Many of my friends have emerged recently from the Dorito-stained pages (or finger-smeared screens) of Game of Thrones Book V, blinking and pawing at the scroll bar, desperately seeking something new to read, anything, just to “the high” going. FRIENDS, I AM HERE TO HELP YOU.
All are of the following books are available as ebooks and in dead-tree format, and come highly recommended from me:
This Machine Kills Secrets by Andy Greenberg
The human history + politics behind Wikileaks and the crypto-mask TOR
Andy, the author, is a smart obsessive, which means he and I get along along great. The book is a great walk down memory lane for me, being an owner of the early ’90s editions of both PGP: Pretty Good Privacy book (before RSA bought them) and Schneier’s Applied Crypto, the bible of modern cryptographic implementation. As you fall into the story, you’ll learn about the smart, often scary governments and agitators building the cyptography architecture that will one day enslave (or free) you. Trigger warning: beards.
Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America by Bakari Kitwana
The interlink of pop, music, race, and anxiety in America, yo
America is racist. As. Hell. Growing up on the outskirts of the only apartheid city in the US (Detroit), you see this every day. Kitwana does a nice job in this one. Highly recommended for Americans whether you identify as white, black, or something else.
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Post-apocalyptic biopunk fiction from the author of The Windup Girl
Biopunk is the name for fiction focused on what horrors and wonders will be unleashed on society as DNA splicing and genetic engineering become commonplace. Think cyberpunk but wetter and smarter, with fewer cyborgs and more science. Dark, fun read about a potential future tribalized state infused with shades of a more American, energized JG. Ballard. Trigger warning: lots of child soldier stuff.
The Power of Introverts [in a World That Can’t Stop Talking]
by Susan Cain
It may not shock you to learn that I’m an introvert.
To be quite honest I’ve not finished this one yet, but it’s great so far and very eye opening with respect to how much 21st century western society worships extroverts, everywhere from politics to business to dating. Pretty gross.
The Power of Gold: History of an Obsession by Peter L. Bernstein
GET THAT GOLD
Are you a raving survivalist with AdBlock, a Go-Bag, and a self-sustaining farm in the words that will feed your family when “The Big One” hits? Then this book isn’t for you! ;) Instead, it’s a hyper-detailed history of the evolution of gold as a precious metal, monetary sink, and currency, from antiquity to the present. I learned a bunch.
And by popular request, my top five financial meltdown books:
- Winner-Take-All Politics by Jacob Hacker & Paul Pierson
- Richistan by Robert Frank
- Griftopia by “Raving” Matt Taibbi
- The Big Short by Michael Lewis
- Diary of a Very Bad Year: Confession of a Hedge Fund Manager by Keith Gessen
N.b. The above links are Amazon affiliate links meaning I get a few cents kickback if you buy them. If that bothers you, just google the book name and click that link, and I’ll get nothing.