Rest-of-2017 Reads


  • Available, by Matteson Perry -- an eye-opening account of what dating can be like for a guy who is good at it.
  • Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari -- not particularly insightful, but the chapter on Japan was fascinating.
  • American Hookup, by Lisa Wade -- a sociologist's take on the phenomenon that caused a large part of my culture shock when I first came to the US.
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt -- a remarkable synthesis of what ancient philosophy and modern psychology can tell us about happiness. There are very few books that have made me stand in awe at the author's intellect; this is one of them. It was also a nice follow-up to a book I've read previously about Stoicism.
  • Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand -- one of the best dystopias I've read so far, excluding the three-hour speech towards the end, and the unfortunate association that this book has with right-wing politics in the US. It depicts a world descending into collectivism and state control of the economy. What resonated with me was its clairvoyant portrayal of what happened in the USSR, and the uncanny parallels with what is happening today in Venezuela.

Cool stuff online:

  • A Planet Money / Rough Translation episode on the role of "fake news" in the war in Ukraine.
  • A surreal, Black Mirror-like Atlantic article on hiring fake friends and family in Japan.
  • An optimistic look at the future of electric and autonomous transportation. Unfortunately, oil is used for lots more things than gasoline.
  • A Scott Alexander piece on sexual harassment and how it is handled differently depending on the victim's gender. It seems that every time a gender issue explodes into public debate in ways that I find deeply troubling, Scott Alexander provides a rare voice of reason in that debate.
  • Another Scott Alexander article on how people can have completely different experiences of interactions with other people, even though they have the same demographics and geography.