Books from 2023 you can read in 2024
It’ll do you a lot of good to read and engage in stories that nurture your mind. Here are a few books we recommend.
Maybe you failed to fulfill your 2023 plans of reading books because you were too busy, too distracted, or you keep forgetting about it. Fret not, in 2024 you may find the time to restart filling your mind with literary works.
But instead of waiting for the next books to come out, why not start with some of these books published in 2023, some of which are in the New York Times bestseller list.
Happy New Year and happy reading!
“The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI” by Fei-Fei Li
Few would know who Dr. Fei-Fei Li is. But to those who are deeply entrenched in the world of artificial intelligence, Li is considered a legend. Her work on AI spanned long before AI became a buzzword. She worked in Google’s secretive program with the US Pentagon called Project Maven, which sought military application for AI. She eventually quit the project as it went against her principle of benevolent creation.
And in her first book, “The Worlds I See,” Li describes her experiences as an academic and as a professional engineer, and how she entered the world of AI where she saw beyond the novelty and practicality of its use in the real world. She delves into the moral, ethical, and philosophical ramifications of AI and how this tool’s behavior can be shaped by its own behavior, like a real human. More than anything else, Li still considers AI’s positive effects on society so long as it benefits the masses.
But as compelling as her experiences in AI, Li also narrates her fresh off the boat-like life. As a Chinese immigrant plucked from her former life in Beijing, Li has a unique perspective on how it is to survive a world where prejudices were rife and to became among the pioneers of a turnkey technology that will have profound effects and influence over human society.
“Ananis’ Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed Washington, and Swindled the World” by Yepoka Yeebo
Digital technology has brought with it a whole new slew of scams that made fools of billionaire industrialists, big financial institutions, policymakers, and, most importantly, the ordinary working-class citizens.
Ghanian journalist Yepoka Yeebo steps back into the world of analogue scams, particularly that of one person, a fellow Ghanian named John Ackay Blay-Miezah. This con artist was said to have charmed his way into the pockets of wealthy people by claiming that he held in custody a trust fund worth USD 27 billion, which was entrusted to him by Ghana’s ousted president Kwame Nkrumah.
The fund was composed of cash, gold, precious stones, jewelry, among others. The con happened when he asked unwitting investors to provide cash to “unlock” it.
Sounds too good to be true, right? But as Yeebo states in her book, Blay-Miezah was able to swindle over USD 200 million from investors across North America, Europe, and Asia. He lived in opulence until his capture in the 1970s.
The book provides a detailed account of Blay-Miezah’s life, his wild scam, and its effects on his victims.
“Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World” by John Valliant
Whether you like it or not, the changing climate will affect you and everyone you know. Journalist John Valliant’s book, “Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World”, is a detailed account of the 2016 wildfire that engulfed Fort McMurray, a city in Canada known for its oil industry. The book provides a panoramic exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between fire and humankind in the context of climate change.
Valliant focuses on the wildfire equivalent of Hurricane Katrina—the worst hurricane that ever hit the US in modern times—highlighting it as a mere glimpse of what we must prepare for in a hotter, more flammable world. Valliant takes readers on a journey through the intertwined histories of North America’s oil industry and the birth of climate science, leading to the unprecedented devastation that modern forest fires wreak.
The book’s meticulous detail to human influence on what is happening in the world often comes to difficult conclusions. Valliant could be a bit overbearing with long narratives just to drive a simple point, but he does illuminate his prose with punchy dialogue with a flare of the cinematic.
“Fire Weather” captures the difficulty of reacting to an environmental crisis caused by natural forces that are exacerbated by human-induced climate change. It’s a cautionary tale that will keep you riveted for a long while.
“Spare” by Prince Harry
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, has had a difficult life, having lived as both a member of the British royal family and later transitioning into a private citizen. His memoir, “Spare,” ghostwritten by J. R. Moehringer sounds like it was made to become a movie (or a TV series). He spares (see what I did there?) no effort in breaking down his position as a contingency in case his brother, Prince William, is not able to fulfill his role as next in line to the British throne.
This is a rare opportunity to know more about the inner workings of one of the longest reigning monarchies in the world, and the challenges experienced by a person’s departure from a fairytale world into a commoner’s life.
Writer Moehringer has ghostwritten for celebrities such as tennis player Andre Agassi and Phil Knight, a co-founder of Nike, and his skills are in full display with “Spare,” highlighting the prince’s own perceptions—regardless of how tone-deaf they seem to most people—and his realizations after moving out of the royal limelight. Of course, how Prince Harry survives the challenges of being a “normal” celebrity remains to be seen.
ALEXANDER VILLAFANIA is a writer for Metrobank’s Wealth Insights. For almost 20 years, he authored stories on science, technology, and education as a journalist for several local news organizations. He has since transitioned to writing more about financial literacy, believing that helping people develop a healthy relationship with money is key to enabling positive socio-economic and environmental change.