My favourite books 2020 – Ole Begemann

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

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (2019). For those who decide up one e book from this checklist, make it this one. I believe everybody working within the tech trade ought to learn it, it’s so essential. Shoshana Zuboff takes aside the enterprise mannequin of the large tech giants and the numerous unethical (and at instances probably unlawful) issues they’ve completed and proceed to do to protect it.

If we ever handle to manage the digital surveillance trade that pervades trendy life (as we ultimately did with the manufacturing unit homeowners who exploited employees through the industrialization), this e book will turn into a traditional as a serious contribution to that effort.


Circe by Madeline Miller. A stupendous reimagination of a Greek delusion. I purchased this e book as a result of I fell in love with the duvet design of the UK version with out realizing 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. However 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 collection. The sequels, Heroes and Troy, are on my checklist for subsequent 12 months. I purchased the US version as a result of I preferred the duvet design higher than the UK model. It’s a really fairly e book.

Permanent Record

Everlasting File 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 straightforward to learn) and incorporates a variety of stable recommendation for designing and sustaining advanced programs. Two good critiques in regards to the e book: Gergely Orosz’s evaluate matches my very own ideas. James Koppel’s take is extra crucial (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). Lovely re-creation of Hamming’s Nineteen Seventies lecture collection transformed to prose. Themes embody some technical subjects, equivalent to Hamming’s invention of the error-correcting code named after him, however the majority of the e book is recommendation the right way to strategy scientific work and the right way to construct a profitable profession. The ultimate chapter is a model of Hamming’s well-known speak “You and Your Analysis”, which provides a very good impression of the character of the e book. The 2020 Stripe Press model could 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 eager about our actions. Unhealthy typography, however I in any other case preferred it.

Fake Facts

Faux Details: 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 (Guide 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 e book kind. Studying this deeply impressed me. The battle Black individuals fought then (and are nonetheless combating at the moment)! The braveness and dedication it took to take humiliation after humiliation, beating after beating, arrest after arrest, homicide after homicide, with out combating again with violence. I had recognized this earlier than, however seeing it from the angle 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 mother and father 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 during 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 along with his father (which performs a serious 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 means of Spiegelman’s archives and requested improbable questions.


Berlin Jason Lutes (2018). One other comedian traditional, revealed as {a magazine} collection 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 in the event you’re inquisitive about that interval.


Brüder by Jackie Thomae (2019). The story of two brothers who get separated as kids and develop as much as stay very completely different lives, every a tragic determine in their very own approach. Themes: racism, East and West, Nineteen 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 12 months, 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 towards most cancers and reminiscences of her grandmother who led a nonconformist, emancipated life in pre-, mid-, and postwar Germany.

Facet word: 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 seemingly many hyperlinks on this web page will not work in a number of months or years. The thought of not breaking URLs appears overseas to most firms which have merchandise to promote. When a e book goes out of print, it might properly simply disappear from the catalog. I preemptively apologize for that.

Nonetheless, I don’t wish to hyperlink to Amazon if I may help it. For those who resolve to purchase a e book from this checklist, please purchase it from an area bookshop or one other retailer that isn’t one of the vital highly effective firms on this planet. Let’s attempt to not make Jeff Bezos any richer. (Sure, I see the irony that the print model of my very own e book is just obtainable on Amazon. Sorry.)

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