Results for “What I've Been Reading” 384 found
1. Leonard Mlodinow, Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics. One man’s version of “the real Stephen Hawking story,” including the marital arrangements and rearrangements, told by a former good friend. I am not sure that books such as this should be written (or read), but…this one is pretty good. It also gives Hawking’s account of why he did not win a Nobel prize (“radiation must be observed”), among other tidbits.
2. Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody. The authors serve up many on-target criticisms of current academic nonsense, but somehow it is not how I would proceed. Given the ridiculousness of so much of what is going on, I say there are new intellectual profit opportunities to mine the best insights from critical theory, postmodernism, intersectionality and the like. I would rather read a book that did that. Start with Foucault, and steelman everything as you go along.
3. Ed Douglas, Himalaya: A Human History. Truly an excellent book covering the history, politics, and culture of…the Himalayan region. Full of substance, lovely cover too. The USA link here has a worse cover, no surprise. But you’ll get the British version quicker, with the preferred cover, and at a lower price. Arbitrage!
4. The Early Political Writings of the German Romantics, edited by Frederick C. Beiser, but basically Novalis, Schlegel, and a bit of Schleiermacher. In particular I was surprised how well the Novalis has held up: insightful, to the point, and laying out the aesthetic approach to politics (and more) with a stark and memorable clarity. If you are looking for something to read that is non-liberal, but not the tiresome version of non-liberal being beat to death these days, maybe try this book.
5. George Prochnik, Heinrich Heine: Writing the Revolution. Heine has aged very well, circa 2020, and he is an appropriate liberal but also satiric counterpart to the writers mentioned immediately above, plus he was more historically prescient, and for all the talk about culture from the Romantics, it was Heine who was the perceptive observer of other people’s cultures. This is a good book for additional historical background once you already know Heine, though not at all an introduction to his charm and import, available only from the man himself.
And I have just received my copy of Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius.
1. Stephen Hough, Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More. Scattered tidbits, about half of them very interesting, most of the rest at least decently good, mostly for fans of classical music and piano music. Should you develop the habit of warming up? Why don’t they always have a piano in the “green room”? How many recordings should you sample before trying to play a piece? What kinds of relationships do pianists develop with their page turners? That sort of thing. I read the whole thing.
2. Jeremy England, Every Life is on Fire: How Thermodynamics Explains the Origins of Living Things. A fun and readable popular science book on why life may be likely to evolve from inanimate matter: “Living things…make copies of themselves, harvest and consume fuel, and accurately predict the surrounding environment.” Who could be against that?
3. Dov H. Levin, Meddling in the Ballot Box: The Causes and Effects of Partisan Electoral Interventions. “A fifth significant way in which the U.S. aided Adenauer’s reelection was achieved by Dulles publicly threatening, in an American press conference which took place two days before the elections, “disastrous effects” for Germany if Adenauer was not reelected.” A non-partisan, academic work, “This study is the first book-length study of partisan electoral interventions as a discrete, stand-alone phenomenon.” From 1946-2000, there were 81 discrete U.S. interventions in foreign elections, and 36 by the USSR/Russia, noting that outright conquest did not count in that data base.
4. John Kampfner, Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country (UK Amazon link, not yet in the USA). You should dismiss the title altogether, which is intended to provoke British people. In fact the author spends plenty of time on what is wrong with Germany, ranging from an incoherent foreign policy to the weaknesses of Frankfurt as a financial center. In any case, this is an excellent book trying to lay out and explain recent German politics and economics. It is more conventional wisdom than daring hypothesis, but the conventional wisdom is very often correct and how many people really know the conventional wisdom about Naomi Seibt anyway? Recommended, the best recent look at what is still one of the world’s most important countries.
5. David Carpenter, Henry III: 1207-1258. “No King of England came to the throne in a more desperate situation than Henry III.” The Magna Carta had just been instituted, Henry was just nine years old, and England was ruled by a triumvirate, with a very real chance that the French throne would swallow up England. This is one of those “has a lot of unfamiliar names that are hard to keep track of” books, but don’t blame Carpenter for that. In terms of scholarly contribution it stands amongst the very top books of the year. And yes there was already a Wales back then. They also started building Westminster Abbey under Henry’s reign. Here are some of the origins of state capacity libertarianism, volume II is yet to come.
6. Elena Ferrante, The Lying Life of Adults. The last quarter of the book closes strong, so my final assessment is enthusiastic, even if it isn’t in the exalted league of her Neapolitan quadrology. It will probably be better upon a rereading, which I will do.
1. Daniel Halliday and John Thrasher, The Ethics of Capitalism: An Introduction. This book is reasonable, empirical, non-dogmatic, readable, and largely but not uncritically pro-capitalist. It is indeed “an introduction,” and not designed for say yours truly, but we need many more works like this.
2. Ken McNab, And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatlesxxx. I regularly opine that sports and entertainment books — provided you already have familiarity with the topic area — provide better management lessons than do management books. This volume, as I read it, presents the Beatles story as a tale of two sequential founders — first John (who had most of the early excellent songs), and then Paul, the turning point in my view being when Paul commandeered the engineering of “Tomorrow Never Knows,” otherwise very much a John song but in fact Paul did most of the actual work on it. Eventually the first founder rebelled against the ever-more-domineering second founder, and then the Beatles went poof.
3. Martyn Rady, The Habsburgs. Most books about the Habsburgs confuse me, this one confuses me less than those other ones, consider that a recommendation. I learned the most from the section about all of the early ties to what is now part of northern Switzerland.
4. Jeff Selingo, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions. Most books about college admissions do not confuse me (the reality already is so absurd), but this one informs me, consider that a recommendation. Selingo has done actual extensive research, including a direct pipeline into the processes of several major institutions, and he puts informativeness above moralizing or exaggeration.
5. Richard E. Spear, Caravaggio’s Cardsharps on Trial: Thwaytes v. Sotheby’s. A surprisingly taut and suspenseful treatment of a dispute and then lawsuit over whether a supposed Caravaggio was in fact “real” or not. NB: if they have to ask whether or not it is real, most of the time it ain’t.
6. William C. Summers, Félix d‘Hérelle and the Origins of Molecular Biology. I wanted to read up on bacteriophages, in part as a broader proxy for abandoned lines of scientific inquiry (superseded by antibiotics, and did you recall they play a big role in Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith?), and it seemed this was the right book for that. Short enough and to the point, clear enough for the non-specialist, and it has plenty on the history of science more broadly. It also covers d’Hérelle being invited to Georgia, USSR, to pursue his research, a fascinating episode in his life. For a brief introduction, here is his Wikipedia page.
7. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, The Discomfort of Evening. A few months ago I started reading this one, figuring it would win a Booker, and indeed it just did. I read up through p.102, and quite liked it, but also figured that a Dutch farm tale of mucky perversion, flapping meats, and a mordant, vibrant nature did not in fact fit into my broader life plan. Indeed it did not. But if you are considering this one, while likely I will not finish it, I still would nudge you slightly in the positive direction. Cumin cheese makes an appearance (ugh).
I have not had a chance to read Adrian Goldworthy’s Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conqueror, but it appears promising.
Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe is a reprint of a 1980 classic, with an emphasis on the roots of liberalism in European religious thought.
1. Fredrik deBoer, The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice. A well-written, highly intelligent book, inveighing against various aspects of the current meritocracy, and how they contribute to what the author calls “social injustice.” People who do educational policy, or who think about inequality should read this book. But ultimately what is his remedy? I would sooner attack homework, credentialism, and bureaucratization than testing. And yes, IQ is overrated, but the correct alternative view emphasizes stamina and relentlessness in a manner that I don’t think will make deBoer any happier. To lower the status of smarts, in the meantime, I fear is not going to do us any good.
2. Chris Ferrie and Veronica Goodman, ABCs of Economics (Baby University). Is this for a 5 or 6 year old? It seems good to me, though perhaps the part where they teach “Nash equilibrium” is a stretch. I say calculus should be available in the fifth grade, stats in the eighth grade, so full steam ahead.
3. Christopher I. Caterine, Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide. Did you realize that most of the supposed advantages of academia, such as control over your own time, do not exist to the extent they once did? The advice in this book, such as about how to prepare your resume, seems correct to me, although that it needs to be given does not convince me of the marketability of these academics in the private sector or indeed anywhere at all.
4. Robert D. Putnam, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. A fact-rich, well-reasoned and indeed reasonable take on numerous American trends, most of them related to social solidarity. A good book, provided you are not looking too hard for what the title and subtitle would seem to promise.
5. Greg Woolf, The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History. A very useful introduction and overview to its chosen topic, a good and readable book for urbanists who are looking for general historical background.
Notable are two new books on liberalism abroad. The first is Ingemar Stahl: A Market Liberal in the Swedish Welfare State, edited by Christina and Lars Jonung, and The Hand Behind the Invisible Hand: Dogmatic and Pragmatic Views on Free Markets and the State of Economic Theory, by Karl Mittermaier, with other contributions, concerning South Africa, and free on Kindle at least for the time being.
1. Christopher Tugendhat, A History of Britain Through Books, 1900-1964. Most of all a look at the “well-known in their time, and reflecting their age, but not read any more” books from the stated period, using short, capsule portraits of each work. It induced me to order some more Elizabeth Bowen, C.P. Snow, and other works. There should be more books like this.
2. Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet. Perhaps my favorite novel of the year so far, noting this is from Northern Ireland and my #2 pick by Anne Enright is from Ireland proper. Usually I dislike stories with a “gimmick” — this one recounts part of the life of Shakespeare’s family during plague times — but this one was tasteful, subtle, and suspenseful.
3. Charles Freeman, The Awakening: A History of the Western Mind AD 500-1700. A gargantuan work at over 800 big pp., the size and the breadth and title all might seem to herald trouble. Yet it is really good. It has chapters on whether England really had a scientific revolution, what was actually published with the new printing press, and how medieval universities really worked. There were fewer tired summaries of “the usual” than I was expecting. The author is a specialist on the ancient world, and so there is coverage of Cassiodorus, and what Montaigne took from Plutarch, and numerous other “ancient world” sorts of topics. Which is a good thing.
4. Despina Strategakos, Hitler’s Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway. What did the Nazis have planned for Norway after a supposedly successful conclusion of the Second World War? Lots of reformed urban townscapes, and with plenty of detail to boot. Sometimes it is books like this, rather than the recounting of atrocities, that make WWII seem like the truly bizarre event it was. I am still not sure if restructuring Norway is something fascinating to do, or still super-dull.
Thomas A. Schwartz, Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography is consistently good and readable.
I found David Broder’s First They Took Rome: How the Populist Right Conquered Italy to be a useful explainer of a complex situation.
Jacob Goldstein, Money: The True Story of a Made-up Thing is a good introduction to its chosen topic.
My local public library has reopened! From the library and from elsewhere, I have been enjoying:
1. Orlando Figes, The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture. The three lives are Turgenev, his mistress Pauline Viardot, and the husband of his mistress, Louis Viardot, a noted financier and activist. Consistently interesting, even if you are not looking to read about those three particular figures.
2. John Dickie, The Craft: How the Freemasons Made the Modern World. Although it has a stereotypically bad subtitle, this is an excellent book. It clarifies exactly where the Freemasons came from (dissident thought connected to James II), its connection to actual masons, how the movement got routed through Scotland, its prominence to the Enlightenment, its African-American component (Martin Delany), how it influenced Joseph Smith and Mormonism, why Castro tolerated it and the Shah of Iran encouraged it, and much more. Not in the book, but did you know that the Freemasons claim Shaquille O’Neal? Shaq confirms.
3. Callum Williams, The Classical School: The Turbulent Birth of Economics in Twenty Extraordinary Lives. A clear, well-written, and useful introduction to the lives and thought of some of the leading classical economists. The “unusual picks,” by the way, are Harriet Martineau, Rosa Luxemburg, and Dadabhai Naoroji. The author is a senior economics writer for The Economist.
4. Michael Hunter, The Decline of Magic: Britain in the Enlightenment. “Though it is often thought that the scientists of the early Royal Society tested magic and found it wanting, this is a misconception. In fact, the society avoided the issue because its members’ views on the subject were so divided, and it was only in retrospect that this silence was interpreted as judgmental.”
Forthcoming from Marc Levinson, the author of The Box, is a new book Outside the Box: How Globalization Changed from Moving Stuff to Spreading Ideas, a more general history of globalization.
1. Brent Tarter, Virginians and Their Histories. The best book I have read on the history of Virginia, by an order of magnitude. And in turn that makes it an excellent book on race as well, and also on broader American history. If I have to spend the whole year in this state, I might as well read about it. I learned also that 21,172 Virginians have identified themselves as American Indians, and that this movement is more active than I had realized.
2. Diary of Anne Frank. It seems inappropriate to call this a “good” or even “great” book. I had not read it since high school, I will just say it deserves its enduring status, and the reread was much more rewarding and interesting than what I was expecting.
3. Howard Brotz, editor, African-American Social & Political Thought 1850-1920. A fascinating selection from the debates of the time, reprinting Douglass, Booker T., Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Delany, and others. Douglass holds up best, including his critique of colonialism. The weakest argument in the volume was “Haiti is working out fine, so Liberia will succeed as well.” Of greatest interest to me was the extent to which the African-American debates of that time overlapped with opinions about Africa and the Caribbean. Recommended, and excellent background for many of the current disputes.
4. Simone Weil: An Anthology, and Gravity and Grace. Gravity and Grace is the early work. Its ten best pages are superb, but reading it is mostly a frustrating experience, due to the diffuse nature of the presentation (to be clear, overall I consider that a relatively high reward ratio). The former collection is the best place to start, noting again there is a certain degree of diffuseness, but as with Žižek there are insights you just don’t get anywhere else. A good question for any talent selection algorithm is whether it would pick out the teenage Weil and give her a grant to pursue her writing projects. Sadly she died at age 34 in 1943.
1. Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea. Yes compelling, and a sufficiently influential book that you should read it. But aren’t you ever tempted to ask: has anyone ever behaved like that?
2. Rutger Bregman, Humankind: A Hopeful History. An elegantly written book, offering an optimistic take on human nature and cooperativeness. I am not sure there is anything fundamentally new in here, but I did in fact read and finish it.
3. Juan Williams, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary. A very good and readable biography of exactly what it promises, also manages to avoid hagiography.
4. R. James Breiding, Too Small to Fail: Why some small nations outperform larger ones and how they are reshaping the world. A very useful book expanding on the theme that smaller nations have the potential to be much better governed and thus to have smarter policy and greater accountability.
I have not yet read Steven Johnson, Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History’s First Global Manhunt, but in general I enjoy his works and find them smart.
There is also Jim Tankersley, The Riches of This Land: The untold, true story of America’s middle class.
Richard W. Hamming, The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn is the latest Stripe Press blockbuster. Here is more information about the book.
1. Jon Elster, France Before 1789: The Unraveling of an Absolutist Regime. A useful historical introduction to the period, but most notable for taking canons of good social science explanation seriously throughout each step of the analysis. For one thing, it helps you realize how few people do that, but at the same time you wonder how much restating events in terms of social science mechanisms actually helps historical explanation. A smart book and very well-informed book in any case.
2. Paul Preston, A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain. A highly detailed but also analytical account of how Spanish political economy became so screwed up. Runs from the 1830s up through the financial crisis, and focuses why Spain was backward in nation-building. Maybe too detailed for some but I believe there is no other book like it.
3. Henry M. Cowles, The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey. Argue that the true scientific method did not develop until the mid-to late 19th century. A good book, although perhaps more for historians of ideas than students of science per se.
John Anthony McGuckin, The Eastern Orthodox Church: A New History is both a good introduction and deep enough for those well-read in this area.
There is also Paul Matzko, The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built and Modern Conservative Movement. I don’t listen to (non-satellite) radio, but some of you should find this interesting.
1. Alex Wiltshire and John Short, Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation. Thrilling photos, I suspect the text is very good too but I don’t need to read it to recommend this one.
2. Jonathan Bate, Radical Wordsworth: the poet who changed the world. A magisterial biography by Bates, who has been working on this one for many years. The best Wordsworth (ah, but you must be selective!) is at the very heights of poetry, and Bate exhibits a great sympathy for his subject. if you wish to understand how the still semi-pastoral England of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution transformed into…something else, Wordsworth is a key figure.
3. Maria Pia Paganelli, The Routledge Guidebook to Smith’s Wealth of Nations. It goes through WoN book by book, this is the best reading guide to Smith that I know of.
4. Daniel Todman, Britain’s War 1942-1947. An excellent book, one of the best of the year, full of politics and economics too. You might think you have read enough very good WWII books, but in fact there is always another one you should pick up. Right now this is it.
5. Carl Jung, UFOs: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. A short book of high variance, occasionally fascinating, half of the time interesting, often incoherent. The most interesting parts are the “cultural contradictions of capitalism” discussions, basically suggesting that decentralized mechanisms do not give people a sufficient sense of “wholeness.” He is trying to find a classical liberal answer to the fascist temptation, and worried that perhaps he cannot do it.
I have only skimmed Bruce A. Kimball and Daniel R. Coquilette, The Intellectual Sword: Harvard Law School, The Second Century, but it appears to be an impressive achievement at 858 pp.
1. Jordan Mechner, The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993. A memoir and game development journal from a game developer. The content is foreign to me, but this is one of the most beautiful and artistic books I ever have seen and I suspect some of you will find the narrative gripping. A product of Stripe Press — “Ideas for Progress.”
2. Jeffrey D. Sachs, The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions. This book is a series of lectures, based on Sachs’s earlier work on economic geography and development, yet somehow with a vaguely Yuval Harari sort of glow. Some parts are a good introduction to the earlier work of Sachs, other parts are pitched a bit too low or too generally. It is strange to see chapter subheadings such as “Thalassocracy and Tellurocracy.” As an economist, I still maintain that Sachs is considerably underrated.
3. Susanna Clarke, Piranesi. Yes this is a work of fiction. Clarke of course wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a very long novel that I have read twice, an odd mix of fantasy, science, magic, and Enlightenment esotericism, the only novel I know with fascinating footnotes. I was thrilled to receive this one, and on p.51 I am still excited.
4. Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs. The hot new novel from Japan, it comes with a Murakami rave endorsement. To me it seems like “ordinary feminism” (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and so far it is a bore. If it doesn’t get better soon, I’ll write it off as a “mood affiliation text,” not that there’s anything wrong with that. It probably makes most sense read in a very specific cultural context.
5. Douglas Boin, Alaric the Goth: An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome is a fun look at one part of ancient history through alternative eyes. I always wonder what to trust about this era other than primary sources, and if you can’t understand them or grasp them intelligibly maybe that is itself the correct inference, namely that we have no idea what the **** went on back then. Still, as imaginary reconstructions go, this is one that ought to be done and now it is.
6. Ryan Patrick Hanley, Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life. Smith as a practical moral philosopher, this short volume pulls out the side of Smith closest to Montaigne and the Stoics. You can ponder Smithian sentences such as “The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another.”
7. Sonia Jaffe, Robert Minton, Casey B. Mulligan, Kevin M. Murphy, Chicago Price Theory. A very good intermediate micro text, patterned after how Econ 301 is taught at Chicago. Apparently in the current Coasean equilibrum, this book ends up published by Princeton University Press. Get the picture?
From a legal perspective there is Ron Harris, Going the Distance: Eurasian Trade and the Rise of the Business Corporation, 1400-1700.
1. Ethan Sherwood Strauss, The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty. On top of everything else this is an excellent book on management, and the random events along the way to making a team (the Warriors once wanted to trade both Curry and Thompson for Chris Paul). Kevin Durant ends up as the fall guy, recommended to those who care.
2. Valerie Hansen, The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World — and Globalization Began. Worth reading, my favorite part was the discussion of how Cahokia in Mississippi was connected to the Mayans. And Chichen Itza is probably the world’s best preserved city from the year 1000.
3. Zena Hitz, Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life. “Drawing on inspiring examples, from Socrates and Augustine to Malcolm X and Elena Ferrante, and from films to Hitz’s own experiences as someone who walked away from elite university life in search of greater fulfillment, Lost in Thought is a passionate and timely reminder that a rich life is a life rich in thought.”
4. Alaine Polcz, One Woman in the War: Hungary 1944-1945. I am surprised this book is not better known. I found it deeper and more gripping than many of the more broadly recommended wartime memoirs, such as Viktor Frankl. And more honest about the toll of war on women.
5. Adam Thierer, Evasive Entrepreneurs and the Future of Governance: How Innovation Improves Economies and Governments. A very good libertarian, “permissionless innovation” look at tech.
I have browsed Judith Herrin’s Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe, and it seems to be the definitive book on the early history of that city (one of my favorite one-day visits in the whole world).
1. Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, quite a good book.
2. Louis Galambos with Jane Eliot Sewell, Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Mulford, 1895-1995. Imagine a book with both Vannevar Bush and Maurice Hilleman as leading and indeed intersecting characters. How is this for a sentence?: “Hilleman had spent his boyhood on a farm on which the German-American tradition was to “work like hell and live by the tenets of Martin Luther.””
3. John Duffy, The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health. A little boring, and not conceptual enough, but is anything on this topic entirely boring at the current moment in time? Nonetheless this is a very useful overview and survey of public health issues in American history, and so I do not hesitate to recommend it.
4. Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites. Remarkably fair-minded and substantive, here is my blurb: “”Who are the Never Trumpers, what do they want, and what are their stories? Robert P. Saldin and Steven Teles have produced the go-to work on a movement that will likely prove of enduring influence in American politics.” Here is a relevant Atlantic article by Saldin and Teles. Recommended.
5. Anne Enright, Actress: A Novel. A subtle Irish story of a woman telling the tale of her now-departed famous, charismatic mother and her career in the theater. Unpeels like an onion as you read it, and reveals successively deeper layers of the story, it would make my “favorite fiction of the year” list pretty much any year. But please note it has not have the “upfront attention-grabbing style” that many of us have been trained to enjoy.
1. Nicholas Hewitt, Wicked City: The Many Cultures of Marseille. Every city should have a good book about it, and now Marseille does. I would say you have to already know the city, however, to appreciate this one.
2. Peter Johnson, Quarantined: Life and Death at William Head Station, 1872-1959. British Columbia had a quarantine station that late, and this is its story. Leprosy, smallpox, and meningitis are a few of the drivers of the narrative. It continues to startle me how much pandemics and quarantines are a kind of lost history, though they are extremely prominent in 19th century fiction.
3. Steven Levy, Facebook: The Inside Story. Probably the best history of the company were are going to get, at least for the earlier years of the company. Even the jabs at the company seem perfunctory, for the most part this is quite objective as a treatment.
4. Katie Roiphe, The Power Notebooks. Power, sex, dating, and romance, but surprisingly substantive. Much of it is written in paragraph-long segments, and willing to be politically incorrect. “Rebecca West: “Since men don’t love us nearly as much as we love them that leaves them a lot more spare vitality to be wonderful with.”
5. Sean Masaki Flynn, The Cure That Works: How to have the World’s Best Healthcare — at a Quarter of the Price. A look at how to translate ideas from Singapore’s health care system into the United States. It overreaches, but still a useful overview and analysis.
6. Paul R. Josephson, New Atlantis Revisited: Akademgorodok, The Siberian City of Science. Imagine the Soviets trying to build a “city of science,” and meeting problem after problem. Yet “Marchuk acknowledged that in a number of fields researchers had contributed to…the speeding up of scientific technological progress. The physicists built synchroton radiation sources with broad applications; the biologists tacked plant and animal husbandry with vigor; the mathematicians, computer specialists, and economists were engaged in modeling and management systems.”
1. David Nutt, Drink? The New Science of Alcohol + Your Health.
A very good introduction to the growing body of evidence about the harms of alcohol, in all walks of life.
2. Samuel Zipp, The Idealist: Wendell Willkie’s Wartime Quest to Build One World.
Who cares about Wendell Willkie? I received this review copy determined not to read it, but of course I could not help but crack open the cover and sample a few pages, and then I was hooked. The first thirty pages alone had excellent discussions of early aviation (Willkie was an aviation pioneer of sorts with a cross-world flight), Midwestern family and achievement culture of the time, and the rise of the United States.
3. I was happy to write a blurb for Michael R. Strain’s The American Dream is Not Dead (But Populism Could Kill It).
4. Simon W. Bowmaker, When the President Calls: Conversations with Economic Policymakers.
The interviewed subjects include Feldstein, Boskin, Rubin, Summers, Stiglitz, Rivlin, Yellen, John Taylor, Lazear, Harvey Rosen, Goolsbee, Orszag, Brainard, Alan Krueger, Furman, Hassett, and others.
4. Cheryl Misak, Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers.
Thorough and useful, though not exciting to read.
5. Gabriel Said Reynolds, Allah, God in the Qur’an.
A very good treatment of what it promises, with an emphasis on the concept of mercy in Islam.
6. Sophy Roberts, The Lost Pianos of Siberia.
A wonderful book if you care about the lost pianos of Siberia and indeed I do: “Roberts reminds us in this fresh book that there are still some mysterious parts of our world.” (link here) Also of note is Varlam Shalamov, Sketches of the Criminal World: Further Kolyma Stories, the first third being remarkably moving and incisive as well.
There is also Sidney Powell and Harvey A. Silverman, Conviction Machine: Standing Up to Federal Prosecutorial Abuse is a frank and brutal documentation of why you should never trust a prosecutor or speak to the FBI.
Also new and notable is Lily Collison, Spastic Diplegia–Bilateral Cerebral Palsy: Understanding the Motor Problems, Their Impact on Walking, and Management Throughout Life: a Practical Guide for Families.