The only books I can agree on are not really books at all: The Joy of Cooking, which I've blogged about before; and Four Quartets, which I also loved in 1986, used extensively in the vows for our wedding ceremony, and keep a First Edition of--a gift from three dear law school friends--on my desk at home. One line from East Coker--"For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." comes closer than anything (except possibly "Be excellent to each other.") at capturing how I feel about life, the universe and everything.
There is an epigram that a book is a picture of who you were when you read it. With that in mind (and inspired by the excellent 5 books site, which along with Farnam Street, are two sites I check frequently for recommendations), I thought I would list 5 books I've read in the last five years that have markedly increased my understanding of the world and the people in it. I'll get the total number of books mentioned to 10 by mentioning that the Road to Wigan Pier almost made the list, but didn't quite belong in the set:
- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow;
- Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational;
- Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness;
- Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel;
- Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist.
I'm not going to call anyone out on this, but I do enjoy seeing the lists. I used to claim that the best way to assess a person was by looking at their music collection. That doesn't work so well in the age of Pandora, Spotify and Itunes, so I'll have to look for other heuristics, and this seems like a viable candidate