The Robot Overlord Manual

Illustrated by Sarah Saroufim

After reading this book you should be a lot better prepared to start designing robots at home. I’m mostly focused on math and software because that’s what I know best.

This is a roughly 250 page textbook covering what are in my mind the most powerful ideas in Robotics and Machine Learning. My chapters have regularly made it to the front page of Hacker News and Google Search so subscribe and join the hundreds of thousands of readers that are looking to become Robot Overlords.

Table of Contents


How to Build Robots at Home — will give you a broad overview of the robotics at home problem including manufacturing, electronics and software.

The Robot Overlord Manual is primarily about simulating robots in software.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a programming technique where instead of describing how to go from inputs to outputs, you have labels from inputs to outputs and can generate the program automatically. Most applications so far have focused on image classification or text classification or generation but more recently Deep Learning has been used for robotic control problems.

Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement Learning is a technique to describe goals to robots and then have them execute them without telling them how to do it.


Robots are physical objects moving in space and it’s challenging to describe them using just Newton’s laws. Different representations have different advantages so this section is about how we can improve physics engines to support more scalable Reinforcement Learning

Software Design Patterns

Building software is hard so it’s important to constantly cultivate better tools and design patterns. Object Oriented Programming teaches lots of bad habits and often results in poor performance unless you’re an expert user.

Design patterns that I find a lot more exciting


If there’s anything else you’d really like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me either in the comments section below or on Twitter.

But if you’re hungry for more content.

Why should you read this?

The state of the textbook

When I was working on, I had to self teach myself a lot of unfamiliar concepts from math to physics to machine learning.

I learn best from textbooks but they have a few problems that I’ve always hated.

The Robot Overlord Manual

This is the book I wish I had when I was getting started. It’s a summary of all the mathematical and algorithmic ideas I believe are key to making robots mainstream.

The key features of the Robot Overlord Manual are

So I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it — reach out to me if you have any feedback or just want to send me a note that I helped you in some way.

So go ahead, pick a random chapter and get started!

For more frequent updates on Robotics, Machine Learning and Math you can follow me on

Robots will save us