The Everything Holiday Reading List

What we're reading this season, and why

Hello and Happy Sunday!

There’s no digest again this Sunday, but in lieu of new articles we put together a list of our Bundle writer’s favorite books from the last year. From epic novels of trees and space rivalries to in-depth explorations of memes and jobs, this is our way of telling you that we’ve got range…and we’d like nothing more than to share it with you.

A Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! We’ll see you again in 2021.


Before you read any further—have you made your 2021 predictions yet? Head on over to The Prediction Game to lay out your projections for the coming year, and compete for the full value of the Everything Index. So far, over 800 players have spent nearly 30,000 minutes predicting the future. Do you think you can beat them?

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Help us a with a secret project. We’re working on something new for the bundle in 2021, and we’d love your help making it awesome. If you have time, schedule a 15 minute chat to hear about the project, and help us make it better. There’s only a few slots left, so get yours before they run out!


Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

Recommended by Yash Bagal

“Neil Postman's seminal text is essential reading for philosophical explorers of the modern media landscape.”

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

Recommended by Nathan Baschez

“Eugene Wei said on Means of Creation that the next Michael Porter would incorporate findings from complexity theory into strategy. The next day I started reading Chaos.😆🙏🏻”

Dune by Frank Herbert

Recommended by Yiren Lu

“This is a classic and I’m a little late to the party, but I finally read Dune and it’s fun and epic and now when I get down on myself I just repeat stuff like Fear is the mind killer.

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

Recommended by Austin Langlinlais

“Anyone who pushes to the limits of their performance through mind or body could benefit from reading this book. It's chock full of anecdotes from highly successful people, and deep (but fun and easy to read) scientific discussions on why people act the way they do. Oh, and everything is backed by studies (the citations chapter is ridiculous). It's written by a former pro runner with two PhDs, so the level of expertise on both sides is incredibly high.”

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Recommended by Jordan Alexander

“Jocko uses his experience as a Navy Seal Officer to teach leadership principles to businesses. Those principles can be applied to many aspects of your life as well.”

Food Fix by Mark Hyman

Recommended by Adam Keesling

A great overview of the problems with our food system—specifically how regulations and structural incentives are making us sick.

The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits by Zeynep Tom

Recommended by Li Jin

“I found out about this book through a recommendation by Dan Teran, the founder of Managed by Q. The book outlines a notion that's quite counterintuitive to our modern sensibilities, which is that companies can create more value for shareholders, employees, and customers by treating employees well, and by combining "good jobs" with operational excellence. It's a hopeful vision of a path forward at a time when many Americans are losing faith in capitalism. P.S.—We discussed this book in our interview with Dan.”

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

Recommended by Taylor Majewski

“There is so much power in data. Backed by a ton of statistics on the ‘gender data gap,’ Invisible Women presents the enlightening, albeit frustrating, argument that the world we live in is designed and built without considering women. The book almost reads like an exposé and any gender can learn from it. I’ll certainly be referring back to it for years to come as it’s made me question the design of everything from medicine to cars to supposedly objective algorithms.”

Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Niño.

Recommended by Sherrell Dorsey

“Nathalie shares cheat codes for women and women of color to use their differences to their advantage and stay encouraged and empowered in business.”

One Up by Joost Van Dreunen

Recommended by Bryant Jefferson

“A super in-depth look into understanding the business of the gaming industry from its early days to now.”

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Recommended by Dan Shipper

“Gorgeously written. The kind of novel that you think about when you're not reading it.”

Philosophy and Social Hope by Richard Rorty

Recommended by Dan Shipper

Is truth found or made? If you answer that question, you'll have a much better answer for how to organize your notes. That's one of the central questions that Rorty deals with in this collection of essays—and his pragmatic bent forms the background reading behind many of the most popular Superorganizers essays.”

The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri

Recommended by Fadeke Adegbuyi

“Gurri explores how ‘industrialized elites’ and a ‘digitalized public’ are intertwined in a battle that’s led to the rise of populism and the erosion of democracy across countries. It’s a timely read for understanding what’s unfolding politically around the world and how access to information by ordinary people is undermining entrenched institutions.”

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Lee Fermor

Recommended by Kieran O’Hare

“A fantastically well-written and engaging account of the author's journey on foot from Holland towards Constantinople in 1933, when he was 18 years old. A reminder for me of the importance of long journeys, reading widely and thinking slowly, and remaining in touch with the beauty and wonder of the physical world.”

The Unreality of Memory by Elisa Gabbert

Recommended by Rachel Jepsen

This essay collection made me feel like I was sitting in a dark bar in the middle of the day with one rough guy practicing his pool game in the corner while I whisper-talked with a good friend about What We've Been Thinking. Tough, even terrifying, material a lot of the time, but a comfort nonetheless—something about reading this book made me feel normal again. Like: let's keep talking. (Bonus: We'll be discussing one of these essays in an upcoming TLC 😉)”


**Bonus Material**

Maintenance Phase (Podcast)

Recommended by Annaliese Griffin

“I loved season one of Maintenance Phase, a new podcast by Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes. It debunks ideas and bad science about weight loss, and is also a deep dive into the intersection of diet culture, wellness, and how we think, talk about, and construct identities and whole value systems around how our bodies look. Also: it is very, very funny. Gordon just published her first book, What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat and is known online as Your Fat Friend, and Hobbes is one of my favorite journalists (his other podcast "You're Wrong About" is also worth a hilarious listen).”

“The Garden of Forking Memes: How digital Media Distorts Our Sense of Time” by Aaron Lewis (Essay)

Recommended by Adam Keesling

“A beautiful essay on how digital media changes our sense of self and narrative.”