What I’ve been reading

1. Trevor Latimer, Small Isn’t Beautiful: The Case Against Localism.  I say the correct answer here is culturally specific.  Nonetheless this is a good and useful book marshaling arguments against localism and in favor of centralization, including with respect to the value of liberty.

2. Mario Vargas Llosa, The Call of the Tribe.  On the thinkers who have influenced him, including Adam Smith, Hayek, Berlin, Popper, and Ortega y Gasset, among others.  All of the chapters I quite liked.  The story of the meeting of Berlin and Akhmatova I had not known.  Not consummated, but intensely erotic and unforgettable for both of them.

3. Philip K. Howard, Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions.  I am not sure about the “unconstitutionality” point, but the rest of this critique is right on target.  Is this the next frontier for supply-side progressives?

4. Philip Bowring, The Making of the Modern Philippines: Pieces of a Jigsaw State is a good overview and in general I favor explanatory, country-specific books.  Once again, low productivity in agriculture is a big problem.

5. Aidan Cottrell-Boyce, The End of Nightwork is a Northern Irish speculative fiction tale about a group of people who stay a physical age for a long period of time, and then suddenly age many years at once.  Uneven, but mostly interesting (I finished it).

There is Daniel Akst, War by Other Means: The Pacifists of the Greatest Generation Who Revolutionized Resistance.

Bill Hammack, The Things We Make: The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans.  From an engineering perspective.

There is also Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner, How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors that Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration, and Everything in Between.

Useful is The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India, by Manan Ahmed Asif.


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