My Top 5 Books of 2018
The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness
By Andy Puddicombe
In this book Andy Puddicome, who is the co-founder and voice behind the Headspace app, gives an easy introduction to meditation and mindfulness. I had been using the app so much of the content was familiar, but I enjoyed the different stories from his time being a monk, and getting more background about meditation.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
By Anand Giridharadas
Every time I try to summarize this book I have a hard time doing it, though I really recommend it. I like Anand’s writing a lot, and this builds on some of his other essays. It is a critique of the world of mega-philanthropy, as well as the way that many very wealthy people go about trying to achieve social change. He argues that they go about it in a way that never really addresses any of the fundamental systemic issues at hand. It’s the same idea as this essay/speech, the idea that people want to do “more good, not less harm.”
How to Change Your Mind
By Michael Pollan
A very level-headed overview of psychedelics and the history behind them. Michael Pollan makes a compelling case for the resurgence of psychedelics in different forms of treatment, and some of the cultural/historical reasons why they became so taboo.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
By Nick Bilton
The story behind the Silk Road, the underground dark web drug marketplace. It’s hard to believe this is non-fiction, it also seems clear that the narrative non-fiction style fills in a lot of gaps. This will probably be made into a movie. Fast paced and a fun read.
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
By Joshua Foer
A fun easy read. Foer starts reporting on the memory championships and then practices and joins them himself. Along the way the story introduces some of the quirky characters in the mental athlete world, some of the history of memory, and shares some of the mnemonic techniques he learned. He explains how becoming a memory champion is just a matter of practice rather than some innate skill.