Better late than never….
The best books I read in 2019 – generally released in other years – are below. Where I have reviewed, the link leads to that review (not many reviews this year).
- Nick Chater, The Mind is Flat: A great book in which Chater argues that there are no ‘hidden depths’ to our minds.
- Stephan Guyenet, The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts that Make us Overeat: Excellent summary of modern nutrition research and how the body “regulates” its weight.
Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider, The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty: I find a lot of value reading about the world outside of my bubble. I learnt a lot from this book.
Paul Seabright, The Company of Strangers: An excellent exploration of the evolutionary foundations of cooperation. A staple of my evolutionary biology and economics reading list.
Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry): A fun read of some wise advice.
M Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal: A bit too much detail, but a worthwhile story about the origins of personal computing. Many of the concepts about human-machine interaction remain relevant today.
Below is the full list of books that I read in 2019 (with links where reviewed and starred if a re-read). The volume of my reading declined year-on-year again, with 61 books total (40 non-fiction, 21 fiction). Most of that decline came in the back half of the year when I spent a lot of time reading and researching some narrow academic topics. 45 of the below were read before June. I could add a lot of children’s books to the list (especially Enid Blyton), but I’ll leave those aside.
- Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler, Dollars and Sense: Money Mishaps and How to Avoid Them
- Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, The Invisible Gorilla
- Nick Chater, The Mind is Flat
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow
- Nir Eyal, Hooked
- Nir Eyal, Indistractable
- Tim Ferris, Four Hour Work Week
- Tim Ferris, Tribe of Mentors
- Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
- Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, It Doesn’t have to be Crazy at Work
- Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework
- Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Remote
- Atul Gawande, Better
- Stephan Guyenet, The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts that Make us Overeat
- Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind*
- Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor
- Peter D. Kaufman (ed), Poor Charlie’s Almanac: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition
- Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
- David Leiser and Yhonatan Shemesh, How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters: The Psychology of Bias, Distortion and Conspiracy
- Gerry Lopez, Surf is Where You Find It
- Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider, The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty
- Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism
- Karl Popper, The Logic of SCientific Discovery
- James Reason, Human Error
- Ben Reiter, Astroball
- Matthew Salganik, Bit by bit: Social Research in the Digital Age
- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
- Paul Seabright, The Company of Strangers*
- Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow
- Pater Singer, A Darwinian Left
- Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)
- Eugene Soltes, Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal
- Dilip Soman, The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights
- Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance
- Ed Thorpe, Beat the Dealer
- M Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal
- Mike Walsh, The Algorithmic Leader
- Caroline Webb, How to Have a Nice Day: A Revolutionary Handbook for Work -and Life
- Robert Wright, The Moral Animal
- Scott Young, Ultralearning: Accelerate Your Career, Master Hard Skills and Outsmart the Competition
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
- F Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and The Dammed
- F Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
- Graham Greene, My Man in Havana*
- Robert Heilein, Starship Troopers
- Michael Houellebecq, Submission
- Jack London, Call of the Wild
- John Le Carre, Call for the Dead
- John Le Carre, A Murder of Quality
- John Le Carre, The Looking Glass War
- John Le Carre, A Small Town in Germany
- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club*
- Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Tim Winton, Breath