Treasure Islands

Nicholas Shaxson (2011)

I know I write this about a lot of books … but this too is a must-read. For anyone interested in the global flows of finance, not to mention questions around what processes & dynamics keep poor countries poor.

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The Death of Truth

Michiko Kakutani (2018)

There’s a lot of choice out there when it comes to books dealing with the ‘post-Truth’ era (which is to say, the present one). This particular one ranks right up there, along with Snyder, Holmes and Krastev.

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The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier

Ian Urbina (2019)

Great book. Everyone should read it!

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The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy

Stephen Holmes & Ivan Krastev (2020)

One the most rigorous and coherent cases for why & how the current anti-liberal backlash started and endures.  Quite repetitive but worth it.

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The Square and the Tower

Niall Ferguson (2017)

Something of a review of major networks in recent history, attempted through the lens of network theory.

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Identity

Francis Fukuyama (2019)

Velly velly intellestin.

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Falter

Bill McKibben (2019)

There exists a school of thought, out there, that takes the view that everything is basically going great on our 21st Century planet Earth. I’m thinking of the likes of Ray Kurzweill (The Age of Spiritual Machines; The Singularity is Near), Steven Pinker, Rutger Bregman, and a slew of economists of the mainstream bent. Their works are awash in reassuringly upward curving graphs covering everything from average global income through to the processing speeds of a square inch of microprocessor.  (David Hume: farmer shows up every sunrise with chicken food, but one day, he shows up with an axe.  Past performance is no guarantee for future performance).  To all this inductive hogwash Bill McKibben provides a badly needed reality check.  We should consider seriously the possibility that many of our short-term (geologically speaking) gains have been made at the cost of the future.

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The Emperor

Ryszard Kapuściński (1978)

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Down to Earth

Bruno Latour (2018)

I recommend reading this in conjunction with Mao’s essay, ‘On Contradiction’.

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One River

Wade Davis (1996)

Mesmerizing, but also shocking for its utter disregard of the responsibility ethnobotanists have for having ‘globalised’ indigenous cultures & plants.

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