While we’re practicing social isolation, it probably frees up some time for reading. Here’s my recommended book list:
Loserthink by Scott Adams. Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook. How do people keep themselves stuck by putting themselves into mental cages? How can you escape? And how can you make your life more entertaining by noticing the loserthink of others, even many so-called experts, turning them into unintentional comedians? This book tells all.
The coronavirus epidemic has created a bumper crop of loserthink, including my favorite, “Why worry? 80% of cases are mild!” (83.33% of Russian Roulette cases are mild.) Entertaining and eye-opening.
Antifragile by Naseem Nicholas Taleb. Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook. Taleb is the world’s foremost practical philosopher, especially when it comes to things that you have to prepare for without being able to predict with any accuracy, like stock market downturns and epidemics.
Taleb also has two very brief yet powerful papers about the Coronavirus, one published early on and one quite recent: Systemic Risk of Pandemic via Novel Pathogens – Coronavirus: A Note and Review of Ferguson et al “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions…”
Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeill. Kindle, paperback, and hardcover. This is the book that taught me most of what I know about epidemics and their control, with lots of historical context.
I really need to sit down and read it again, because it’s been a while and it’s a great book…
Magic Shots by Allan Chase. Hardcover, out of print (buy it used). Before I first read this, I didn’t realize that most vaccinations were pretty much invented from scratch, using wildly different principles.
Like a lot of history-of-science books, it reads like a whodunit. Or, in this case, a series of whodunits.