Looking for something to read during Coronavirus? Here are 12 books that I've enjoyed. These aren't the books I've most enjoyed (an impossible task) and there's no order to the list below. Just a few ideas for your own backlog of books to read.
Alan Graham, 2017
Look past the poor writing and frequent scripture for a view on homelessness by someone who dedicated his life to helping people without hope. Alan Graham started a 200 person town on the edge of Austin Texas to house people in an environment built around making them matter.
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture
David Kushner, 2004
This could have been a business case study about the developers of the Doom video game. It's an inspiring and entertaining look at the beginnings of the modern era of video games and what scrappy developers without any money can achieve.
Stumbling on Happiness
Daniel Gilbert, 2007
A pop psychology book that looks at what truly makes people happy. It's an easy, enjoyable read.
The Road to Serfdom
Friedrich Hayek, 1944
A WWII-era conservative take on the relationship between free markets and free societies. Central planning is the villain and the free-market is the answer. Read this book 75 years later to see what Hayek got right and wrong.
The Smartest Guys in the Room
Bethan McLean and Peter Elkind, 2004
Enron was a spectacular fraud that changed the practice of accounting. Who did what and how? This is an interesting look at a spectacularly successful company that became a spectacular failure.
The Guns of August
Barbara Tuchman, 1962
A detailed history of the first month of the First World War and the events that led to it. It's a dense but rewarding read that won the Pullitzer Prize in 1963.
Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom
Andrei Sakharov, 1970
Soviet dissident and nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov describes a better future for mankind. This is a powerful book about freedom and peace that is still celebrated, 50 years after its publication.
Drugs Without the Hot Air
David Nutt, 2012
A British pharmaceucy professor looks at the evidence of harm for various drugs. The author was fired from his position on a UK government advisory committee because of his advocacy for an evidence-based approach to drug law penalties.
Lawrence Lessig, 2008
What art does society miss out on when we insist on certain rules for expression? A Harvard IP law professor discusses remixes and the impact of copyright law on the art that's available to the public.
London Labour and the London Poor
Henry Mayhew, 1861
One of the first studies of the lives of the poor, conducted in the form of newspaper articles in 1849 and 1850. It's a fascinating look at the lives of the urban poor of London, England during the industrial era, including jobs like "costermonger" and bone collector.
Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich
Ingo Muller, 1992
A German law professor's academic book on the subversion of the justice system toward the evil ends of the Nazis. This book closely examines cases and the people who administered the legal system. Law and morality are not the same.
The Tyranny of Silence
Flemming Rose, 2014
The author is a Danish editor responsible for approving 12 cartoons about Muhammed that caused controversy worldwide. The author discusses the backlash and why unpopular speech is essential to free speech.
Various Sci-Fi Novels
Dune, A Scanner Darkly, Road (McCarthy), Armor, The Forever War, Foundation, All You Need is Kill, and Stories of Your Life and Others.