Finally! I have been reading a ton in the last four weeks. I think I read more than a thousand pages (albeit in audio form).
After listening to Ezra Klein's conversation with Cal Newport, I devoured his book Deep Work in two days. It's a great book if you're the kind of person who likes good productivity books. He argues that the ability to do deep work, which is the kind of knowledge work that requires concentration (e.g. writing, programming, researching), is going to become one of the most important skills to have. He then gives a slew of tips, concepts and ideas on how to foster and improve on that type of work.
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff was up next, followed by Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget. I discussed those somewhere else already, but briefly: both are critiques of our current attitudes towards technology. The first half of Rushkoff's book would fit nicely in /r/Latestagecapitalism, the second half in /r/blockchain (which he sees as the solution to the capitalist ails of technology). Lanier has more intriguing ideas but they're definitely more 'out there'. I don't understand or don't agree with at least half of them. Don't regret reading it at all.
I then started reading Siddharta Mukherjee's The Gene, which I'm almost done with now - only 4 hours remaining of the 20 hours of audio. It's a fascinating account of the history of the gene, chronologically telling the story of gene science through the dozens of scientists who made it possible. He writes it in a way that's rich in detail yet always easy to follow - inquisitive, without dumbing things down too much.
Last week I found a list of book recommendations by Maria Popova, so I attempted reading the essay bundle The Abundance by Anne Dillard. The stories were nice but not as invigorating as I hoped for. I then read Black Hole Blues and Other Sounds from Space by Janna Levin instead, which I finished it yesterday. It is a wonderful book about gravitational waves and LIGO's development. The prose is fantastic; Levin does a great job of bringing the scientists alive. The book is arguably more about the people than about the science that brought them together.
In between I also read Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. (On paper! How quaint.) There are lot of opinions to be had about Ferriss, but he does sometimes manages to inspire me and this book achieved that too. I do think he should package his book with a bag of salt - a few grains are not enough. Most of the advice in the book is entirely too esoteric for me or too generalizing to be useful, but the parts that I did like I liked a lot.
Up next, in whatever order I feel like / whatever advice you all give:
- American Kingpin by Nick Boltin
- Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil
- Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
- The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
- Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam (havn't read it fully yet)
- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllieben
- On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks