For anyone looking for holiday reading, here are a dozen books I’ve enjoyed this year. Apologies for the lack of fiction.
1. Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender – A book that helped debunk plenty of my ideas about the role of genes in shaping gender. As
2. Ed Glaeser, Triumph of the City – The man who helped revive urban economics embarks on a romp through the history and value of cities.
3. Tim Harford, Adapt – A succession of splendid tales, tied together by the FT’s ‘Undercover Economist’. Like Freakonomics, but with more economics.
4. Christopher Hitchens, Arguably - Essays on everything from Afghanistan to poetry, from the late great public intellectual (but if you haven’t read Hitch-22, start there first).
5. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, Poor Economics – Solving global poverty, one randomised trial at a time.
6. Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation – The (in)famous Marginal Revolution blogger combines a neat economic history of the US, plus some concise ideas about where to next.
7. David Remnick, The Bridge – The seminal biography of Barack Obama.
8. Donald Green and Alan Gerber, Get Out the Vote - Most political campaigning books are of the ‘I reckon’ variety. This one is based on solid evidence from (yes) randomised trials.
9. Nick Dyrenfurth &Frank Bongiorno, A little history of the Australian Labor Party – More emphasis on ideas and big themes, less dwelling on the machinations of bearded men. One of the best histories of our party.
10. Jonathan Weiner, Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality – Will humans ever live forever?
11. Peter Hartcher, The Sweet Spot – A modern-day take on the Lucky Country, from a brilliant and refreshingly uncynical journalist.
12. Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From – Innovative ideas aplenty, told with the wit of a great storyteller.
While we’re on the topic, here’s a 2010 piece that Mac Duncan and I wrote about what federal politicians were reading, and here’s the full spreadsheet of what politicians were reading at the time.
Feel free to use comments to post your recommended holiday reading.