Reading List | 阅读清单

If I’m not busy outside exploring the world and talking to people, I like to explore the world vicariously through other people (i.e. books). If it’s crossed off I’ve finished most of the book in question; if it’s italicized, I’m reading it; if not either, I’ve yet to come to it. If it’s starred, I found it particularly striking and you should come talk to me about it. This is what’s on my reading list since December 2015:


*The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera

A Confession, War & Peace, Anna Karenina – Tolstoy

Fight Club – Chuck Palanuick

Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia – Mohsin Hamid

*Confessions of a Mask – Yukio Mishima

Sophie’s Choice – William Styron

*Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius – Jorge Luis Borges

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

The City and the Pillar, Myra Breckinridge, The Last Empire – Gore Vidal

他的国 – 韩寒

红罗蒙 – 曹雪芹

三体 – 刘慈欣

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath


The Vegetarian – Han Kang

The Man in the High Castle – Philip Roth

The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham

Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe

The Electric Cool-aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe

Too Loud a Solitude – Bohumil Hrabal

The Old Man and the Sea – Hemmingway

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez 

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Naked Lunch – William Buroughs

All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren

The Paper Menagerie – Ken Liu

China in Ten Words – Yu Hua

Snowcrash – Neal Stephenson

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Exhalation – Ted Chiang (2020)

Factory Girl – Josanne La Valley (2020)

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee (2020)

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov (2020)

Nine Stories – J.D. Salinger (2020)



Young Money – Kevin Roose

*The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan

*Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Ashlee Vance

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

Maximum City – Suketu Mehta

All the President’s Men – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Dateline Mongolia: An American Journalist in Nomand’s Land – Michael Kohn

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig

Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War – Val Lance

Master of the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson) – Robert Caro

Detroit: An American Autopsy – Charlie DeLuff

Apologies to my Censor – Mitch Moxley

Hiroshima – John Hersey

On China – Henry Kissinger

Putin Country: A Journey Into the Real Russia – Anne Garrels

*Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng’s China – Susan Greenhalgh

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey – Che Guevara

The Big Short – Michael Lewis

The Happiness Industry – William Davies

*From 0 to 1 – Peter Thiel

Capital in the 21st Century – Thomas Piketty

Red Cavalry – Isaac Babel

Capitalism With Chinese Characteristics – Huang

Capitalizing On Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance – Greta Krippner

Great Transformations – Mark Blyth

New Spirit of Capitalism – Luc Boltanski

Three Lectures on Post-Industrial Society – Daniel Cohen, Willia Mccuaig

The Lean Start-up – Eric Ries

The Rare Find: How Great Talent Stands Out – George Anders (Tabled)

Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites – Mitchell L. Stevens

War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning – Chris Hedges

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness – L. Todd Rose

Two Speeches – Malcolm X

The Search for Modern China – Jonathan Spence

Deng Xiaoping: My Father – Deng Maomao (Tabled)

In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India – Edward Luce

*Drift and Mastery – Walter Lippmann

To Serve God and Walmart – Bethany Moreton

Barbarians at the Gate – John Heylar, Bryan Burrough

*White Collar – C. Wright Mills

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo

*Machine Dreams – Philip Mirowski

*Carbon Democracy – Timothy Mitchell

A Problem From Hell – Samantha Power

The History of the Standard Oil Company – Ida Tarbell

Rise of the Red Engineers – Joel Andreas

A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Malkiel

An Inheritance – Rama Rau

The Autobiography of Margaret Sanger – Margaret Sanger

The Physics of Wall Street – James Owen Weatherall

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – Nicholas Carr

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China – Evan Osnos

Tribe – Sebastian Junger

Friday Night Lights – H. G. Bissinger

The Southwest Airlines Way – Jody Hoffer Gittell

No Good Men Among the Living – Gopal Anand

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot – Kim Barker

Disrupted – Daniel Lyons

The Price of Admission – Daniel Golden

This Town – Mark Leibovich

Beyond Equality – David Montgomery

The Fall of the House of Labor – David Montgomery

A Feast of Vultures – Joseph Josy

The Race Between Education and Technology – Claudia Goldin

*Built to Last – Jim Collins

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman – Richard Feynman

The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

Democracy in America – Alexis De Tocqueville

*The Complacent Class – Tyler Cowen

*Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harari

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror – Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan

A Brief History of Neoliberalism – David Harvey

The Deplorable’s Guide to Making America Great Again – Todd Starnes

The Firm: The Story of McKinsey – Duff McDonald

The Power Broker – Robert Caro

Master of the Senate – Robert Caro

Little Big Man – Alex Tizon

Fire Shut Up in My Bones – Charles Blow

Hillbilly Elegy – J.D. Vance

Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth Century World – Rebecca Karl

iGen – Jean Twenge

Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China – Ezra Vogel

This Kind of War – T.R. Fehrenbach

*Who Owns the Future? – Jaron Lanier

A.I. Super Powers – China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order – Kai-Fu Lee

The Party – Richard McGregor

Two Billion Eyes – Ying Fu

Investigative Journalism in China – David Bandurski and Martin Hala

*The Closing of the American Mind – Allan Bloom

America Against America (美国反对美国) – Wang Huning (王沪宁)

Wealth and Power – Orville Schell and John Delury

CEO, China – Kerry Brown

The Uyghurs: Strangers in their own land – Gardner Bovingdon

*The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X

*Armageddon Averted – Stephen Kotkin

Soviet Baby Boomers – Donald Raleigh

*The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep – David Satter

*Nothing to Envy – Barbara Demick

*Manufacturing Consent – Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

The Tiananmen Papers – Edited by Perry Link, Andrew J. Nathan

Out of Mao’s Shadow – Philip P. Pan

*The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Future is History – Masha Gressen

The China-Pakistan Axis – Andrew Small

Mao’s Last Revolution – Roderick MacFaquhar, Michael Schoenhals

Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order – Bruno Macaes

The Curse of Bigness – Tim Wu

Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, The United States, and the World – Graham Allison and Robert Blackwill

Hiroshima – John Hersey

Strange Stones – Peter Hessler

Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order – Bruno Macaes

Age of Ambition – Evan Osnos

China’s Assistance Program in Xinjiang – Yuhui Li

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

Conspiracy – Ryan Holiday

Chinese Communist Espionage – Matt Brazil and Peter Mattis (2020)

Ill Winds – Larry Diamond

Xi Jinping – Francois Bougon

The Private Life of Chairman Mao – Li Zhisui

Magnificent Delusions – Husain Haqqani (2019)

看见 (Insight) – 柴静 (Chai Jing) (2019 -)

*Tokyo Vice – Jake Adelstein (2019)

Permanent Record – Edward Snowden (2019)

Reporting on Hitler – Will Wainewright (2019)

Xi Jinping: The Backlash – Richard McGregor (2019)

*Trick Mirror – Jia Tolentino (2019)

Behave – Robert M. Sapolsky (2020)

How to be a Dictator – Frank Dikötter (2019)

Mao’s Great Famine – Frank Dikötter (2020)

Why I am a Hindu – Shashi Tharoor (2019)

Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney at the White House – Peter Baker (2020)

Korea: The Impossible Country – Daniel Tudor (2020)

MBS – Ben Hubbard (2020)

Superpower Showdown – Lingling Wei, Bob Davis (2020)

The Righteous Mind – Jonathan Haidt (2020)

Whistleblowers, Fears and Courage: The Coronavirus Reports – Caixin (2020)

1587 – Ray Huang (2020)



Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche

*Geneology of Morals – Friedrich Nietzsche

The Stranger – Albert Camus

Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

Philosophical Investigations – Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tabled)

The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir

History of Sexuality – Michel Foucault

Phenomenology of Spirit – Hegel

The Mahabharata

*The Works of Mencius – Mencius

The Analects – Confucius

The Republic – Plato

Politics – Aristotle

*Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle

The Ramayana (Tabled)

The Bhagavad Gita

The Quran (Tabled)

The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus

A Theory of Justice – John Rawls

Reflections on Violence – Georges Sorel

Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas – Isaiah Berlin

*Capitalism and Freedom – Milton Friedman

Superintelligence: Path, Dangers, Strategies – Nick Bostrom

The Idea of a Social Science and It’s Relation to Philosophy – Peter Winch

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Thomas Kuhn

The Malaise of Modernity – Charles Taylor

Cosmopolis – Stephen Toulmin

The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, The End of Ideology – Daniel Bell

*The Universe in a Single Atom – Dalai Lama

The Fox and the Hedgehog – Isiah Berlin

Eichmann in Jerusalem – Hannah Arendt

*Origins of Totalitarianism – Hannah Arendt

*Cosmopolitanism  – Kwame Anthony Appiah

Siddartha – Hermann Hesse

Hind Swaraj – Gandhi

Beyond Wisdom – Luang Por Dhammajayo

Godel, Escher, Back: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstadter

The Twilight of Human Rights Law – Eric Posner

The Denial of Death – Ernest Becker

Eclipse of Reason – Max Horkheimer

Passages – Gail Sheehy

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the value of work – Matthew Crawford

Notes on Camp – Susan Sontag

Heidegger Explained – Graham Harman (Note: Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’ is an awfully written book, one of the most terribly written books I’ve ever tried to read. This book is much better.)

Iron John – Robert Bly

Radical Markets – Eric Posner and Glen Weyl

Modern Man in Search of a Soul – Carl Jung

The Governance of China – Xi Jinping

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Shoshana Zuboff

Democracy in China – Ci Jiwei

The Kingdom of God is Within You – Leo Tolstoy



*Industrial Society and Its Future – Ted Kaczynski

*S.C.U.M. Manifesto – Valerie Solanas

Dabiq – The Islamic State



The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham

The World on a String – Al Goodman, John Pollack

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Deep Work – Cal Newport

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie


Introduction to Econometrics

Natural Language Processing with Python


Long-form Journalism

I also enjoy reading long pieces. Here’s a piece on Samantha Power that’s really about the promise and perils of human rights discourse. He’s a piece on Marie Colvin that I’m dangerously romantic about – an inspiration and a warning, both. Here’s an AP article on freeing seafood industry slaves that made me cry. Here’s a piece on ex-cons at Berkeley that I love. Here’s a fun piece from Vice on how the complexity of modern society makes it impossible to be president that speaks directly to my interests. This epic tale of Elon Musk sends the imagination soaring and the spine shivering. Here’s an oldie but a goodie – George Orwell on the inhumanity of Gandhi’s sainthood. And most recently, this piece, on modern slavery, but really, also, about self-discovery and the American dream, took my breath away. And countless others.