Top Five Nonfiction Books I Read in 2010

I’m not going to claim all these books were actually published in 2010, but they’re all good and I read them all this year:

— Gary Gorton’s Slapped By the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 is, in my view, the best explanation available of the financial crisis.

— I heaped lavish praise on Peter Hessler’s Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory just the other day and it’s still awesome.

— Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is excellent popular history of a period in American history that’s not very well understood.

— Julia Preston and Sam Dillon Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy is a lively and important discussion of historic events that happened right next door in the recent past without people really noticing properly.

— Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier won’t be released until February, but I’ve already read it and it’s great (proper review forthcoming).

I also read a bunch of books about cooking, none of which I regret but none of which truly stand out either. There’s too much overlap and repetition. I still think the best piece of cooking advice I’ve ever read is Corby Kummer’s point that when it comes to knives you should own fewer, but higher-quality blades.