This was a competitive year, because The Sovereign Individual and The Revolt of the Public were absolutely going to take two slots, leaving room for only one more. So I cheated a little and added a runners-up list.
- The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age.There is so much packed into this book, a far-ranging history of the world up to the present and into the future. Its central thesis is the creation of sovereign individuals in a world where nation-states have lost power. This is a profoundly powerful filter, and the thoughts in this book clearly influenced deep thinkers like Balajis Srinivasan.
- The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority. Its central theme is that when governments lose control over the means of communication, it produces big changes – and that is where we are now. Predicts the effects this will have on society and future tension between the State and the Network.
- Atomic Habits. This one receives a lot of coverage, for good reason. It is a how-to manual on how to code your thoughts. There are other books written on habits, but this is the best one I’ve read.
- You and Your Research. This essay by Richard Hamming is probably the best overall writing on a successful career I’ve read. I sincerely wish I read this when I was younger.
- King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine. Related, actually to Unknown Armies below. This book sent me on a search into Jungian archetypes, and helped me understand the concept of shadow energy, itself a very powerful filter for understanding behavior.
- Unknown Armies: A Roleplaying Game of Power and Consequence (2nd edition) Probably the most paranoid RPG I’ve ever read, certainly the only RPG that ever challenged me to think about the world differently. The entire magic system, premised on fulfilling Jungian archetypes, is reason enough alone to read.