Best non-fiction books of 2020

Usually I give this list much later in November, but shopping rhythms are off this year.  Furthermore The Strand bookstore in NYC is rather desperately asking for your business, as is Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, and many other independent bookshops.  Nor would it hurt Barnes & Noble if you spent your money there, and I hear Amazon is hiring and boosting the macroeconomy.  I believe bookstores in England will be closing in a few days, so hurry now.  Finally, I hope you will stay home and read these rather than traveling for Thanksgiving!

As usual, these are (roughly) in the order I read them, not ranked by preference or quality.

Anton Howes, Arts & Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation.

Garett Jones, 10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust the Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less.

Bruno Macaes, History has Begun: The Birth of a New America.

Thane Gustafson, The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe.

Dietrich Vollrath, Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy is a Sign of Success.

Ronald S. Calinger, Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius of the Enlightenment.

Ashley Mears, Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit.

Jay Belsky, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Richie Poulton, The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life.

Hollis Robbins, Forms of Contention: Influence and the African-American Sonnet Tradition.

Ross Douthat, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success.

Steven Levy, Facebook: The Inside Story.

Joe Henrich, The WEIRDEST People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.

Oliver Craske, Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar.

Zachary D. Carter, The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes.

Deirdre Mask, The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power.

Daniel Todman, Britain’s War 1942-1947.

Brent Tarter, Virginians and Their History.

Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our World, Change Our Minds, & Shape Our Futures.

Matt Yglesias, One Billion Americans.

Ed Douglas, Himalaya: A Human History.

Michael Wood, The Story of China: A Portrait of a Civilization and its People.

Kevin Davies, Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing.

Nicholas McDowell, Poet of Revolution: The Making of John Milton.

Rebecca Wragg Sykes, Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art.

This is indeed a fantastic list, really strong, and apologies to those I have forgotten (there are always some).  I will be doing a revised, updated, and last two months filled in list much later in December.

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