August Reads


  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond, an eye-opening account of life for renters in the US whose only source of income is social security. The most depressing thing is that this level of poverty (and lack of education / skills / jobs / stable housing) seems self-perpetuating, and there is little chance for people to climb out of it even if they are willing to work.
  • So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport, a counter-intuitive approach to the problem of finding work you love.
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, something I skimmed many years ago, and wanted to revisit. The level of independence that he has achieved is enviable, but I don't completely buy the "you can do this too in N easy steps" aspect of the book. Also, as a third-worlder, I find the way he talks about hiring foreign "virtual assistants" (and paying them peanuts) incredibly entitled.

Podcast episodes:

  • Two episodes from This American Life about the refugee camps in Greece. (Related: A long-form NYT Magazine piece about the war in Iraq and Syria and how it got to be the mess that it currently is. Reading a synthesis like this is so much more informative than reading the latest news.)
  • The Buried Bodies Case from Radiolab, an ethical dilemma of epic proportions, involving the attorney-client privilege.
  • Playing God from Radiolab, another ethical dilemma about distributing scarce resources during an emergency.