Best books of 2021
In 2021, I started 23 books: 20 non-fiction, 2 biographies and 1 fiction. Here are my 6 best.
L'Anomalie - Hervé Le Tellier
The premise: Exactly the same plane, with exactly the same passengers, arrives twice at the east coast of the USA, 106 days apart. Science fiction with some sprinkles or magic realism. It’s fun but nothing world-shattering. Still, I recommend it if you wanna lose yourself for 4 or 5 hours.
Zero to one - Peter Thiel
A classic that starts to feel a bit outdated, might I say? Even so, once you’ve read it, it’s hard not to notice its presence in Silicon Valley’s cultural hive mind. I deeply respect Thiel as an original thinker but at this point his ideas are 10 to 15 years old. It is time for someone else to update the entrepreneurial cultural Zeitgeist, and please tell me it’s not Chris Dixon.
Why we are restless - Benjamin Storey and Jenna Silber Storey
One of the best books of 2021 and also the basis for my most successful article of 2021. The authors explore the title’s question through the lenses of 4 different philosophers: Montaigne, Pascal, Rousseau and Tocqueville. The writing style is a bit barren, but the ideas are timeless.
Finite and infinite games - James Carse
Good, even if it drags on in the later half. It’s a a self-help book disguised as a game theory primer. It’s also obsessively mentioned in Shopify’s culture, if you care about that. Overall, I would recommend it; even if you don’t feel the urge to complete it, you will get out of it with some new perspectives.
Surely you are joking mr. Feynman - Richard Feynman
I don’t understand this book. It’s a collection of anecdotes to constantly remind us how smart the author is. Still, if you know nothing about Feynman’s remarkable life, it’s as good a place as any to start.
The cult of smart - Fredrik deBoer
Another contestant for best book of the year and probably the most convincing far-left argument against meritocracy. If you deeply disagree with the premise you ought to read it, even if only to steel man your own priors. Also read it if you follow too many VC tech bros on Twitter.