Reading

Here’s a list of book that I’ve read in the past or am currently reading with some brief thoughts.

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PRESENTLY:

Daemon Voices – Philip Pullman

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PASTLY:

The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

Published in 2014, this book has aged extremely well (yea yea 6 years is not that old), and presents a sobering look at how what’s happening in our world right now mirrors what has occurred in the previous 5 great extinction events, and yet like each of those events is unprecedented in it’s own way. Kolbert provides a history of our understanding of how species come and go, and the driving forces behind those processes.

 

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

The “sequel” to Sapiens, Harari now discusses where humanity is going. Much of it is focused on how if we follow current trends the world of the future will be run by computers and hyper-efficient algorithms. While this may sound like a conspiracy/ doom-day scenario, Harari’s arguments are well reasoned, and he merely offers this future as a possibility and leaves it to us whether or not this future is one we would like to be realized.

 

Factfulness – Hans Rosling

The tagline is 10 Reasons Why We’re Wrong About the World. This book argues that despite what it may seem, the world is not as bad as we think. Not that we shouldn’t be concerned, but in order to move forward we have to use truth to guide us, not fear mongering and misplaced urgency. Everyone can benefit from reading this book and the world would be a better place if they did.

 

The Gene – Siddhartha Mukherjee

LONG, but interesting. Goes through basically the whole history of genetics, as well as where we’re at and where we may be going. Gives you a lot to think about ethically and scientifically. Mukherjee is a compelling writer and makes you care about this somewhat convoluted science.

 

Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

History of humanity. Talks about why humans are where we are, and the different biological and social/ cultural “evolutions” that make it possible. May challenge faith perspectives. Personally this was humbling, in a we-are-all-human type of way. Good if you like science and math.

 

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

Non-fiction, but more of a narrative. A father’s (who’s a doctor) writing to his daughter. Beautiful story. Probably will make you cry.

 

The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

Motivating. About finding and doing you’re art. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t set out to please people for the sake of pleasing people. You don’t need to fit in. A lot of good business perspectives.

 

Linchpin – Seth Godin

Also by Seth Godin, similar themes. Find what makes you indispensable and be that. If what you’re doing doesn’t allow for it, do something else. Also a good business book (Seth is a marketing guy)

 

The Book of Joy – The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Interfaith talks between two leaders in their respective communities, who are friends. They talk about what it means to be happy in ways that transcend any ascribed identity. Another book that would make the world a better place.

 

Algorithms to Live By – Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Good read if you like math/ mathematical thinking. This one gives you a lot of interesting ways to think about how you go about your daily life. Counter-intuitively, it makes life seems simpler (math is supposed to be complicated and scary right?!).

 

Stiff – Mary Roach

Makes you think about death. Very funny though, and talks about something that people usually don’t like to talk about too much. Good if you like science and aren’t squeamish.

 

Beyond Brilliance – Lucas Miller

Argues there’s no such thing as being naturally gifted. (Most) Every skill can be acquired if you take the right approach, and it provides strategies.

 

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Funny and satirical. Kinda cringey and requires a certain (dry) sense of humor.

 

Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

War satire. Same as above, though maybe more poignant, also somewhat dry in its humor, but more inclusive.