My favourite books 2020 – Ole Begemann


I learn 45 books in 2020. These had been my favorites. (Pondering in SwiftUI was not within the working as a result of I’m biased.)

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff (2019). In the event you decide up one guide from this checklist, make it this one. I believe everybody working within the tech trade ought to learn it, it’s so necessary. Shoshana Zuboff takes aside the enterprise mannequin of the large tech giants and the various unethical (and at instances presumably unlawful) issues they’ve executed and proceed to do to protect it.

If we ever handle to control the digital surveillance trade that pervades trendy life (as we finally did with the manufacturing facility homeowners who exploited staff throughout the industrialization), this guide will change into a basic as a significant contribution to that effort.


Circe by Madeline Miller. An attractive reimagination of a Greek fantasy. I purchased this guide as a result of I fell in love with the quilt design of the UK version with out understanding what it was about and I’m glad I did. Madeline Miller’s writing was a problem for my English expertise, I needed to lookup so many phrases. But it surely was completely value it.


Mythos: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry (2017). Circe led me to Stephen Fry’s pleasant retelling of the Greek myths. That is half one in a sequence. The sequels, Heroes and Troy, are on my checklist for subsequent yr. I purchased the US version as a result of I preferred the quilt design higher than the UK model. It’s a really fairly guide.

Permanent Record

Everlasting Report by Edward Snowden (2019). Snowden’s memoirs, recounting his work for NSA contractors up till the covert assembly with journalists in Hong Kong that led to his exile.

A Philosophy of Software Design

A Philosophy of Software program Design by John Ousterhout (2018). Very approachable (brief and simple to learn) and comprises a whole lot of stable recommendation for designing and sustaining advanced techniques. Two good critiques in regards to the guide: Gergely Orosz’s evaluation matches my very own ideas. James Koppel’s take is extra important (however nonetheless constructive) and really insightful.

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

The Artwork of Doing Science and Engineering: Studying to Be taught by Richard Hamming (1996, re-creation 2020). Stunning re-creation of Hamming’s Seventies lecture sequence transformed to prose. Themes embrace some technical subjects, comparable to Hamming’s invention of the error-correcting code named after him, however the majority of the guide is recommendation easy methods to strategy scientific work and easy methods to construct a profitable profession. The ultimate chapter is a model of Hamming’s well-known speak “You and Your Analysis”, which supplies a superb impression of the character of the guide. The 2020 Stripe Press model may be very fairly. Typography, illustrationsm and paper high quality are all top-notch.

Deutschland Schwarz Weiß

Deutschland Schwarz Weiß by Noah Sow (2008, up to date 2018). Racism in Germany. How white individuals advance and strengthen racism by not enthusiastic about our actions. Unhealthy typography, however I in any other case preferred it.

Fake Facts

Faux Details: Wie Verschwörungstheorien unser Denken bestimmen by Katharina Nocun und Pia Lamberty (2020). An inside look into a number of conspiracist milieus in German society, from Holocaust deniers and antisemitic ideologists to anti-vaxxers and esoterics. Extremely related lately.


March (E-book One to Three) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2013–2016). The late US Congressman John Lewis recounts his extraordinary life within the US civil rights motion in comedian guide type. Studying this deeply impressed me. The wrestle Black individuals fought then (and are nonetheless combating at present)! The braveness and dedication it took to take humiliation after humiliation, beating after beating, arrest after arrest, homicide after homicide, with out combating again with violence. I had identified this earlier than, however seeing it from the angle of somebody who skilled it firsthand was one thing else.


MetaMaus by Artwork Spiegelman (2011). Studying March led me to a comic book basic: Maus (1985 and 1991), Artwork Spiegelman’s two-part story how his mother and father survived the Holocaust in Poland. I preferred the comics, however I felt I didn’t actually perceive why they had been so well-known.

MetaMaus is basically a 230-page interview with the creator by which he takes his work aside intimately: the way it got here to be, how he approached sure scenes (together with tons of draft sketches), Artwork’s sophisticated relationship together with his father (which performs a significant function in Maus), the various layers of hidden which means in his drawings (most of which I missed when studying the comics). Studying this gave me a a lot deeper appreciation for the unique work. Kudos to Hillary Chute, who went via Spiegelman’s archives and requested unbelievable questions.


Berlin Jason Lutes (2018). One other comedian basic, printed as {a magazine} sequence in 2000, 2008, and 2018. A 550-page tome that describes life in Berlin from 1928 to 1933, throughout the decline of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. Really useful in the event you’re involved in that interval.


Brüder by Jackie Thomae (2019). The story of two brothers who get separated as youngsters and develop as much as reside very completely different lives, every a tragic determine in their very own manner. Themes: racism, East and West, Eighties and Nineties Berlin, provincialism vs. cosmopolitanism, how a single mistake can destroy a life.


Grünmantel by Manfred Maurenbrecher (2019). Persevering with my theme from final yr, that is one other novel set in rural East Germany, 25 years after reunification.

Im Sommer wieder Fahrrad

Im Sommer wieder Fahrrad by Lea Streisand (2016). Autobiographical novel. The creator (in her thirties) narrates her combat in opposition to most cancers and recollections of her grandmother who led a nonconformist, emancipated life in pre-, mid-, and postwar Germany.

Facet notice: writer web sites are horrible

I dread compiling this checklist yearly as a result of discovering good hyperlinks and canopy pictures for the books is a ache. Most writer web sites are horrible. It’s very probably many hyperlinks on this web page will now not work in just a few months or years. The concept of not breaking URLs appears international to most firms which have merchandise to promote. When a guide goes out of print, it might properly simply disappear from the catalog. I preemptively apologize for that.

Nonetheless, I don’t wish to hyperlink to Amazon if I can assist it. In the event you resolve to purchase a guide from this checklist, please purchase it from an area bookshop or one other retailer that isn’t some of the highly effective firms on the planet. Let’s attempt to not make Jeff Bezos any richer. (Sure, I see the irony that the print model of my very own guide is simply out there on Amazon. Sorry.)


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