Lukas Püttmann    About    Research    Blog

My 10 favorite books 2017

Here are the books that I most enjoyed reading in the last 12 months in reverse order:

  1. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption”, by Bryan Stevenson. A book about the weakest in society and the weaknesses of society.
  2. Hitler’s Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich”, by Ben Shepherd. It find it hard to say I enjoyed this book, but it impressed me. Facts really stand out when Shepherd is able to put numbers on them. For example, did you know that, “During the winter of 1941-2, 360,000 Greeks died of famine”?
  3. Submission”, by Michel Houellebecq. What I found eerie is the psychological plausibility of the decisions in this story.
  4. Rules for Radicals”, by Saul Alinsky. “All issues are controversial.” More here and here.
  5. Folding Beijing”, by Hao Jingfang. A fantastic (in both senses of the word) short story about reality and inequality by a Chinese macroeconomist.
  6. Hans Fallada: Die Biographie”, by Peter Walther (in German). I really enjoyed reading Fallada’s book “Alone in Berlin” and Fallada’s life was equally interesting. This superb biography spares nothing by simplifying too much.
  7. Commonwealth”, by Ann Patchett. We accompany the lives of six siblings over several decades. I started not expecting to finish, but after the first chapter I couldn’t stop.
  8. Gorbachev: His Life and Times”, by William Taubman. So much was new to me which mostly just reveils my ignorance about the topic.
  9. At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails”, by Sarah Bakewell. Beautifully written and insightful.
  10. Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter”, by Joseph Henrich. I found this book mind-boggling and impressive with things to say about anything from culture, evolution, causal reasoning to religion.

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