Thursday, April 06, 2006

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books

As with my list of Top 10 Fiction Books, these are sentimental favorites... books that are important to me more than books I think are of universal importance. That's not to say that they aren't all really, really good.

1. The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Roberto Calasso
2. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power, Robert Caro
3. Religion and the Decline of Magic, Keith Thomas
4. The Book of J, Harold Bloom
5. The Inmates are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
7. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, Harriet Jacobs
8. From Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman
9. Land of Lost Content, Ian Smillie
10. A Theory of Econometrics, Anna Koutsoyiannis


Tom said...

In no particular order, "best" meaning "ones I read that have stuck with me":

1. The Making of the English Working Class, EP Thompson
2. The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins
3. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman
4. Micromotives and Macrobehaviour, Thomas Schelling
5. Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett
6. The Electronic Structure and Chemistry of Solids, P. A. Cox
7. Protest and Survive, EP Thompson again
8. Memory of Fire, Eduardo Galeano
9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
10. Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell.

Zero overlap, but that's not surprising as I haven't read a single one of the ones you list.

Yappa said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your list! I'm going to look them up... well, to be honest, I might not look up "The Electronic Structure and Chemistry of Solids"...


Peter Kokkovas said...

Hi Yappa...

On your list of top 10 books, you list a book by A. Koutsoyiannis. I'm just curious as to how this became one of your favorites.

I have a personal connection there... she was my mother.


Yappa said...

Hi Peter,

Your mother was my thesis adviser for my Economics MA. I also took a number of Econometrics courses from her at the undergraduate and graduate level. She was a brilliant teacher and I attribute whatever depth of understanding I have about statistics to her. (Every once in a while when she thought we might be slipping, she'd make the whole class stand up and chant, "Correlation does not imply causation." If she thought we hadn't got it, she'd make us do it again.)

That book was always very important to me. My first job out of school was doing retail trade forecasting in a market research firm, and I kept a copy of The Theory of Econometrics on my desk. I didn't use it to look up solutions so much as to try to figure out what wasn't being picked up by the equations... what was hidden in the scatter patterns. Then someone stole it off my desk. I have been looking for a copy ever since, including putting offers to purchase on Amazon.

I was very sorry to hear about your mother's death. She was the best prof I ever had, an inspiration and mentor, a great scholar and teacher, and personally charming.

By the way, I think we met a couple of times. I can remember being at your mother's house but I can't remember if I went inside or was just dropping things off.

All my best,