2017 retrospective

Last updated 2017-12-31


I didn’t read as many books this year as usual. I would say that there were only two books I really loved, which I would confidently recommend to any curious friend:

  • Algorithms to Live By, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
    • It’s rare that I read a book that touches on so many foundational concepts in an academic discipline (in this case, computer science) and also relates to so much of daily life. I finished this book in early October, and I’ve thought about it almost every week since.
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt
    • The Happiness Hypothesis is to psychology as Algorithms to Live By is to computer science. Haidt is an incredible writer, and I’ve thought about ideas in this book many times since I finished it.

There were several others that I liked quite a bit, but which I would recommend more tentatively. Alphabetically by author’s last name:

  • How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, by Scott Adams
  • Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom
  • Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harrari
  • Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harrari
  • The Nurture Assumption, by Judith Rich Harris
  • Chaos, by James Gleick
  • Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Houston, We Have a Narrative, by Randy Olson
  • Everybody Lies, by Seth Stevens-Davidowitz
  • Inadequate Equilibria, by Eliezer Yudkowsky

I don’t often reread books, but this year I reread two. That fact alone should recommend them:

I also read An Introduction to Statistical Learning from start to finish, which felt like quite an accomplishment. I think this was the first time I’ve ever read an entire textbook. For anyone who aspires to do this sort of thing, I highly recommend forming a reading group with two to three others. Two of my friends and I read a chapter or two each week, and met for a few hours to talk through the practice problems.


Alphabetical by author’s last name.


Alphabetical by title.


Alphabetical by creator’s last name.


Where to begin! I listened to so much new music this year that I’m going to break this down by genre.


Alphabetical by artist.

Hip Hip / Rap

  • Saturation, Saturation II, and Saturation III, by BROCKHAMPTON
  • SYRE, by Jaden Smith
  • Back in Business, by Lack of Afro
  • Big Fish Theory, by Vince Staples
  • 4:44, by Jay-Z
  • DAMN, by Kendrick Lamar
  • The Darkest Hour, by Madchild
  • Flower Boy, by Tyler, The Creator


  • Little Fictions, by Elbow
  • Life Will See You Now, by Jens Lekman
  • The Search For Everything, by John Mayer
  • american dream, by LCD Soundsystem
  • Mother Lion, by May Erlewine
  • After Laughter, by Paramore
  • Heartbreak Hits, by Theo Katzman
  • I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, by The 1975
  • Dont Smile At Me, by Billie Eilish
  • Thanks for Listening, by Chris Thile
  • Something To Tell You, by HAIM
  • From the Outside, by Hey Violet
  • All the Light Above it Too, by Jack Johnson
  • Peace & Information, by Jenny O.
  • Nervous Systems, by Julia Michaels
  • Semper Femina, by Laura Marling
  • Notos, by The Oh Hellos
  • Planetarium, by Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and James McAlister

Funk / R&B / Jazz

  • Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, by Calvin Harris
  • Freudian, by Daniel Caesar
  • Voyager, by Moonchild
  • Scary Pockets, by Scary Pockets
  • Mr Finish Line, by Vulfpeck
  • Cory Wong and the Green Screen Band, by Cory Wong
  • War & Leisure, by Miguel
  • Ctrl, by SZA
  • Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol. 1, by Terrace Martin Presents the Pollyseeds
  • Drunk, by Thundercat


  • New Energy, by Four Tet
  • Onism, by Photay
  • Process, by Sampha

Pre-2017 favourites that I listened to obsessively this year

  • Hard Candy, by Counting Crows
  • The La’s, by The La’s


Below are the 25 songs I listened to most in 2017, ordered from most to least. There’s obviously a bias toward songs that were released earlier in the year, but there you go. You’ll notice that there’s also a bias toward songs from After Laughter, by Paramore, because I really really liked that album.

  1. Hard Times, by Paramore
  2. Want You Back, by HAIM
  3. oh baby, by LCD Soundsystem
  4. Attention, by Charlie Puth
  5. Rose-Colored Boy, by Paramore
  6. Go With It (feat. Chromeo), by Oliver
  7. The Last Mall, by Steely Dan
  8. Mr. Big Stuff, by Jean Knight
  9. Caught In the Middle, by Paramore
  10. Mr. Finish Line (feat. Christine Hucal & Theo Katzman), by Vulfpeck
  11. Feels (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean)
  12. Screens, by Photay
  15. Nikes, by Frank Ocean
  16. other voices, by LCD Soundsystem
  17. Forgiveness, by Paramore
  18. Heart Don’t Stand a Chance, by Anderson .Paak
  19. Told You So, by Paramore
  20. Get You (feat. Kali Uchis), by Daniel Caesar
  21. Son of a Gun, by The La’s
  22. Back in Business (feat. Wax & Herbal T), by Lack of Afro
  23. Voyager (Intro), by Moonchild
  24. Fake Happy, by Paramore
  25. Things I Miss the Most, by Steely Dan

TV and Movies

I didn’t watch too many new movies or shows this year, so if your favourite isn’t included here, it’s more likely that I didn’t see it than that I saw it but didn’t like it.

Alphabetical by title.



  • Get Out
  • Logan
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi


  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk

TV Shows


  • Stranger Things


  • Atlanta
  • Black Mirror
  • The Crown

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