Your Monthly Book Recommendations
Three months down, nine more to go.
Stay on course to hit your reading goals by picking up these unputdownable books. Each will inform, entertain and delight you.
You’ll learn about why we are flavour-seeking animals. Why everything that’s measurable isn’t important and everything important isn’t measurable. How work-centric our identities are. How great writing makes clichés work. Why we’ve forgotten how to die. And how a single spy saved the world on the brink of nuclear war.
Read them, enrich your cognitive toolkit, challenge your assumptions and broaden your horizons. You are welcome.
The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker
Mark Schatzker’s eye-opening, forensic analysis of our food choices is unputdownable. He tears down the illusion of “healthy eating”, breaks down the unholy nothingness we ingest every day, takes aim at greedy supermarkets and the multibillion-dollar flavouring industry and fires science-filled bullets that permeate the page to enter your consciousness. And he does it in language a ten-year-old would understand.
A no-holds-barred, unflinching, scientific argument that convinced me to eat better.
The Tyranny Of Metrics by Jerry Muller
We equate performance with metrics. But do performance metrics tell us anything useful? Are metrics accurate proxies for what we’d like to measure?
Jerry Z Muller’s nifty little book is a panacea for anyone suffering from the data deluge. Featuring case studies of schools, hospitals and public policy, Muller shines a spotlight on “metric fixation” and its many perils.
Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
Graeber’s hypothesis is chillingly simple — almost half of the jobs that exist are bullshit. It would make not an iota of difference to the global economy if half of us were to vanish.
Agree? Probably not. I read his evidence and am sceptical. But Graeber, in this part-philosophical, part-anecdotal book, throws up some fundamental observations about our warped nature of work.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Pierce Brown’s magnum opus is absurdist entertainment dialled up to 11. An eclectic, R-rated Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Total Recall/ Lord of the Flies smorgasbord. Violent, heartfelt, epic. Steeped in seething fury. Written with pizzazz. Escapism is done right.
But there’s plenty to dissect. A collage of themes with far-reaching questions beyond the realms of fantasy and into the realities of the mundane.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Gawande’s soulful, melancholic dissection of how we die today is unputdownable. It asks uncomfortable questions about our mortality. It unflinchingly showcases heart-breaking case studies of cancer survivors, lonely spouses and unwanted parents.
It shows how fleeting life can be, how agonizing the final stages are, how the retailization of modern medicine has got us here and how sometimes, letting go is the best option.
The Spy And The Traitor by Ben Macintyre
Spycraft. Double Agents. Trenchcoats. Code names. The KGB. Subterfuge. Cold war. Globetrotting, whisky-guzzling, gadget-packing, sharp-suited posh folk engaging in deep espionage.
Think Bond and Bourne in a John le Carré universe tasked with diffusing the small matter of impending nuclear war.
If that doesn’t scream blockbuster, what does?