What I read in 2018 (Non-fiction)

This post is almost a couple of months late. It was begging attention in my draft folder for at least six weeks. Finally here is the list of books that I manage to finish last year.

  • Conflicts of Interest by Sunita Narain : One of the most engaging and informative book that I read last year! Sunita Narain gave first person account of her fight against the corporate lobbies for better air quality, for saving environment and for our health. I would recommend everyone to read this book. Here is an interview that she gave about the book for more information. This book is also my favourite because it talks about many of the things that I have been working in different capacities in my professional life and I could connect very well with what she achieved and challenges she overcame.
  • Skin in the Game by Nicholas Nassim Taleb: This one is really hard hitting and showed mirror to experts and consultant in us. In one line, it told us to not give a hoot to anyone who does not have any skin in the game. This books if full of quotable quotes and can change the way you deal with your life and people around you. He also touched some controversial topics. For example, he minced no words in warning us agains the minority appeasement and how whole population is forced to submit to preferences of a tiny minority.
  • Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker: Taleb attacked Steven Pinker in his latest book “Skin in the Game” and I read these two books back to back. In fact, I read this one before Taleb’s. Taleb made some strong arguments and was brutal in his criticism of Pinker but this book is a rare achievement in scope and relevancy in today’s time. However, there is =a word of caution, Pinker has used his intellectual muscle power (and often questionable quantitative data) to give sanctity to some shitty rhetoric on pressing topics. He presents a very optimistic view of the world, yet misses some key concerns and challenges. For example, in is view we should be optimistic (and not feel guilty) that we would be able to solve climate change problem by geo-engineering.
  • Nine Alogrithms That Changed the Future by John MacCormick: Those who work on computer programming or are technology enthusiast will find the book very informative. I enjoyed reading about how search engine indexing, page ranking and public-key cryptography algos were developed.
  • Now: The Physics of Time by Richard Muller: One of those books that require attention and effort to justice to authors efforts and erudition. Richard Muller gives us the basics of space-time and then goes on to unfurl many topics from quantum physics, different space-time theories and then proposes his own theory of space-time. Highly recommended for anyone looking to get a more detailed understanding of space-time, physical theory of universe, blackholes..etc.

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