Reading in 2020

The year began well, with a number of cool books that I had time to write about. But as things got crazier and crazier, the time left to read and write in between preparing classes, preparing food, and living within the confines of lockdown seemed to dissipate into nothingness. It turns out that the history of my year of reading is probably best summed up in a barrage of text-messages to various people about various books … but that would be tedious to print out. The highlights are below.

David Graeber: Bullshit jobs and other books and articles featured heavily in my shared reading (lots of ideas that resonated with me).

I re-read a bunch of books on programming in various languages and setting up websites, but I didn’t really do too much of that as I ran out of headspace

Behavioral Insights and Nudge were two books that resonated with me in anti-phase – and I’m still working through these ideas for future posts. In short, they reminded me of the extent to which Psychology as a discipline has sold out to the medical model and the idea of mental health and mental illness on a single continuum. By ignoring cognitive sciences and normal human behaviour, it has allowed its core areas to be taken over by behavioural economics and machine learning, or by the “wellbeing” industry.

And I had the pleasure of re-reading the six books of the Dune trilogy – what a great series to revisit, and very prescient for the times. And of course, I hadn’t realised there’s a new movie coming out – but it should also be a treat.

And of course, I spent a huge amount of time reading and re-reading the various sport and exercise material I like, the newest of which is Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tsatsouline

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