Favorite Books of 2021

The Key Man by Simon Clark & Will Louch

An engrossing read chronicling the rise and fall of Arif Naqvi and the Abraaj Group. It has the pace of John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, but with an unbelievable cast of credulous characters who fell for a fantasy.

I spoke with Simon on the Portico Podcast.

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This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends by Nicole Perlroth

An alarming book about the evolution of the market for zero-day exploits, and how we’re all doomed, basically. As an enthusiast of developments in the crypto space, I’ve not gotten comfortable with the meme that ‘code is law.’ This book hammers home that most software is shit, and the notion that individuals will interrogate lines of code to protect themselves is a joke.

Winner of the FT’s Business Book of the Year.

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On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State by Joseph Strayer

A thought-provoking take on the development of states and institutions in Europe. All in 111 pages.

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The Coming of the French Revolution by George Lefebvre

Another thought-provoking book from Princeton Classics.

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Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Extremely fun novel.

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Power of the Dog + The Cartel by Don Winslow

A history of the drug trade in the Americas told through novels. Loved the first book. Enjoyed the second. Gave up on the third.

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