The Year in Reading (2012): Favorite Nonfiction Reads

January 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm (Uncategorized)

So of the 34 books I read last year the following were my favorites and the most memorable nonfiction I read. I mentioned in my first post listing all the books I read that there were a lot of really good ones that I didn’t finished, but of the ones I did, these were the best,

Best Nonfiction

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

“Jon Ronson’s exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world’s top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry”

This was a fun an interesting book about psycopathy/sociopathy and a test that can supposedly tell you whether someone is a psychopath (hint: if you’re worried you might be one you probably aren’t). Apparently people who are psychopaths have brains that are hard wired differently than the rest of the population and there is no cure for psychopathy. Learning the traits of psychopaths is really interesting as well as the fact that they can be in all areas of society and not easily identified to the untrained. Had me hooked the whole way through. One of those books I would by as a gift for other because I’m sure they would enjoy no matter what their interests are.

Other Notable Non Fiction (In No Particular Order)

Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi

“The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power.”

This book will piss you off. It pissed me off. Particularly helpful was the chapter on the cause of the financial crisis as well as a the chapter on Alan Greenspan and his lasting effect on the economy.

Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget by David Wessel

“In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control.”

Helpful introduction to the budget. Helps you understand what this country really spends its money on and what we would have to cut to balance the budget (hint: it’s not foreign aid or PBS). A short read. I would definitely give this book to someone who wanted an introduction to the budget.

Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human  by Grant Morrison

In addition to reading comics I love reading about comics. Grant Morrison is one of my favorite comic book writers and a fascinating guy. I just find his writing weird, but not too weird, and intriguing. He has cool ideas. In this books he talks about comics, the industry, humanity, drugs, and his crazy life. Good reading.

 Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.”

This was the most inspirational book I read this year (probably longer than that). It started me on the path of running longer distances after being stuck at about 3.5 miles for a long time. I ended up running the distance of a half marathon (13+ miles) one day on a whim. I’ve since scaled it back quite a bit but I learned I could do more than I thought and even more than that if I trained. This book advocates newer ideas about proper running form and foot wear (less is better) that enable people to run longer distances (50+ miles) without hurting themselves. Lot to learn in this book plus a captivating narrative about a super race being put on in the desert of Mexico which the author is determined to participate in even though he isn’t a long distance runner.

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