More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘Nonfiction’

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 ›

The true story of a lost city in Central America

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story, by Douglas Preston @@@@ (4 out of 5) In 2015, an expedition led by an American filmmaker ventured deep into the Honduran rain forest in search of a fabled ancient city known variously as The White City and The Lost City of the Monkey God…. Read More ›

65 good new books I’ve read in 2016

I suppose sixty-five seems like a lot of books to most people, but it’s far from all the books I’ve read in 2016. Listed here are only those that I rated @@@@ or @@@@@ (4 or 5 out of 5). Keep in mind that I’m very selective in choosing books (emphasis on very), and I… Read More ›

The unlikely story of life on Earth

A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves, by Walter Alvarez @@@@ (4 out of 5) UC Berkeley professor Walter Alvarez tackles the emerging field of Big History from his perspective as a geologist, viewing himself as “a historian of the Earth.” In A Most Improbable Journey, he writes about the… Read More ›

17 books that illuminate the World War II era

If you’ve been reading my reviews for very long, you’re aware that the World War II era holds special fascination for me. This might have something to do with the fact that I was born then — in fact, about six months before the USA entered the war. Or maybe it’s just because it all… Read More ›

The penny press, Amos ‘n Andy, and pop-up ads

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, by Tim Wu @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If you’ve been paying attention, you can’t have missed the changes in the character of advertising over the course of your life. Certainly, I have. Chances are, you were born in the age of radio, at… Read More ›

A thriller about Vatican politics

Conclave: A Novel, by Robert Harris @@@@ (4 out of 5) Over the course of my life six new Popes have been installed by the Catholic Church. Robert Harris’ new thriller, Conclave, is about the next election. Set a few years in the future, when a man closely resembling Pope Francis has either retired or… Read More ›

The political scandal that roiled the British Establishment

A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies, and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment, by John Preston @@@ (3 out of 5) Look around carefully. Find three despicable human beings. Start with a confused and weak-willed young man, a male model with no other marketable skills who is helpless in the face of… Read More ›

Software success, philanthropy, and bipolar disorder

A review of A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover from Great Success, by Tracy Kidder @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Most business biographies are about heroes. Though their stories may be leavened by references to the negative side of their character, the overall effect is overwhelmingly positive. Not so with Tracy… Read More ›

A balanced new biography of Bobby Kennedy

A review of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, by Larry Tye @@@@@ (5 out of 5) During his years in the public eye in the 1950s and 60s, Bobby Kennedy was as controversial a figure as anyone else in American history. Millions despised him because he worked for Senator Joseph McCarthy. Millions… Read More ›