Best books I read in 2013

As is my habit, each year I give a list of the best books I have read during the year. I tend not to focus on the newest releases, so most of the list was not published this year. In no particular order:

  1. Paul Frijters and Gigi Foster’s An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks (my reviews here and here): I don’t buy into many of the arguments, but the most interesting book I read all year.
  2. Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter’s An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (my review here): The book that kickstarted evolutionary economics as a serious pursuit. Although slightly dated, a great example of how to critique mainstream economics.
  3. Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (no review yet): Pinker’s case is compelling and important.
  4. Oded Galor’s Unified Growth Theory (my review here): Another book for which I’m not completely onboard with the central arguments, but I love the ambition and ideas.
  5. I read a lot of classics this year. I thought Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables was great. I loved the use of language in Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita. But ultimately, I enjoyed Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea the most (an early seasteader?).

Books I read that didn’t make the list but are worth a mention include Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail— but Some Don’t (I thought a couple of chapters were great, but just wasn’t that excited by a lot of it – my review here) and Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt’s The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (my review here).

Comments

  1. Roger Sweeny says

    You ended last year’s list, “Of the books I have in my reading pile, I still haven’t got to Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, and I intend to read Flynn’s Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century over the Christmas break. Hopefully they will crack next year’s list.”

    Pinker’s did but Flynn’s didn’t even make “worth a mention.” Was it that bad, or just not useful?

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