There’s an argument to be made that the most significant development to come out of the digital age is the democratization of high quality entertainment.
I don’t have a flying car. But I do have the cell phone and internet of a billionaire. And so does just about everyone I know. Bill Gates uses the same apps I do. We have mostly the same television channels. We spend our time on the same internet. Youtube is Free. Netflix is cheap. And Amazon, well, I’m pretty sure I pay something. I’m just not sure what it is.
You get the point. Anyone with anything, in some domains, has everything.
In a world filled with free entertainment options and nearly endless things to do, one thing from the days of old has stayed pretty consistent though. At the margin, there’s not really any better way to spend $20 than on a great book. For the cost of a movie ticket and a soda, one can get days to weeks of entertainment, depending on your pace and keep it for future readings. Audio or digital books bring that price down even further.
Books, in several forms now, still sell.
The hardest choice one usually has is to figure out exactly what’s worth reading. A bad book is a truly bad investment of time. So, I’ve found people sharing read lists to be one of the most valuable types of information sharing out there. A good read list can be a year of entertainment. And like most things, those are free now too. So, in the spirit of holiday season sharing, here’s my gift to you. My 2018 read list.
It’s a mix of history, economics, politics and technology that I’ve separated into three categories:
1-Books started but not finished. I’m learning to not finish books that I don’t like.
2-Books finished. This is some level of endorsement if I hold true to the principles implied in #1.
3-Books that left a mark. These are the books that changed how I saw something or added particularly important context to the things I write about today .
Books I Started and Didn’t Finish:
- Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules in Work and in Life by Francesca Gino
- How A Person Should Be? A Novel From Life by Shela Heti
- AIQ: How People and Machines are Smarter Together By Nick Polson and James Scott.
Books I Finished:
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
- Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Humanism, Science and Progress by Stephen Pinker
- Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel Stian Westlake
- The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the World by Robin Hanson
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meachem
- The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
- The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff
- Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Francis Fukuyama
- The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson
- Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
- The Case Against Education: Why The Education System is a Waste of Time and Money by Brian Caplan
- Kolyma Tails by Varlam Shalamov
- The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 1 by Robert A. Caro
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
Books That Left A Mark
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- Stubborn Attachment: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals by Tyler Cowen
- Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Everyday Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas
- Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Nazi by Thomas Weber
- The Dawn of Eurasia: On the Trail of the New World Order by Bruno Macaes (This was the best book I read this year.)
One other I guess….If I’m going to plug a few dozen other authors, I may as well plug myself.
Books I wrote
Sixteen: A Rational Account of an Irrational Election by Sean Patrick Hughes
Enjoy. And share away.