Audible reading list 2020

It's been a long year and as such, I've been able to get through a lot more audible than I have in previous years.

Also as opposed to 2019, I have actually read some books outside of those I have consumed on audible. This year I have got into the habit of buying textbooks. I find that in buying a textbook on a topic I have found a way to exploring the unknown unknowns within a field. This has certainly been the case with the software books I have purchased particularly software complete 2 which I have perhaps made most headway through. 
I haven't read all of these, if I haven't put a comment I probably haven't read it. They are ordered in purchase order so the top 4 are to kick off the new year and have only just been downloaded.  


Possible Minds By: John Brockman - editor
Higgs By: Jim Baggott, Steven Weinberg - foreword
Empty Planet By: Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson
Power, Sex, Suicide By: Nick Lane
Unapologetic By: Francis Spufford
I found this book very insightful into how and why people still believe and engage with Christianity in the modern world. I see this as the missing book which contains all the arguments people have provided when I have tried to delve deeper by asking friends who still believe. The arguments are laid out in a compelling and well thought out manner. Would recommend it to atheists who are similarly confused about the role of Christianity in the modern world.
Einstein's War By: Matthew Stanley
This is an incredible book. I would definitely recommend this to everyone. I got it for my grandmother for Christmas. The book doesn't really go into the details of his theory so much as its context in the war. It was interesting to hear about how he developed his theory of general relativity and how long it took him and the collaborative effort that it took. It's interesting to see how the toppling of newton and the inability of the journalists to understand the complex mathematics is what had lead to Einstein's position as the face of genius, even though other elements which one might consider with regards to intelligence weren't shown. It highlights a particularly poor cue-dependent recall in his constant forgetting of his keys. Clearly, Einstien was a very clever man but I think his position as the definition of genius has come more from the media hype around his toppling of the great newton than specifically because of an extreme position on the IQ scale. The book highlights the help Einstine got in understanding the mathematics of non-euclidean topologies for the universe whereas Edington had far less help and far less information.
In reading this book it did make me think about how we view intelligence. How we view mathematics as this high level of intelligence because it is something so many people find so challenging. I think the reason for this is that it is an endeavor which can engage in for which we have the least specialist computational hardware. Our abilities in being able to decode visual and auditory information is, by all means, a far greater accomplishment but because we have large areas of our brain dedicated to it the task seems to be simplicity itself. Mathematics seems to be the lowest hanging fruit for which we don't already have a ledge in which access.
Chemistry and Our Universe By: Ron B. Davis, The Great Courses
 An interesting introduction to chemistry, a good refresher of my other reading on the topic.
Superintelligence By: Nick Bostrom
I would advise that most read the more recent Human Compatible by Stuart Russell which I bought for my mum for Christmas as it is much more accessible. Unless you are looking for an introduction in which to do research yourself, whereby you would want a physical copy of the book to access the mathematical sections. Robert Mile's youtube channel does a great job of covering the topics in this book and explaining them incredibly well.
One element of the book which is perhaps worth spending some time talking about is the idea that there are 3 kinds of superintelligence. I think that this is an interestingdichotomy. Speed, quality, and quantity.
I think it is perhaps worth doing a post on this in itself.
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection By: Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry - introductions
This is a wonderful collection. The whole thing is over 90 hours and my girlfriend and I have been having it as a bedtime story to fall asleep to.
The Joy of Work By: Bruce Daisley
I actually can't remember this book.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe By: Douglas Adams
I was very disappointed that unlike the first book this wasn't ready by Stephen Fry. The book is a wonderful listen all the same.
Liar's Poker By: Michael Lewis
A surprising short book on the culture in a particular firm leading up to the crisis.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy By: Douglas Adams This book ready by Stephen Fry is great. I loved the film and it was really good to be able to listen to the extra details that you don't get in the film adaption.
Sandworm By: Andy Greenberg
An incredibly insightful book on Russian hackers and the changing game of global cyber warfare. An interesting insight into just how vulnerable everyone is to cyber-attacks. In a post-2020 world large scale never before risks seem like they should be taken just a little more seriously than before.
Irreversible Damage By: Abigail Shrier
Suggested by a friend, the writing (I did only get a couple of chapters in) isn't as controversial as the title might suggest and the author does preface the book with that she has no problem with adult trans people identifying how they chose but that her focus is on the issue of children making irreversible life choices. I only got to the second chapter as it isn't really my sort of book.
Never Split the Difference By: Chris Voss, Tahl Raz Read by my girlfriend not I.
Life After Google By: George Gilder
Human Compatible By: Stuart Russell
This is a great book for explaining the problems faced from a general artificial intelligence.
Understanding Complexity By: Scott E. Page, The Great Courses
I don't think I got on with this one.
The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition By: David Thomas, Andrew Hunt
I didn't think much to this. I think the other books I have are a much better source. First and foremost code complete 2.
The Price of Tomorrow By: Jeff Booth Haven't started yet.
Alchemy By: Rory Sutherland
The Tyranny of Merit By: Michael J. Sandel
This is one of those books that introduces an idea which you have just never thought about. It is one of the books I ended up getting my mum for Christmas. The idea that the goal which we all strive to achieve as a society might not be a great destination is fascinating.
The Three-Body Problem By: Cixin Liu 10/10 would recommend!
I started listening to this when I was very tired and had forgotten about getting it in the first place. That lead to me not at first realizing it was sci-fi. I think that made it all the better listening to the story. I really hope Netflix does go through and make this a film despite the author coming out in support of the Chinese government.
Our Mathematical Universe By: Max Tegmark
The Fabric of the Cosmos By: Brian Greene
I do like Brian Greene's books. I did however get a little confused about something to do with a particular nuance of the double split experiment which to me seemed to allow for sending information back in time. I might write a blog about this in a similar way to my black hole information paradox.
Lost in Math By: Sabine Hossenfelder
This is a great book. Sabine has a very watchable youtube channel as well which is where I found out about her book. She is a critic of using mathematical beauty as a heuristic to finding the true nature of reality.
Lifespan By: Dr David A. Sinclair, Matthew D. LaPlante
An information theory of aging is a very interesting concept. I think most people would choose to live a little longer, given their good health. The idea also that our DNA is kept in good shape throughout our life and that it is the epigenome which is in fact at fault gives a great deal of hope to the ending of aging. One interesting fact is how smoking vs aging affects your chance of getting cancer.
Falter By: Bill McKibben This book started by looking at global warming as the main threat. The biggest takeaway I got was this study which showed that ambient CO2 levels by the end of the century might be so high that they lower performance on cognitively challenging tasks by up to 50%.
It goes on to talk about the problems of nanotechnology, robotics, and genetic engineering. I have a very different point of view on the topic of genetic engineering and so I didn't engage quite so well with that section of the book.
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out By: Richard P. Feynman
This was a great listen and I'm very glad for it. I love the modesty which Feynman always showed and how he explains elements that make him seem a genius such as a time where he pointed out an erroneous valve baffling everyone around him when he was simply checking if a particular symbol was a valve or a window.
He lived by his curiosity, I believe the true way to live. To me, he is the greatest scientist of the 20th century without a dought.
The Half-life of Facts By: Samuel Arbesman
A book I skimmed through, I can't remember taking much away from it.
Imperialism 2.0 By: Ernest Makulilo
Inspired to read more on Africa after the looting machine I didn't manage to engage with this and only go a few chapters in.
The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa's Wealth By: Tom Burgis
This is an incredible book I started reading this a few years ago on my kindle and realized a little way through that that was why the first half sounded so familiar. I really do recommend this.
The Great Mental Models By: Shane Parrish
Not as good as Super Thinking pet cheetah, "Chiquita", who was adorned with a diamond collar. Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann .
Ignorance By: Stuart Firestein
Not read yet
The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones By: George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia Jr., Linda Antonsson
The Critique of Pure Reason By: Immanuel Kant
The Case Against Reality By: Donald Hoffman
This is a really interesting book. Despite the title, it isn't advocating solipsism. The idea which is core to this book is that; although intuition might suggest that evolution would tend towards developing senses and moreover a cognitive interpretation of those senses which tends towards a more accurate representation of reality; that this is in fact not the case.
I ended up buying this for my grandmother for Christmas.
At the end of the book, the author goes on to explain a representation that doesn't rely on the elements of reality which he lays out to be flawed. This isn't well listened to as it is quite mathematical. COVID permitting when I can next visit my grandmother it will be nice to read this off of a physical copy.
Linked By: Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
This is quite an old book and was something I wanted to listen to to get a little bit of an introduction to graph theory. The book works very well as an audiobook for dealing with an area of mathematics. What I found most interesting about this book is the number of predictions it made for the future that have, since its publication, come to fruition.
Thinking in Bets By: Annie Duke
I found this book when looking to expand to more female authers. It's a really interesting perspective of bringing thinking that works well in poker out to desitions in the real world. Testing how sure you really are about your convitions by challenging you to bet on them.
Thinking, Fast and Slow By: Daniel Kahneman A very interesting if long book the framework for thinking about the mind in terms of two different systems with different attributes is very interesting and I think very helpfully.
How to Win Friends & Influence People By: Dale Carnegie You got to read it, I haven't finished it yet though.
The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility" By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This was a great book and a must-read! I loved the idea of retrospective determinism. It really justifies a longer review than I'm giving it.
Fooled by Randomness By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb Didn't get to this one because I felt it was going to be too repetitive after having read the black swan.
Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual By: John Sonmez
He is on the right
Guy on the left from FU money

The book is one of the many sources that confirmed to me that having a blog was a good idea. However, I feel everything in it should be taken with a pinch of salt given that the author, at least measures I use to try and protect myself, has become a contrapanur.

The weight lifting content is very basic but I don't feel its provided a good source of reference same for weight loss and finance.

There are elements of productivity that I liked, the Pomodoro technique was new to me and he did introduce it in a way that allowed me to accept it which if posed in a different way I might not have. The section in learning on finding gaps in your knowledge didn't really provide what I had hoped. 

I think the book would be better as a reading list. Going through the books he suggests rather than reading his book.


Permutation City By: Greg Egan Did end up managing to listen to this one couldn't get on with it after the first chapter.

Drive By: Daniel H. Pink An interesting exploration of how people are motivated in creative industries and how sometimes a focus on money hinders people's motivation at work.
American Legends: The Life of Josephine Baker By: Charles River Editors Continuing on the feminist topic, this biography was incredible. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this woman before. From her start in the states, her pet cheetah, "Chiquita", who was adorned with a diamond collar, her being a spy for the french resistance, dining with European dignitaries to not being able to get a coffee going back to new york. I'm not a big fan of biographies but this is one to get through.
Invisible Women By: Caroline Criado Perez A very insightful read. One point that particularly stuck in my mind was the fact that alcoholic beverages are tax deductible but the childcare to permit you to go to the works drinks isn't.
Law School for Everyone By: The Great Courses, Edward K. Cheng, Joseph L. Hoffmann, Molly Bishop Shadel, Peter J. Smith This is still in my library, not a short course by any means, and one of the few topics I have had to slow down to keep up with. The law is also American so not as interesting as if it was British but the nature of the American common law system means that a lot of the older cases are also British.
The Obstacle Is the Way By: Ryan Holiday This is the Ryan Holiday book I ended up listening to. I loved the contradictory title. I really like proverbs like "To go fast you must go slow" and this was an interesting book and really what I needed at the start of lockdown.
Stillness Is the Key By: Ryan Holiday I had downloaded this along with the obstacle is the way and ego is the enemy, ended up only reading one.
The Civilization of the Middle Ages By: Norman F. Cantor I'm still working my way through this one. I'm not big on my history to the dismay of my girlfriend of two history degrees. This I have found very easy listening and I'm sure I have learned a lot going through it although I'm not sure I'm going to be passing any history exams on the middle ages any time soon. If you want insight into how Europe became what it is this book is a good way to find out.
Super Thinking By: Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann Despite the click-bate-y title, this is a very good book, I'm not sure there was much in here that I hadn't heard of before but it really helped to solidify it as I hadn't had them all in one place. Ended up getting this for my girlfriend who thoroughly enjoyed it. I would suggest owning it even if you don't dive in and read cover to cover straight away.
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race By: Reni Eddo-Lodge A very interesting insight!
Algorithmic Trading: A Beginner's Guide to Learning the Fundamentals and the Strategies of Algorithmic Trading By: James Johnson Couldn't get into this one.
Ego Is the Enemy By: Ryan Holiday I didn't end up listening to this one after listening to the obstacle is the way by the same auther.
Surrounded by Idiots By: Thomas Erikson An interesting take on the psychology of people, I don't' think I got all the way to the end skipping maybe the last chapter. I think from listening to it that I am perhaps the lesser found blue yellow personallity.
How Not to Die By: Dr Michael Greger, Gene Stone I ended up buying this for my mum for Christmas, a great book exploring how diet can help to keep the body working longer.
Moneyland By: Oliver Bullough The fastest I've got through an audiobook, this book is 9hrs long on Audible and at 3x I listened to the whole book on an extended walk home. A lot of insight into the trends and history of hidden wealth. I was also saddened to see the state of uk libel laws.
Foundation By: Isaac Asimov A classic scifi that I would definitely recomend.
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1, 1929-1964 By: Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg - editor Didn't manage to finish maybe more than two. Not sure why I do struggle to get into fiction.
How to Be a Dictator By: Frank Dikaotter An interesting book, nowhere near as good as the dictators handbook but then again trying to do something different. It explores the techniques used for keeping power from a historical perspective of where they have worked as opposed to the dictator's handbook which argues more from statistics.
The Patterning Instinct By: Jeremy Lent, Fritjof Capra - foreword
Who Owns England? By: Guy Shrubsole A fascinating read I would highly recommend. I had no idea about the sorts of ongoings. I think for most people a freehold is sanctity. If you truly own your own home then no one can take it away from you. This is of course not true but it is interesting in the nonce. One fact which really got my blood boiling was about the farming subsidy going to the upkeep of grousland, which in turn makes flooding worse for other places.
The Outlaw Ocean By: Ian Urbina I found this book to be very insightful. I think too often we think of poachers and overfishing as these evil people destroying our world. If only they understood, if only they were better people. This book does a good job of humanizing the crew. Why they do what they do and why the oversimplification and the attitude that chasing them out of our waters doesn't and will never work.

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