In January crustaceans were asked about their reading plans for the year. Now, in December, what new books did people consider to be well worth reading?
I loved “Our Mathematical Universe” - I even thought I understood the various topics before reading it. But Tegmark does an amazing job of pointing to all the crazy implications of our current physical and cosmological theories, and is a very interesting writer - it reminded me a bit of reading various books by Richard Feynman, with the accessible explanations mixed with personal asides. I found it much more mind-bending than anything I’ve read by Feynman, though.
Edit: sorry if the goal was only to post books that came out during 2019; I only read one or two of those and wouldn’t strongly recommend either of them.
This didn’t come out in 2019, but I would highly recommend the book Feed by MT Anderson. I read it almost a year ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Anderson takes capitalism to a certain end- where massive companies are controlling everything, and the world has become completely reliant on the power held by those top few (sound familiar?).
If you need some additional laughter in your life, I recommend acquiring Strange Planet. The comics are hilarious and awkward, clever and wildly truthful observations of strange customs of humans.
I think The Rust Programming Language by my friends Carol Nichols and Steve Klabnik is about the only technical book I read in 2019. Most of my personal reading is electronic and posts, essays, etc.
I’ve just finished Inclusive Components by Heydon Pickering and it was very helpful in sorting out how to build web components that work well with assistive technologies. The bulk of it is available online but I prefer the printed version.
An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management
My own list for 2019, but not all published in 2019
I enjoyed Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. It vocalized a lot of my discomfort with the way I was using technology in my downtime, and I have worked to reduce my time spent on social media (Reddit, in my case, never got on Facebook.)
I will say if you’ve already read his other books (Deep Work, in particular), you are probably already the sort of person who is auditing their time to focus on what matters to you. I did get a “boost” effect by reading it, though.
Not a tech book but perhaps a … technics book, but I really have enjoyed Ibram X Kendi’s 2019 “How to be Anti-racist” The format of the book is one of following his transforming views about various topics and their relation to racism, so you may start a chapter saying “oh heck no” but end up going on a journey through his thinking on racism and what it takes to be anti-racist.
If you’ve read stamped from the beginning, this is a good follow up, but it’s also tighter and more coherent. I’m really enjoying how deep it goes into these systemic issues folks generally argue on the surface of at best.