Books I Read in 2022
Here are the books I read in the past year. I've added brief comments for some books. I don't generally finish books I don't enjoy so unless noted otherwise, anything listed here is at least decent. Favorites are bolded. Books are grouped into broad categories. Some could fit in multiple categories, in which case I put them wherever I thought they fit best.
- An Applied Mathematician's Apology by Lloyd N. Trefethen. Had this book been available when I was planning my studies I might've chosen a different career.
- Mathematics for Machine Learning by Marc Deisenroth.
- Regression and Other Stories by Andrew Gelman, Jennifer Hill, and Aki Vehtari.
- R For Data Science by Hadley Wickham. Very practical.
- An Introduction to Statical Learning by Gareth James, Daniela Witten, Trevor Hastie, and Robert Tibshirani.
- You Failed Your Math Test Comrade Einstein by M. Shifman.
Military and Military Technology
- The History of US Electronic Warfare, Vol. 2 by Alfred Price.
- Threat Warning for Tactical Aircraft by Robert L. Simmen.
- My Adventures as a Spy by Robert Baden-Powell.
- 85 Days in Slavyansk by Alexander Zhuchkovsky.
- No Guts No Glory by Frederick C. Blesse.
- The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs by Andrei Martyanov. Argues that Russia's hypersonic missiles give it the advantage in a future Great Power conflict. I read this just as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was starting and, partly as a result of reading this book, expected Russia to quickly rout Ukraine's military. Instead I was surprised by Russia's relatively poor performance in that conflict, which has caused by to downgrade my beliefs in most of the claims Martyanov makes.
- The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy by Andrew F. Krepinevich. Makes a somewhat convincing argument that defense projects that seemed wasteful during the Cold War were actually strategically good decisions because they caused the Soviet Union to
invest much more in countermeasures, contributing to the Soviet Union's economic overreach and eventual downfall. Not entirely convincing, but an interesting argument and worth considering.
- The Power Law by Sebastian Mallaby.
- More Money Than God by Sebastian Mallaby.
- The Predictors by Thomas A. Bass.
- Adaptive Markets by Andrew Lo.
- A Man For All Markets by Ed Thorp.
- The World for Sale by Javier Blas.
- The Money Game by Adam Smith.
- Capital Allocation by Jacob McDonough.
- Shaping the Industrial Century: The Remarkable Story of the Evolution of the Modern Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries by Alfred D. Chandler Jr. This book and the next one were fascinating to me, but are too niche for me to recommend to a general audience.
- Primed for Success: The Story of Scientific Design Company by Peter H. Spitz
- Dynasties of the Sea by Matthew McCleary
- Billion Dollar Fantasy by Albert Chen.
- Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino.
- Talent by Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross.
- How to Be a Founder by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford.
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis.
- Who We Are And How We Got Here by David Reich. Not an easy read, but probably the single best book for understanding recent discoveries in genetics. Especially topical this year due to Svante Paabo winning the nobel prize.
- Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom. I'll admit to being a therapy skeptic, but this book did shift me closer to a more positive view of the profession.
- The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark by Don Thompson.
- Public Choice Theory and the Illusion of Grand Strategy by Richard Hanania.
- Class by Paul Fussell. Holds up quite well. People who say otherwise are either
nitpickers (insecure, upper middle class trait) or have no familiarity with the upper class in the US. His son wrote a fantastic memoir on bodybuilding as well.
- Hardball by George Stalk Jr.
- The Perfect Bet by Adam Kucharski.
- Beneath the Visiting Moon by Jim Hooper
- Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace by Ed Luttwak.
- The European Seaborne Empires by Gabriel Paquette. Rare to find an author who hates their subject as much as Paquette does, still has lots of interesting material however.
- Ironsuit: The History of the Atmospheric Diving Suit. by Gary L. Harris. Fantastically interesting to me because I was trying to understand how the joints in diving suits continue to operate under such high pressures. The trick is really clever and involves designing the joint so that thepressure inside the joint (which is filled with oil) is equal to the pressure exerted by the surrounding water.
- Beyond 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler.
- Civilization and Capitalism by Fernand Braudel.
- Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism by Fernand Braudel.
- Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. Disappointing. I have fond memories of reading Shadow Divers, a prior book of his about the discovery of a WWII German U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey, but this was not nearly as good.
- Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia by Ian Barnes.
- The 10,000 Year Explosion by Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran. Probably more interesting facts per page in this book than anything else I read this year.
- West Hunter by Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran.
- Around the Cragged Hill by George F. Kennan. First half or so of this book is interesting, second half he got too theoretical and the book became dull and, but well worth reading for the first part alone.
- Tiberius: A Study in Resentment by Gregorio Marañón.
- The Container Guide by Craig Cannon and Tim Hwang.
- 1587: A Year of of No Significance by Ray Huang.
- The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. Not good. I only finished it because so many people recommend it and I thought it must eventually get better. I don't think Campbell makes a single claim that is both interesting and true in the entire book.
- The Jewish Century by Yuri Slezkine. Has some interesting passages. Not as good as his other book, The House of Government, and has the same flaw in that he cites so many sources and includes so many quotes that you can't evaluate whether his claims are actually true or if he's just dumping info to make his case seem stronger than it is.
- The Disappearance of Josef Mangele by Olivier Guez.
- Red Plenty by Francis Spufford.
- Flashman and the Dragon George MacDonald Fraser. Read this because someone told me it was similar to John Biggins' Otto Prohaska series. The story isn't quite as good as Biggins' but the way Fraser writes as if Flashman really were in the 19th century is inimitable and most authors would fail to be half as successful as Fraser is if they tried something like that.
- The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt. Fun and very short.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino. Might be better than the movie. Might be worth reading his non-fiction book first to get you inside his head a bit.
- The Emperor's Coloured Coat by John Biggins. Read the blurbs for the first book in this series. If it interests you at all drop whatever else you're reading and start it.
- The Two-Headed Eagle by John Biggins.
- Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. I expected this to be much worse than it was. Not as good as Dune obviously, but still worth reading.
- The Schopenhaeur Cure by Irvin D. Yalom.
- The Shipping Man by Matthew McCleery.
- Finally Some Good News by Delicious Tacos.