One of my personal goals for 2019 was to try and read more books again. Here’s a run down on what I read this year:
Born a Crime
By Trevor Noah
Autobiography by the Daily Show host about his upbringing in South Africa. I don’t really watch his show much anymore, but he’s such a fantastic comedic storyteller and does a great service to explain the life of a black South African during apartheid.
By Cal Newport
This book started a theme for me this year in my reading. This topic of how devices and social media pull on our time and attention has been a big interest to me, especially becoming a new dad recently. Digital Minimalism was at times a little too philosophical and too “That’s fine for Cal Newport” in it’s approach to this stuff.
The Calculating Stars & The Fated Sky
By Mary Robinette Kowal
I don’t really read much fiction these days, but I am always a sucker for a good space drama. This is alternate history-based story set in the 1950s where a giant meteor has destroyed the east coast of the United States and has prompted the nations of the world to begin the colonization of space. I’ve only read these two from this series, but I understand that there are more to come. This is such a great premise and could make a really good TV series.
Bored and Brilliant
By Manoush Zomorodi
In this topic of tech usage, I think this was probably the best one I read this year. Zomorodi’s approach was a lot more practical and less about throwing everything away.
By Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
Another in this tech usage series, but based a lot more in types of actions you can try to cut back device use. My favorite take away from this was the term “infinity pool apps”, which can be described as apps that seemingly have an infinite amount of content to browse. This could be social media, Netflix, Amazon, or even a mobile web browser. The idea is that a smartphone is an incredible tool with a lot of utility, like maps or photos, but these “infinity pool apps” are the biggest culprits with time and attention.
By John Clayton
A nuanced historical perspective on the contributions John Muir and Gifford Pinchot (the first to lead the National Forest Service under Teddy Roosevelt) gave to environmentalism and conservation. These two have usually been pitted as rivals where Muir and Pinchot’s philosophy on land use were in conflict with each other. The deeper story is that they were two sides to the same coin and that history has not been kind to Pinchot.