More than 700 book reviews

Nonfiction rss

Noam Chomsky on the concentration of wealth and its consequences(0)

April 18, 2017

Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power, by Noam Chomsky @@@@@ (4 out of 5) For decades, economic scholars have commented on the dangers inherent in the growing concentration of wealth in Western society. Though misleadingly referred to as “income inequality” in the new media, this critically important… Read More ›

Surveying the future of technology in the mid-21st century

Megatech: Technology in 2050, edited by Daniel Franklin @@@@ (4 out of 5) The concluding chapter in The Economist‘s new book, Megatech: Technology in 2050, highlights “the central role of capitalism” in driving the demand for new technology. The preceding 19 chapters justify that reading, for the most part indirectly. That should be no surprise… Read More ›

Will robots run amok?

Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence and Where It’s Taking Us Next, by Luke Dormehl @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Driverless cars, for sure. But pilotless airplanes? Machines that will replace doctors and corporate managers? And robots that can out-think the most brilliant human? The popular term “robots“—first used in a Czech science fiction… Read More ›

American foreign policy in a “nonpolar” world

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, by Richard A. Haass @@@@ (4 out of 5) It would be difficult to identify anyone other than Henry Kissinger who represents the tradition of America’s bipartisan foreign policy more fully than Richard A. Haass. Haass is the longtime president of… Read More ›

Uber, Airbnb, and the sharing economy

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World, by Brad Stone @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Many Americans, not to mention millions of people in other countries around the world, may find it difficult to imagine a world without Uber or Airbnb. Yet Uber was… Read More ›

Hedge funds, insider trading, and the most wanted man on Wall Street

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, by Sheelah Kolhatkar @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If you want to understand the depth of corruption that prevails on Wall Street, a good place to start is New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar‘s admirable new… Read More ›

A revealing history of U.S.-China relations

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present, by John Pomfret @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Some Americans seem to have the impression that the U.S. relationship with China began in 1972 when Richard Nixon flew to Beijing. In The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, journalist and long-time… Read More ›

New perspectives on world history

Less than three decades ago an American historian  named David Christian who was teaching at an Australian university at the time launched a new approach to world history. His unique take on the subject took the discipline far beyond the limits of the written word. Calling it Big History, Christian started his new course at… Read More ›

The origins of the American empire

The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire, by Stephen Kinzer @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire, award-winning journalist and author Stephen Kinzer recalls the four-year period 1898-1902, when the United States made its debut… Read More ›

Why is economic development so uneven around the world?

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Two decades ago a UCLA geography professor named Jared Diamond published Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Diamond hypothesized that the arc of human history was dramatically shifted by geographic, environmental, biological, and other factors,… Read More ›