Quick shot before today’s longer post: we have a new champion for the book that everyone buys and no one reads. Three guesses as to what it is and the last two don’t count.
For today’s Friday Fun thread, your favorite non-fiction books. Either because they influenced you or because they were so fun to read.
Free to Choose: Three decades after it was published, Milton Friedman’s opus to economic liberty remains one of the most cogent, inspiring and prescient defense of the free market and capitalism yet made. It’s anti-matter to Das Kapital. The PBS series that accompanied it is good too.
The Wisdom of Crowds: Surowiecki has one of the best examinations of not only how people make good decisions, but how they make bad ones. His description of the Columbia diaster is enraging.
Gulag by Anne Applebaum is a stunning and grueling indictment of the Soviet slave labor system. Gulag Archipelago should be required reading as well.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: William Shirer’s documenting of the Nazi regime is both exhaustive and exhausting. The most gripping part is the horrific plans Hitler made for Eastern Europe had he won the war. Honorable mention goes to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and The Histories of Herodotus.
The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: Probably the most comprehensive look at the game ever put together. A must for any baseball fan. Even after ten years, it’s still a great reference.
(Note: those last three combined for about 3000 pages. I used to have so much time to read …)