My first complete year living in San Francisco felt much more eventful than the six in Palo Alto. The constant pull of the city meant less downtime for side-projects but I think the tradeoff was well worth it. The following is a bunch of stuff I read, watched, listened to or attended in 2018.
Kinda jumped all over the place this year, my goal for 2019 is to form a discipline writing more notes and summaries.
- The Systems Bible
- Insomniac City
- Finite and Infinite Games
- The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
- A Higher Loyalty
- Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
- Accidental Superpower
- Principles: Life and Work
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
- Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley
- Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most
- The Art of the Long View
Liu Cixin’s trilogy blew my mind, I wish more people were talking about it in depth. Diamond Age was also an exciting thought experiment around the effects of nano-scale 3D printing.
Stewart Brand’s concept of Pace Layering and Dan Wang’s thoughts on process knowledge helped enlighten my generally optimistic view of the world. Dan’s back catalog is full of insight and I’ve finally just started digging into Farnam Street.
- Stewart Brand — Pace Layering: How Complex Systems Learn and Keep Learning
- Dan Wang — Definite optimism as human capital
- Dan Wang — How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism)
- Shane Parrish — Battling Entropy
Stumbled on Tyler Cowen for the first time and went pretty deep into his back catalog. Same for Joe Rogan who I had resisted listening to for a while for no particular reason. The rabbit holes here are deep, you have been warned.
- Ezra Klein and Tyler Cowen
- Tyler Cowen and Malcolm Gladwell
- Tyler Cowen and Garry Kasparov
- Tyler Cowen and Peter Thiel
- Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison
- Tyler Cowen and David Brooks
- Tyler Cowen and Daniel Kahneman
- Joe Rogan and Elon Musk
- Joe Rogan and Roseanne Barr
- Joe Rogan and Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Joe Rogan and Chuck Palaniuk
I’ve been a Long Now member for a couple years now and finally living in the city eliminated any excuses not to attend the monthly Seminars on Long-Term Thinking. Snagging a front row seat thirty minutes ahead of the event was so fun as the cast of characters who I really admire file into the SF Jazz auditorium.
- Charles C. Mann — The Wizard and the Prophet
- Michael Frachetti — Open Source Civilization and the Unexpected Origins of the Silk Road
- Steven Pinker — A New Enlightenment
- Kishore Mahbubani — Has the West Lost It? Can Asia Save It?
- George P. Schultz — Perspective
- Julia Galef — Soldiers and Scouts
- Juan Benet — Long Term Info-Structure
- Mary Lou Jepsen — Toward Practical Telepathy
- Niall Ferguson — Networks and Power
The Interval talks are hard to get into but I usually catch the livestream. They tend to be more intimate with a free-form Q&A.
- Tim O’Reilly — What’s The Future? It’s Up to Us
- Bruce Sterling — How to be Futuristic
- Kim Stanley Robinson — Learning from Le Guin
Quite possibly the highlight of my year. To prepare I found three Whole Earth catalogs and started tweeting excerpts.
Movies & TV
Didn’t watch many movies or TV due to the lack of television but I did enjoy a few things on my phone.
Albums on repeat, some new to 2018 and some not.
- Mos Def — The Ecstatic
- Miles Davis & John Coltrane — The Final Tour
- Sufjan Stevens — The Greatest Gift
- The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl
- Kanye West — ye
- Todd Baker — Monument Valley 2 Soundtrack