Here is a list of my 3 favorite(ish) books


Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Rude, rambling, with diversions too-many-to count, this text will appear bloated, indulgent and not-entirely-convincing to many readers. To me, Taleb's lengthiest-yet ruminations on risk, the unpredictable and our scant abilities to handle either, is a modern masterpiece. Taleb's contempt for academics is particularly enjoyable. Innovative and deeply insightful, to read and understand this book is to see the world (or at least our human machinations) afresh.


Conjectures and Refutations

Karl Popper's most famous work is now very unfashionable with those in the social sciences...which is another reason to love it. It offers something close to a coherent view of philosophy of science, with clear links between the natural and social sciences, and between philosophy and public policy or strategy. It is often derided for its weakness e.g. it has little to say on the not-uncommon situation of having equally-well supported but mutually contradictory theories. But despite these shortcomings this book is a clear and seminal explication of what matters to the growth of testable knowledge.



Jack Reacher (just about any of them)

The idea of the "Ronin" (a master-less Samurai) is one of the most potent story-telling devices of all time. Moving beyond Japanese history and into the deep cinematic and literary resonance of the Ronin ideal,  I define the Ronin as a highly-skilled individual, relishing those skills for their own sake, autonomous, resilient, self-reliant, and at liberty. Perhaps the greatest literary Ronin of all time is Sherlock Holmes. But think of some of the most engaging characters in all fiction: for example, Lisbeth Salander, Jason Bourne, or Jack Reacher himself. They all resonate with the same themes. Jack's adventures strip down the Ronin narrative to it's essential elements; arrive in town, find trouble (or have it find you), handle it with rarefied skills, honour and a hint of panache, then move on from the immersive struggle to enjoy your well-earned freedom (for a while, at least). Lee Child's many books deliver with the precision and force of a sniper's bullet.

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