26 December 2021
I read a lot of books this year. There were some really good ones, and I couldn’t get down to a list of just 5 ala Bill Gates. I have 10 I would recommend. I was mostly drawn to nonfiction about macroeconomics this year, trying to get smarter about what is really happening in the world as we seem to enter a new era of money management. I was also drawn to some great escapist adventure stories, because well the real world has been challenging.
The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes was excellent, a great telling of the factors that influenced Keynes. I was ignorant about him and never realized how committed he was to social reform and delivering economic benefits to everyone. Escape from Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity argues that the collapse of Rome gave rise to the diverse competitive structure of the West that made it so successful, and seems relevant today. Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 is an interesting look at a time period when American democracy was under great stress from pandemics and factionalism, certainly lessons for today. Secrecy: The American Experience is something I should have read long ago, the rise of government secrecy over the last century is not good for us. A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears) is a hilarious tale illustrating the failures of extreme libertarianism.
Iron Lake is a great mystery set in Northern Minnesota. It was easy to imagine being there and the characters were excellent, I am very late to this book and author. The Blacktongue Thief is the start of a great new series, reminded me of Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser” books that I read as a kid. Sharpe’s Rifles is a book from the midpoint of this character’s series, a fun romp in the Napoleonic era. Project Hail Mary is a great space exploration and first contact tale.
Everything: A Book of Aphorisms is a very nice compendium of wisdom.