What I've read in 2021

Let's wrap up the list of books I've read in 2021. And yep, you guessed it already, the list of 2022 is coming shortly.

For some background, you can find out the list of 2019 and the one of 2020. Number wise, I read 21 books in 2019, 26 in 2020, and 28 in 2021. In retrospect I stand by what I wrote in the past: a pace of 2 books a month is fine, easy and enjoyable for me. That being said I truly enjoyed 'going over it' in 2021; especially since that year has been a very complicated one [to say the least] for me - and us as a family. 'Complicated' in this context means: I didn't have a lof of bandwidth. We welcomed our second child in April. And we decided to move out of Lisbon during the last quarter of the year. At first to explore North of Italy [we spent some days in Varese for instance] but then decided to settle in Lyon, France. All of this created a bit of 'chaos' let's say. But, despite all this, I did manage to keep reading, and 28 books completed has even been my highest amount for a few years so I was glad. Something helped tremendously by the way: I started to listen to more audiobooks.

Something else happened in 2021: I decided to move on from the french website I was using [SensCritique] and landed on the good ol' Goodreads - my profile being here if you're curious.

Without further ado, below are my 28 books of 2021 [from the first I read to the last]:

  1. The future starts here [en]
  2. La revolution silencieuse [fr]
  3. The life-changing magic of tidying up [en]
  4. The mom test [en]
  5. Confessions d'un assassin economique [fr]
  6. Les medias, le monde et nous [fr]
  7. New York esquisses nocturnes [fr]
  8. Atomic habits [en]
  9. Irresponsables [fr]
  10. Time smart [en]
  11. L'egoiste romantique [fr]
  12. Les cigares du pharaon [fr]
  13. Positioning [en]
  14. Ce que nous cherchons [fr]
  15. The Monocle guide to good business [en]
  16. Little black stretchy pants [en]
  17. Why we buy [en]
  18. How to do nothing [en]
  19. Humanite [fr]
  20. Desir de villes [fr]
  21. Monologues du vagin [fr]
  22. Utopia for realists [en]
  23. Petit manuel de resistance contemporaine [fr]
  24. Comment tout peut s'effondrer [fr]
  25. World after capital [en]
  26. What is unschooling? [en]
  27. The absorbent mind [en]
  28. Will [en]

I read 15 books in english; which is dramatically more than the year before. I think audiobooks had an impact here [100% of my audiobooks were in english and I also spent a lot of time outside walking while my youngest kid was sleeping on me]. I read only one comic [compare to 4 the year before]; and 3 novels [compare to 5 the previous year]. A running joke within my family is how few novels I read compare to other family members. At my current pace, I do read only a handful of them every year. Funny thing: 100% of the novels I've read in 2021 were in french.

I feel I don't really value the ratings anymore. That being said, if I had to choose my top 3 recommendations, I'd say: (1) Will (2) Utopia for realists (3) World after capital.

A few notes on each ones.

Will by Will Smith is - by far - the best audiobook I've ever listened to. Let me rephrase that one actually. This might be the one book I'd highly recommend to listen on audiobook instead of buying the physical copy. Why? First, it's narrated by Will Smith himself and oh god this is something special to hear his voice all across the memoir. Second, it's not only his voice, this is what he's doing with it, how he's playing with the ton, the attitude, how he immitates some voices aross the book, mimics some situation, how they inserted some music and sounds in the background sometimes. Phew, a work of art. This is the first time I've truly seen some people using the audiobook format itself to elevate the whole experience. Well done.

Utopia for realists. I remember writing to the author the following: if tomorrow you launch a political party with this program specifically, count me in as a member, for life. That simple. What would be the program by the way? (a) a universal and unconditional basic income paid to everybody (b) a short working week of fifteen [15] hours (c) open borders worldwide with the free movement of citizens between all states. Easy. Let's get to work now. And build this ideal world.

World after Capital. First and foremost, the book is available for free online directly on the website so don't hesitate. According to the author: "we [humanity] are experiencing a technological non-linearity, in which the ‘space of the possible’ expands dramatically, thus rendering predictions based on extrapolation useless." It happened twice before: (a) 10,000 years ago with the invention of agriculture; which made us transitioned from the Forager Age to the Agrarian Age then (b) 400 yeara ago with the Enlightenment; which made us enter the Industrial Age. We're currently experiencing a 3rd one: leaping forward the Knowledge Age. What does that mean? What should we do?

I personally agree with the following:

In particular, I will argue that we should smooth the transition to the Knowledge Age by expanding three powerful individual freedoms:

  • Economic freedom: instituting a universal basic income.
  • Informational freedom: broadening access to information and computation.
  • Psychological freedom: practicing and encouraging mindfulness.


Objet du jour

Back then I read the french version of the book [#19 above] but this summer, when I saw the english copy in a free library - I took the opportunity to bring it back home. Relationship recorded with Objet.