred hundredths of something.”

    Be glad that neither I nor the book speaks Old Entish.

  36. also (yes, ALSO), probably a lot of people are wondering this: Is something wrong with your spam blocker?

  37. Where’s “The Iron Whim – A Fragmented History of Typewriting”? LOL!

    I dare you to identify me by the next Friday Breakfast. *wicked grin*