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My favourite books 2020 – Ole Begemann

I learn 45 books in 2020. These have been my favorites. (Pondering in SwiftUI was not within the operating as a result of I’m biased.)

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (2019). In case you choose up one ebook from this checklist, make it this one. I believe everybody working within the tech trade ought to learn it, it’s so necessary. Shoshana Zuboff takes aside the enterprise mannequin of the massive tech giants and the numerous unethical (and at instances presumably unlawful) issues they’ve carried out and proceed to do to protect it.

If we ever handle to manage the digital surveillance trade that pervades fashionable life (as we ultimately did with the manufacturing facility house owners who exploited staff through the industrialization), this ebook will change into a traditional as a significant contribution to that effort.


Circe by Madeline Miller. A stupendous reimagination of a Greek fantasy. I purchased this ebook as a result of I fell in love with the quilt design of the UK version with out figuring out what it was about and I’m glad I did. Madeline Miller’s writing was a problem for my English abilities, I needed to lookup so many phrases. Nevertheless it was completely price it.


Mythos: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry (2017). Circe led me to Stephen Fry’s pleasant retelling of the Greek myths. That is half one in a sequence. The sequels, Heroes and Troy, are on my checklist for subsequent yr. I purchased the US version as a result of I preferred the quilt design higher than the UK model. It’s a really fairly ebook.

Permanent Record

Everlasting Report by Edward Snowden (2019). Snowden’s memoirs, recounting his work for NSA contractors up till the covert assembly with journalists in Hong Kong that led to his exile.

A Philosophy of Software Design

A Philosophy of Software program Design by John Ousterhout (2018). Very approachable (quick and simple to learn) and comprises lots of strong recommendation for designing and sustaining complicated programs. Two good evaluations in regards to the ebook: Gergely Orosz’s overview matches my very own ideas. James Koppel’s take is extra important (however nonetheless optimistic) and really insightful.

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

The Artwork of Doing Science and Engineering: Studying to Be taught by Richard Hamming (1996, re-creation 2020). Stunning re-creation of Hamming’s Nineteen Seventies lecture sequence transformed to prose. Themes embrace some technical subjects, resembling Hamming’s invention of the error-correcting code named after him, however the majority of the ebook is recommendation learn how to strategy scientific work and learn how to construct a profitable profession. The ultimate chapter is a model of Hamming’s well-known speak “You and Your Analysis”, which supplies impression of the character of the ebook. The 2020 Stripe Press model may be very fairly. Typography, illustrationsm and paper high quality are all top-notch.

Deutschland Schwarz Weiß

Deutschland Schwarz Weiß by Noah Sow (2008, up to date 2018). Racism in Germany. How white individuals advance and strengthen racism by not interested by our actions. Unhealthy typography, however I in any other case preferred it.

Fake Facts

Pretend Information: Wie Verschwörungstheorien unser Denken bestimmen by Katharina Nocun und Pia Lamberty (2020). An inside look into a number of conspiracist milieus in German society, from Holocaust deniers and antisemitic ideologists to anti-vaxxers and esoterics. Extremely related lately.


March (E-book One to Three) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2013–2016). The late US Congressman John Lewis recounts his extraordinary life within the US civil rights motion in comedian ebook kind. Studying this deeply impressed me. The wrestle Black individuals fought then (and are nonetheless combating in the present day)! The braveness and willpower it took to take humiliation after humiliation, beating after beating, arrest after arrest, homicide after homicide, with out combating again with violence. I had identified this earlier than, however seeing it from the attitude of somebody who skilled it firsthand was one thing else.


MetaMaus by Artwork Spiegelman (2011). Studying March led me to a comic book traditional: Maus (1985 and 1991), Artwork Spiegelman’s two-part story how his dad and mom survived the Holocaust in Poland. I preferred the comics, however I felt I didn’t actually perceive why they have been so well-known.

MetaMaus is basically a 230-page interview with the writer through which he takes his work aside intimately: the way it got here to be, how he approached sure scenes (together with tons of draft sketches), Artwork’s sophisticated relationship together with his father (which performs a significant position in Maus), the numerous layers of hidden which means in his drawings (most of which I missed when studying the comics). Studying this gave me a a lot deeper appreciation for the unique work. Kudos to Hillary Chute, who went by Spiegelman’s archives and requested improbable questions.


Berlin Jason Lutes (2018). One other comedian traditional, revealed as {a magazine} sequence in 2000, 2008, and 2018. A 550-page tome that describes life in Berlin from 1928 to 1933, through the decline of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. Really helpful when you’re all for that interval.


Brüder by Jackie Thomae (2019). The story of two brothers who get separated as kids and develop as much as dwell very totally different lives, every a tragic determine in their very own means. Themes: racism, East and West, Eighties and Nineteen Nineties Berlin, provincialism vs. cosmopolitanism, how a single mistake can destroy a life.


Grünmantel by Manfred Maurenbrecher (2019). Persevering with my theme from final yr, that is one other novel set in rural East Germany, 25 years after reunification.

Im Sommer wieder Fahrrad

Im Sommer wieder Fahrrad by Lea Streisand (2016). Autobiographical novel. The writer (in her thirties) narrates her struggle in opposition to most cancers and reminiscences of her grandmother who led a nonconformist, emancipated life in pre-, mid-, and postwar Germany.

Aspect be aware: writer web sites are horrible

I dread compiling this checklist yearly as a result of discovering good hyperlinks and canopy pictures for the books is a ache. Most writer web sites are horrible. It’s very doubtless many hyperlinks on this web page will now not work in just a few months or years. The thought of not breaking URLs appears international to most corporations which have merchandise to promote. When a ebook goes out of print, it could nicely simply disappear from the catalog. I preemptively apologize for that.

Nonetheless, I don’t wish to hyperlink to Amazon if I may help it. In case you resolve to purchase a ebook from this checklist, please purchase it from a neighborhood bookshop or one other retailer that isn’t one of the highly effective corporations on the planet. Let’s attempt to not make Jeff Bezos any richer. (Sure, I see the irony that the print model of my very own ebook is simply obtainable on Amazon. Sorry.)



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