Ha-Joon Chang: Economics: A User's Guide
A fantastically clear, lucid and accessible introduction to the topic. Chang is clearly centre-left in his politics, but throughout the book he is even-handed and, in analysing every major economic area, encourages a plurality of thinking.
Andy Miller: The Year of Reading Dangerously
Writer Andy Miller talks us through a year that changed his life, as he returned to reading as a serious pursuit, having challenged himself to read 50 great books across that year. It's oddly moving but also very, very funny.
Philip Glass: Words Without Music: A Memoir
Glass's memoir is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in contemporary music. Although there are some biographical lacunae, it is a largely frank and utterly fascinating record of an extraordinary life - and focuses very much on the music.
Daniel J. Levitin: The Organized Mind
Part pop-sci, part-behavioual economics, part-self-help, psychologist and musician Levitin's book examines why we are all floundering in an age of information overload, before mapping out strategies for mitigation in our social lives, at home and in business.
Dr Jeremy M Silver: Digital Medieval
My former colleague and friend Jeremy Silver's book is a fine - and personal - account of music in the age of the world wide web. Jeremy is simultaneously amused and enraged at how the industry has (or rather too often) hasn't adapted to technological disruption. He also sees music as the "canary in the coalmine" for all the content industries who should take heed - but probably won't.
Jamie Andreas: The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar
Not sure I'll ever "finish" this book so much as return to it for the rest of my life. Which is what I've just done, now that I'm down the classical guitar rabbit hole. Andreas' book is the ultimate "meta" method book, looking at guitar playing not in terms of notes or even "music" but instead in terms of the body and the mind. Essential for all guitar students - - I wish I'd read it 30 years ago.
Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet
Asprey is a bit of an outlier even in the food/fitness firmament I follow, but he's remarkable nonetheless - not least for his own personal journey. This book maps out the basic principles of his eating strategy (let's call it paleo+) with guidance on other lifestyle areas like exercise and, crucially, sleep.
Brad Warner: Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between
Mr Hardcore Zen himself evaluates the myriad aspects of modern sexuality through the lens of Zen Buddhism: it's by turns funny and deeply thought-provoking throughout. At its heart is a brilliant interview with legendary porn star Nina Hartley, who was brought up by Buddhist parents. Fascinating stuff.
Don DeLillo: The Body Artist
DeLillo at his most spectral, poetic... and weird. This short novel follows the mental and emotional breakdown of the recently bereaved titular body artist as she encounters a stranger living in her house. At times heavily redolent of Duras - and quite beautiful.
Alejandra Pizarnik: A Musical Hell
Dark, enigmatic, sensual and often highly disturbing surrealist work from the Argentinian poet Pizarnik. This set was first published in 1971 a year before her suicide, now translated by Yvette Siegert and published handsomely by New Directions poetry.