Books (Non-Fiction)

  • An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elizabeth Rosenthal – We all know that the American healthcare system has a serious cost problem – insurance premiums keep going up at an alarming rate, while more and more families are bankrupted by healthcare bills. Rosenthal walks you through the history of our medical system and then documents how the system became a mad grab for money by everyone involved over the past 40 or so years. It’s an infuriating read that should be at the top of every American’s list.
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmon – Desmon embedded in poor communities in Milwaukee to research this book – first a poor white community and then a poor black community, and the picture he paints is very upsetting. Poverty (frequently caused by physical or mental disabilities) keeps everyone on the edge of eviction every month, and even families with young children can be forced to move every 1-2 months. This country can and should do better for it’s most needy citizens
  • Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson & What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly – These two books are pretty different, but (fittingly) both argue that new ideas almost always emerge at the edge of the space of existing ideas. For example, more than 30 people invented the light bulb, Edison just got to the patent office first. And similarly, this is why we end up with two animated movies about bugs coming out at the same time (back in 1998). This idea has big implications for the correct public policy around patents.

Other Stuff

  • Wirecutter – if I need to buy something new, I almost always start by googling ‘wirecutter [product name/category]’. Wirecutter usually has a list of recommendations for that product and I follow their advice at least 80% of the time.
  • Techmeme – This is the only tech news site that I check with any regularity – ads are unobstrusive and the number of links (even in the river view) is small enough to easily survey if you check it a few times per day.
  • Ribbonfarm – longform blog site started by Venkatesh Rao that’s a bit hard to explain. They say “[it is] is devoted to refactored perception…an ongoing exploration of new perspectives for familiar things.”
  • Global Guerrillas Report by John Robb – insightful monthly report covering “the intersection of War, Politics, and Technology.”
  • NextDraft by Dave Pell – the 10 most interesting stories of the day in your inbox; I highly recommend.


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