Some Books You Should Maybe Read

I think these are worth reading. Maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people. You can probably tell whether or not they’ll be your cup of tea:

Thinking Fast and Slow is the book I’d choose if I could give society a homework assignment. One of the founders of behavioral economics (and a Nobel Laureate too), Daniel Kahneman walks us through not only how we humans are often illogical, but systematically so. Fascinating read.

Nordic: A Photographic Essay of Landscapes, Food and People, by Magnus Nilsson, was a fun surprise. Easily the most famous Chef in Sweden (you might recognize him from Chef’s Table), he brought along his camera while doing research all over Scandinavia for his enormous cookbook project and put some of the images together into this collection. Something about this book feels special to me, like the journal from a curious traveler who’s just taking pictures for himself, but turn out to be fantastic images anyway.

Cal Newport, a professor of computer science at Georgetown, is one of my favorite thinkers. His latest book, Deep Work, dives into topics like focus, distraction-free work, and social media. The topics aren’t anything new, but he provides a good balance of background theory and specific tactics for deeper work and focus. It inspired a few significant changes in my life.

Essentialism is a more nuanced and mature version of the slew of books on minimalism that have popped up over the last few years. I’ve re-read this one a few times and it always helps me refocus a bit.

If you’re into photography, The Soul of the Camera, by David duChemin, is worth a read, as are all of his other books. A refreshing break from the deluge of gear and technical talk in the photo world, David writes about photography from an artist’s perspective, but stays far from snobby art speak (he began his career as a stand-up comedian and it comes through well in his irreverent, but crisp writing). He’s a fantastic photographer with images that have so much more soul than the average photos in your social media feed. 

Sapiens reads like a history of humanity (from about 70,000 years ago to now) written by a new visitor to Earth with very few preconceived notions. Nothing (religion, economics, war) is sacred in this book.

In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton offers, "We are inundated with advice on where to travel to, but we hear little of why and how we should go." The book continues on with his philosophical musings about the act of leaving home. I really enjoyed it, but his writing style is a bit pompous and probably not for everyone. 

The Food Lab is my favorite combination cookbook/science textbook. Worth it for the french onion soup recipe alone.

Genesis, by Sebastiao Salgado, is probably the best fine art photography book I’ve come across this year. Full of landscapes, wildlife, and people from around the world, and all in stunning black and white. It’s a huge book, but one of the few that lives on my coffee table.