At the end of every year I have a tradition where I write summaries of the books that I read throughout the year. Unfortunately this year was exceptionally busy (the postdoc life is a lot more intense than the PhD life) so I didn’t write summaries. I apologize in adevance.

You can find the other book-related blog posts from prior years (going back to 2016) in the blog archives.

Here are the 17 books I read this past year. I put in parentheses the publication date.

The books which I really enjoyed are written in bold.

  • Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact (2021)
  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It (2016)
  • Be Exceptional: Master the Five Traits That Set Extraordinary People Apart (2021)
  • The Digital Silk Road: China’s Quest to Wire the World and Win the Future (2021)
    • A lot of China’s recent development happened by importing Western technology, and the book clarifies that much of this was due to technology sharing agreements that were legal (and to which Western companies agreed). The book explores the corresponding consequences. While it’s clear that the author (like myself) is politically opposed to the Chinese Communist Party, the best part of the book is near the end when it says: But there is a line between anxiety and paranoia, and crossing it carries dangers all its own. During World War II, FDR made the horrific decision to force 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into internment camps. […] The United States must guard against xenophobia and racism as well as protectionism.
  • Infidel: My Life (2007)
  • Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine (2021)
  • Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (2019)
  • Culture Warriors: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy (2020)
  • Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Reshape our Future (2016)
  • Your Data, Their Billions: Unraveling and Simplifying Big Tech (2022)
  • The End of History and the Last Man (1992)
    • About time!
  • Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped (2015)
    • It should be clear why I read this book. As Garry Kasparov frequently says these days, “Stop telling me I was right and listen to what I’m saying now.”
  • Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know (2020)
  • Coalitions of the Weak: Elite Politics in China from Mao’s Stratagem to the Rise of Xi (2022)
    • These days, one of my hobbies is studying Chinese politics, and this book is a perfect example of me engaging in that. I find the subject fascinating.
  • Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century (2022)
    • Co-written by Sergei Guriev (Professor of Economics at Sciences Po, Paris) and Daniel Treisman (Professor at UCLA). The book takes a critical look at various governments and leaders, and uses the term “spin dictators” for rulers who try and cloak their techniques under the name of democracy. One of these authors had to flee his home country for his safety (prior to working on this book). You can probably guess who. I’m forever grateful that I (hopefully) will never need to do this.
  • Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley―Making AI Serve Us All (2020)
  • The Vortex: A True Story of History’s Deadliest Storm, an Unspeakable War, and Liberation (2022).
    • I knew next to nothing about Bangladesh before reading this book and I’m amazed at all the history packed into this book. I also commend the authors for clarifying how they derived their sources and conducted their research. This should be standard.