mbg / notes


I read a lot and want to share.

I’m not the most prolific reader I know personally or know of online (those would be my oldest sister and Charity Majors, respectively), but I read enough that people sometimes ask me for book recommendations. I often end up recommending the same books over and over to different people.

I keep a list of what I’ve read for myself, but I’m going to start writing about some here with some small snippets and thoughts.

It’s a bit of an exercise in vanity, but hopefully someone finds something on here they wouldn’t have otherwise read. At the very least, I can be a target for the same snark I direct towards other famous reading lists.1

  1. From a quick glance, Bill Gates wants you to know that:

    1. Cloud Atlas is a good book.
    2. Thomas Piketty has errors both in his diagnosis and prescription.

    My brain for each of these went down the rabbit-holes of:

    1. Cloud Atlas fits into David Mitchell’s canon in an interesting way, expanding both on the not-quite-shared past and near-future he explores in other books more fully, but I thought the narrative gimmick inspired by Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler distracts from the throughline of each story. I think Wachowskis agreed with me, as seen in the film adaptation where …

    2. I would also say a wealth tax is misguided if I had 109.4 billion dollars.

      That he first points to consumption data to say the poor aren’t really poor in rich countries only to then propose futher taxing consumption hurts my head. He can’t help himself and even proposes carve-outs for political donations in his ideal tax strategy!

      Bill Gates may want to employ a better editor for his arguments that he does not have too much money.

    To be fair, I imagine that Mr. Gates does not actually write each of the reviews on his blog, and he also has plenty to read and write about critically besides postmodern literature. ↩︎