Marginalia

If it doesn’t fit anywhere else, it’s here.

Cogs and Monsters and Dungeons and Dragons, oh my!

Lots of intriguing books on deck this week! Jon Peterson's "Game Wizards" is an in-depth history - and I really do mean in-depth - of the creation of Dungeons and Dragons and in particular the ugly struggle for control of TSR. It's vivid and incredibly...

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Comics, games, and a genius

I was delighted to see The Economist give a glowing review to Ananyo Bhattacharya's brilliant new book The Man From The Future, noting that it fills "a yawning gap in the history of science". You heard about that book here first. A different book in almost every way...

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ZOMG it is a very exciting week for new nerd books

Some nerd-tastic books coming out this week from friends and colleagues:Ananyo Bhattacharya’s stunning and deep intellectual biography of John von Neumann, “The Man From The Future”. Looks beautiful, full of telling detail and packed with ideas about group theory,...

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In conversation with Richard Thaler and other news

I'm interviewing Richard Thaler at How To Academy (online) at 6.30pm UK time today. Tune in! We will, of course, be discussing "Nudge: The Final Edition".Tom Chatfield's book "How To Think" is a masterclass in clear critical thinking. I've been tickled by Rich...

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Pinker, Von Neumann, and how to be decent

Various exciting books are now out, or imminent. Steven Pinker's "Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce" is just around the corner, and as you might expect it is erudite, entertaining, and packed full of ideas (some new to me and some not). I'm doing an event...

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Back to school

I hope you've had a wonderful summer - or winter, if you're reading this in the southern hemisphere, or in early 2022. I've held off posting lots of August updates but now I'm back, and with a lovely little review of The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy...

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A live speech at last, and other news

I'm speaking at the FT Weekend Festival (in a well-ventilated tent in Hampstead) - do come along! If you prefer your speeches online, you might enjoy this discussion with UCL economics students, in which we cover carbon taxes, thinking like a statistician, and the...

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4000 weeks and the clock is ticking

Oliver Burkeman’s wonderful (and alarming) new book is “4000 Weeks”. I wholeheartedly recommend it, despite the stress-inducing reminder that the human lifespan is 4000 weeks and I’m well past half way. Burkeman’s book is part Getting Things Done, part Being and Time,...

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Summer maths books!

New questions have gone live on the Data Detective challenge on the Good Judgement Open website - check them out and test your skills! I’ve found myself reading four very interesting maths books this summer. Shape by Jordan Ellenberg – I’m speaking on a panel with...

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