Over the past few months, I have read a number of books and there are two that I am most impressed with.
1. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
This is truly a scientific explanation of why we are where we are now by Jared Diamond. Why different societies or races have progressed differently over the course of human history? Did biological differences between people play any roles? After reading this book, you will find a clear scientific answer. I have to stress the word scientific because Jared is very clear between what he can prove and what remains a hypothesis.
For those who don’t know about Jared, he is “an American geographer, historian, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee (1991); Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997, awarded a Pulitzer Prize); Collapse (2005); and The World Until Yesterday (2012).“
Not too long ago, when asked about whose work inspires him, Yuval Harari mentioned the work of Jared Diamond as one great source of inspiration for him.
The book goes back 13,000 years so it is amazing that Jared is able to highlight the most important stories and creates such a clear narrative. I am not a history buff at all but I read this book and thoroughly enjoy it.
2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
I don’t often read memoir but I can’t stop reading this book. I came to know it through Bill Gates’ recommendation on his blog. The story is beautifully written. Many times, I got lost in Tara’s world, her story. I haven’t been that engaged to a memoir since “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life”.
To borrow the brief introduction from Amazon:
“An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. “
If you intend to read it, I recommend to start on a Friday evening or Saturday morning so that you have ample uninterrupted time because you will not want to put the book down. You want to see what will happen next to Tara, her family members and her town.
Enjoy both books!