Best books I read in 2010

Following Mark Safranski’s lead, I would like to post about the best book I read in 2010. I could go the nepotistic route and choose a certain Handbook, but we all know I have better class.

I reviewed only four books for CA last year. In order:

2010 was a light year for politics/IR-related reading as you can see from my list (I would think that Chirol’s list be much more exciting as he finished graduate school last year). There were a couple of standouts that should be mentioned here, particularly:

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris: An amazingly ambitious book that could change the relationship between modern science and ethics, and well worth the read. To get a taste of the controversy, check out the TED talk (and resulting commentary) that made me pre-order the book right away.

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky: Another book with an excellent TED talk, I found Cognitive Surplus better than Shirky’s first book Here Comes Everybody. That being said, it is not an easy book to comprehend. Shirky introduces a number of topics and frameworks drawing on fields such as behavioral economics, sociology, psychology and anthropology. This is a book to be studied and discussed, rather than simply consumed.

"Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" coverFinally, the only book to garner 5 stars in my ranking was the amazing fictional account of magic in the Victorian age: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke as narrated by Simon Prebble. Simply said: a modern classic.

As for 2011, I am currently reading Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion, which has been released today. Morozov was great in sending me a review copy in December (it took only 5 days compared to the 5 months to get my review copy of Kaplan’s Monsoon). Expect a review in a couple of weeks.

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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3 Responses to Best books I read in 2010

  1. Aceface says:

    So you know Morozov in person?
    I was thinking about ordering the copy myself.

  2. Younghusband says:

    No, just on Twitter.

  3. Pingback: tdaxp, Ph.D. » Blog Archive » Books I’ve Read in 2010