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Book reviews

Homo Deus by Yuval Harari

This book was tough, I was angry a lot.

Yuval Noah Harari starts by explaining how humanity has solved famine, plague and war and will therefore focus on advancing humans themselves (even if you ignore COVID-19 and the Ukraine invasion, what about the climate crisis?). God is dead and the new religion, Humanism, has the goal to create super-humans, therefore creating the next evolutionary stage after Homo Sapiens: Homo Deus.

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The Employees by Olga Ravn

This book is strange.

It’s a collection of numbered statements from human and humanoid employees on a space ship after the crew took on some “objects” from the planet New Discovery. The statements are not ordered so you only get pieces to the puzzle and nothing makes sense in the beginning.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

When I first heard of this book I immediately dismissed it, mostly due to the title sounding weird to me. But this book popped up again on reading lists and recommendation threads all over the internet and people were praising it. When I finally decided to check it out, I was pleasantly surprised.

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The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

If you struggle with managing money or making smart investments, this book is your lifeline. And if you reckon you know what you’re doing, you will still find immense value in this.

Morgen Housel takes a complex topic and distills it into 20 parts, each talking about a specific angle of looking at or working with money.

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Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Do you feel naked without your phone with you? Are you spending too much time on social media?

It’s not your fault, but you can do something against it. Humans have evolved over millions of years to read social cues in face-to-face conversations and we’re having a hard time figuring out the digital “replacements” that came up in the last decades.

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How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

American democracy has worked by relying on two norms: Mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance. Donald Trump openly violated these norms, but he wasn’t the first—in fact the GOP has been on a shift away from democracy’s guard rails since 2008.

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How to Live by Derek Sivers

This book gives you exact instructions how to live. And then it does it again, 26 times, and they’re all incompatible.

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Dune by Frank Herbert

This book sat on my shelf for the better part of last year. After reading a few non-fiction books I longed for a novel and decided to pick up Dune.

It took me the first 100 pages to really get into it, but then I was immerged into the fascinating world of the desert planet Arrakis (or “Dune”) with its sand worms, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood with superhuman powers, the native Freemen who learned to live in the harsh environment, the intrigues, the politics and the religion.

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The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Did you ever push on a door that’s pull only or the other way around? How did that make you feel? Probably not great, but I have good news: It’s not your fault! They’re designed badly.

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Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

This book opened my eyes to the systematic exclusion of women in areas I didn’t see before. Did you know, for example, that crash tests are in most cases done with male dummies only, which results in cars being way more dangerous to drive for women?

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Engineering Management for the Rest of Us by Sarah Drasner

I’ve read a few management books and this one stands out for being so hands-on. Sarah Drasner provides systems for your everyday work as an engineering manager and guides you through your different areas of responsibility in four parts:

  • Your team
  • Collaboration
  • Helping your team do their best work
  • Your work

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Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Chris Voss makes this non-fiction book exciting by telling stories from real hostage negotiations from his time at the FBI. Each chapter is about a specific tactic and filled with psychological information as well as real-world experience and has a nice summary at the end (remind me to collate those into my notes).

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