Paul Nixon's Blog |||

Best bits of 2019

Here’s a list of the stuff that has most entertained and educated me so far this year.


Matthew Walker - Why We Sleep

A genuinely wonderful book and a paean to the subject of sleep. Walker is a brilliant guide, and his love of his subject is evident. He’s convinced me not just of the importance of sleep, but actually it’s primacy - even over diet and exercise. As he says : if sleep didn’t serve some vital function, it’s evolution’s great mistake.

Skin in the Game - Nassim Taleb

Irascible and unpredictable he may be, but this book is definitely a masterpiece. He’s bonkers - his ideas sit amongst the dialog of fictional characters, he settles innumerable scores against both individuals and entire establishments without mercy and makes repeated and personally favourable comparisons with the greatest thinkers of all of history. Still, don’t let that put you off :-). There are four or five ideas in this book that change you way you look at the world - for the better.

Deep Work - Cal Newport

An excellent book that I first read a couple of years ago and it passed me by a bit. Not this time. A book for modern times and each of our battles against a world of distraction and fragmented attention. Strong on both theory and practise.


Sam Harris - Roger McNamee

We already know that our privacy is being eroded by the giants of tech, but the extent is perhaps still shocking. Roger McNamee was on the inside at Facebook and speaks compellingly about the abuse of our private data.

Very Bad Wizards - Laurie Santos

Take one of your favourite podcasts add a great guest with terrific knowledge on the subject of human wellbeing and you get a great podcast.

Very Bad Wizards - Dunning Kruger

I love the Very Bad Wizards; on good form. Not everyone loves their irreverent style but I do. This is a fantastic example of them at their best in my view.

Dr Chatterjee - Sleep with Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker again, this time not in book form and with the excellent Dr Rangan Chatterjee.

Blog Posts

Wait but why - Gen-Y

There are several great blog posts on this website, but this one exploring the malaise of youngsters is typically brilliant and insightful.

Slate Star Codex - On the broken-ness of science

I’ve been moaning on that science is broken for a long time, and not enough is being done about it. This article makes the point rather better that I could with an astounding review of 450 positive studies carried out over 15 years on a non-existant effect.

This isn’t just an explorer coming back from the Orient and claiming there are unicorns there. It’s the explorer describing the life cycle of unicorns, what unicorns eat, all the different subspecies of unicorn, which cuts of unicorn meat are tastiest, and a blow-by-blow account of a wrestling match between unicorns and Bigfoot.