A list of non-fiction books in no particular order I read recently, with some recommendation. This post was inspired by the similar posts of Eli Bendersky.


  • How to Drive a Nuclear Reactor by Colin Tucker. A high level tour for laymans on how a specific kind of nuclear reactors (PWR) work. Goes from the reactor, through the two circuits, to the turbine and the grid. Deftly written, makes you believe you actually understand what’s going on, but still highlights the enormous complexity of such an installation. While reading, I recommend to keep a list of abbreviations, they come up frequently, but only explained once.

  • The Future Of Fusion Energy by Jason Parisi, Justin Ball. A long introduction to fusion energy, goals and challenges, prospects. The book covers the past, present, and the expected future of the field (no, we’ll not expected to have commercial fusion reactors at least until 2100, sorry). It attempts to explain things without mathematics. The authors could use a bit fewer footnotes1. The second chapter of the book could stand on its own: a comprehensive, but accessible, list of energy sources of the Earth.


  • Limits To Growth by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers. A long time ago, a group of scientists built a computer model to guess how the apparently limitless growth of the economy will affect the future of humankind. The results were published in 1972, urging profound and immediate changes. Not much change was made. The 30 year update of the book confirms that we are on track to our predicted doom, and again proposes reduction of consumption, waste, greed; a fair society and more birth control as a solution. A depressing read, forecasting the untimely death of billions in this century.


  • The Making of Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner. Relevant journal entries verbatim, from the author of the famous computer game, around 1985-1993. Shows how Jordan struggles between game development and screenwriting, and the fascinating self-doubt of an extremely talented and professionally successful youth. Easy to read, exciting, inspirational.

  • The Making of Karateka by Jordan Mechner. A prequel to The Making of Prince of Persia, this time about a less well-known game, Karateka. Similarly cute and easy to read. The amount and quality of output this young boy produces is fascinating.

  • Masters of Doom by David Kushner. A documentary on how the computer game developer company id was founded and operated, from Commander Keen through Doom to Quake I-II, mostly focusing on John Carmack and John Romero, their different personalities and motivations – without technical details.

  1. These (sometimes) (slightly) funny footnotes do not really add value, but break the flow of reading. ↩︎