As was the case last year, 2013 was another 365 days full of reading. This year, I managed to get through 38 books, or one book every week and a half. I read as a way to both keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the world, and explore specific topics that really interest me. Below is the full list of the books - my favorite titles are in bold font, and I’ve included some of their most striking quotes in-line with the list. Up top is a collage of every book, just mouse over it to see larger pictures of each cover. With no further introduction needed, let’s get into the list!
Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power by Zbigniew Brzezinski
The high frequency of power shifts signals a historical acceleration in the changing distribution of global power… The fact that the West remained globally dominant during the entire twentieth century should not obscure the fact that conflicts within the West undermined its once-dominant position.
China Airborne by James Fallows
Simply building China’s new cities will account for around 20 percent of global energy consumption and up to one-quarter of growth in oil demand over the next decade.
Startup Rising: the Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East by Christopher Schroeder
One can’t be an island of excellence in an ocean of turbulence. We are living in an increasingly interconnected and complex world - where problems in the Eurozone and the U.S. could end up resulting in what IMF president Christine Lagarde called the lost decade.
Mastery by Robert Greene
To learn requires a sense of humility. We must admit that there are people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience.
Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think by Peter Diamandis
To understand One Planet Living (OPL), Witherspoon explained, I first had to understand three facts. Fact one: Currently humanity uses 30 percent more of our planet’s natural resources than we can replace. Fact two: If everyone on this planet wanted to live with the lifestyle of the average European, we would need three planets’ worth of resources to pull it off. Fact three: If everyone on this planet wished to live like an average North American, then we’d need five planets to pull it off. OPL, then, is a global initiative meant to combat these shortages.
On China by Henry Kissinger
It is one of history’s ironies that Communism, advertised as a classless society, tended to breed a privileged class of feudal proportions… In his essay, ‘Perpetual Peace,’ the philosopher, Immanuel Kant, argued that perpetual peace would eventually come to the world in one of two ways, by human insight or by conflicts and catastrophes of a magnitude that left humanity no other choice. We are at such a juncture.
When Leopold wrote that the precise boundaries of the new state or states would be defined later, [German Chancellor] Bismarck said to an aide, ‘His Majesty displays the pretensions and naive selfishness of an Italian who considers that his charm and good looks will enable him to get away with anything.’
Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
To say that Russia was larger than the full moon sounded impressive, and had an echo of poetry, and poetry creates empires.
A Perfect Spy by John Le Carré
Ideals are like the stars. We cannot reach them, but we are enriched by their presence.
He was learning to live on several planes at once. The art of it was to forget everything except the ground you stood on and the face you spoke from at that moment.
Sometimes we have to do a thing in order to find out the reason for it. Sometimes our actions are questions, not answers.
Strike against Terror. Victory over Terror. War on Terror. Everlasting War on Terror. Rarely in history have soldiers and journalists and presidents and kings aligned themselves in such thoughtless, unquestioning ranks.
China’s Superbank: Debt, Oil, and Influence - How China Development Bank is Rewriting the Rules of Finance by Michael Forsythe and Henry Sanderson
The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith
The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti
The Singapore Story by Lee Kuan Yew
Insights on China, the United States, and the World by Lee Kuan Yew
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux
The Magnetic North: Notes from The Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler
The Offshore Renminbi by Robert Minikin and Kelvin Lau
Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Innovation X by Adam Richardson
Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff
The Soros Lectures: at Central European University by George Soros
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
Body of Secrets by James Bamford
The End of Cheap China by Shaun Rein
I’m Feeling Lucky by Douglas Edwards
Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill
Taipei by Tao Lin
The 4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss
Remote: Office Not Required by David Hansson
The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley