Books, 2022 (18 Dec 2022)

As Twitter is having a thing (, by the way) it's nice that RSS is still ticking along. To mark that fact as we reach the end of the year, I decided to write up a list of books that I've read in the past 12 months that feel worthy of recommendation to a general audience.

Flying Blind

Boeing was once a standard-bearer for American engineering and manufacturing abilities and now it's better known for the groundings of the 737 MAX 8 and 787. This is a history of how Boeing brought McDonnell Douglas and found that it contained lethal parasites.


Burning things produces CO2 and air pollution. Both slowly hurt people so we should stop doing it where possible. This is a data-filled book on how to get a long way towards that goal, and is an optimistic respite from some of the other books on this list.

The Splendid & The Vile

Do we really need another book about WWII? Perhaps not, but I enjoyed this one which focuses on the members of the Churchill family in the first couple of years of the war.


Ignorant as I am about microbiology, I love Nick Lane books because they make me feel otherwise and I cross my fingers that they're actually accurate. This book is avowedly presenting a wild theory—which is probably false—but is a wonderful tour of the landscape either way.

Stuff Matters

A pop-science book, but a good one that focuses on a number of materials in the modern world. If you know anything about the topic, this is probably too light-weight. But if, like me, you know little, it's a fun introduction.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

This is a book from 1985 about the horrors of television. Its arguments carry more force when transposed to the modern internet but are also placed into a larger context because they were made 40 years ago and TV hasn't destroyed civilisation (… probably).

The Story of VaccinateCA

I'm cheating: this isn't a book, although it is quite long. As we collectively fail to deal with several slow crises, here's a tale of what failed and what succeeded in a recent short, sharp crisis. It is very California focused, and less useful to those outside of America, but I feel that it's quite important.

Art of Computer Programming, Satisfiability

This isn't “general audience”, but if you read this far perhaps neither are you. SMT solvers are volatile magic and, while this is only about SAT, it's a great introduction to the area. I would love to say that I read it in the depth that it deserves, but even skimming the text and skipping the exercises is worth a lot.

The Economist also has its books of the year list. I've only read one of them, Slouching Towards Utopia, and it didn't make my list above!