My 2015 Reading List

As many people are looking for presents at this time of year I thought I would round up some of my favourite books that I read in 2015 (along with a few other favourites).

My plan was to write full reviews of all of these books but somehow it is the end of the year and I never quite managed it. This year has gone by so quickly.

If you have any suggestions of your own please add them below. I am looking for a few new reads over the holidays

So You've been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson
I really enjoyed this book and the follow ups Jon has done with people who have become well known for all the wrong reasons due to exploits, mishaps and misinterpretations on social media. It starts to think about how and why people behave like they do online and it could go into a little more depth but is a great read to make you think about how mob mentality, anonymity and online behaviour in general can be a powerful tool but also a dangerous force.

How to Thrive in the Digital Age, Nick Harkaway 
A great, short, positive discussion of where we are today in the digital era. It explores a lack of control in the online environment and risk but also the huge opportunity we all have.

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread - The Lessons from a New Science, Alex Pentland 
This is a brilliant book about how effective networks can be created. It's data and experiment led and includes evaluations of interventions that companies have put in place to provide a creative and idea rich environments. It's focused on offline rather than online networks but there is some discussion of the use of social media. The author quotes his own studies for most of the book and I would have liked to have seen more of an alternative perspective but for anyone who works with ideas and/or people this is highly recommended.

The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, Basil Mahon 
A great biography of Maxwell, it does get pretty heavy on the physics but I like that they haven't skipped on the science as often happens in books about scientists.

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, Peter Hessler
I read this book while I was in China and it really helped me relate to the country and the people I was meeting. It took me a little while to get into the book at first but once the writers journey in China settles a bit it becomes really good. Even if you don't have an interest in China it is an excellent read. I want to read his follow up now.

Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
If you like stories about people and stories about the weird things people do and get up to then you will enjoy this collection of short stories. Easy, enjoyable reading.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
If you haven't read this book yet then you need to. It's an incredible story of rapid scientific development alongside a family story of understanding. I read this book when it first came out but it is one of the most important books that I have ever read and so I wanted to include it on this list. 


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