What I’m Reading / Watching / Listening To

Never one to waste a second, Dean Yannis C. Yortsos immersed himself in an eclectic selection of books, music, movies and TV shows over the past year. USC Viterbi magazine asked him to list some the works he most enjoyed and to share his thoughts on them.

Magazines and Books
Noema Magazine (Spring 2020, Issue 1), “The Great Acceleration”: Provides great insights on the intersection of technology and society in the context of COVID-19 as well as social change.

“Leadership in Turbulent Times” by Doris Kearns Goodwin: Learning from history on inspired leadership in difficult times.

The cover of "The Big Picture" by Sean Carroll. The cover features a string of DNA that looks like it is made up of stars and other celestial forms.“The Big Picture” by Sean Carroll: A spectacular treatise on the origins of life, meaning and the universe itself.

“Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Gödel” by Stephen Budiansky: A fascinating biography of mathematician Kurt Gödel, his genius, and his life in Austria and then in the U.S. at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton.

“Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker: The case for reason, science, humanism and progress.
“Three African-American Classics”: A trio of the most influential African American writings of the 19th and 20th centuries.

All kinds of music, including Enya, Leonard Cohen, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli; Brazilian rhythms (including Bebel Gilberto), Francoise Hardy, Madeleine Peyroux, Sara Bareilles, Smetana, and Italian (Zucchero) and Greek music.

Any and all soccer games. And did I mention soccer games? English Premier League (come on, you Spurs!); USC women’s soccer (a most talented and well-coached team), and the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and the suddenly looking better U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT).

A poster for "Tulsa Burning" which shows a building with smoke coming out of it.“Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre”: An incredible story.

A number of “whodunit?” mysteries, notably in communities in the coast of England or Ireland, (e.g., “Broadchurch” and the docuseries “Sophie: A Murder in West Cork”).

“Shtisel”: A Middle East story with human dimensions. Reminiscent in many ways of related cultures in that part of the world, including my own while growing up as a child in the Greek island of Rhodes (of course, with different religious and social backgrounds).