1. Jackie Chan, with Zhu Mo, Never Grow Up. “My ankle joint pops out of its socket all the time, even when I’m just walking around, and I’ll have to pop it back in. My leg sometimes gets dislocated when I’m showering. For that one, I need my assistant to help me click it back in…I can’t lift heavy objects.” He needed brain surgery after filming Armour of God, and he sustained permanent hearing loss in his left ear. Recommended, if you like the movies. And: “That was how I pursued girls, I overwhelmed them.”
2. John L. Brooke, The Refiner’s Fire: the Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. “…the rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can only be understood if it is placed in the context of the hermetic tradition. The distinctive doctrines of the church — preexistent spirits, material spirit, human divinization, celestial marriage — are opaque unless we explore their relationship to the evolving fusion of hermetic perfectionism and radical sectarianism occupying the extreme edge of the Christian tradition from the late Middle Ages into the early modern age.”
3. Guy Arnold, Africa A Modern History: 1945-2015, second edition. It is hard to image that a 1077 pp. doorstop kind of a book on “Africa” might be very good, but in fact this one is. It is the best book on contemporary Africa and its (recent) historical roots that I know. I am reading this book all the way through.
4. Cass Sunstein, How Change Happens. How does social change happen, organized around Cass’s favorite topics, such as nudge and polarization and cascades. This book doesn’t cover everything, but it is one of the essential introductions to a topic that is very difficult to handle. And I am happy there is no subtitle.
Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist, A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow, is a good and correct “green” take on the case for nuclear energy.
The Cato Institute has put out Michael D. Tanner, The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor, and Randal O’Toole Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love are Not the Transportation We Need.