Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018 Reading Part I

Wrapping up my tour in Afghanistan I found this 6 month period to be extremely prolific and fruitful for reading. And I feel like the books I read amounted to an embarrassment of riches. The biggest change was switching to literature and, from the perspective of a father of three daughters, I tried to engage with the work of some of the most famous female authors. Knausgaard continues to be brilliant. Ferrante was an incredible find. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre kept me thinking for weeks and months.  

Saturday, December 30, 2017

What I Read in 2017

**Updated Jan 15th to include two books I had completely forgotten about; The Right Stuff and My Struggle Book 2**

This post also includes 2016 Part II. That period was mostly consumed by my failed attempt to complete Harvard's Introduction to Computer Science course hosted by edX. I enjoyed the challenge and completed about half of the coursework but then had to turn my attention to a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. Spending most of 2017 in the conflict that defined the era of my military service definitely taught me some lessons (future posts). 

For now here are my book recommendations....  

Friday, November 25, 2016

Remaining Questions and Challenges for Market Design

Very few economic sub-fields have done so well in such little time as has market design. From redesigning school choice to establishing matching markets in kidney to introducing combinatorial auctions of airwaves no other field has so rapidly taken theory to practice and seen it bear immediate fruit. The rest of the economic community took notice and two market designers were awarded the Nobel Prize for their early and profound contributions. One can't help but think that more accolades are due in the next 5-15 years.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What I'm Learning in 2016, Part I

I decided to change the title from Reading to Learning because not all knowledge comes out of books, right? And I have the time to make an update now instead of waiting until the end of the year. I figure that I'll break up the big post into smaller ones.


Politics and Economics of International Energy-Sciences Po 
This is a Coursera-hosted MOOC that was easily digestible and while neither rigorous nor difficult it was very useful to this novice. It helped me understand where we are and where we're heading with respect to global energy consumption and the promises and challenges of different energy sources. Prior to the course, I had a sense that the gas and oil the US is extracting via hydraulic fracking methods had immense importance geopolitically, but I wasn't clear about much else. For instance, I had no idea that there were 100 nuclear energy plants in the USA, that the difficulty of transporting natural gas is what allows Russia to leverage it's vast natural gas production against Europe, and the challenges of integrating different energy sources, particularly renewables, into an electrical grid.    

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What I Read in 2015

It's clear from this list that 2015 was about War, Violence, and Power. I didn't intend it that way. In fact the goal for the year was to read more fiction and great literature. The last few years were heavy on public policy and economics to the point that I felt like I was reading the same book over and over again. For 2015, I really wanted to branch out which happened but not in the intended way. Perhaps the lesson is not to try and predict 2016's destination but just see where the year takes me.

The entries are categorized simply by "Best of", which I can almost universally recommend, and "YMMV", your mileage may vary. "YMMV" does not imply bad just not for everyone.

Same rubric as before, books on this list were not necessarily published this year but read for the first time in 2015.