Below is a list of books I read this year. The first ten books were my favorites (in no particular order).
As for themes: continued the theme from the last few years on “how the world became modern” (loosely defined); a deep-dive into Communism; American political evolution post-1960s; Middle East geopolitics; Ancient Rome; and the history of Christianity.
The books had an older average publication date than in years past. I didn’t read a single “business” book.
My primary source for book recommendations was Marginal Revolution. After that, I tended to dig through the bibliographies of books I was especially enjoying (e.g. Before European Hegemony and Civilization and Capitalism were nice discoveries).
For next year, I’m likely to continue with this year’s themes, as well as exploring the French Revolution, Islam, and the history of California.
Finally, here’s last year’s booklist.
- God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World
- History’s Locomotives: Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World
- Speeding the Net: The Inside Story of Netscape and How It Challenged Microsoft
- The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
- Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
- The Hot Hand
- Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980
- The Second Amendment: A Biography
- The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
- The English and Their History
- Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror
- The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World
- Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic
- Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
- Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia
- Alaric the Goth: An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome
- A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy
- The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities: Economic Growth, Stagflation and Social Rigidities
- The Russian Revolution: A New History
- The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare
- MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman
- Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World
- Saudi Inc.
- The Black Book of Communism (assorted sections)
- Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century (assorted sections across 3 volumes)
- Empire of Cotton: A Global History
- An Open Letter to Open-Minded Progressives
- Bronze Age Mindset
- Foundation (re-read)
- Foundation and Empire (re-read)
- Second Foundation (re-read)
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (re-read)
- City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
First published on December 31, 2020