- books ]
Now that we are done with 2021, it is time to list some of my favorite books from last year.
Overall, 2021 was somewhat “meh” with respect to how much I was able to read. I read 61 books, which is quite a bit lower from previous years (73, 100, 94). In addition, I wasn’t able to read as much non-fiction as I wanted. Hopefully 2022 turns out to be a better year.
Here are some of my favorite books:
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir A very interesting and fun read. Almost as good as The Martian (which is one of my all time favorites). A high school teacher wakes up in a star system with no knowledge of how he got there. He can’t remember his name nor the nature of his mission. The story is about he uses his wits, science, and engineering to save the day.
The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel Another book by an author who wrote one of my favorite books, Station Eleven. In a similar style, The Glass Hotel starts with several disparate stories and ties them all together in a beautiful and amazing web. I listened to the audiobook narration, and Dylan Moore does an amazing job bringing the story to life with her voice.
Diaspora, by Greg Egan This is my first Greg Egan book, and wow. Hard Sci-Fi through and through, and one of the densest books that I’ve read. The author invented new branches of physics for the story-telling, and at times I barely understood big chunks of it. The book and its ideas were really interested though, and I look forward to reading more of Greg’s books.
Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith Ever since I read Agatha Christie as a kid, I have a penchant for British crime thrillers. This was the fifth book in the Cormoran Strike series and at 947 pages, was the longest book I read this year. However, I was so engrossed in the story that I barely noticed the length. I continue to dig the novels written by Robert Galbraith (pen-name used by J. K. Rowling), and look forward to the next one in the series.
The Vanished Birds, by Simon Jimenez I started it based on a friend’s recommendation and wasn’t disappointed. A beautifully written Sci-Fi book that deals with the relationships and connections between people across time and space.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink This book had been on my to-read list for a long time, and came highly recommended from many sources. Amazing book, and I regret not reading it sooner. Clear and easy to read, with key lessons that stayed with me and helped me become a better leader.
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson As soon as I found out that Walter Isaacson was writing his next book about Jennifer Doudna, I had to immediately preorder the book. I wasn’t disappointed. The book tells Doudna’s life story, and simultaneously tells the story of discovery of CRISPR. Like many nobel-winning disoveries, the story had its share of intrigue and rivalry.
Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, by Anna Lembke Eye-opening book that goes into details of how much the world around us is built to provide access to high-dopamine stimuli (which lead to additions), and what we can do about it. For instance, I highly recommend pairing this book with the Dopamine Masterclass podcast by Andrew Huberman.
How to Live: 27 Conflicting Answers and One Weird Conclusion, by Derek Sivers Thought provoking. The book provides several perspectives on how to live, and opens your mind to various possibilities that we tend to ignore in our day-to-day. I found it helpful as it let me take a step back and consider different possibilities from my trajectory.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates This book distills what Bill has learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations. While there may be better books that describe the science of Climate change, this book does a great job at breaking Climate Change into several different causes (backed by data), with concrete actions that we could do to address each cause.