Having done a similar list for the past 2 years, I felt I had to do one this year as well. At least until I’m still regularly reading, I feel I should churn out a list every year. Though 2022 was a pretty awful year for me personally, I was still able to read a few books whenever I was able to find time. So here are some books which I liked this year.
- Gone tomorrow by Lee Child -I had never read any book by Lee Child before this and was not even aware of his writing or the character of Jack Reacher. I first came across this book on a recommendation channel on YouTube where it was recommended by the guest. Gone tomorrow has perhaps the best beginnings to any novel i have read recently and unlike most it is an absolute page turner from the get go. It is wonderfully written, full of suspense and witty throughout. Though by the end the book starts to fizzle out in my opinion, but it doesn’t take much away from this great book.
- A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking -The book is good entry point for anyone interested in science, though the language is lucid and simple, parts of the book might become a bit heavy for the average reader. The book tries its best to explain the world around us and the history of our understanding of how we came here. It is a good read but maybe not for everyone
- Negotiating the New Normal by Saurav Jha -I have been following Saurav Jha for a few years now and he certainly is one of the best informed defense journalists in the country and runs the reputed think tank Delhi Defense Review. He has previously written extensively on India’s nuclear program as well (more on that later). So, when he decided to write a book on how India should negotiate the new world order post the pandemic, I got one of the early signed copies of the book and it did not dissapoint. The book is very heavy on economic concepts and maybe a basic understanding of financial system might help. The book traces the economies of the major economic centres of the world i.e US, Europe, China, Japan and gives prescriptions for India. It is a great read and one must commend Saurav for the level of research which went into the book. Certainly a good read if your interested in understanding geo-economics of the region.
- India and Asian Geopolitics by Shivshankar Menon -I still regard Choices by the same author as one of the best books i have read and his latest book did not disappoint as well. Fair to say, it was my favorite book of the year. The story of the region and its politics and how it has impacted India since independence is a fascinating read. Just when you think you know it all, you realize your own ignorance as the book is full of information and a true joy to read. Again, a must read for anyone interested in International Relations or any UPSC aspirant. Couldn’t have asked for a better writer than our formed NSA to write this book. A must read in my opinion if you are interested in world politics and India’s place on the world stage.
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel- Again a book which i had heard a lot about before i actually read it. It is a fascinating read about what makes companies successful and become a monopoly in its domain, very simple concepts expertly explained by Peter Thiel. If you do not wish to go through the trouble of reading his book, please do watch his video at Stanford University available on YouTube where he explains the same concepts in little over 45 mins.
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell -I got this book from my friend in exchange for a book which i gave him after he had been raving about this book for a while. Malcolm Gladwell paints a rather interesting story explaining what makes individuals or a group of individuals successful and its not always obvious what the reason for it may be. It kind of reminded me of Freakonomics a bit. Overall its certainly worth a read once even though Peter Thield in Zero to One had in fact criticized the same book.
- Mastermind India with Siddhartha Basu- I picked up this gem from a book hawker right outside PVR Anupam in Saket, New Delhi near my old school. I picked this up purely for my book of quizzing and having enjoyed watching Siddharth Basu be the host of Mastermind and University Challenge.
- The upside down book of Nuclear Power by Saurav Jha- I read this book after reading Negotiating the New Normal by the same author. Though this book was written more than a decade before I actually read it, its still relevant and a great read, certainly if you are interested in all things nuclear. The books explains the science behind nuclear power plants, its economics, liability issues, India and its progress in this field and what we can look forward in the future. Tragically, the 2010’s were a lost decade for nuclear energy partly due to increased anti nuclear activism after Fukushima, increased cost of borrowing and a whole host of other issues. Fun read for people interested in nuclear energy. Also the book is strictly restricted to the civil nuclear program and does not talk about the weapons program, though a should be written about that as well.
- The Calculus Affair by Hergé -The adventures of Tintin : My final read of the year was The adventures of Tintin. I just read it for nostalgic reasons and it was fun.