Tyler Cowen started a real bandwagon of listing your top ten most influential books (Caplan, Wilkinson and Kieran all listed The Bell Curve, though not for the same reasons). I’m not going to jump on because I’m too young for that sort of retrospective. Instead I’ll just list some stuff I’ve read recently but haven’t blogged about. Taking the train means I have more time to read (and access to more books) but less time to blog. Give your own examples (if you haven’t done so already), comment on the ones listed, or suggest some more.
Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Culture of Defeat by Wolfgang Schivelbusch
Hystories by Elaine Showalter
Violence and Social Orders by Douglass North and two other less important people (at the repeated recommendations of agnostic and as a contrast to “A Farewell to Alms”)
The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Today I went to pick up The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, but it wasn’t where the catalog said it would be, so instead I’ve got Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State. Fortunately, Goffman’s work (or at least one edition of it) appears to be available online. In the future, I plan on reading Paul Collier to (balance out William Easterly) and Mancur Olson (to balance out North, Wallis & Weingast).
UPDATE: A while back I gave up fiction for the sake of my epistemic hygiene (and also because non-fiction seemed more interesting). If that just sounds bizarre to you, you may be interested in First Things’ Tournament of Novels.
UPDATE 2: Check out Austin Bramwell, who judges some involuntary contestants in a signalling-through-booklists competition and then applies the same criteria to himself. His The Right to Remain Silent from a few years back inspired a number of good and not so good reads on my part. Still have to get to Schumpeter.