Best books I read in 2011

As for last year, this year’s top book list comprises the best books I have read this year. I haven’t read enough books published in 2011 to be able to apply a decent filter, plus there are many books out there that we should not forget. In no particular order:

Flatland: a romance of many dimensions by Edwin Abbott – Clever, fun satire

Sex, Genes & Rock ‘N’ Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World by Rob Brooks – While the book is generally a fun read, it makes this list for two specific parts: the discussions of sexual conflict in the context of population and on obesity (my discussion of the obesity chapter).

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – One of the classics that lives up to its reputation.

Spent: Sex, Evolution and Behavior by Geoffrey Miller – Miller’s analysis of consumer culture under the lens of evolution is the sharpest I have read – and the most fun.

The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert Frank – While the main point in this book could have been presented as an essay and I disagree with many of the applications, the central concept that competition is not always for the common good, as we can see in evolution, is important.

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama – Fukuyama’s use of kin selection as the foundation to his analysis gives this book a solid foundation lacking from most grand histories (some earlier comments).

Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen – This book was hard to read and at times inconsistent, but it is clear why it is one of those important books for economists to read.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo – Although these books are in no particular order, I am going to suggest that this is probably the best. It had me thinking like few others (my review and a later musing).

There are a few books not on this list that were released this year and I have have high hopes for – Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow and Triver’s The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life. They are not in the list as I have not read them yet, but as they are in my summer reading pile, reviews will be coming soon.


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog, apparently you write on the link between economics and evolution.

    In stark contrast, I write on the link between economics and all things appointed by God.

    I bet there is a 180% difference; like a polar opposite difference between my blog and yours.

    I graduated with an accounting degree from Metro State College in Denver, CO, and went on to many cost accounting jobs, and have came to the conclusion that life under liberalism was an experience in a debt trade and a currency carry trade; but with the pivoting of paradigm and age, on October 23, 2013, by the destiny of God, yes the fate of God, that life under authoritarianism is an experience in debt servitude.

    I believe in the dispensationalist origin of wealth which presents that God determined in eternity past, the times and places in which one should live, at that at the appointed time, one would activate in his God fated resources to believe and do those things purposed by God for His purposes and His ends.

    Best to you.

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