Best books I read in 2013


Jason Collins


December 23, 2013

As is my habit, each year I give a list of the best books I have read during the year. I tend not to focus on the newest releases, so most of the list was not published this year. In no particular order:

  1. Paul Frijters and Gigi Foster’s An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks (see also here): I don’t buy into many of the arguments, but the most interesting book I read all year.

  2. Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter’s An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change: The book that kickstarted evolutionary economics as a serious pursuit. Although slightly dated, a great example of how to critique mainstream economics.

  3. Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (no review yet): Pinker’s case is compelling and important.

  4. Oded Galor’s Unified Growth Theory: Another book for which I’m not completely onboard with the central arguments, but I love the ambition and ideas.

  5. I read a lot of classics this year. I thought Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables was great. I loved the use of language in Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita. But ultimately, I enjoyed Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea the most (an early seasteader?).

Books I read that didn’t make the list but are worth a mention include Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail but Some Don’t (I thought a couple of chapters were great, but just wasn’t that excited by a lot of it) and Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt’s The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.