Minor Thoughts from me to you

Tell Me What To Read Next

Last year, my New Year's Resolution was to finish more books than I started. It made sense because I had a bad habit of starting books, then getting distracted by a newer, shinier book and never finishing the first book (or the second or third, for that matter). My resolution was to focus on actually finishing the books that I started, before starting a new book.

This year, in addition to continuing last year's Resolution, I Resolve to read more non-fiction books. For the past 15 years, my reading has been heavily dominated by fiction books. (I read lots of non-fiction articles and news stories but few non-fiction books.)

My new plan is to read one non-fiction book, followed by one fiction book. I'm off to a good start already. I read A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair. I just finished reading Red Dragon by Jerry Pournelle.

Now, what non-fiction book should I read next? I have a lot of great books queued up to read. The list is so good that I'm really having a hard time deciding which one to take off the shelf first. So, what do you think I should read?

My candidates are:

Kennedy by Ted Sorenson

The first appointment made by the new President was to name Ted Sorensen his Special Counsel. Sorenson relates the role of the White House staff and evaluates Kennedy's relations with his Cabinet and other appointees. He reveals Kennedy's errors on the Bay of Pigs, his attitudes toward the press and Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his handling of Berlin and the Cuban missile crisis.

Three months to the day after Dallas, Sorensen left the White House to write the account of those eleven year that only he could write.

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

This biography by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, is itself the completion of a trilogy sure to stand as definitive. Packed with more adventure, variety, drama, humor, and tragedy than a big novel, yet documented down to the smallest fact, it recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history. What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine?

From Poverty to Prosperity by Arnold Kling

From Poverty to Prosperity is not Tipping Point or Freakonomics. Those books offer a smorgasbord of fascinating findings in economics and sociology, but the findings are only loosely related. From Poverty to Prosperity on the other hand, tells a big picture story about the huge differences in the standard of living across time and across borders. It is a story that draws on research from the world's most important economists and eschews the conventional wisdom for a new, more inclusive, vision of the world and how it works.

Hero by Michael Korda

T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) first won fame for his writings and his participation in the British-sponsored Arab Revolt of WWI, but the adventurer known even in his day as "Lawrence of Arabia" is remembered today mostly as the subject of the 1962 film masterpiece based on his life. This splendid page-turner revitalizes this protean, enigmatic adventurer. That this colorful British scholar/Middle East warrior deserves a better fate is demonstrated amply in Michael Kordas' authoritative 784-page biography.

Unchecked and Unbalanced by Arnold Kling

Arnold Kling provides a blueprint for those who are skeptical of political and financial elitism. At the heart of Kling's argument is the growing discrepancy between two phenomena: knowledge is becoming more diffuse, while political power is becoming more concentrated. Kling sees this knowledge/power discrepancy at the heart of the financial crisis of 2008. Financial industry executives and regulatory officials lacked the ability to fathom the complexity of the system that had emerged.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice

This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl trying to find her place in a hostile world and of two remarkable parents – and an extended family and community – that made all the difference. On the shoulders of individuals both black and white, young Condoleezza Rice stood and looked out on a world where anything was possible -- and in a way that is singularly fascinating, Extraordinary, Ordinary People takes us not just through Rice’s childhood but, also, her twenties and thirties as she builds a record of achievement that positions her for involvement in world-historical events.

This entry was tagged. Reading List