2022 Reading Retrospective
I ended up fitting a lot of reading into 2022, and thought it’d be fun to start a retro series at the end of every year to track the memorable reads of the year. This probably isn’t everything - and that’s because I didn’t do a good enough job this year tracking papers and articles.
Man, I read so much Greg Egan this year.
2022 was the year of India and Central Asia for me. I consumed so much history in the latter half of the year that I’ve gotten a little sick of it.
- India After Gandhi - Ramachandra Guha
- India - John Keay
- Hero of Two Worlds - Mike Duncan
- Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford
- Debt, The First 5000 Years - David Graeber
- From Third World To First - Lee Kwan Yu
- A Distant Mirror, The Calamitous 14th Century - Barabara Tuchman
I skimmed a lot of papers this year and read even fewer. Here’s some that made a lasting impact - whether that be in the way I thought about something or my work.
- The Physics of Financial Networks
- Operating Systems in Three Easy Pieces - Arpaci-Dusseau
- The Physics of Orbital Warfare
- The Autodidactic Universe
- DeepFreeze: Towards Scalable Asynchronous Checkpointing of Deep Learning Models
- Scabbard: single-node fault-tolerant stream processing
- Every Model Learned by Gradient Descent Is Approximately a Kernel Machine
- Data-driven discovery of coordinates and governing equations
- Orbital Edge Computing: Nanosatellite Constellations as a New Class of Computer System
I skimmed a lot of articles this year, but also read a lot of them. Similarly, below are articles that I ended up saving to my read-it-later thingy that I think are worth a call-out. If we’ve been having conversations regularly, some of these will feel familiar.
- Chartbook #133 Under the hood of the power dynamics of inflation
- The Year of Fukuyama
- Nuclear Energy is Clean
- The South Asian Polycrisis
- Becoming a Systems Architect
- Nick Cammarata on Jhana
- Every: Foreign Exchanges Today in History. Proud to say I’ve read every single one of these (and the World Roundups) this year - linked the one from the week I’m writing this.
- How to design a house to last 1000 years. This one had a lasting impact - excited to annoy contractors for the future house by bringing this up.
- Building a Modern Home. Similar to ^ in effect on future contractors.
- Vets today are like doctors yesterday
- Why America Can’t Build Big Things Anymore
- Play to Earn and Bullshit Jobs
- Is the “End of History” back on track?
I think out of anything that’s significantly shifted my thinking this year, it’d have to be everything on this list that’s Egan-related.
- Permutation City - Greg Egan
- Instantiation - Greg Egan
- Incandescence - Greg Egan
- Quarantine - Greg Egan
- Distress - Greg Egan
- Declare - Tim Powers
- Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
- Authority - Jeff VanderMeer. Acceptance (the third book in this series) kind of slogged, so I stopped reading.
- Hollow - B.Catling
- Gene Wolfe - Soldier of the Mist. This paired super well with a visit to Greece :)
- There is No AntiMemetics Division - Qntm
- Ra - Qntm
- Piranesi - Susanna Clarke
- Stonefish - Scott R Jones
- Anathem - Neal Stephenson. At this point it’s become somewhat of a tradition to reread this every year or so. Expect it in 2023’s retro.
- Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
- Heaven in Disorder - Slavoj Zizek sniff
- Sun and Steel - Yukio Mishima
- Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas - Leigh Brasington
- Thinking in Systems - Donella Meadows
- Cyclonopedia - Reza Negarestani Still working through this, too weird to just pick up