2021 a Year in Books

What I read in 2021, the comprehensive list. How to read this list: *  = Recommend** = Really recommendNC = No comment (or, really, do not bother)RR = Re-readF = FictionNF = Non-fictionP = Plays No, I won't be posting purchase links, I suggest you purchase a copy of whatever sounds interesting from your favourite local second … Continue reading 2021 a Year in Books

The Future Starts Now

Yes, this is technically my own book - but I only wrote one of the 20 essays, so I am really more of a reader than a writer here too. Agency is a tricky thing. The less we use it, the more we lose it. The more we give up and outsource our responsibilities, the … Continue reading The Future Starts Now

Cultural Amnesia

"But in Rome, the consuls, the Senate, the knights, rushed headlong into servitude" ~ Tacitus What an utterly extraordinary book. There are not many people who made me feel badly read - Clive James is one of them. Clive James's Cultural Amnesia is an incredible, rich, well researched provocative book. It is a collection of … Continue reading Cultural Amnesia

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity is such an important book. For a start it's unashamedly optimistic (which is heretical these days). Indeed, it defends optimism as not only being rational (after all, if we project the likelihood of tomorrows's problems with today;'s technology and understanding, we are bound to err on the side of … Continue reading The Beginning of Infinity

On the Foolishness of the Wise

“Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully. "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever." "And he has Brain." "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain." There was a long silence. "I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything.” ~ Benjamin Hoff The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is a wonderful, whimsical, entertaining little book on the principles of enlightenment - with plenty of … Continue reading On the Foolishness of the Wise

The prince

The Prince

"The effective leader understands that politics is as much about image as it is substance and acts accordingly." With all the Machiavellian power-grabbing going on by governments around the world at the moment in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it seems like as good a time as ever to review the old bible of … Continue reading The Prince

money history and future

Money (the unauthorised biography)

"Everyone except an economist knows what 'money' means, and even an economist can describe it in at the course of a chapter or so..." ~ A.H. Quiggin Best chased (in my opinion) with a little eurodollar crash course (like this) Money, The Unauthorised Biography is one of the better efforts in the genre of "attempting … Continue reading Money (the unauthorised biography)

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

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

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