Even more enlightening than Machiavelli’s The Prince, this book describes power takeovers and social organizations in a chimpanzee colony and argues that power politics is part of the evolutionary heritage that we share with our closest nonhuman relatives. I’ll never look at academic or corporate politics the same way, and I understand their machinations much better for having read this book. Chimps, unlike humans, do not cloak their political pretenses in rhetoric, so we can see more clearly the process at work and thereby learn much about ourselves.
A sequel to his amazing novel Blindness. Saramago is not easy to read. He punctuates mostly with commas, doesn’t paragraph often, doesn’t set off conversation in quotes; mannerisms I wouldn’t endure in a lesser writer; but Saramago is worth it. More than worth it. Transcendently worth it. Blindness scared me to death when I started it, but it rises wonderfully out of darkness into the light. Seeing goes the other way and is a very frightening book.
The most overlooked book I’ve read. Critics try to marginalize him, but a lot of people are thinking what he has the courage to say. If you want to understand why income inequality is worsening and why boom/bust cycles are getting more and more severe, read his book.
One book I read although I totally disagreed with it is Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” He’s off the deep end, but it’s a worthwhile read because it’s at the pulse of people’s thinking on inequality.
Adds to our empirical understanding, challenges our prevailing assumptions and, in their rightness and in their wrongness, has initiated important debates. Got me to move beyond the traditional thinking about labor earnings inequality to better appreciate the role of capital income, including inherited wealth, in the large increase in inequality in recent decades. Not the last word, especially on policy prescriptions, but will help get us closer to the understanding and ideas that we need.
At a time when the world has little or no order, Henry Kissinger’s “World Order” is indispensable reading. Informed by a long view of centuries of history, the author demonstrates why our diplomacy must be rooted in a genuine engagement between cultures, rigorous pragmatism and, yes, realpolitik. Henry makes clear the dangers of ambivalence in the face of the apparent landscape of disorder before us, and reminds us of the only path forward: If we are to defend our principles, we must set out to prove them.
A profound meditation on the global system we need but may not have.
Kissinger’s valuable reflections on geopolitics and the balance of power after a lifetime of research and experience.