The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness by John Yates – As part of my 2018 intention to practice self-care, I’ve started meditating. This book has been very helpful. It’s a comprehensive guide to step-by-step meditation practice. I’d recommend it for folks who want to understand the practice and discipline of meditation (and gain the benefits) but who aren’t interested in mysticism or adopting any specific belief system.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – This is the story of people from the time when we first were people. Biology, history, evolution, economics and more get woven into a tight, accessible story of our shared heritage. Highly recommended. I’m about 80 percent of the way through this book and I’ve already gifted copies to family.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson – An intricate, time-hopping, storyline-weaving plot, full of mystery, tech, cryptology, security, and danger, this is something like Bitcoin meets Nazis. While in some ways Cryptonomicon is more relevant than ever, the only drawback I’ve encountered is that the future has somewhat caught up to Stephenson’s 1999 imaginings, so some of the tech feels a touch dated.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach Paperback by Ben Falk of Whole Systems Design – For cold climate gardeners with an inclination towards slightly nerdy diagrams, this is permaculture inspiration at its best. Falk’s audacious food production (he grows rice in Vermont), beautiful landscapes, and the comprehensive view he takes of whole homestead design helps this book stand out.
Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer – Despite all the caring efforts of individual teachers and administrators, the K12 school system is fundamentally a top-down, industrial-production model for education children. If your kid isn’t naturally a good fit for that particular system, this book discusses how to flex the K12 school system for your child, to create an environment where they are more likely to thrive.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – Some of my favorites when I was a child, I’m now reading the Time Quintet books by L’Engle to my son. Some books are classics for a reason, and A Wrinkle in Time is one of these – it’s held up just beautifully.
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday – A page turner I could not put down, this tells the story of billionaire Peter Thiel’s decade-in-the-making takedown of the eminently horrid Gawker media. Sex tapes, gossip, revenge, undercover work, scandal and a battle between flawed champions representing competing freedoms make for an absolutely fascinating story.