Reading list 2019

I have never been a big ready. My dyslexia gets in the way of that.

Last year though I discovered the power of audible. I have been watching youtube at faster than 1x speed for most things since that was first an option back in 2017 (I thought it was earlier than that, although that might have been a chrome extension). Last year though I would try out audible. 

I started with their d1 month free trial and mum admit to not singing perhaps as they would like people to use it. I don't think the price of £7/month would be worthwhile to me if it wasn't for the wonderful feature that you can return the books for no reason even after you have read them.

This means that although I still only get a single credit per month I am able to once I have finished a book get another one. That is what has allowed me to get through quite the mass of books that I managed throughout 2019. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that in 2019 I read (listened) to more books that I had in the decade prior ( I was going to say ever but there was a time when I got through a lot of biff and chi and they don't take long to finish). 

The following is a dump from the audible and so is in reverse order. 


Title

Purchased

Total

Options








This was one of the most insightful books of the year. The author goes through his experience of poverty. The audiobook is read by it's author which meant I couldn't listen to it quite as sped up as I had other books on this list. 
The most shocking realisation from it was how little money is mentioned in the book. For a condition which is defined by money and is often thought starts and ends with a lack of money, this book highlights why throwing money at the problem will do nothing to help those in this dreadful situation.
Poverty Safari

By: Darren McGarvey

04/12/2019

2 Credits

Order details

Returned on 18/02/2020



A really good book talking about how unreliable the information presented even in the most respected newspapers can be. Ended up buying this as a Christmas present for my grandmother.

I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That

By: Ben Goldacre



Returned on 14/02/2020



Didn't finish, or really make much of a start.

Leading Without Authority

By: Aditi Chopra

04/12/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 14/02/2020



With the amount of non-fiction a generally get through I have been encouraged to read more fiction and this collection was a great listen. Especially as the stories have been so influential on scifi since.

H.G. Wells: The Science Fiction Collection

By: H. G. Wells

28/11/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 18/02/2020



Wasn't what I thought, didn't cover artificial intelligence in the way I expected.

Novacene

By: James Lovelock

28/11/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 05/01/2020


This was a great book. I had originally downloaded it because I thought it would talk about how to create and maintain "weak ties" how to talk to people you meet in your life. It wasn't at all what I expected but was a really good book talking about the challenges in conversing with other people and how we use assumptions to be able to communicate and how the problems when those assumptions are flawed manifest themselves. 

Talking to Strangers

By: Malcolm Gladwell

28/11/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 14/02/2020


I'm not a big drinker but it is something I would like to stop altogether, given the nature of it being a carcinogenic and that it generally is just bad for you.
The main point outlined in this book is that you have to believe that there is no benefit to drinking. You have to truly believe there is no good in drinking alcohol. I haven't managed to do that and still enjoy a beer with friends.
I agree with the author in the way the drinking will go in public perception. In that, it will go the same way as smoking in the past.

The Stop Drinking Expert

By: Craig Beck

27/11/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 05/01/2020


Turned out to not be exactly what I was expecting in a book about hackers but interesting all the same.

Cult of the Dead Cow

By: Joseph Menn

05/11/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/11/2019


Had to be read, an incredibly good SciFi, which hasn't successfully been made into a film, I am looking forward to Dune 2021 in hope that it lives up to the book it is based on. I also recently watched the extra credits youtube playlist on Dune which was really insightful 

Dune

By: Frank Herbert

25/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/11/2019




Shadowplay: Behind the Lines and Under Fire

By: Tim Marshall

25/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/11/2019


Don't think I ended up listening to this.

Measure What Matters

By: John Doerr

25/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 05/01/2020


Listened a little to this, seemed like the synopsis was find a way to blame yourself for everything.
I am already quite good at doing that.

Extreme Ownership

By: Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

25/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/11/2019


This was actually such a good overview of the job of a software engineer to a non-technical audience I bought it for my Mum for Christmas. She was always complaining at not understanding what I actually did but after reading this it gave her a much better understanding. My grandmother is now reading through it.

Coders

By: Clive Thompson

17/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/11/2019


I very much recommend this book, especially for anyone who thinks about Darwinian evolution as the selection of the fittest. This explains a lot of things which make less sense if evolution is thought of only through the lense of selection of the fittest.

Good Enough

By: Daniel S. Milo

17/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/10/2019


I very interested in how my degree in artificial intelligence mentioned so little on the study of knowledge itself. I still have this in my audible library as I need to listen through a few times to remember the terminology. It was really insightful to see the sorts of problems that I came across in the algorithms that were used in my degree come up from a philosophical perspective. 
I would recommend that anyone who is interested in artificial intelligence read at least a little about the study of epistemology.

Epistemology: Bolinda Beginner Guides

By: Robert M. Martin

17/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Not eligible for return (why?)


Although this was well written it wasn't quite what I expected.
I was hoping for a deeper philosophical explanation of what can be known and the limits of knowledge.
This was perhaps a bit to popularist and high level for what I wanted.
I ended up getting it for my boss' secreate santa and he 

What We Cannot Know

By: Marcus du Sautoy

03/10/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/10/2019




The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

By: Mark Manson

17/09/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/10/2019




Putin: Prisoner of Power

By: Misha Glenny

17/09/2019

£0.00

Order details

Not eligible for return (why?)


A really good introduction to philosophy. Wish I could remember more from the book.

A Little History of Philosophy

By: Nigel Warburton

16/09/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/10/2019




The Number That Killed Us

By: Pablo Triana

16/09/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 17/10/2019


This was actually not the book I was looking for.
War what is it good for isn't on audible unfortunately. 

War: What Is It Good For?

By: Skip Heitzig

04/09/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 16/09/2019


A very insightful book helping explain why the rural working classes are so eager to disconnect modern economies from the globalisation which has continued to make them wealthy.
Explained a lot of this that a bohemian bourgeoisie (of which the book calls the group of people like me) are confused about why "Knuckle dragging brexitiers" might not be as uninformed as we are lead to belive.

Twilight of the Elites

By: Christophe Guilluy, Malcolm DeBevoise - Translated by

16/08/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 17/10/2019


A really good scifi! Very enjoyable

Revenger

By: Alastair Reynolds

16/08/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 17/10/2019


An interesting book explaining how AI technology as a strategic weapon much like nuclear will likely develop in both the US and China. 

AI Superpowers

By: Kai-Fu Lee

16/08/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/09/2019


A very insightful book and a good followup to one of my favourite reads The dictators handbook.

How to Rig an Election

By: Nic Cheeseman, Brian Klaas

08/08/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/08/2019


Recently bought this for my girlfriend in paper copy. The book goes through some really interesting flaws in looking at intelligence through only the IQ metric. It outlines some other parameters which are useful in determining success such as grit and rationality.

There are some interesting stories about some made conspiracies that noble prize winners fall for. It puts forward the theory that as intelligence rises the ability to better explain away evidence which contradicts the beliefs of the intelligent person. 

There are some interesting points from the book which I think could be well transferred to problems that might arise in trying to build a general artificial intelligence. 

The Intelligence Trap

By: David Robson

21/07/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/08/2019


Although my girlfriend doesn't like the Hume, I found the idea from this text, that just because you have set up an experiment to test causality does not prove, without dought, that the correlation is indeed causality.

When I was talking to a friend recently about a 4D representation of the universe whereby indefinitely into the future and the past could exist just as one could imagine the directions in space go on forever, and how any causal relationships we observe might just be local correlations in that 4D volume.

As someone who very much doesn't believe a god existing makes any sense, the sentiment that by definition a miracle should not be believed tickled me.

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

By: David Hume

18/07/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/08/2019


A horrifying tale of a dystopian future. More terrifying that most the of restrictions already exist in parts of the world in some form.

The Handmaid's Tale

By: Margaret Atwood

02/05/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 18/07/2019




South of the Border, West of the Sun

By: Haruki Murakami

26/04/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/10/2019


A great accessible introduction to how famous (At least within the discipline) algorithms can be used in the day to day.

Algorithms to Live By

By: Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

10/04/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 19/07/2019


A very interesting insight into time. Rasing a similar conclusion to a book I have read this year, "A case against reality". A must-read to help explain Tennent.

The Order of Time

By: Carlo Rovelli

01/04/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 25/04/2019


An interesting read, very insightful.

Bad Blood

By: John Carreyrou

19/03/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 01/04/2019


I found the author too racist to be palatable and didn't manage to get very far through the book.

The History of Jazz, Second Edition

By: Ted Gioia

19/03/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/08/2019




Platform Revolution

By: Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Sangeet Paul Choudary

07/03/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 19/03/2019






Title

Purchased

Total

Options










A Random Walk Down Wall Street, 12th Edition

By: Burton G. Malkiel

02/03/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 19/03/2019


A very interesting book bought a physical copy for my girlfriend. A real insight in how the game of media and business produces the effects without any agent feeling like they are being influenced by it.
The idea the writers at a newspaper feel they have freedom over there writing, but that they hold their position because the editor knows the sort of writing they will choose to write about. The same logic for the editor to the director. The director must choose the editors based on what will lead to the success of the paper/other media, and so the market chooses companies led by directors who align with the direction of the "game".

Reads very much like a conspiracy theory but with no protagonists and completely logical. An emergent conspiracy from the collection of individuals acting freely.

Understanding Power

By: Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell (editor), John Schoeffel (editor)

28/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 07/03/2019


Disappointing, didn't make it all the way through seemed to just be saying be healthier.

Photographic Memory

By: Paul Thomson

28/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 28/02/2019


A very interesting introduction of the topic of social engineering and how it can be used to access systems.

Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

By: Paul Wilson (foreword), Christopher Hadnagy

21/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 23/02/2019


A book that isn't as philosophical as I had expected. As it turns out is a book about building a startup.
It starts every chapter with a rap quote and I feel that summarises the tone of the book.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

By: Ben Horowitz

16/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 21/02/2019


A scifi that a college suggested, an interesting read, I really enjoyed the twist of how the book resolves at the end. I won't spoil what that is here.

The Fold

By: Peter Clines

15/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 16/02/2019


An insightful allegory for how to run IT projects. The way that its message is wrapped in a realistic story makes the message more memorable.
Thinking back I should give this a reread.

The Phoenix Project

By: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford

12/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 15/02/2019


Was good. Don't remember a lot about it.

Grinding It Out

By: Ray Kroc, Robert Anderson

11/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 12/02/2019


Really well written, a really interesting listen. 

Norse Mythology

By: Neil Gaiman

08/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 11/02/2019


This was an incredibly insightful book explaining why countries which are often portrayed as evil are actually acting in a very sensible self-interested way. It particularly helps to explain why Russia which is so often portrayed so badly in the media is making very sensible decisions about its foreign policy.

Prisoners of Geography

By: Tim Marshall

06/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 08/02/2019




Software Wasteland: How the Application-Centric Mindset Is Hobbling Our Enterprises

By: Dave McComb

05/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 06/02/2019




The Dip

By: Seth Godin

05/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 05/02/2019


Downloaded this book because it was being read by a colleague. It introduces interesting ideas behind the intelligence of octopus.
It introduces a more general point about evolution and ageing which I hadn't considered before. If in the wild there is an average age of an animal, an age which on average it get's eaten or dies through some other injury, then there is no evolutionary benefit to genes which may prolong it's life much beyond that age. 
Moreover, if a gene is detrimental in the early life of the animal (In the time before it's average death in the wild) but would be extremely beneficial to it's longevity, that gene will be selected out of the population.

In the book this is applied to the lifespan of an octopus which in the wild is generally only 2 years. The author argues that this isn't long enough for the octopus to really make the most of it's intelligence. 

Other Minds

By: Peter Godfrey-Smith

04/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 05/02/2019


A book suggested by one of my favourite YouTubers Issac Arther. I love the concept of a ringworld a world in which the gravity comes from the centripetal acceleration away from the star in which the world is spinning around.

Ringworld

By: Larry Niven

02/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 04/02/2019




Sapiens

By: Yuval Noah Harari

01/02/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 02/02/2019




Star Maker

By: Olaf Stapledon

30/01/2019

1 Credit

Order details

Returned on 01/02/2019

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