This summer’s reading list was a bit unusual, and the following books all have something in common:
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- The Stuff of Thought, by Steven Pinker
- When Genius Failed, by Roger Lowenstein
- Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer
- Against the Gods, by Peter Bernstein
- Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes
Positive expectancy to whoever can state it first in the comments below (also, the people who would be able to state this know I mean).
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Very good book, recommended for anyone. It presents the existence of two modes of thinking: one that is fast and intuitive, and the other which is slow and methodical. It then goes through many cognitive biases that can affect making rational decisions.
The Stuff of Thought
See this post.
When Genius Failed
A fascinating tale of how a company went from riches to rags, based on miscalculated risk. I think it is worth reading even for a non finance fan.
Moonwalking With Einstein
A book on memory. I actually read this one in the spirit of the book: I would go through some pages on the subway and then, without using a bookmark, remember the page I was on. This probably doesn’t sound impressive, but without bookmarks I am terrible at remembering how far into a book I am. The experiment worked out pretty well: I often remembered exactly the sentence on which I left off. Recommended for those interested in remembering things.
Against the Gods
This was my least favorite among the least, though perhaps it has to do with my previous knowledge of mathematical history. It felt too much like a history textbook most of the time, and when it attempted to do math, the explanation was very rudimentary. I think one is better off reading the wikipedia page on the history of math.
It was a surprisingly interesting book, at least for the first half or so. Learning about Calvin’s struggles earlier on in life was awesome, but once it got to real politics, it became much again like a history textbook.
There are a few more books that I am going through (by Pinker, Harris, and Dennett), and I will post about these once I am done.