Here is a list of books that I’ve found particularly good. Selection criteria: I’ve thought about reading the book again later. Some I’ve actually read more than once. The list contains biographies, historical adventure stories, and knowledge on various topics. But nothing too heavy – just leisure bed-time reading. Something to help understand the big, interesting world. My bookshelf holds now over 170 books that I’ve read in the last 20 years. I’m kind of proud of the collection. If you share a similar taste in non-fiction literature, here is my top 20 suggestion list for you. In random order.
1. Papillon by Henri Charriere. The famous prison escape book. Simple writing style that I like very much.
2. American Kingpin by Nick Bilton. A book about computer hacking and how the famous Silk Road drug site in the Dark Web got busted.
3. Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick. Another great book about a computer hacker. This one is more oldschool.
4. Catch me if you can by Frank Abagnale. A story on check fraud, and how a young guy innovated his success there.
5. Endurance by Alfred Lansing. The best historical survival story I’ve read. Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempt to cross the Antarktis.
6. Captain James Cook a biography by Richard Hough. A great historical book on exploration.
7. Conquistador by Buddy Levy. Exploration history of the 1500s: how Spaniards destroyed the Aztecs.
8. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. A thought-provoking book about living in the wild, outside the society.
9. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Mountain climbing and the greatest tragedy at Mount Everest.
10. Kotona Maailmankaikkeudessa by Esko Valtaoja. A light read on astronomy and popular science. This book is in Finnish language.
11. Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh. Light reading about mathematics and how a guy spent many years to prove a theorem.
12. The boy who was raised as a dog by Bruce Perry. Several strange cases from a child psychiatrist.
13. The man who mistook his wife for a hat by Oliver Sacks. Several interesting cases on neurological problems.
14. Buffett: The making of an american capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. Biography and light reading on investing. I find many serious books on investing to be boring, so this is better.
15. Red Notice by Bill Browder. Great investment story about putting money into Russian companies just after the Soviet collapsed.
16. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Biography of the colorful entrepreneur.
17. Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Biography of the great bodybuilder, action star, and politician.
18. The story of my life by Giacomo Casanova. A peak into the life and customs in the 1700s, through the eyes of an adventurer.
19. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. Horse racing in the 1940s. Surprisingly interesting.
20. The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre. Story about a KGB double agent in the cold war.
Special mention: a Lego Technic book
Since I run a Lego YouTube channel, I should also recommend a book for Lego builders. This is the only Lego book I’ve read, but it is a good one. It goes through basic Lego Technic parts and building techniques you need to consider when creating your own builds. Written by a colleague Lego YouTuber: Sariel.
The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide, 2nd Edition by Pawel Sariel Kmiec. Amazon link.
This is an image of my precious bookshelf. Actually there are two bookshelves, but I combined them into one image. The 170 books on the shelves are in chronological order, based on when I bought them, starting from Papillon in the upper left corner and ending in Tesla in the lower right. The image is high resolution, so you should be able to read the names of the books if you zoom in. Click here to open the image in a new tab.
If you’ve not read it already, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy “The Code Book” by Simon Singh, about cryptography and mathematics.
On a different tack, there’s “Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945-1974” by Dr Asif A. Siddiqi. It was published by NASA so there’s free versions online.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have read “The Code Book”, very enjoyable book.
That Soviet space race book is a new one for me, it looks interesting. I have read “A Man on the Moon” by Andrew Chaikin, but that tells only the US side of the space race.