The best books, courses, and music for the holidays

At the end of the year, it’s always nice to look back at some of the best books I’ve read. In 2023, three immediately come to mind, each of them deeply informative and well-written. I also included economics courses from a wonderful lecturer I saw over a decade ago, but still recommend to friends and family today. Just for fun, I’ve thrown together a playlist of the best holiday songs from around the US and the world, past and present.

I don’t have time to write a full review, but I should mention that I watched the series All the light we cannot see On Netflix. I read the book and it’s amazing, sometimes an adaptation of a book you love can be disappointing. Not so here – the series is just fine. Particularly memorable is the performance of actor Von Rumpel, who plays the Nazi gem hunter and villain of the story.

I hope you find it fun to read, watch or listen here. And happy holidays!


The song of the cellBy Siddhartha Mukherjee. We all get sick at some point. We all have loved ones who get sick. Knowing about cells, the building blocks of life, helps us understand what’s going on in those moments and feel hopeful that things will get better. Mukherjee’s latest book will give you that knowledge. He begins by explaining how life evolved from single-celled organisms, then shows that every human disease or consequence of aging is caused by something wrong with the body’s cells. Mukherjee, an oncologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, brings all of his talents to bear in this groundbreaking book.

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Not the end of the worldBy Hannah Ritchie. As many environmentalists do, Hannah Ritchie believed that she was „living through one of the saddest periods of mankind”. But when she started looking at the data, she realized that wasn’t the case. Things are bad, and worse than they have been in the distant past, but by almost every measure, they are getting better. Ritchie is now the lead researcher Our world in dataand in Not the end of the world, he uses data to tell a counterintuitive story that contradicts doomsday scenarios on climate and other environmental topics without analyzing the challenges. Anyone who wants to have a conversation about climate change should read this book.

Discovery and innovationBy Vaclav Smil. Are we living in the most innovative era of human history? A lot of people would say so, but Smil argues otherwise. Indeed, he writes, the current era shows „clear signs of technological stagnation and slow progress.” I disagree, but not surprisingly—having read all 44 of his books and having spoken with him many times, I know he’s not as optimistic about the prospects for innovation as I am. But even if we don’t see the future the same way, there’s no one better at interpreting the past than Smile. If you want to learn how human ingenuity got us to this point, I highly recommend it Discovery and innovation.

Online Economics Lectures by Timothy Taylor. I have watched a lot of lecture series online and Taylor is one of my favorite professors. All three of his series on Wondrium are amazing. The New Global Economy Teaches you about the basic economic history of different regions and how markets work. economy Best suited for people who want a deeper understanding of economic principles. Unexpected economy Perhaps with a wider audience, Taylor applies those principles to everyday life, gift-giving, transportation, natural disasters, sports, and more. You can’t go wrong with any of Taylor’s lectures.

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A holiday playlist. It doesn’t need much explanation. I love holiday music and have put together a list of some of my favorite classics and modern tunes from around the US and around the world.

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