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Tag Archive for ‘current-events’

27 great recent nonfiction books I’ve read in 2015

Biography. Science. History. Current affairs. Business. Medicine. Espionage. Innovation. The 27 books listed below represent a wide range of topics — because I’m a really curious guy. They have three things in common: they were all published within the last year or two, I read and reviewed them all in 2015, and every one of… Read More ›

What makes social change happen?

A review of The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Challenges, by Zaid Hassan @@@@ (4 out of 5) “Planning based-approaches — so common across government, civil society, and even business — represent a neo-Soviet paradigm” and have long been shown to be at best minimally effective in fostering meaningful… Read More ›

One soldier’s front-row seat on the war in Iraq: a memoir

Combat and Other Shenanigans: Tales of the Absurd From a Deployment to Iraq, by Piers Platt @@@@ (4 out of 5) Here’s a memoir of one soldier’s year of service in Iraq that masquerades as a light-weight tale, crammed with humor. Though the book is funny at times, hilarious even, and the author’s voice reflects… Read More ›

8 great books about Africa

The big English newspaper The Telegraph publishes lists of the “best” books in many categories. One is the “10 Best Novels About Africa.” (It’s a great list, featuring both celebrated authors such as V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Naguib Mahfouz, and J. M. Coetzee; familiar contemporary names such as Alexander McCall Smith and Barbara… Read More ›

Elizabeth Warren speaks truth to power

A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Finally — a leading Democrat who understands that elections are won or lost on the basis of personal values. The same person whose gifted leadership led to the creation of the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that’s beginning to level the playing field… Read More ›

Do vegetarians love animals more than people?

Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer @@@@ (4 out of 5) I am not now, nor have I ever been, a vegetarian. However, living as I do in Berkeley, California, from time to time I find myself in the minority at dinners and potlucks. So, as you might imagine, over the years I’ve come to hear… Read More ›

Innovation: Look beyond Silicon Valley

Today the popular website Virgin Disruptors, one of Richard Branson’s innumerable activities, posted the following article of mine under the title “Innovation — Look beyond Silicon Valley.” I had answered the challenging question, “Have entrepreneurs lost the will to innovate?” Innovation is alive and well among entrepreneurs—but not so much where you’d expect. Take Silicon Valley,… Read More ›

An optimistic view of economic change in Africa

The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa, by Dayo Olopade @@@@ (4 out of 5) It starts with the title itself—Dayo Olopade’s challenge to the prevailing sentiment that sub-Saharan Africa today is little different in its essence from the “dark continent” perceived by nineteenth century colonialists. In The Bright Continent, Olopade… Read More ›

The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing

By Steven Piersanti 1. The number of books being published every year has exploded. According to the latest Bowker Report (October 9, 2013), over 391,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2012, which is an amazing increase of 422 percent since 2007. The number of non-self-published books issued annually has also climbed over the… Read More ›

Nanotechnology and the future of our species

Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization, by K. Eric Drexler @@@@ (4 out of 5) Once upon a time a nutty scientist gave a talk called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” The scientist was the wacky and wonderfully entertaining Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, the guy who solved the mystery… Read More ›