I wrote this back in 2010:
A couple of years ago, I was reading a biography of Albert Einstein. I was struck by how much he, and scientists like him, we versed in philosophy. I realized it was one of the areas in which my education was deficient.
This seemed like a big hole, especially given the rhetoric being flung around about health care reform. People cited the values of our founders, those of America, and how they would feel about reform. I realized I knew shockingly little about this. I did what I usually do in that situation – I took a whole pile of books and spent many summer evenings reading in my backyard with a glass of scotch. My wife is still making fun of me.
I like learning new things. I think it’s important. It keeps me fresh. It makes me a better person. I decided, last December, that I wanted to dedicate a significant amount of time this year to learning more about topics I knew little about. I asked for your help in picking them, and in suggesting things I should read or watch. Each month, I wrote up what I learned, and reviewed the materials.
I only missed two months, which isn’t that bad considering I still had a full-time job, wrote 30 or so columns for the NYT, made a hundred videos for Healthcare Triage, wrote a handful of times for the JAMA Forum, and two dozen more for the AcademyHealth blog. Not to mention blogging for TIE. Oh, and I wrote a book.
The individual posts are still available from both The Schedule and here. I wanted to collect all of the sources together in one place, though. The bolded green entries are those I especially recommended. When I look at the list altogether, I can’t believe I managed to get it done. I’m pretty proud of this.
- William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles, by Catherine Mulholland
- Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, by Marc Reisner
- The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow, by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam
- Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, by Kenneth Jackson
- Deadbeat Dams: Why We Should Abolish the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Tear Down Glen Canyon Dam, by Daniel Beard
- Drink This: Wine Made Simple, by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
- True Taste: The Seven Essential Wine Words by Matt Kramer
- The Oxford Companion to Wine
- Somm (The Documentary)
- Sideways (The Movie)
- Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, by Kevin Zraly
- Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine, by Madeline Puckette
- Game Theory 101: The Complete Textbook, by William Spaniel
- Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
- Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
- Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations, by David McAdams
- Prisoner’s Dilemma, by William Poundstone
- Game Theory for Applied Economists, by Robert Gibbons
- The Compleat Strategyst, by J.D. Williams
- Games of Strategy, by Avinash K. Dixit, Susan Skeath, and David H. Reiley
- ECON 159: GAME THEORY (Open Yale Courses)
- The Story of Art, by E.H. Gombrich
- Air Guitar, by Dave Hickey
- The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes
- The Lives of the Artists, by Giorgio Vasari (Author), Julia Conway Bondanella (Translator), Peter Bondanella
- Look! Art History Fundamentals, by Anne D’Alleva
- Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869, by Stephen Ambrose
- Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, by Richard White
- The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914, by David McCullough
- Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano
- Climate and the Oceans, by Geoffrey Vallis
- Do Dolphins Ever Sleep?, by Pierre-Yves and Sally Bely
- Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, by Stephan Helmreich
- Essentials of Oceanography, by Alan P. Trujillo and Harold V. Thurman
- Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0, by Pat Kirwan and David Seigerman
- The Essential Smart Football, by Chris Brown
- The Art of Smart Football, by Chris Brown
- Blood, Sweat & Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today’s Game, by Tim Layden
- Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
- The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, also by James Gleick
- Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos: With Applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering, by Steven H. Strogatz
- Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness, by John Briggs
- Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos, by Ian Stewart.
- The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
- The Fight for English, by David Crystal
- The Power of Babel, by John McWhorter
- How English Works, by Anne Curzan and Michael Adams
- Course in General Linguistics, by Ferdinand De Saussure
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I think I might try something else in 2017. More on that to come.