Bill Gates's favorite books

  • Factfulness

    Factfulness

    Hans Rosling
    Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
    Business & Economics
    Nature

    “One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates “Hans Rosling tells thestory of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readershow to see it clearly.” —Melinda Gates Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. --- “This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance...Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.

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    Factfulness is one of the most educational books I’ve ever read.

    Apr 3, 2018 — Source

  • The Checklist Manifesto

    The Checklist Manifesto

    Atul Gawande

    We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies-neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist. First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third. In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds. An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference.

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    Checklist Manifesto is a great read

    Jul 11, 2012 — Source

  • Enlightenment Now

    Enlightenment Now

    Steven Pinker
    The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
    Psychology

    INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018 ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR AND A PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT "My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

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    Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

    Jan 26, 2018 — Source

  • Moonwalking with Einstein

    Moonwalking with Einstein

    Joshua Foer
    The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
    Biography & Autobiography

    Citing memory-related inconveniences suffered by average individuals, the author chronicles his own struggles with chronic forgetfulness and his year in memory training, as well as sharing historical lore and memory techniques.

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    It's absolutely phenomenal, one of the most interesting books I've read this summer.

    Sep 12, 2012 — Source

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

    The Better Angels of Our Nature

    Steven Pinker
    Why Violence Has Declined
    Psychology

    Presents a controversial history of violence which argues that today's world is the most peaceful time in human existence, drawing on psychological insights into intrinsic values that are causing people to condemn violence as an acceptable measure.

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    One of the most important books I've read—not just this year, but ever.

    Jun 18, 2012 — Source

  • The Rosie Effect

    The Rosie Effect

    Graeme Simsion

    Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life - while dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?

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    The novel I gave to 50 friends

    Dec 8, 2014 — Source

  • Stuff Matters

    Stuff Matters

    Mark Miodownik
    Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
    Science

    New York Times Bestseller • New York Times Notable Book 2014 • Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books “A thrilling account of the modern material world.” —Wall Street Journal "Miodownik, a materials scientist, explains the history and science behind things such as paper, glass, chocolate, and concrete with an infectious enthusiasm." —Scientific American Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way. "Stuff Matters is about hidden wonders, the astonishing properties of materials we think boring, banal, and unworthy of attention...It's possible this science and these stories have been told elsewhere, but like the best chocolatiers, Miodownik gets the blend right." —New York Times Book Review

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    It's an amazing book and the best nonfiction story I've read in a long time.

    Jul 23, 2015 — Source

  • The Bottom Billion

    The Bottom Billion

    Paul Collier
    Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
    Business & Economics

    In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that fifty failed states--home to the poorest one billion people on Earth--pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards. A struggle rages within each of these nations between reformers and corrupt leaders--and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that ensnare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work, he writes; aid is often ineffective, and globalization can actually make matters worse, driving development to more stable nations. What the bottom billion need, Collier argues, is a bold new plan supported by the Group of Eight industrialized nations. If failed states are ever to be helped, the G8 will have to adopt preferential trade policies, new laws against corruption, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions. Collier has spent a lifetime working to end global poverty. In The Bottom Billion, he offers real hope for solving one of the great humanitarian crises facing the world today. "Set to become a classic. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading." --The Economist "If Sachs seems too saintly and Easterly too cynical, then Collier is the authentic old Africa hand: he knows the terrain and has a keen ear.... If you've ever found yourself on one side or the other of those arguments--and who hasn't?--then you simply must read this book." --Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review "Rich in both analysis and recommendations.... Read this book. You will learn much you do not know. It will also change the way you look at the tragedy of persistent poverty in a world of plenty." --Financial Times

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    Still on the short list of books that I recommend to people.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

    Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

    Ezra F. Vogel
    Biography & Autobiography

    No one in the twentieth century had a greater impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China's boldest strategist-the pragmatic, disciplined force behind China's radical economic, technological, and social transformation.

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    If youre going to read one book about modern China in the period after Mao, then this is the book you should read.

    Dec 13, 2012 — Source

  • Creating the Twentieth Century

    Creating the Twentieth Century

    Vaclav Smil
    Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact
    Business & Economics

    The two pre-World War I generations encompassed the greatest innovative period in history. Technical inventions of 1867-1914 & their rapid improvement & commercialisation created new prime movers, materials, infrastructures & information means that provided the lasting foundations of the modern world.

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    My favorite Smil book

    Oct 13, 2010 — Source

  • Sustainable Energy--without the Hot Air

    Sustainable Energy--without the Hot Air

    David J. C. MacKay
    Business & Economics

    Provides an overview of the sustainable energy crisis that is threatening the world's natural resources, explaining how energy consumption is estimated and how those numbers have been skewed by various factors and discussing alternate forms of energy that can and should be used.

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    this is one of the best books on energy that has been written,

    Jan 15, 2010 — Source

  • The Rosie Project

    The Rosie Project

    Graeme Simsion
    Fiction

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a story about love, life and lobster every Tuesday...'Marvellous' John Boyne'Original, clever and perfectly written' Jill Mansell'Adorable' Marian Keyes'An upbeat, quirky, impertinent gem of a read' Chris Cleave'I'm not good at understanding what other people want.' 'Tell me something I don't know . . .' Love isn't an exact science - but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling? 'Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters I have met in a long time' The Times'Hilarious, unlikely and heartbreaking' Easy Living'Touching and laugh-out-loud funny - think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets Silver Linings Playbook' Stylist'Funny, endearing, and pure, wonderful escapism' Independent 'A sweet, funny rom-com . . . You'll be willing Don and Rosie on every step of the way' Marie Claire'Original, charming and very funny' Woman & Home 'A comic triumph: clever, humane and tears-in-your-eyes funny. But best of all, The Rosie Project is a madly romantic love story' Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture 'I couldn't put this book down. It's one of the most quirky and endearing romances I've ever read. I laughed the whole way through. And now I want to meet Don' Sophie KinsellaWith the charm of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the romance of David Nicholls' One Day, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is both funny and endearing - and is set to become the paperback of 2014.Graeme Simsion is a full-time writer. Previously an IT consultant and educator, he wrote his first book in 1994 (the standard reference on data modelling, now entering its fourth edition), and is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.

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    The Rosie Project is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time.

    Jul 13, 2014 — Source

  • These Truths

    These Truths

    Jill Lepore
    History

    New York Times Bestseller In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history. Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—"these truths," Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise? These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News. Along the way, Lepore’s sovereign chronicle is filled with arresting sketches of both well-known and lesser-known Americans, from a parade of presidents and a rogues’ gallery of political mischief makers to the intrepid leaders of protest movements, including Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist orator; William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and ultimately tragic populist; Pauli Murray, the visionary civil rights strategist; and Phyllis Schlafly, the uncredited architect of modern conservatism. Americans are descended from slaves and slave owners, from conquerors and the conquered, from immigrants and from people who have fought to end immigration. "A nation born in contradiction will fight forever over the meaning of its history," Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. "The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden," These Truths observes. "It can’t be shirked. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it."

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    I highly recommend the book.

    Dec 10, 2019 — Source

  • For the Love of Physics

    For the Love of Physics

    Walter Lewin
    From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics
    Biography & Autobiography

    Largely autobiographical account of the author's life as one who fell in love first with physics and then with teaching physics to students.

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    a book Bill highly recommends

    Mar 6, 2012 — Source

  • Class Warfare

    Class Warfare

    Steven Brill
    Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools
    Education

    In a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children—and points the way to reversing that failure. IN a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children—and points the way to reversing that failure. Brill’s vivid narrative—filled with unexpected twists and turns—takes us from the Oval Office, where President Obama signs off on an unprecedented plan that will infuriate the teachers’ unions because it offers billions to states that win an education reform “contest”; to boisterous assemblies, where parents join the fight over their children’s schools; to a Fifth Avenue apartment, where billionaires plan a secret fund to promote school reform; to a Colorado high school, where students who seemed destined to fail are instead propelled to college; to state capitols across the country, where school reformers hoping to win Obama’s “contest” push bills that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. It’s the story of an unlikely army—fed-up public school parents, Ivy League idealists, hedge-funders, civil rights activists, conservative Republicans, insurgent Democrats—squaring off against unions that the reformers claim are protecting a system that works for the adults but victimizes the children. Class Warfare is filled with extraordinary people taking extraordinary paths: a young woman who goes into teaching almost by accident, then becomes so talented and driven that fighting burnout becomes her biggest challenge; an antitrust lawyer who almost brought down Bill Gates’s Microsoft and now forms a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates to overhaul New York’s schools; a naïve Princeton student who launches an army of school reformers with her senior thesis; a California teachers’ union lobbyist who becomes the mayor of Los Angeles and then the union’s prime antagonist; a stubborn young teacher who, as a child growing up on Park Avenue, had been assumed to be learning disabled but ends up co-founding the nation’s most successful charter schools; and an anguished national union leader who walks a tightrope between compromising enough to save her union and giving in so much that her members will throw her out. Brill not only takes us inside their roller-coaster battles, he also concludes with a surprising prescription for what it will take from both sides to put the American dream back in America’s schools.

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    I hope this book is widely read because it shows just how difficult it is going to be to improve education

    Sep 9, 2011 — Source

  • Only the Paranoid Survive

    Only the Paranoid Survive

    Andrew S. Grove
    How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company
    American fiction
    Business & Economics

    Andy Grove, founder and former CEO of Intel shares his strategy for success as he takes the reader deep inside the workings of a major company in Only the Paranoid Survive. Under Andy Grove's leadership, Intel became the world's largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy for measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads--when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside--in a new way. Grove calls such a moment a Strategic Inflection Point, which can be set off by almost anything: mega-competition, a change in regulations, or a seemingly modest change in technology. When a Strategic Inflection Point hits, the ordinary rules of business go out the window. Yet, managed right, a Strategic Inflection Point can be an opportunity to win in the marketplace and emerge stronger than ever. Grove underscores his message by examining his own record of success and failure, including how he navigated the events of the Pentium flaw, which threatened Intel's reputation in 1994, and how he has dealt with the explosions in growth of the Internet. The work of a lifetime, Only the Paranoid Survive is a classic of managerial and leadership skills.

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    read this book if you want to be a better manager

    May 18, 2018 — Source

  • Tap Dancing to Work

    Tap Dancing to Work

    Carol Loomis
    Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013 : a Fortune Magazine Book
    Biography & Autobiography

    A retrospective collection of "Fortune" articles on Warren Buffett from the past half century places them in context and provides fresh commentary to offer insight into the influential investor's views on such topics as management, philanthropy, and public policy.

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    I hope many people, even those who think they know Warren well, will read it cover to cover.

    Dec 5, 2012 — Source

  • Presidents of War

    Presidents of War

    Michael Beschloss
    The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times
    Executive power

    Ever since our nation's founding, after a nearly decade-long struggle with Great Britain, America has found itself almost continuously at war. And at the forefront of every struggle-large or small, foreign or domestic, celebrated or forgotten-has been the president, who as commander-in-chief of the armed forces has to make the impossible choice of when to hazard American lives. Michael Beschloss is a lauded historian and one of the keenest observers of the White House. In Presidents of War, he offers an authoritative portrait of our major wartime presidents in action, from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War. Whether examining Lincoln's controversial military leadership, Wilson's idealistic and authoritarian approach to World War I, or LBJ sinking into the quagmire of Vietnam, Beschloss employs deep research and unsurpassed storytelling to bring these presidents to life in moments of public oratory and private doubt. He also charts their relationships with the public, which has consigned them to fame or infamy, and with Congress, which has continually struggled to define and redefine the president's wartime powers. Provocative and illuminating, Presidents of Waris a definitive work of presidential history and an invaluable guide to leadership and decision-making in times of crisis.

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    Presidents of War is worth reading, whether you are one of the nation’s leaders or just an armchair historian.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century

    Capital in the Twenty-First Century

    Thomas Piketty
    Business & Economics

    The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

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    I encourage you to read it

    Oct 13, 2014 — Source

  • Bad Blood

    Bad Blood

    John Carreyrou
    Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
    Business & Economics

    The Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year A New York Times Notable Book A Washington Post Notable Book One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, Esquire, Fortune, Marie Claire, GQ, Mental Floss, Science Friday, Bloomberg, Popular Mechanics, BookRiot, The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the next Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with its breakthrough device, which performed the whole range of laboratory tests from a single drop of blood. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.5 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. Erroneous results put patients in danger, leading to misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments. All the while, Holmes and her partner, Sunny Balwani, worked to silence anyone who voiced misgivings--from journalists to their own employees. Rigorously reported and fearlessly written, Bad Blood is a gripping story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron--a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

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    a book so compelling that I couldn’t turn away.

    Dec 3, 2018 — Source

  • The Rise and Fall of American Growth

    The Rise and Fall of American Growth

    Robert J. Gordon
    The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War
    Business & Economics

    In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Gordon contends that the nation's productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.

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    The book was a fantastic read, and well worth the time.

    Jul 26, 2016 — Source

  • A Gentleman in Moscow

    A Gentleman in Moscow

    Amor Towles
    Fiction

    The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series One of five Summer 2019 reading picks by Bill Gates "The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, and] twists of fate." --The Wall Street Journal He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

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    A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • The Sixth Extinction

    The Sixth Extinction

    Elizabeth Kolbert
    An Unnatural History
    Nature

    Draws on the work of geologists, botanists, marine biologists, and other researchers to discuss the five devastating mass extinctions on Earth and predicts the coming of a sixth.

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    It’s a sobering but engaging and informative read.

    Jul 13, 2014 — Source

  • Educated

    Educated

    Tara Westover
    A Memoir
    Biography & Autobiography

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University “An amazing story, and truly inspiring. It’s even better than you’ve heard.”—Bill Gates NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. “Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • BookRiot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

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    Educated is an amazing story, and I get why it’s spent so much time on the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

    Dec 3, 2018 — Source

  • The Moment of Lift

    The Moment of Lift

    Melinda Gates
    How Empowering Women Changes the World

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “In her book, Melinda tells the stories of the inspiring people she’s met through her work all over the world, digs into the data, and powerfully illustrates issues that need our attention—from child marriage to gender inequity in the workplace.” — President Barack Obama “The Moment of Lift is an urgent call to courage. It changed how I think about myself, my family, my work, and what’s possible in the world. Melinda weaves together vulnerable, brave storytelling and compelling data to make this one of those rare books that you carry in your heart and mind long after the last page.” — Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Dare to Lead “Melinda Gates has spent many years working with women around the world. This book is an urgent manifesto for an equal society where women are valued and recognized in all spheres of life. Most of all, it is a call for unity, inclusion and connection. We need this message more than ever.” — Malala Yousafzai "Melinda Gates's book is a lesson in listening. A powerful, poignant, and ultimately humble call to arms." — Tara Westover, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Educated A debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women's empowerment. “How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings – and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.” For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down. In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book—to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.” Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention—from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world—and ourselves. Writing with emotion, candor, and grace, she introduces us to remarkable women and shows the power of connecting with one another. When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.

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    I would say this even if I weren’t married to the author: The Moment of Lift is a terrific read.

    Apr 9, 2019 — Source

  • Seveneves

    Seveneves

    Neal Stephenson
    A Novel
    Fiction
    Social Science

    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years. What would happen if the world were ending? A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . . Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth. A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

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    A thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable book.

    May 17, 2016 — Source

  • Army of None

    Army of None

    Paul Scharre
    Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
    History

    "The book I had been waiting for. I can't recommend it highly enough." —Bill Gates The era of autonomous weapons has arrived. Today around the globe, at least thirty nations have weapons that can search for and destroy enemy targets all on their own. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in next-generation warfare, describes these and other high tech weapons systems—from Israel’s Harpy drone to the American submarine-hunting robot ship Sea Hunter—and examines the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. “A smart primer to what’s to come in warfare” (Bruce Schneier), Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to explore the implications of giving weapons the freedom to make life and death decisions. A former soldier himself, Scharre argues that we must embrace technology where it can make war more precise and humane, but when the choice is life or death, there is no replacement for the human heart.

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    Shows that autonomy has great benefits in environments where humans can't survive. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Dec 3, 2018 — Source

  • Why We Sleep

    Why We Sleep

    Matthew Walker
    Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
    Health & Fitness

    "Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity ... An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now ... neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming"--Amazon.com.

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    I don’t necessarily buy into all of Walker’s reporting...but even if you apply a mild discount factor, Why We Sleep is an important and fascinating book.

    Dec 10, 2019 — Source

  • How Not to Be Wrong

    How Not to Be Wrong

    Jordan Ellenberg
    The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life
    Mathematics

    THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

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    A fascinating look at how we all do math.

    May 17, 2016 — Source

  • Hyperbole and a Half

    Hyperbole and a Half

    Allie Brosh
    Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
    Humor

    Hilarious stories about life's mishaps from the creator of the immensely popular blog 'Hyperbole and a Half'. Fully illustrated with over 50% new material. Hyperbole and A Half is a blog written by a 20-something American girl called Allie Brosh. She tells fantastically funny, wise stories about the mishaps of her everyday life, with titles like 'Why Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving' and 'The God of Cake'. She accompanies these with naive drawings using Paint on her PC. Brosh's website receives millions of visitors a month and hundreds of thousands of per day. Now her full-colour debut book chronicles the many "learning experiences" Brosh has endured as a result of her own character flaws. It includes stories about her rambunctious childhood; the highs and mostly lows of owning a mentally challenged dog; and a moving and darkly comic account of her struggles with depression. Poignant and uproarious - think Cyanide and Happiness but with story-lines, cake and dogs.

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    an honest-to-goodness summer read. You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell.

    May 19, 2015 — Source

  • Sapiens

    Sapiens

    Yuval Noah Harari
    A Brief History of Humankind
    Science

    New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

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    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history.

    May 17, 2016 — Source

  • The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

    The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

    Andy Puddicombe
    How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day
    Body
    Mind & Spirit

    Quiet the mind, feel less stressed, less tired, and achieve a new level of calm and fulfillment in just ten minutes a day Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, the Voice of Headspace, and the UK’s foremost mindfulness expert, is on a mission: to get people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in the here and now. Like his readers and students, Andy began his own meditation practice as a normal, busy person with everyday concerns, and he has since designed a program of mindfulness and guided meditation that fits neatly into a jam-packed daily routine—proving that just 10 minutes a day can make a world of difference. Accessible and portable, The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness offers simple but powerful meditation techniques that positively impact every area of physical and mental health: from productivity and focus, to stress and anxiety relief, sleep, weight-loss, personal relationships...the benefits are limitless. The result? More headspace, less stress. Andy brings this ancient practice into the modern world, tailor made for the most time starved among us. Switch off after work * Fall asleep at night * Feel less anxious, sad, or angry * Control your cravings * Find a healthy weight

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    Andy has taken some heat for his low-barrier approach, but he got me to take up meditation.

    Dec 3, 2018 — Source

  • Should We Eat Meat?

    Should We Eat Meat?

    Vaclav Smil
    Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory
    Technology & Engineering

    Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether considering the technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-related aspects of production and consumption. This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout their evolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs, and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption are described in order to find out what part its consumption plays in changing modern diets in countries around the world. The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" of western diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and at the huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impacts are also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, the author looks forward at his vision of “rational meat eating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein make a higher contribution. Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for or against carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat's roles in human diets and the environmental and health consequences of its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a wide readership including professionals and academics in food and agricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmental science, and regulatory and policy making bodies around the world.

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    I have written several times before about how much I admire Smils work.

    Apr 21, 2015 — Source

  • When Breath Becomes Air

    When Breath Becomes Air

    Paul Kalanithi
    Biography & Autobiography

    A cloth bag containing eight copies of the title.

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    It's an amazing book and the best nonfiction story I've read in a long time.

    Mar 7, 2017 — Source

  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

    21 Lessons for the 21st Century

    Yuval Noah Harari
    History

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues. “Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading. “If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’”—BookPage (top pick)

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    Harari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.

    Dec 3, 2018 — Source

  • Mindset

    Mindset

    Carol S. Dweck
    Family & Relationships

    After more than 20 years of study on how an individual's mindset motivates success, Dweck shows how these mindsets profoundly shape achievements and relationships, and how a mindset can be applied to achieve success.

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    One of the reasons I loved Mindset is because it’s solutions-oriented.

    Dec 7, 2015 — Source

  • Turtles All the Way Down

    Turtles All the Way Down

    John Green
    Anxiety disorders

    Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett's son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaskaand The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

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    My family loved reading this book together.

    Mar 27, 2018 — Source

  • On Immunity

    On Immunity

    Eula Biss
    An Inoculation
    Social Science

    A New York Times Best Seller A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year A Facebook "Year of Books" Selection One of the Best Books of the Year * National Book Critics Circle Award finalist * The New York Times Book Review (Top 10) * Entertainment Weekly (Top 10) * New York Magazine (Top 10)* Chicago Tribune (Top 10) * Publishers Weekly (Top 10) * Time Out New York (Top 10) * Los Angeles Times * Kirkus * Booklist * NPR's Science Friday * Newsday * Slate * Refinery 29 * And many more... Why do we fear vaccines? A provocative examination by Eula Biss, the author of Notes from No Man's Land, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear-fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world. In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected-our bodies and our fates.

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    When I stumbled across the book on the Internet, I thought it might be a worthwhile read. I had no idea what a pleasure reading it would be.

    May 30, 2015 — Source

  • How Asia Works

    How Asia Works

    Joe Studwell
    Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region
    Business & Economics

    A freelance journalist in Asia and founding editor of China Economic Quarterly presents a detailed analysis of why the economies of some Asian countries have flourished while others have declined. 20,000 first printing.

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    I found the book to be quite compelling.

    Dec 8, 2014 — Source

  • String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis

    String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis

    David Foster Wallace
    A Library of America Special Publication
    Biography & Autobiography

    An instant classic of American sportswriting--the tennis essays of David Foster Wallace, "the best mind of his generation" (A. O. Scott) and "the best tennis-writer of all time" (New York Times) Both a onetime "near-great junior tennis player" and a lifelong connoisseur of the finer points of the game, David Foster Wallace wrote about tennis with the authority of an insider, the showmanship of a literary pyrotechnician, and disarming admiration of an irrepressible fan. Including his masterful profiles of Roger Federer and Tracy Austin, String Theory gathers Wallace's five famous essays on tennis, pieces that have been hailed by sportswriters and literary critics alike as some of the greatest and most innovative magazine writing in recent memory. Whiting-Award winning journalist John Jeremiah Sullivan provides an introduction.

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    I loved this book on tennis as much for the writing as its insights into my favorite sport.

    Dec 5, 2016 — Source

  • How to Lie with Statistics

    How to Lie with Statistics

    Darrell Huff
    Mathematics

    If you want to outsmart a crook, learn his tricks—Darrell Huff explains exactly how in the classic How to Lie with Statistics. From distorted graphs and biased samples to misleading averages, there are countless statistical dodges that lend cover to anyone with an ax to grind or a product to sell. With abundant examples and illustrations, Darrell Huff’s lively and engaging primer clarifies the basic principles of statistics and explains how they’re used to present information in honest and not-so-honest ways. Now even more indispensable in our data-driven world than it was when first published, How to Lie with Statistics is the book that generations of readers have relied on to keep from being fooled.

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    How to Lie With Statistics is a great introduction to a crucial topic.

    Mar 14, 2015 — Source

  • Life Is What You Make It

    Life Is What You Make It

    Peter Buffett
    Biography & Autobiography

    From composer, musician, philanthropist--and son of Warren Buffett--comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that expounds on the strong set of values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious and talented father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way.

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    It's a thoughtful and touching book, and we plan on reading it with our older children.

    Jun 18, 2010 — Source

  • In FED We Trust

    In FED We Trust

    David Wessel
    Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic
    Business & Economics

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Wall Street Journal presents an inside account of the struggle of Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke and his financial team to prevent the current financial crisis from becoming a next Great Depression. Reprint. A best-selling book.

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    if someone wants to understand what happened during what they call the “Great Panic,” this is one of the books they should be read.

    Feb 22, 2010 — Source

  • The Magic of Reality

    The Magic of Reality

    Richard Dawkins
    How We Know What's Really True
    Comics & Graphic Novels

    The best-selling author of The God Delusion and the artist of such award-winning graphic novels as Wizard and Glass address key scientific questions previously explained by rich mythologies, from the evolution of the first humans and the life cycle of stars to the principles of a rainbow and the origins of the universe. 150,000 first printing.

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    I loved reading this science book for young adults.

    May 19, 2015 — Source

  • A World-Class Education

    A World-Class Education

    Vivien Stewart
    Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation
    Education

    In the 20th century, the United States was the world leader in education--the first country to achieve universal secondary education and the first to expand higher education beyond the elite class. Now other countries are catching up and leaping ahead--in high school graduation rates, in the quality and equity of their K-12 education systems, and in the proportion of students graduating from college. It is not that American education has gotten worse so much that education in other parts of the world has gotten so much better, so fast. Designed to promote conversation about how to educate students for a rapidly changing and increasingly borderless and innovation-based world, this comprehensive and illuminating book from international education expert Vivien Stewart is not about casting blame; it is about understanding what the best school systems in the world are doing right for the purpose of identifying what U.S. schools--at the national, state, and local level--might do differently and better. Here, you'll consider * How the U.S. education system fares against emerging international standards of excellence. * The policies, practices, and priorities of the world's best-performing systems, along with specific ideas for adapting these approaches for U.S. schools. * The common factors characteristic of high-performing and rapidly improving systems. * New models of 21st century teaching and leadership and ways to modernize curriculum, instruction, and assessment. * How technology and international exchange can help the United States close performance gaps and reach new levels of excellence and equity. Learning goes both ways, Stewart writes. Other countries have learned a great deal from the United States, and now it is time for American educators to open their eyes to other nations' globally-minded and future-focused practices, leverage existing assets, and create a truly world-class education system for this generation of students and generations to come.

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    I recommend this book as a good overview of what other countries are doing, although I would have liked to see more data.

    Oct 30, 2012 — Source

  • The Gene

    The Gene

    Siddhartha Mukherjee
    An Intimate History
    History

    Prologue: Families -- "The missing science of heredity" 1865-1935 -- "In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts" 1930-1970 -- "The dreams of geneticists" 1970-2001 -- "The proper study of mankind is man" 1970-2005 -- Through the looking glass 2001-2015 -- Post-genome 2015- ... -- Epilogue: Bheda, Abheda

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    Technology is amoral. It is neither good nor bad. It is up to all of us...to think hard about these new technologies and how they should and should not be used. Reading The Gene will get you the point where you can actively engage in that debate.

    Nov 14, 2016 — Source

  • The Man Who Fed the World

    The Man Who Fed the World

    Leon Hesser

    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and his battle to end world hunger. An authorized biography by Leon Hesser - Foreword by Jimmy Carter.

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    there is a great biography of Borlaug, The Man Who Fed the World, which I highly recommend.

    Jan 24, 2012 — Source

  • Energy and Civilization

    Energy and Civilization

    Vaclav Smil
    A History

    A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization. "I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. --Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows--ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity--for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts--from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

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    One of my favorite authors explains how energy drives human history.

    Dec 4, 2017 — Source

  • The Idealist

    The Idealist

    Nina Munk
    Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty
    Social Science

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Bloomberg • Forbes • The Spectator Recipient of Foreign Policy's 2013 Albie Award A powerful portrayal of Jeffrey Sachs's ambitious quest to end global poverty "The poor you will always have with you," to cite the Gospel of Matthew 26:11. Jeffrey Sachs—celebrated economist, special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, and author of the influential bestseller The End of Poverty—disagrees. In his view, poverty is a problem that can be solved. With single-minded determination he has attempted to put into practice his theories about ending extreme poverty, to prove that the world's most destitute people can be lifted onto "the ladder of development." In 2006, Sachs launched the Millennium Villages Project, a daring five-year experiment designed to test his theories in Africa. The first Millennium village was in Sauri, a remote cluster of farming communities in western Kenya. The initial results were encouraging. With his first taste of success, and backed by one hundred twenty million dollars from George Soros and other likeminded donors, Sachs rolled out a dozen model villages in ten sub-Saharan countries. Once his approach was validated it would be scaled up across the entire continent. At least that was the idea. For the past six years, Nina Munk has reported deeply on the Millennium Villages Project, accompanying Sachs on his official trips to Africa and listening in on conversations with heads-of-state, humanitarian organizations, rival economists, and development experts. She has immersed herself in the lives of people in two Millennium villages: Ruhiira, in southwest Uganda, and Dertu, in the arid borderland between Kenya and Somalia. Accepting the hospitality of camel herders and small-hold farmers, and witnessing their struggle to survive, Munk came to understand the real-life issues that challenge Sachs's formula for ending global poverty. THE IDEALIST is the profound and moving story of what happens when the abstract theories of a brilliant, driven man meet the reality of human life.

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    It’s a valuable—and, at times, heartbreaking—cautionary tale.

    May 21, 2014 — Source

  • The Vital Question

    The Vital Question

    Nick Lane
    Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
    Science

    To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

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    This biology book blew me away

    Apr 27, 2016 — Source

  • What If?

    What If?

    Randall Munroe
    Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
    Humor

    The creator of the incredibly popular webcomic xkcd presents his heavily researched answers to his fans' oddest questions, including “What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool?” and “Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?” 100,000 first printing.

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    I got a kick out of Randall Munroe’s brilliant, offbeat science lessons.

    May 19, 2015 — Source

  • Growth

    Growth

    Vaclav Smil
    From Microorganisms to Megacities
    Nature

    A systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations. Growth has been both an unspoken and an explicit aim of our individual and collective striving. It governs the lives of microorganisms and galaxies; it shapes the capabilities of our extraordinarily large brains and the fortunes of our economies. Growth is manifested in annual increments of continental crust, a rising gross domestic product, a child's growth chart, the spread of cancerous cells. In this magisterial book, Vaclav Smil offers systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations. Smil takes readers from bacterial invasions through animal metabolisms to megacities and the global economy. He begins with organisms whose mature sizes range from microscopic to enormous, looking at disease-causing microbes, the cultivation of staple crops, and human growth from infancy to adulthood. He examines the growth of energy conversions and man-made objects that enable economic activities--developments that have been essential to civilization. Finally, he looks at growth in complex systems, beginning with the growth of human populations and proceeding to the growth of cities. He considers the challenges of tracing the growth of empires and civilizations, explaining that we can chart the growth of organisms across individual and evolutionary time, but that the progress of societies and economies, not so linear, encompasses both decline and renewal. The trajectory of modern civilization, driven by competing imperatives of material growth and biospheric limits, Smil tells us, remains uncertain.

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    Although Growth is a brilliant synthesis of everything we can learn from patterns of growth in the natural and human-made world, it’s not for everyone. Long sections read like a textbook or engineering manual.

    Dec 10, 2019 — Source

  • Shoe Dog

    Shoe Dog

    Phil Knight
    A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
    Autobiographies

    'A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like ... It's an amazing tale' Bill Gates 'The best book I read last year was Shoe Dog, by Nike's Phil Knight. Phil is a very wise, intelligent and competitive fellow who is also a gifted storyteller' Warren Buffett In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. Candid, humble, wry and gutsy, he begins with his crossroads moment when at 24 he decided to start his own business. He details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream - along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls how his first band of partners and employees soon became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything. A memoir rich with insight, humour and hard-won wisdom, this book is also studded with lessons - about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.

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    A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like.

    Dec 5, 2016 — Source

  • SuperFreakonomics

    SuperFreakonomics

    Steven D. Levitt
    Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
    Business & Economics

    The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the "freakquel" is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first. SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as: How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa? Who adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Did TV cause a rise in crime? Can eating kangaroo meat save the planet? Whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically, Levitt and Dubner show the world for what it really is—good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, superfreaky.

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    Entertaining, well-written, and full of surprises and insights.

    Feb 1, 2010 — Source

  • Origin Story

    Origin Story

    David Christian
    A Big History of Everything

    How did we get from the Big Bang to today's staggering complexity, in which seven billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction? Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during eight key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. This last mega-innovation gave us an energy bonanza that brought huge benefits to mankind, yet also threatens to shake apart everything we have created. This global origin story is one that we could only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge. Panoramic in scope and thrillingly told, Origin Storyreveals what we learn about human existence when we consider it from a universal scale.

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    An up-to-date history of everything that will leave you with a greater appreciation of our place in the universe.

    May 21, 2018 — Source

  • The World Until Yesterday

    The World Until Yesterday

    Jared Diamond
    What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
    History

    Draws on decades of field work in the Pacific islands and other world regions to illuminate the degree to which modern society reflects traditional cultures from earlier and ancient time periods.

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    if you have a particular interest in what life is like for hunter-gatherers, The World Until Tomorrow is a good choice.

    Jul 18, 2013 — Source

  • The Most Powerful Idea in the World

    The Most Powerful Idea in the World

    William Rosen
    A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
    Business & Economics

    "The Most Powerful Idea in the World argues that the very notion of intellectual property drove not only the invention of the steam engine but also the entire Industrial Revolution." -- Back cover.

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    The Most Powerful Idea in the World is an entertaining narrative weaving together the clever characters, incremental innovations and historical context behind the steam engines that gave birth to our modern world.

    Feb 4, 2013 — Source

  • The Future of Capitalism

    The Future of Capitalism

    Paul Collier
    Facing the New Anxieties
    Political Science

    From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it. Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of the United States and other Western societies: thriving cities versus rural counties, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism and socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit, and the return of the far-right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now. In a passionate and polemical book, celebrated economist Paul Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing these rifts—economic, social and cultural—with the cool head of pragmatism, rather than the fervor of ideological revivalism. He reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from working-class Sheffield to hyper-competitive Oxford, and working between Britain and Africa, and acknowledges some of the failings of his profession. Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, he shows us how to save capitalism from itself—and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the twentieth century.

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    I was eager to see what he had to say. I’m glad I did. The Future of Capitalism is an ambitious and thought-provoking book.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • Where Good Ideas Come From

    Where Good Ideas Come From

    Steven Johnson
    The Natural History of Innovation
    History

    From a coral reef teeming with life to the instant success of YouTube, the author explores what kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas, identifying the seven key principles for generating great notions. By the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You. Reprint. A best-selling book.

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    Good at giving examples of how you create environments that can encourage good ideas.

     — Source

  • The Myth of the Strong Leader

    The Myth of the Strong Leader

    Archie Brown
    Political Leadership in the Modern Age
    Political Science

    Using examples from strong leaders from Charles De Gaulle and Margaret Thatcher to Barack Obama, a renowned politics professor dispels the notion that leaders who dominate the policy-making process are more effective than those with a more collegial ruling style. 17,500 first printing.

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    Though The Myth of the Strong Leader is about political leadership, you come away from Brown’s analysis with a deeper understanding of leadership in general.

    Dec 5, 2016 — Source

  • Prepared

    Prepared

    Diane Tavenner
    What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life
    Education

    "Diane Tavenner, founder of Summit Public Schools, offers a blueprint for a better way to educate our children, based on the revolutionary lessons, insights, and methodology she and her faculty developed over 15 years at their famously successful charter schools in California and Washington, which she is now introducing to public school systems across the country that Summit is partnering with to transform education and better prepare our children to lead fulfilled and successful lives. Diane Tavenner founded the first Summit charter school in 2003, developing and perfecting a personalized, project-based curriculum that puts students in charge of their own learning. The school developed a learning plan for every student. They engaged the students by appealing to them with interdisciplinary, real-world projects, rather than passively learning and memorizing in a classroom environment. They created mentorship groups, where students would talk through their goals and help each other solve problems, as well as meet one-on-one with their mentor, weekly. By internalizing a sense of purpose, self-direction, self-sufficiency, and collaboration, students learn the cognitive and life skills needed to navigate the next phases of their lives. Virtually 100% of Summit's original 400 students went on to attend four year colleges"--

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    Offers amazing tips on preparing kids for college, a career, and life.

    Dec 10, 2019 — Source

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    Katherine Boo
    Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
    History

    A first book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother of a prospective female college student and a young scrap metal thief, in an account t

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    A vivid depiction of the daily challenges millions face in urban slums.

    May 31, 2012 — Source

  • Team of Rivals

    Team of Rivals

    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    Biography & Autobiography

    An analysis of Abraham Lincoln's political talents identifies the character strengths and abilities that enabled his successful election, in an account that also describes how he used the same abilities to rally former opponents in winning the Civil War.

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    I...highly recommend this

    Jul 12, 2014 — Source

  • Awakening Joy

    Awakening Joy

    James Baraz,Shoshana Alexander
    10 Steps that Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness
    Self-Help

    Baraz helps readers discover a path to the happiness that's right in front of them, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient their minds away from dissatisfaction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly available.

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    Even if you don’t read many inspirational books, try this is one. It’s about enjoying life.

    Sep 13, 2012 — Source

  • Why America Is Not a New Rome

    Why America Is Not a New Rome

    Vaclav Smil
    History

    An investigation of the America-Rome analogy that goes deeper than the facile comparisons made on talk shows and in glossy magazine articles. America's post–Cold War strategic dominance and its pre-recession affluence inspired pundits to make celebratory comparisons to ancient Rome at its most powerful. Now, with America no longer perceived as invulnerable, engaged in protracted fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, comparisons are to the bloated, decadent, ineffectual later Empire. In Why America Is Not a New Rome, Vaclav Smil looks at these comparisons in detail, going deeper than the facile analogy-making of talk shows and glossy magazine articles. He finds profound differences. Smil, a scientist and a lifelong student of Roman history, focuses on several fundamental concerns: the very meaning of empire; the actual extent and nature of Roman and American power; the role of knowledge and innovation; and demographic and economic basics—population dynamics, illness, death, wealth, and misery. America is not a latter-day Rome, Smil finds, and we need to understand this in order to look ahead without the burden of counterproductive analogies. Superficial similarities do not imply long-term political, demographic, or economic outcomes identical to Rome's.

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    Vaclav Smil has written another very informative book

    Oct 21, 2010 — Source

  • Energy Transitions

    Energy Transitions

    Vaclav Smil
    History, Requirements, Prospects
    Business & Economics

    This bold and controversial argument shows why energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and how ignoring this fact raises unrealistic expectations that the United States and other global economies can be weaned quickly from a primary dependency on fossil fuels. * Includes case studies of energy transitions in eight nations * Presents graphs of energy transitions on global and national scales, showing both common features and idiosyncratic patterns * Features photographs of the containment vessel of America's first nuclear reactor and of a stationary gas turbine * Provides a thorough bibliography

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    Vaclav Smil has written another important book on energy which is quite amazing

    Oct 6, 2010 — Source

  • The Great Escape

    The Great Escape

    Angus Deaton
    Business & Economics

    Asserts that 250 years ago, some parts of the world began to experience sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's hugely unequal world and examines the United States, a nation that has prospered but is today experiencing slower growth and increasing inequality.

    Buy on Amazon

    there’s a lot to recommend in it

    Apr 8, 2014 — Source

  • The Heart

    The Heart

    Maylis de Kerangal
    A Novel
    Fiction

    Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. While driving home exhausted, the boys are involved in a fatal car accident on a deserted road. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one goes through the windshield. The doctors declare him brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital, but his heart is still beating. The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding the resulting heart transplant, as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose, it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved as they navigate decisions of life and death. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, The Heart mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the breakthrough work of a new literary star. With the precision of a surgeon and the language of a poet, de Kerangal has made a major contribution to both medicine and literature with an epic tale of grief, hope, and survival.

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    Melinda thought I would love Maylis de Kerangal’s The Heart. She was right.

    May 22, 2017 — Source

  • The Emperor of All Maladies

    The Emperor of All Maladies

    Siddhartha Mukherjee
    A Biography of Cancer
    History

    An assessment of cancer addresses both the courageous battles against the disease and the misperceptions and hubris that have compromised modern understandings, providing coverage of such topics as ancient-world surgeries and the development of present-day treatments. Reprint. Best-selling winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Includes reading-group guide.

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    [a] brilliant book about cancer, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.

    Nov 14, 2016 — Source

  • Poor Economics

    Poor Economics

    Abhijit V. Banerjee,Esther Duflo
    Rethinking Poverty and the Ways to End it
    Economic assistance

    Buy on Amazon

    Very helpful, because it is both empirically rigorous and insightful

    Oct 31, 2011 — Source

  • Capitalism without Capital

    Capitalism without Capital

    Jonathan Haskel,Stian Westlake
    The Rise of the Intangible Economy
    Business & Economics

    Early in the twenty-first century, a quiet revolution occurred. For the first time, the major developed economies began to invest more in intangible assets, like design, branding, and software, than in tangible assets, like machinery, buildings, and computers. For all sorts of businesses, the ability to deploy assets that one can neither see nor touch is increasingly the main source of long-term success. But this is not just a familiar story of the so-called new economy. Capitalism without Capital shows that the growing importance of intangible assets has also played a role in some of the larger economic changes of the past decade, including the growth in economic inequality and the stagnation of productivity. Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake explore the unusual economic characteristics of intangible investment and discuss how an economy rich in intangibles is fundamentally different from one based on tangibles. Capitalism without Capital concludes by outlining how managers, investors, and policymakers can exploit the characteristics of an intangible age to grow their businesses, portfolios, and economies.

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    The book is eye opening, but it’s not for everyone. Although Haskel and Westlake are good about explaining things, you need some familiarity with economics to follow what they’re saying.

    Aug 14, 2018 — Source

  • The New Science of Strong Materials

    The New Science of Strong Materials

    J E Gordon,James Edward Gordon
    Or Why You Don't Fall Through the Floor
    Science

    Why isn't wood weaker that it is? Why isn't steel stronger? Why does glass sometimes shatter and sometimes bend like spring? Why do ships break in half? What is a liquid and is treacle one? All these are questions about the nature of materials. All of them are vital to engineers but also fascinating as scientific problems. During the 250 years up to the 1920s and 1930s they had been answered largely by seeing how materials behaved in practice. But materials continued to do things that they "ought" not to have done. Only in the last 40 years have these questions begun to be answered by a new approach. Material scientists have started to look more deeply into the make-up of materials. They have found many surprises; above all, perhaps, that how a material behaves depends on how perfectly - or imperfectly - its atoms are arranged. Using both SI and imperial units, Professor Gordon's account of material science is a demonstration of the sometimes curious and entertaining ways in which scientists isolate and solve problems.

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    It is a very cool book that I recommend.

    Sep 19, 2011 — Source

  • Leonardo da Vinci

    Leonardo da Vinci

    Walter Isaacson
    Biography & Autobiography

    The #1 New York Times bestseller from Walter Isaacson brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography that is “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker). Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy. He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius. In the “luminous” (Daily Beast) Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson describes how Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Here, da Vinci “comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography…a vigorous, insightful portrait” (The Washington Post).

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    If you liked Walter’s major biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, you’ll probably appreciate this one.

    May 21, 2018 — Source

  • Why Does College Cost So Much?

    Why Does College Cost So Much?

    David H. Feldman,Robert B. Archibald
    Business & Economics

    For much of the past century college tuition has risen more rapidly than the inflation rate. Unlike many analyses of higher education, Archibald and Feldman show how broad economic factors have combined to push up cost. These forces are largely out of the control of colleges and universities.

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    This book is a useful introduction to a complex problem.

    May 1, 2013 — Source

  • Making the Modern World

    Making the Modern World

    Vaclav Smil
    Dune (Imaginary place)
    Science

    How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production.

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    Not only did I learn some mind-blowing facts, but I also gained a new appreciation for all the materials that make modern life possible.

    Jun 12, 2014 — Source

  • Work Hard. Be Nice.

    Work Hard. Be Nice.

    Jay Mathews
    How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America
    Biography & Autobiography

    When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators. They did that—and more. In their early twenties, by sheer force of talent and determination never to take no for an answer, they created a wildly successful fifth-grade experience that would grow into the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which today includes sixty-six schools in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. KIPP schools incorporate what Feinberg and Levin learned from America's best, most charismatic teachers: lessons need to be lively; school days need to be longer (the KIPP day is nine and a half hours); the completion of homework has to be sacrosanct (KIPP teachers are available by telephone day and night). Chants, songs, and slogans such as "Work hard, be nice" energize the program. Illuminating the ups and downs of the KIPP founders and their students, Mathews gives us something quite rare: a hopeful book about education.

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    I certainly think people who care about education should read the book

    Jan 21, 2010 — Source

  • The Sympathizer

    The Sympathizer

    Viet Thanh Nguyen
    A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
    Fiction

    Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner of the 2016 Edgar Award for Best First Novel Winner of the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction “[A] remarkable debut novel”—Philip Caputo, New York Times Book Review (cover review) The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is one of the most acclaimed books of the twenty-first century. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Vladimir Nabokov, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who comes to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping spy novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.

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    I thought this thrilling story about a double agent lived up to the hype.

    Dec 4, 2017 — Source

  • The Bet

    The Bet

    Paul Sabin
    Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth's Future
    Business & Economics

    " In 1980, the iconoclastic economist Julian Simon challenged celebrity biologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet. Their wager on the future prices of five metals captured the public's imagination as a test of coming prosperity or doom. Ehrlich, author of the landmark book The Population Bomb, predicted that rising populations would cause overconsumption, resource scarcity, and famine-with apocalyptic consequences for humanity. Simon optimistically countered that human welfare would flourish thanks to flexible markets, technological change, and our collective ingenuity. Simon and Ehrlich's debate reflected a deepening national conflict over the future of the planet. The Bet weaves the two men's lives and ideas together with the era's partisan political clashes over the environment and the role of government. In a lively narrative leading from the dawning environmentalism of the 1960s through the pivotal presidential contest between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and on into the 1990s, Paul Sabin shows how the fight between Ehrlich and Simon-between environmental fears and free-market confidence-helped create the gulf separating environmentalists and their critics today. Drawing insights from both sides, Sabin argues for using social values, rather than economic or biological absolutes, to guide society's crucial choices relating to climate change, the planet's health, and our own"--

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    I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the history of the divisive discussions we have today

    Dec 12, 2013 — Source

  • Prime Movers of Globalization

    Prime Movers of Globalization

    Vaclav Smil
    The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines
    Political Science

    The story of how diesel engines and gas turbines, used to power cargo ships and jet airplanes, made today's globally integrated economy possible. The many books on globalization published over the past few years range from claims that the world is flat to an unlikely rehabilitation of Genghis Khan as a pioneer of global commerce. Missing from these accounts is a consideration of the technologies behind the creation of the globalized economy. What makes it possible for us to move billions of tons of raw materials and manufactured goods from continent to continent? Why are we able to fly almost anywhere on the planet within twenty-four hours? In Prime Movers of Globalization, Vaclav Smil offers a history of two key technical developments that have driven globalization: the high-compression non-sparking internal combustion engines invented by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890s and the gas turbines designed by Frank Whittle and Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain in the 1930s. The massive diesel engines that power cargo ships and the gas turbines that propel jet engines, Smil argues, are more important to the global economy than any corporate structure or international trade agreement. Smil compares the efficiency and scale of these two technologies to prime movers of the past, including the sail and the steam engine. The lengthy processes of development, commercialization, and diffusion that the diesel engine and the gas turbine went through, he argues, provide perfect examples of gradual technical advances that receive little attention but have resulted in epochal shifts in global affairs and the global economy.

    Buy on Amazon

    another remarkable book by Smil

    Oct 26, 2017 — Source

  • Getting Better

    Getting Better

    Charles Kenny
    Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More
    Business & Economics

    As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty--and even happiness. Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world. He also shows that by understanding this transformation, we can make the world an even better place to live. That's not to say that life is grand for everyone, or that we don't have a long way to go. But improvements have spread far, and, according to Kenny, they can spread even further.

    Buy on Amazon

    One of the best known, economist William Easterly, even provided a blurb, praising the book. “You will never look at global economic development the same way again,” he says. To me, that’s exactly right.

    May 21, 2011 — Source

  • Everything Happens for a Reason

    Everything Happens for a Reason

    Kate Bowler
    And Other Lies I've Loved
    Biography & Autobiography

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "A meditation on sense-making when there's no sense to be made, on letting go when we can't hold on, and on being unafraid even when we're terrified."--Lucy Kalanithi "Belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande's Being Mortal."--Bill Gates NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God's disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward "blessing." She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son. Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with "a surge of determination." Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you "can't do" and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before. Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live. Praise for Everything Happens for a Reason "I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping--she's like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate's story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for?"--Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising

    Buy on Amazon

    A wise and funny memoir from a young woman facing her own mortality.

    May 21, 2018 — Source

  • Change.edu

    Change.edu

    Andrew S Rosen
    Rebooting for the New Talent Economy
    Education

    It’s no wonder American higher education is facing a crisis. While low-income students can’t find a spot in their local community colleges for lack of funding, public four-year universities are spending staggering sums on luxurious residence halls, ever-bigger football stadiums, and obscure research institutes. We have cosseted our most advantaged students even as we deny access to the working adults who urgently need higher education to advance their careers and our economy. In Change.edu: Rebooting for the new talent economy Andrew S. Rosen clearly and entertainingly details how far the American higher education system has strayed from the goals of access, quality, affordability, and accountability that should characterize our system, and offers a prescription to restore American educational pre-eminence. To change, our system will have to end its reflexive opposition to anything new and different. Rosen describes how each new wave of innovation and expansion of educational access— starting with the founding of Harvard in 1636, and continuing with the advent of land-grant colleges in the 19th century, community colleges in the 20th century and private sector colleges over the last two decades—has been met with misunderstanding and ridicule. When colleges like the University of California, Cornell and Purdue were founded, they were scorned as “pretenders to the title of university” – language that tracks later criticisms of community colleges and most recently for-profit colleges. Avoiding that condescension is just one of the reasons colleges have come under the sway of “Harvard Envy” – schools that were founded to expand access feel an inexorable tug to become more prestigious and exclusive. Even worse, the competition for the best students has led universities to turn themselves into full-fledged resorts; they’ve built climbing walls, French bistros and 20-person hot-tubs to entice students to their campuses. How can America address an incentive system in higher education that is mismatched to the challenges of the years ahead? In Change.edu, Rosen outlines “seven certainties” of education in the coming 25 years, and presents an imperative for how our system must prepare for the coming changes. He proposes a new “playbook” for dealing with the change ahead, one that will enable American higher education to regain its global primacy and be a catalyst for economic growth in the 21st century.

    Buy on Amazon

    I find his insights truly important for the debate on what needs to be done to improve the success of post-secondary education in America.

    Jan 22, 2012 — Source

  • Energy Myths and Realities

    Energy Myths and Realities

    Vaclav Smil
    Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate
    Political Science

    Reality: Comprehensive energy transitions take several generations. --

    Buy on Amazon

    I recommend this book to everyone who spends time working on energy issues

    Oct 13, 2010 — Source

  • The Power to Compete

    The Power to Compete

    Hiroshi Mikitani,Ryoichi Mikitani
    An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy
    Business & Economics

    "If you're as interested in Japan as I am, I think you'll find that The Power to Compete is a smart and thought-provoking look at the future of a fascinating country." - Bill Gates, "5 Books to Read This Summer" Father and son – entrepreneur and economist – search for Japan's economic cure The Power to Compete tackles the issues central to the prosperity of Japan – and the world – in search of a cure for the "Japan Disease." As founder and CEO of Rakuten, one of the world's largest Internet companies, author Hiroshi Mikitani brings an entrepreneur's perspective to bear on the country's economic stagnation. Through a freewheeling and candid conversation with his economist father, Ryoichi Mikitani, the two examine the issues facing Japan, and explore possible roadmaps to revitalization. How can Japan overhaul its economy, education system, immigration, public infrastructure, and hold its own with China? Their ideas include applying business techniques like Key Performance Indicators to fix the economy, using information technology to cut government bureaucracy, and increasing the number of foreign firms with a head office in Japan. Readers gain rare insight into Japan's future, from both academic and practical perspectives on the inside. Mikitani argues that Japan's tendency to shun international frameworks and hide from global realities is the root of the problem, while Mikitani Sr.'s background as an international economist puts the issue in perspective for a well-rounded look at today's Japan. Examine the causes of Japan's endless economic stagnation Discover the current efforts underway to enhance Japan's competitiveness Learn how free market "Abenomics" affected Japan's economy long-term See Japan's issues from the perspective of an entrepreneur and an economist Japan's malaise is seated in a number of economic, business, political, and cultural issues, and this book doesn't shy away from hot topics. More than a discussion of economics, this book is a conversation between father and son as they work through opposing perspectives to help their country find The Power to Compete.

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    Is a smart and thought-provoking look at the future of a fascinating country.

    May 17, 2016 — Source

  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    Robert A. Heinlein
    Fiction

    A one-armed computer technician, a radical blonde bombshell, an aging academic, and a sentient all-knowing computer lead the lunar population in a revolution against Earth's colonial rule

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    It is a great novel to get lost in, learn from, and think about.

    May 17, 2016 — Source

  • Stretching the School Dollar

    Stretching the School Dollar

    Eric Osberg,Frederick M. Hess
    How Schools and Districts Can Save Money While Serving Students Best
    Education

    Simultaneous pressures to reduce costs and increase student achievement have never been greater than they are today. Not only is cost-cutting essential in this era of tightened resources, argue Hess and Osberg, but eliminating inefficient spending is critical for freeing up resources to drive school reform. Stretching the School Dollar book brings together a dynamic group of authors—scholars, consultants, journalists, and entrepreneurs—who offer fresh insights into an issue no school or district can afford to ignore. Stretching the School Dollar is a volume in the Educational Innovations series.

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    It's a very readable examination of what's wrong with how we spend money on public education in the United States.

    Mar 1, 2011 — Source

  • Born a Crime

    Born a Crime

    Trevor Noah
    Stories from a South African Childhood

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, New York Times * USA Today * San Francisco Chronicle * NPR * Esquire * Newsday * Booklist Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother--his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love. Praise for Born a Crime "[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah's] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah's family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author's remarkable mother."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "[An] unforgettable memoir."--Parade "What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her--and an enormous gift to the rest of us."--USA Today "[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar."--People

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    I quickly learned how Noahs outsider approach has been honed over a lifetime of never quite fitting in

    May 22, 2017 — Source

  • Blueprint

    Blueprint

    Nicholas A. Christakis
    The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
    Science

    "A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more" (Frank Bruni, New York Times), Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity. For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society. In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness. In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.

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    Blueprint by Nicholas Christakis is a fascinating look at human behavior.

    Jul 23, 2019 — Source

  • Upheaval

    Upheaval

    Jared Diamond
    Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

    Buy on Amazon

    I love all of Jared’s books.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • The Quest

    The Quest

    Daniel Yergin
    Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World
    Business & Economics

    Demonstrates how the competition to solve pressing energy problems has become an engine of political and economic change, and shares inside stories of current and developing energy sources from different world regions.

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    At 816 pages, it’s a commitment, but one that you’ll find worthwhile thanks to Yergin’s expertise as an energy expert and writer.

    May 17, 2012 — Source

  • The Box

    The Box

    Marc Levinson
    How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger - Second Edition with a New Chapter by the Author
    Business & Economics

    "In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that reshaped manufacturing. But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, years of high-stakes bargaining, and delicate negotiation on standards. Now with a new chapter, The Box tells the dramatic story of how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur turned containerization from an impractical idea into a phenomenon that transformed economic geography, slashed transportation costs, and made the boom in global trade possible."--Page 4 de la couverture.

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    An excellent book I read this summer about the shipping industry, and in particular an innovation.

    Aug 9, 2013 — Source

  • Stress Test

    Stress Test

    Timothy F. Geithner
    Biography & Autobiography

    From the former Treasury Secretary, the definitive account of the unprecedented effort to save the U.S. economy from collapse in the wake of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.

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    I found the entire book very clear and easy to read.

    Jul 13, 2014 — Source

  • Reinventing American Health Care

    Reinventing American Health Care

    Ezekiel Emanuel
    How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System
    Health & Fitness

    The definitive story of American health care today—its causes, consequences, and confusions In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It was the most extensive reform of America’s health care system since at least the creation of Medicare in 1965, and maybe ever. The ACA was controversial and highly political, and the law faced legal challenges reaching all the way to the Supreme Court; it even precipitated a government shutdown. It was a signature piece of legislation for President Obama’s first term, and also a ball and chain for his second. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania who also served as a special adviser to the White House on health care reform, has written a brilliant diagnostic explanation of why health care in America has become such a divisive social issue, how money and medicine have their own—quite distinct—American story, and why reform has bedeviled presidents of the left and right for more than one hundred years. Emanuel also explains exactly how the ACA reforms are reshaping the health care system now. He forecasts the future, identifying six mega trends in health that will determine the market for health care to 2020 and beyond. His predictions are bold, provocative, and uniquely well-informed. Health care—one of America’s largest employment sectors, with an economy the size of the GDP of France—has never had a more comprehensive or authoritative interpreter.

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    The facts and history that Emanuel lays out would be useful to anyone involved in the debate over health care

    Jul 12, 2014 — Source

  • Homo Deus

    Homo Deus

    Yuval Noah Harari
    A Brief History of Tomorrow
    Science

    Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods. Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda. What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

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    a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity.

    May 22, 2017 — Source

  • Epic Measures

    Epic Measures

    Jeremy N. Smith
    One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients.
    Health & Fitness

    Moneyball meets medicine in this remarkable chronicle of one of the greatest scientific quests of our time—the groundbreaking program to answer the most essential question for humanity: how do we live and die?—and the visionary mastermind behind it. Medical doctor and economist Christopher Murray began the Global Burden of Disease studies to gain a truer understanding of how we live and how we die. While it is one of the largest scientific projects ever attempted—as breathtaking as the first moon landing or the Human Genome Project—the questions it answers are meaningful for every one of us: What are the world’s health problems? Who do they hurt? How much? Where? Why? Murray argues that the ideal existence isn’t simply the longest but the one lived well and with the least illness. Until we can accurately measure how people live and die, we cannot understand what makes us sick or do much to improve it. Challenging the accepted wisdom of the WHO and the UN, the charismatic and controversial health maverick has made enemies—and some influential friends, including Bill Gates who gave Murray a $100 million grant. In Epic Measures, journalist Jeremy N. Smith offers an intimate look at Murray and his groundbreaking work. From ranking countries’ healthcare systems (the U.S. is 37th) to unearthing the shocking reality that world governments are funding developing countries at only 30% of the potential maximum efficiency when it comes to health, Epic Measures introduces a visionary leader whose unwavering determination to improve global health standards has already changed the way the world addresses issues of health and wellness, sets policy, and distributes funding.

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    a highly readable account for anyone who wants to know more about Chris’s work and why it matters.

    Sep 15, 2015 — Source

  • Tomorrow's Table

    Tomorrow's Table

    Pamela C. Ronald,R. W. Adamchak
    Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food
    Science

    By the year 2050, Earth's population will double. If we continue with current farming practices, vast amounts of wilderness will be lost, millions of birds and billions of insects will die, and the public will lose billions of dollars as a consequence of environmental degradation. Clearly, there must be a better way to meet the need for increased food production. Written as part memoir, part instruction, and part contemplation, Tomorrow's Table argues that a judicious blend of two important strands of agriculture--genetic engineering and organic farming--is key to helping feed the world's growing population in an ecologically balanced manner. Pamela Ronald, a geneticist, and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, take the reader inside their lives for roughly a year, allowing us to look over their shoulders so that we can see what geneticists and organic farmers actually do. The reader sees the problems that farmers face, trying to provide larger yields without resorting to expensive or environmentally hazardous chemicals, a problem that will loom larger and larger as the century progresses. They learn how organic farmers and geneticists address these problems. This book is for consumers, farmers, and policy decision makers who want to make food choices and policy that will support ecologically responsible farming practices. It is also for anyone who wants accurate information about organic farming, genetic engineering, and their potential impacts on human health and the environment.

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    This is an important book for anyone who wants to learn about the science of seeds and the challenges faced by farmers.

    Mar 8, 2010 — Source

  • Nine Pints

    Nine Pints

    Rose George
    A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood
    Science

    An eye-opening exploration of blood, the lifegiving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds and the promise of breakthrough science Blood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquitousness, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo: menstruation is perhaps the single most demonized biological event. Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, is renowned for her intrepid work on topics that are invisible but vitally important. In Nine Pints, she takes us from ancient practices of bloodletting to the breakthough of the "liquid biopsy," which promises to diagnose cancer and other diseases with a simple blood test. She introduces Janet Vaughan, who set up the world’s first system of mass blood donation during the Blitz, and Arunachalam Muruganantham, known as “Menstrual Man” for his work on sanitary pads for developing countries. She probes the lucrative business of plasma transfusions, in which the US is known as the “OPEC of plasma.” And she looks to the future, as researchers seek to bring synthetic blood to a hospital near you. Spanning science and politics, stories and global epidemics, Nine Pints reveals our life's blood in an entirely new light.

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    The book is packed with super-interesting facts that I had to work very hard not to share with unsuspecting friends and colleagues during social occasions.

    May 20, 2019 — Source

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy

    J. D. Vance
    A Memoir
    Social Science

    Buy on Amazon

    I think the book was such a good read

    May 22, 2017 — Source

  • Believe Me

    Believe Me

    Eddie Izzard,Laura Zigman
    A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
    Biography & Autobiography

    "Critically acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard details his childhood, his first performances on the streets of London, his ascent to worldwide success on stage and screen, and his comedy shows which have won over audiences around the world"--

    Buy on Amazon

    Eddie Izzard is a comic genius and his memoir is terrific as long as you've seen his act.

    Dec 4, 2017 — Source

  • Being Nixon

    Being Nixon

    Evan Thomas
    A Man Divided
    Biography & Autobiography

    The landmark New York Times bestselling biography of Richard M. Nixon, a political savant whose gaping character flaws would drive him from the presidency and forever taint his legacy. “A biography of eloquence and breadth . . . No single volume about Nixon’s long and interesting life could be so comprehensive.”—Chicago Tribune One of Time’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Year In this revelatory biography, Evan Thomas delivers a radical, unique portrait of America’s thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, a contradictory figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. One of the principal architects of the modern Republican Party and its “silent majority” of disaffected whites and conservative ex-Dixiecrats, Nixon was also deemed a liberal in some quarters for his efforts to desegregate Southern schools, create the Environmental Protection Agency, and end the draft. The son of devout Quakers, Richard Nixon (not unlike his rival John F. Kennedy) grew up in the shadow of an older, favored brother and thrived on conflict and opposition. Through high school and college, in the navy and in politics, Nixon was constantly leading crusades and fighting off enemies real and imagined. He possessed the plainspoken eloquence to reduce American television audiences to tears with his career-saving “Checkers” speech; meanwhile, Nixon’s darker half hatched schemes designed to take down his political foes, earning him the notorious nickname “Tricky Dick.” Drawing on a wide range of historical accounts, Thomas’s biography reveals the contradictions of a leader whose vision and foresight led him to achieve détente with the Soviet Union and reestablish relations with communist China, but whose underhanded political tactics tainted his reputation long before the Watergate scandal. A deeply insightful character study as well as a brilliant political biography, Being Nixon offers a surprising look at a man capable of great bravery and extraordinary deviousness—a balanced portrait of a president too often reduced to caricature. Praise for Being Nixon “Terrifically engaging . . . a fair, insightful and highly entertaining portrait.”—The Wall Street Journal “Thomas has a fine eye for the telling quote and the funny vignette, and his style is eminently readable.”—The New York Times Book Review

    Buy on Amazon

    It’s a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in this brilliant, conflicted, and complicated man.

    Dec 7, 2015 — Source

  • The Rational Optimist

    The Rational Optimist

    Matt Ridley
    How Prosperity Evolves
    Business & Economics

    For two hundred years the pessimists have dominated public discourse, insisting that things will soon be getting much worse. But in fact, life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before. In his bold and bracing exploration into how human culture evolves positively through exchange and specialization, bestselling author Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. An astute, refreshing, and revelatory work that covers the entire sweep of human history—from the Stone Age to the Internet—The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

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    The poor need aid, not flawed theories

    Nov 30, 2010 — Source

  • xkcd

    xkcd

    Randall Munroe
    Volume 0
    Body
    Mind & Spirit
    Humor

    Presents personal selections and fan favorites from the online comic.

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    Youll learn about things like ballistics, DNA, the oceans, the atmosphere, and lightning.

    May 19, 2015 — Source

  • Becoming Steve Jobs

    Becoming Steve Jobs

    Brent Schlender,Rick Tetzeli
    The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader
    Biography & Autobiography

    Now in paperback, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography of how Steve Jobs became the most visionary CEO in history. With a new foreword by Marc Andreessen and new afterword by the authors, Becoming Steve Jobs is a narrative on Jobs' evolution as a manager and leader, as an astute CEO, as a father, and as a visionary with an unparalled sense of what consumers wanted--before they knew what they wanted themselves. But he didn't start out with those skills. When he first left Apple in 1985 and struck out to form his own company, NeXT, he knew little about running a company, holding to a budget, or developing successful products. It was during his years in the wilderness, unsuccessfully launching NeXT and helping to revitalize Pixar, that he learned the skills that would make him so successful upon his return to Apple in 1996.

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    The new book “Becoming Steve Jobs” has me thinking of my old friend. A true visionary.

    Mar 26, 2015 — Source

  • Value-Added Measures in Education

    Value-Added Measures in Education

    Douglas N. Harris
    What Every Educator Needs to Know
    Education

    Douglas Harris takes on one of the most hotly debated topics in education. Drawing on his extensive work with with schools and districts, he sets out to help educators and policy makers understand this innovative approach to assessment, and the issues associated with its use.

    Buy on Amazon

    His book is a solid introduction to how value-added measures can work

    Jan 17, 2013 — Source

  • The Signal and the Noise

    The Signal and the Noise

    Nate Silver
    Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't
    Business & Economics

    The founder of FiveThirtyEight.com challenges myths about predictions in subjects ranging from the financial market and weather to sports and politics, profiling the world of prediction to explain how readers can distinguish true signals from hype, in a report that also reveals the sources and societal costs of wrongful predictions.

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    This book is about predictions in many domains besides politics.

    Feb 21, 2013 — Source

  • Poor Numbers

    Poor Numbers

    Morten Jerven
    How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It
    Political Science

    One of the most urgent challenges in African economic development is to devise a strategy for improving statistical capacity. Reliable statistics, including estimates of economic growth rates and per-capita income, are basic to the operation of governments in developing countries and vital to nongovernmental organizations and other entities that provide financial aid to them. Rich countries and international financial institutions such as the World Bank allocate their development resources on the basis of such data. The paucity of accurate statistics is not merely a technical problem; it has a massive impact on the welfare of citizens in developing countries. Where do these statistics originate? How accurate are they? Poor Numbers is the first analysis of the production and use of African economic development statistics. Morten Jerven's research shows how the statistical capacities of sub-Saharan African economies have fallen into disarray. The numbers substantially misstate the actual state of affairs. As a result, scarce resources are misapplied. Development policy does not deliver the benefits expected. Policymakers' attempts to improve the lot of the citizenry are frustrated. Donors have no accurate sense of the impact of the aid they supply. Jerven's findings from sub-Saharan Africa have far-reaching implications for aid and development policy. As Jerven notes, the current catchphrase in the development community is "evidence-based policy," and scholars are applying increasingly sophisticated econometric methods-but no statistical techniques can substitute for partial and unreliable data.

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    If we can get the numbers right, we can help more people

    May 2, 2013 — Source

  • Academically Adrift

    Academically Adrift

    Josipa Roksa,Richard Arum
    Limited Learning on College Campuses
    Education

    In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor’s degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they’re born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there? For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s answer to that question is a definitive no. Their extensive research draws on survey responses, transcript data, and, for the first time, the state-of-the-art Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test administered to students in their first semester and then again at the end of their second year. According to their analysis of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, 45 percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills—including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing—during their first two years of college. As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise—instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list. Academically Adrift holds sobering lessons for students, faculty, administrators, policy makers, and parents—all of whom are implicated in promoting or at least ignoring contemporary campus culture. Higher education faces crises on a number of fronts, but Arum and Roksa’s report that colleges are failing at their most basic mission will demand the attention of us all.

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    One criticism of the book is that it doesnt look at subject-matter learning.

    Oct 30, 2012 — Source