For graduation we all chipped in and got him a Kindle DX.
Max was wondering what would I recommend has the first set of books to put on his new Kindle.
Here are my recommendations (in rough order in when I read them, latest one on top):
- Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein
- How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Supercrunchers by Ian Ayers
- Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
- The Drunkards Walk by Leonard Mlodinow
- The Omnivore's Dilemna by Michael Pollan
- The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
- The Birth of Plenty by William Bernstein
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
- Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen
- Kluge by Gary Marcus
- The Ape in the Corner Office by Richard Conniff
- The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook
- The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
What would you recommend?
These are the books that have most influenced my thinking over the past few years. The challenge in putting together this list was not putting books in, but leaving books out. I'm sure I've left out some important works.
In looking over the list the main themes that I can draw out are:
- Our brains have evolved to guide behavior that is often less then optimal.
- The sweep of history is positive and defined primarily by an increase of wealth and well-being, largely driven by technological innovation.
- Any effort to understand the current and emerging social structure requires a good grasp of history, theory, and science.
Max, most of all I'd want to tell you that despite graduating in the worst economy and job market since the Depression I'd still argue that we are living in the best of times.
These books tell me that we have the potential to understand our brains, our cultures, and our history, and over the long run this knowledge will contribute to a future that is brighter then what came before.