2020 Book Recommendations

February 9, 2020

As I surveyed my 2019 recommendations, it struck me that the authors on the list were predominantly white, Western men. While I generally do my best to read from a broad range of fields, there's no doubt that I can perhaps widen the diversity of authors (acknowledging that identity diversity and diversity of perspectives aren't the same, though there is likely to be some overlap between the two). Hope you find something here that whets your interest.

 

Business, Finance and Economics

 

The Lean Startup (Eric Ries). I've been hearing about this book for years, and have always enjoyed hearing the author speak. Having finally taken the plunge, I understand the buzz. This is an incredibly thoughtful approach to building a startup, with applications beyond the business world. I suspect this will be one whose many layers are revealed upon multiple readings. 4.8 stars. 

 

History, Politics and Current Affairs

 

Blood and Silk (Michael Vatikiotis). I've been looking for a modern history of Southeast Asia, and while this is far from comprehensive, it does cover a lot of material about Southeast Asia's current political landscape. Some of it makes for fairly depressing reading as one considers the lost potential of the region. I learned a lot, even if some of the political theorizing seemed speculative. 4.5 stars. 

 

Society

 

The Moment of Lift (Melinda Gates). Gates is a well-known philanthropist, and this is an excellent book describing the undeniable case for women's empowerment around the globe. The many ways in which we fail to give women and girls opportunities is both economically harmful and downright unfair. Gates also brings a personal touch to the book, relating some of her own history with these issues. 4.9 stars.


The Diversity Bonus (Scott E. Page). I've enjoyed Page's work for many years. In this book, he tackles the case for diversity, and offers some suggestions for developing teams to succeed in the knowledge economy. This is an even-handed treatment of the subject, pointing out the many benefits of diversity while making clear that it brings challenges. 4.5 stars.

 

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