Books I read in 2020
Inside the Greens
The Greens history started with environmentalism, then spread out into more areas challenging bipartisan support for complex issues. They’re a bit confused right now. They’ve had a lot of success over the past 25 years.
People as a result of class and upbringing inherently have certain money habits and attitudes, called spenditude. These will naturally result in you doing certain things with your money, and affect your relationship with others. Aligning your spenditude with your long term plan for your life will help you resolve these tensions.
Moonwalking with Einstein
Memory is trainable, and use of certain tricks can make you better at remembering certain types of data.
Flow is important. Don’t read email so often. Define your days and find time to do deep work.
Identify a daily highlight. Spend less time doing things that aren’t valuable to you personally, and organise your day appropriately. Stay active and eat healthy.
Curing affluenza: How to buy less stuff and save the world
Consumerism is bad. The world is better without it. Economic growth is probably not the best measure of wellbeing or success of a nation.
The Big Short
Banks diversified risk of risky portfolios by bundling them with other portfolios repeatedly, to the point where the original risk is not easily identifiable. The systems didn’t identify this as risky, leading to the 2008 collapse. The system let basically everyone involved off, and loaded the problem onto the American people, disproportionately affecting the poorest Americans in the long term.
Different recipes have surprising links between them. These links allow you to learn your way up the stack of cuisines. Cooking isn’t so hard when you’re doing it step by step.
The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain Of Growing Up Gay In A Straight Man's World
Growing up gay in a homophobic environment has led to gay men being extremely sensitive to microaggressions. Overcoming them is a long term challenge, and it is a surprisingly prevalant issue. Rights reclamation has helped somewhat, but there is a lot individuals still need to do within themselves.
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future
I originally heard about this book on recommendation from Bill Gates back in 2016 when he called it one of his favourite books of the year. As my interest in complex systems grows, books like these are like catnip for me. The book explores how the changing nature of electricity production (especially with respect to renewables) is really screwing with the assumptions that large portions of the grid are built on. Given recent events (the book even mentions Tesla’s Powerwall which has been successfully deployed in South Australia) and the growing discontent with coal, it’s a timely read.