The True Believer

The true believer

Eric Hoffer was an American dock worker. An everyman. Not a rich man, not a man you would have noticed in the streets in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the nameless, voiceless masses we live and work with every day. But he was more than that. He was also a keen observer of human … Continue reading The true believer

reflections of a revolution in france

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Reflections on the Revolution in France... a  book written by a rich Englishman of leisure, critiquing the working-class French Revolution from the other side of the pond... Revealing, (although perhaps more revealing of Burke himself than the author may have intended) as much for what it gets wrong about the French revolution itself (Burke was … Continue reading Reflections on the Revolution in France

On mob mentality

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's collection of dystopian short-form fiction The Lottery (and other stories) is a stark reminder of the fragility, banality and horror of the un-scrutinised human condition. It's all too easy to slip into group-think that priorities the "greater good" over the individual life. And once we have accepted that, it is a slippery slope to treating people … Continue reading The Lottery

RUR bronwyn williams futurist

Rossum’s Universal Robots

"They have a phenomenal memory. If you were to read them a twenty-volume encyclopaedia they could repeat the contents in order, but they never think up anything original. They'd make fine university professors." ~ R.U.R   The defining text for robots, Rossum's Universal Robots is a facial science fiction play written in the 1920's as … Continue reading Rossum’s Universal Robots

sure you're joking Mr Feynman

Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman

"...I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility..." ~ Richard Feynman The inimitable and endlessly quotable Richard Feynman always makes for entertaining - and enlightening - reading. Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman is part physics lecture, part biography and complete delight. A Nobel prize, winner, atom-bomb contributor, and occasional amateur philosopher, Richard Feynman, … Continue reading Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman

the age of surveillance capitalism

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

"I reject inevitability, and it is my hope that as a result of our journey together, you will too. We are at the beginning of this story, not the end... There is still time to take the reins and direct the action towards a human future that we can call home." ~ Shoshana Zoboff   … Continue reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

foundation

Foundation

The Foundation trilogy by grandfather of futurism and former RAND corporation forefather, Isaac Asimov is a masterclass in playing the long game. If you want to understand foresight and strategy, you could do worse than to "waste" a weekend on this highly entertaining work of science fiction; almost like the Art of War, for nerds. … Continue reading Foundation

Facial Justice

Facial Justice by LP Hartley is not a good book. In fact, I would say it is a pretty terrible book. Bad plot, bad characters, badly written. Yet, I am still featuring it here because the book's big idea is brilliant. Facial Justice imagines a not too distant future where women are forced to have … Continue reading Facial Justice

Why Nations Fail

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, is a very big book that uses rather a lot of pages to outline a very basic idea: Bad Suff Happens to Countries Which Are a) Run Badly b) by Bad People. That's it. (Also, if you don't know much about global political and economic … Continue reading Why Nations Fail

Atomised

Michel Houellebecq is clearly a polymath. In Atomised (a science fiction novel very cleverly disguised as serious prize-winning literary fiction) he demonstrates his wide ranging knowledge and deep understanding of subjects ranging from philosophy to physics, and from biology to psychology, to brilliant effect. The book reveals the author's uniquely considered philosophy of history. He illustrates through his … Continue reading Atomised