The Books I Recommended in 2020



Hey loves!


I started my newsletter in February this year and that means that I recommended quite a few books in earlier editions of my newsletter. Unfortunately, I have not been able to set up an archive of the newsletters yet (still working on making that happen), so here are the books I recommended in my 2020 newsletters:


Making Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side*

This book by Dr Shaw explores what makes people evil. Why do people become killers? Are psychopaths made or born? What makes people commit crimes so cruel that we hesitate to repeat what had happened? The book takes a scientific approach, but it is written in such a way that it is accessible to everyone. I absolutely loved reading it because it made me understand the more human side to the cases I was reading in criminal law. This book is not about justifying crime - explaining someone's journey into crime does not excuse their actions. But it gives us a better idea how to prevent others from going down the same path.


Love & Misadventure*

ACCEPTANCE

There are things that I miss

that I shouldn't,

and things I don't

that I should.


Sometimes we want

what we couldn't,

sometimes we love

who we could.


Lang Leav is one of my favourite poets and the one above is just one of the many great poems in her book. I feel like this poem captures why I love Leav's poetry so much: it tends to be relatively simple, but when you finish reading the poem, you feel like you know exactly which emotion Leav tried to capture (at least that is how I feel about her poetry). I sometimes read her poetry books before falling asleep and I love reading one of her poems and analysing the meaning. All of her poetry books are amazing, but this is definitely one of my favourites!


Behind Closed Doors*

There is a couple in the neighbourhood and their marriage seems perfect. But something is off. Like really off. Told from the perspective of the wife, the book quickly gives away that her husband is not who she thought he was and that he essentially holds her captive in their house, but still manages to keep up appearances for all their acquaintances. The book is full of suspense and I have never turned the pages so quickly because the author manages to keep surprising you and you feel with the characters. Until the end, it is unclear how the book will end and that makes it a fascinating read!


It's Not About The Burqa*

"We are not asking for permission any more. We are taking up space.We've listened to a lot of people talking about who Muslim women are without actually hearing Muslim women. So now, we are speaking. And now, it's your turn to listen."


This book is a collection of essays written by Muslim women, talking about how their religion affects their lives. I randomly picked up this book at Waterstone's and I liked it a lot. I feel like it is hard to understand a religion if you are not an insider and the religious dresses worn by Muslim women have led to the perception that they lack individuality since our clothes are often associated with our individuality today. But how do people who actually practice the religion perceive their own religion? It's Not about the Burqa is a journey through various ways of practicing Islam, dealing with prejudice towards the religion and prejudices perpetuated through the abuse of the religion for justifying crimes.


The Meritocracy Trap*

A Yale professor telling you that meritocracy (a system based on [academic] merit) is not a good system seems like an oxymoron, but this is exactly what the author of this book is doing. Meritocracy is usually perceived as a system that has great advantages since it allows everyone to earn their place instead of some just being born into a better position than others. Markovits surprisingly convincingly argues that the way we currently practice meritocracy makes almost everyone in the system miserable as it makes them compete with each other and fosters new inequalities. As someone who has worked very hard on doing well academically, I did not think that I would find myself agreeing with Markovits so much by the time I turned the last page. I would highly recommend the book for a different point of view on whether our talents, efforts, and achievements should be the measure of our rewards!


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World - and Why Things are Better than You Think*

It currently seems like the world is falling apart and nothing is really going well. This book gives you reason to hope that the world you live in is actually in a better state than you might think. And it asks you to evaluate how you look at the world and the inequalities it contains - most of our understanding contains labels like the 'developed and the developing world', but this book points out that such labels may be too broad and inadequate to describe the state of the world. The author proposes a new model for thinking of the world and gives us reason for hope that the world has gotten to a better point than most of us would probably think.


Step Sister: Beauty Isn't Always Pretty*

Do you remember the evil step sisters from Cinderella? I remember that I always thought that they must just be inherently nasty - what reason would there be for doing what they did? And when the fairytale finished with Cinderella getting the prince, I did not stop to think about where the step sisters would end up. This book gives you an insight into how one of Cinderella's step sisters felt after Cindie got the prince and how her life went on. The book is told beautifully like a fairytale itself and it feels like you are finally understanding a character you used to just hate as a kid. I would highly recommend this beautiful and captivating book!


Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech*

We live in a time where conservatism is often portrayed as meaning Brexit or Trump. And at many universities, people who say they are conservatives get a weird side look or may even be protested against. As a university student, I have been sent several petitions people asked me to sign to ban a conservative speaker. I may not have agreed with the majority of these speakers, but I believe that an education is supposed to expose you to various perspectives. If you cannot listen to the other side of an argument and engage in a civil debate, that is an issue. Princeton professor Whittington explores this issue in his book in the context of universities in the twenty-first century. It is a great reminder that fostering knowledge does not mean only fostering the knowledge we like.


The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab*

You don't know how to get somewhere? Ask Siri. You wanna know how much money you have left in your bank account? Check your banking app. We now do most of our things online and so do governments and their agencies. Even though most of us probably know little to no code, we all use digital resources. Carl Miller's Death of the Gods is an exploration of the people who make these digital resources possible, who use them extensively, and who abuse them. From the first people to program a computer at MIT decades ago to cyber-criminals, Millers book contains an incredible cast of characters. The book itself is an account of a world we all know of but usually have little insight into. He looks at how the digital age has redefined power by meeting some of the people who have lost power to digital changes, who gained it, and who are trying to grab it. The book is an interesting mix of admiration for its characters but also awareness of the risks the digital age brings along. I loved reading it and would highly recommend it to you guys!


My Name Is Leon*

What makes a family? How much can you love someone who mistreats you and leaves you? My Name is Leon explores these questions and many more from the perspective of a little boy who does not understand everything that is happening around him. Leon has a mother who cannot care for him and his little brother. The siblings are sent to a foster mother and Leon's little brother, who is white, is adopted, while his black older brother is left behind. This book has heart-breaking moments because the reader fully understands what is going on in different scenes while the protagonist is not fully aware of what is happening or why he is feeling what he is feeling. I would highly recommend this book to everyone out there! The book is a relatively quick read and can be read within less than a week.


A Problem From Hell: America And The Age Of Genocide*

As some of you may know, I have an academic interest in genocide law (yes, that is a thing). I first learned about the law surrounding the crime of genocide in a class I took at Stanford and we read this book among others. Samantha Power's book is not a legal textbook and no historical or legal knowledge is required for reading it. I love her book a lot because she covers such an important and complex topic in a clear and yet very accessible way. I would highly recommend reading her book to learn something new and also learn about crimes that have shaped societies but are often not taught about in school. Personally, I usually thought of the Holocaust when thinking of the term 'genocide' but I could not name any examples beyond that. Reading Power's book made me aware of how often this horrific crime has occurred in recent times and how important it therefore is to strengthen the legal regime surrounding genocide.


The Price of Inequality*

Although primarily focused on the US context, Stiglitz's book is an important reminder of today's inequality in many developed countries, though many of these inequalities are peaking in the US. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Price in Economics, describes how the wealthy have created a system which makes it hard to get ahead for others to get ahead so that they would stay rich. But he also argues that these policies have overlooked one key aspect: the wellbeing of individuals is ultimately tied to the wellbeing of society as a whole. I found this to be a particularly important read in light of the current crisis which is exposing various inequalities by showing how wealth can be the difference between having a safe place to quarantine, access to healthcare, and some money to fall back on when you are working less hours or not working at all. The author's main argument of society's wellbeing being tied to the wellbeing of individuals has become painfully visible due to recent events.


The Opposite of Loneliness*

This book is a collection of short essays and their topics vary. It starts with the last essay Keegan published - The Opposite of Loneliness. It was her way of saying goodbye to Yale and reading it gives you an idea of what it meant for her to leave the place she called home for the past four years. Keegan graduated from Yale University in 2012 and died a few days later in a car accident. Her family then decided to share some of her writing with the world in the form of a book which is how "The Opposite of Loneliness" came into being.Throughout the book, you really feel like the characters are genuine and real because she tells her stories with such a love for details and does not shy away from pointing out her characters' flaws.


What I loved most about her book is that you can relate to all the characters. Some of them are in extraordinary situations such as being trapped in a submarine but Keegan still makes them accessible. Her writing is genuine in a way that is hard to describe but it makes her characters seem real. And the emotions they feel become real in the reader. Whenever you finish one of the stories, it will leave you with a few things to reflect on. Keegan raises questions about who we are, who we want to be, and why we are who we are in a very interesting way because you do not feel like she really asks the reader to think about it. But once you put the book down, your thoughts just start to wander.


We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families*

This journalistic account of what it was like for people to experience the Rwandan genocide is a hunting account of the inhumanity that was accompanied by international inaction. Gourevitch's writing style is incredible - his words make you feel like you stand next to him while he looks at the dead and like you can hear the interviewees cry in front of him. It is a tough read, but it is one worth reading - no matter how tough it can be to keep reading in light of the things Gourevitch describes.


That's Mental - Painfully Funny Things That Drive Me Crazy About Being Mentally Ill*

Rosenberg's book about her experiences with bipolar II is probably the only book about mental illness I have read so far that made me laugh out loud. I struggled with a mental health issue myself last year and I know that the topic itself is a very serious one. Rosenberg's book does not deny that. In fact, she is very aware of it and she brings the seriousness across. But she does it while cracking one joke after another. She finds the perfect line between needing to be serious and keeping you engaged through humour. If you are interested in her brutally honest account of what it is like for her to be mentally ill, click the button below to get the book.


Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account*

You may have seen some of the clips of people in the UK making Nazi salutes when demonstrating in favour of Churchill's statue remaining up (the irony of that is a different story). I posted about this on Twitter and made it very clear that I find such behaviour disgusting, but then I received a few direct messages but also some tweets from people trying to defend the making of this salute. This salute stands for the terror and pain inflicted by the Nazi regime. It stands for the genocide of six million Jews. To me, the making of this salute is never justified. But I sometimes get the feeling that some people lose sight of what this sign represents and they trivialise it.


I would therefore like to recommend this book to you. It is by no means a perfect historical account - it is an eyewitness account and trauma is usually not perfectly remembered. But it is an emotional read which makes you feel like you are standing next to this doctor who enters Auschwitz as a prisoner and then comes to work for Dr. Mengele, a doctor known for the extreme cruelty he unleashed on prisoners. Nyiszli describes his journey with such painful attention to detail that you have to put the book down at times in order to gather your emotions. Even though the book is relatively short, it is hard read. But it is worth reading and it is an important reminder of what this salute stands for and why it is always inhumane to make it.


The Heavens*

This fiction book is a relatively quick read, but it is a good one! I love the author's writing style because she manages to pull you into the story from the first page onwards. Just like the characters, you are always trying to figure out what exactly is going on in this story but it never gets too confusing. The book is about a woman who lives in modern-day New York, but who lives in Elizabethan England in her dreams. The catch is, her dreams do not seem to be only dreams. The choices she makes in her dreams seem to influencer history and she has to figure out what she has to do. What is the right move? What is the end goal? As a reader, you are taken on a fascinating story which alternates between timelines with such skill that the book nonetheless feels like one story and you do not get confused by the timelines.


First Confession: A Sort Of Memoir*

To this day I have no idea how I ended up buying this book - I honestly do not remember buying it (I really hope I did not accidentally steal it in a bookstore), but I do not regret owning it! I usually avoid memoirs because they tend to be a rather self-serving account of events (in my opinion), but this one is different. Chris Patten, a former politician of the Conservative party in the UK and the last governor of Hong Kong, tells his story without being afraid to call out some of his own flaws. He also uses the different stations of his path as transitions to talking about current events - whether it is Europe's politics on China or Brexit. But what I like most about this book that it highlights something which I find to get lost in many online debates: having a political alignment and being a member of a political party does not mean that you have to support every single thing done in the name of your political leaning or your party. Despite being a high-level conservative politician, he openly criticised some actions of his party.


Poems That Make Grown Women Cry*

If you are a long-time subscriber of mine, you may know that I am a massive poetry fan. This book was actually written as a follow-up to the book Poems that Make Grown Men Cry, but I have to confess that I have not read that one (yet). This book is a great read for any poetry-lover since it introduces you to many new poems from various continents and centuries. It also gives you a little insight into how these poems made others feel since the contributors share some of their thoughts on the poems with the reader. Although none of the poems made me cry, they certainly moved me and made me think a lot. This book can be read whenever you wish - you do not have to read it in one go and you can always keep it next to your bed and open a random page whenever you would like to dive into the world of poem. I would highly recommend this collection to anyone who loves poetry!


The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion*

Did your mom ever tell you not to talk politics at dinner? Do you sometimes find yourself in heated debates about politics with others? But why is it that these things are so touchy for us? Jonathan Haidt's books looks into the way we think about politics and religion - both tend to be topics of debate which can easily turn heated. His book is a great exploration of the roles of institution and rationalism in our thought process about moral issues. Haidt also looks at morality as a concept composed of six factors and how liberalism and conservatism address the factors. Although I am not sure if I fully agree with him on his conclusions about the two political theories, his book is a great read to understand a little bit more about the way we think about politics and religion.


The Colour Of Law: A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America*

It is widely acknowledged that the outlawing of slavery did not end racism in the US. Rothstein's book traces how racism continued to be legalised through various housing laws aimed solely at discriminating against black people. The reason I wanted to recommend this book to all of you is that it is a factual and well-researched legal account of how American laws sponsored racism, but it is not written for lawyers. It is written for anyone. Rothstein manages to break down the practical effect of the laws and it makes the reader emotional to read his words.


The Unwinding Of The Miracle*

Are you ready to cry? Because I can assure you that this book will make you cry. I was about forty pages into the book and it had already broken my heart three times. In The Unwinding of the Miracle, Julie Yip-Williams tells the story of the end of her life. Yip-Williams, a Harvard-educated lawyer who escaped infanticide due to her blindness in Vietnam, had her life changed by a cancer diagnosis. In this book, she talks about coming to terms with her diagnosis, how she went through the different stages of treatment, and what it means to leave your family behind. Her book is so raw and honest that it feels like you are talking to her. It is beautiful, heart-breaking, and wonderful. I would highly recommend this book to all of you!


Shadow and Bone*

I still remember getting this book as a Christmas gift a few years ago and staying up the entire night to read it. The book is actually the first one in a fantasy trilogy (which will become a Netflix show) and I cannot recommend it enough. I actually re-read the books during exam season and I can therefore say that they are still amazing today. I tried to write a good summary for you guys, but there is just so much to mention and explain that the summaries I wrote all do not do the book justice. This summary is from the book's Amazon page* and it is certainly a lot better than anything I could come up with:


"Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold - a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.


Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country's magical military elite - and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.


As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.


Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems."


The Scent of Death*

I love a good crime novel every once in a while and Simon Beckett's The Scent of Death has anything you can ask of a crime novel: Suspense, enough forensic detail to make you believe you are reading about a police investigation without the jargon being overwhelming, and a well-thought-through storyline which unfolds throughout the book without you knowing how this will end. Although the book looks relatively big, it is a quite quick read as the suspense will make you want to know more and more about the story.


Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement Forgot*

Mikki Kendall's book is an important contribution to feminist thought as she points out that the feminist movement - which claims to fight for gender equality - has ignored some women in its fights in order to increase privileges for some women. Kendall calls the feminist movement out for not focusing enough on intersectionality. That means that you consider multiple factors when assessing an issue - for example you do not just consider gender, but also race. Kendall's argument is that the feminist movement has centred around white women, but has forgotten how especially black women suffer inequality everyday - not just because of their gender, but also because of their race. The two go hand in hand in many situations and can define things such as whether a cop gives you the benefit of the doubt or whether a doctor does an extra test to ensure you are fine. For many black women, their basic needs such as healthcare are big issues, but the feminist movement seems to have focused more on (predominantly white) women who have their basic needs met.


Kendall points out that the feminist movement has not stood up enough for black women and she calls on feminists to examine their own actions: Do they advocate equally passionately for black women as they do for white women? How much do they talk about the experiences of the black women? Are they doing anything about the issues that black women in particular face? If not, then they are not fighting for all women, but for white women. Kendall's book is an incredibly insightful critical look at the feminist movement and in my opinion an absolute must-read!


The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night*

"These days, you find anything you need at the click of a button. That's why I bought her heart online." The first lines of Campbell's book set the tone for the entire book: modern fairytales that are haunting, so far from our reality that we cannot stop being fascinated, and all written so well that you can hardly put the book down. Campbell's imagination knows no bounds - from a man buying his love a new heart to manipulate her character, to a girl running a coffin hotel and mermaids on display at an aquarium. I absolutely loved this book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


The Order Of Time*

I definitely did not see myself ever recommending a physics book, but this book is just too beautiful not to recommend it. Yes, I just described a physics book as beautiful. Banville, a reviewer of the Irish Times put it right when he said about the book that "physics has found its poet." Rovelli's book is an exploration of what time actually is - what does modern physics know about time and how is it defined? Although the topic is highly complex, Rovelli's books feels more like a love poem to the study of time and definitely not like a textbook. The book really surprised me time and time again and Rovelli's clear (and nonetheless poetic) writing made it easy to follow her explanations while she went deeper and deeper into the topic.


Désirée*

Have you ever read a book written about a different time and reading it felt like going back in time? Whenever I re-read Désirée, I feel like I can look at Napoleon and almost smell the food on the table of Désirée's family.


In case you do not know the book, here is a short summary: Désirée, a young girl living in Marseille, meets the young Napoleon and becomes his first fiancée. Napoleon leaves to pursue his career in the military and, long story short, their relationship does not work out and Napoleon ends up marrying another woman. Désirée marries a marshal and lives in Paris with him. Although her relationship with Napoleon did not work out, their paths continue to cross. The story is written as Désirée's diary and although the entries are fictional, the story is based on historical facts.


Since it is written like a diary, the entries are very relatable despite the fact that the story plays in a very different time. When reading this book for the first time, I did not know about the protagonist of the book and I loved the different turns the story took. Finding out that the story was based on facts made the book even more mind-blowing because the story of Désirée seemed to have almost too much in it for one human life.


Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do?*

This book by Harvard professor Sandel is one of the most engaging accounts of the concept of justice I have ever read. Sandel takes real-life examples such as people increasing the prices of essential items in times of crisis but also hypothetical scenarios like the trolley example and then examines them as a moral philosopher. Although the topics which Sandel discusses are big topics of moral philosophy, his book is written to be accessible for people who are new to the subject. There are only few books which have made me think as much as this one did. An amazing read which I highly recommend!


What Is Populism?*

I read that book in a day (oops - I can feel the judgement coming from my pile of unread books that I bought before this book). Politicians like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been labelled 'populist' - but what does that mean? Princeton professor Jan-Werner Müller tries to answer that question in this short book. It is clearly written and Müller presents his thesis in a clear and coherent way. He reaches his definition of populism by looking at populist movements now and throughout history. I would highly recommend giving this book - it can give you a great foundation for discussing political movements such as Trump's 'Make America Great Again' campaign.


Essays In Love*

This book will turn you into a silent observer of how the narrator gives his heart away, gets his heart broken, and does it all over again. While not revealing anything new about love, the author touches on various fields such as religion, philosophy, and psychology with his analysis and I loved the diversity this brought to the book. Another thing I love about this book is that the author admits to the flaws of the characters the narrator falls in love with. So the reader does not really fall for the characters the narrator falls for, but rather for their love and the relationship they build. Definitely a good read for anyone who wants a romantic book that makes you fall in love with love itself.


Marly's Ghost*

I've read this book in one day, because I couldn't put it down. It is a story about a boy who lost his girlfriend due to cancer. Now he can't go on with his life because he's missing her. Because of that, three different ghosts are meeting up with him in one night to free him from his pain. It's a remix of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" and a Valentine's twist.


This book was really touching to me and I absolutely loved reading it. The book made me think about myself as well, because sometimes, we push others away or we hurt them - but we don't realize it. It made me realize how important it is to value the happiness in your life and to celebrate it with those who cause it. It's definitely well written and perfect for everyone who's into love stories.


Alice (Book 1 Of The Chronicles of Alice)*

Most of us have probably read (or watched one of the adaptations of) Alice in Wonderland as children and you may still remember some of the characters. This book incorporates familiar characters - Alice, the rabbit, the Jabberwock and more - but the characters are not necessarily as good-hearted as you remember them. This book is a dark and at times horrifying re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. I found the book captivating and I would always tell myself 'just one more page' because I wanted to know what would happen next. R.S. Belcher summarised my thoughts on the book perfectly:

"A dark, delightfully disturbing fall down a rabbit hole of madness and mystery. This is not your mamma's Alice ... Alice encompasses the sensation of a slippery world fueled by insanity, where reality can fall from under your feet with each step unless you are very, very careful. It's a delightfully twisted take on the classic and breathes new life into Carroll's creations ... If you're looking for a book that will make you feel like you were just on a bender with the Blue Caterpillar, I highly recommend Alice."


But while I absolutely loved this book, I would like to include a trigger warning: This book does include descriptions of sexual assault and rape which may be triggering to some readers.


Is Eating People Wrong?*

Ok, I know that the title is strange, but please do not let that put you off the book. Once you read the subtitle, the title becomes a little less strange: "Great Legal Cases and How they Shaped the World." This book is not necessarily aimed at law students (though it is very interesting for law students too) since everything is covered in such a way that you do not have to have studied law to understand the different cases. The title of the book comes from one of the cases discussed in the book - it dealt with an extraordinary situation of people being lost and the defendants argued that they had no other option than to turn to cannibalism in order to survive. The cases in this book are explained and it is shown how they shaped the common law. What I love about this book is that it picked super interesting cases to illustrate how the common law constantly develops and who are the people changing it. Overall, a great read on law that is not written like a textbook (and also not meant as such)!


1984*

"War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is strength."

Does this sound weird to you? Probably. The slogans were taken from Orwell's "1984" and in the book, they are the slogans of the government. Can you imagine being governed by a government that operates on the basis os slogans like these?

In the book, Orwell takes the reader on a journey into a disturbing future. A future in which mass surveillance is openly practiced by the government and where freedom of speech, thought or opinion are not valued because everyone has to believe in the same things. It's a world that's constantly at war and in which only three states are left. A world in which citizens cannot trust each other because everyone could denounce you to the so-called "Thought Police". Any crime committed against the government, even if it is just the thought of doing something against the government, is severely punished.


Orwell's dystopian novel paints the picture of a totalitarian police state that appears to have acquired ultimate control over its subjects - but the protagonist of the book begins to question some of the government's policies and tries to find loopholes in their surveillance system. This book is a classic so I know that many of you have already read it, but if you have not, I can highly recommend it. It is fiction at the end of the day, but it talks about issues of real-life politics and explores the limits of legitimate state surveillance.


The Concept Of Law*

Whether you are a law student or not, Hart's book is readable for anyone! Take a moment and think about law - can you define it? Not as in 'Murder is illegal' but can you actually explain what law is? That whole body of laws in our system adds up to a legal system - but what is that legal system? Is it just rules our government lays down? Or do we contribute to it to? Do we need to accept the law? Do we need to know of laws or are secret laws no law? Does the law need to be ethical or is a genocidal law no law at all? Did Nazi Germany have law or was it all such a misuse of the word law that it does not qualify as such?


Hart's book is a great introduction to such questions and presents one of the (if not the) most influential theory of what makes law law. I loved reading his book as a law student because it has shown me how, despite the fact that I can answer a detailed problem question about proprietary estoppel or breach of contract, I cannot actually define the system those laws operate in. This may sound very technical, but Hart presents his theory in a clear and readable way.


What If?: Serious Scientific Answers To Absurd Hypothetical Questions*

Honestly, this book is just a lot of fun to read. The book consists of a bunch of crazy questions like what would happen if every human on earth would jump at the same time (I still didn't figure out how you think about a question like that) and the actually provides answers to these questions. The answers sound super smart (I guess they also are) and it's really cool to read through it because these questions are super interesting and the answers are a bit like a Wikipedia article, but always accompanied by helpful explanations so that you can understand how the author arrives at the answer. This book contains a lot of question marks but every questions is answered in the end.


How To Talk To Anyone*

The title may sound strange at first, but I found the book really useful as an introvert. It is not a book you read twice, but can be pretty helpful. Leil Lowndness breaks down a conversation and explains to you how to start small talk and how to get away from it and enter a real conversation. You can use it when you're talking to old friends or you're trying to make new ones. Honestly, I still sometimes think of some of the advice I got from this book when I am at events and use the tips.


Algorithms to Live By*

"Gold digging is more likely to succeed than a quest for love."

I just had to share this quote from a book I recently read (which was actually one of my Christmas gifts) and I found it super interesting. The book, Algorithms to Live By, examines how some algorithms can be applied to our daily life (and help us solve problems where we usually do not know what to do aside from relying on our intuition). One of the issues examined in the book is dating and finding the right person for you - and the authors conclude, based on the success rate of different ways to choose a partner, that gold digging is more likely to succeed than finding true love (though this does of course not mean that you should give up on it). They explain in clear steps how they get to that conclusion (and others) in the book and it was a great read for me. I feel like you need at least a small interest in mathematics to enjoy this book, but you do not need to know any advanced mathematics - the authors do an amazing job of explaining the things in a clear language and the book is a lot of fun to read with loads of options for solving day-to-day problems.


Wow, now that I am scrolling through this post, I am realising that this is quite a long list - oops. I honestly did not think it would get this long. But I hope you found at least one interesting book on the list!


Lots of Love,


Elena


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