The Nine Best Non-fiction Books I’ve Read This Week

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

When Gorbachev dismantled the Communist Party in ’91, apparently there were tons of people who were so alienated by capitalism that they yearned to go back to the gulags. Spooky!

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Was salted cod the catalyst for all human progress? The dude who wrote an entire book about it seems to think so.

Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

If you’re lacking in quirky anecdotes about historical pandemics for your next Zoom call, this is the book for you.

Unselfie by Michele Borba

How do you foster empathy in children? Beads and sequins. There, now you don’t have to read this book.

Astroball by Ben Reiter

The Houston Astros credit their 2017 World Series win to employing big data tactics for talent scouting. It took baseball until 2017 to learn that relying on data is better than gut feelings. Astonishing.

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

This self-help book from the 60s is really cute. It’s an antiquated look at how “machine logic” can improve your life. Nothing in here is revelatory, but it’s fun to read in 2020.

Ultralearning by Scott H. Young

The ‘deep work’ methodology is so last year. Now we’re all about ultralearning, which is just deep work with a different name. This book is slightly better than Cal Newport’s Deep Work because it dedicates an inordinate number of pages to Stardew Valley.

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History

Man… it sounds like the people of Palestine have had a pretty rough time!

NBA Jam by Reyan Ali

If you read only one book that chronicles the development of Midway’s 1993 licensed basketball 2-on-2 arcade game NBA Jam, make it this one.