Friday, December 31, 2010

SAR #10365

Nightstand 2010.

Most of these were Breakfast Books – things I read over the first two cups of coffee while avoiding the internet. The balance were travel companions & things I read instead of sleeping.  This is not all of them, just the one’s I felt comfortable admitting I’d read all the way through, underlining as I went.

Animal Spirits, Akeroff & Shiller.   A plea for economists to let actual humans into their silly pseudo-scientific equations.  Somebody should send Soros a copy.

Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats. Gwynne Dyer. If you just read the scenarios up to 2035 or so - which are mostly probable -  you should have trouble sleeping.

Dismantling the Empire, Chalmers Johnson. We need someone new to step up and replace the now departed Johnson, someone to relentlessly chip away at The Empire with truth and vision. And anger.

Econned, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism.  If you need a grounding in the alphabet soup of disastrous ideas that collapsed the empire, here's the thing.

Europe Between The Oceans, Barry Cunliffe.  How migration and trade developed and influenced civilization on the European peninsula, 9000 BC to 1000 AD.

Griftopia, Matt Taibbi.  The development of finance in the US as a criminal enterprise, from the local realtor's office to Wall Street and Washington.

Impending World Energy Mess (The), Hirsch, Bezdek, & Wendling.  The first half you should already know:  How we got here.  Read the second half, which tries to work out where we go from here.

Monsoon, Robert D. Kaplan.  Everything you didn't know about one-third of the world, then, now, and in the future.

Monster (The): How a How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America–and Spawned a Global Crisis. Michael W. Hudson. 

Points for a Compass Rose, Evan S. Connell, Jr.  When you get so angry you could...  go read Connell's indictment of humanity and politicians. I re-read it every 2 or 3 years.

This Time Is Different, Reinhart & Rogoff.   No, it isn't.  It never is.  A little math and chart heavy, but they are economists, after all. 

Washington Rules - America’s Path to Permanent War, Bacevich. If you haven't read Bacevich, read this one, then go back and get the others. 

Winner Take All, Hacker and Pierson.  It's not just income equality, it's what those in the top 1% are doing to our democracy that is frightening.

World in 2050 (The): Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future, Laurence C. Smith.  Assume 9 billion people, global warming of 2 to 4ºC, a sea level rise of 3 feet, and a world stripped of its resources by globalization.  The  future of our Planet of Slums.


Drewbert said...

No links today?

Eric Hacker said...


I count 15 links. Albeit they are pre-HTML links, they are links just the same. They look to be pretty good ones, though as a mortgage burdened wage slave I haven't the time to read them.

Rick said...

Thanks for the recommendations, as someone who has to still work I have to pick carefully how my time is spent.

Is economics the only area of interest?

Sometimes I enjoy getting to the basics: The Trouble With Testosterone by the ever enjoyable Robert Sapolsky gets to some of the roots of why we act like we do.

Into the Silent Land by Paul Broks is a much more challenging look at who exactly we are, taking Sacks and Ramachandran to a deeper and more personal place.

Happy New Year to all!

CKMichaelson said...

Quite right - I left no direct links because I don't have any relationship with any particular bookseller - or e-bookseller. And, of course, I thought my listing them was all the review necessary....


CKMichaelson said...

Rick - Only about half are economics. A couple are political geography. One is a book-length meditation in poetry (or at least in stanzas). Some are climate change - which is,in the end economics, true. And two are criticisms of The Empire, which exists for economic domination,but is political and geographic... So, no, economics is not the only area of interest.

The first post of next year will talk directly about the areas of interest most dear to the staff of SAR.


Anonymous said...

thats a daunting reading list CK. though it could use a little échapper à la réalité for us commoners.

im not french, but i am feeling a bit like one of Antoinette's cake-eaters lately

CKMichaelson said...

Ah, alas, no. I cannot pretend to review them adequately in the little time and space I've set aside. I rather hoped that my recommendation would be sufficient endorsement at least to get my loyal readers to pick them up at the bookstore, buy a cup of coffee and browse through them. At the very least look for the Kirkus reviews on Amazon.

Of their various natures they seemed to be the cream - I probably read at least two or three of the same genre for each one mentioned. If you read but one, read the Connell - it is a liberal education in itself. Then Europe Between the Oceans, followed by Monsoon.


Anonymous said...

Excellent list CK. I found 4 of interest that I will be checking out of the library after the holiday. Thanks also for a great year of are among my favorite canaries in our coal mine.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

A book I've read recently - read twice, in fact - that will interest only those whom it interests is Self Observation: The awakening of conscience - an owner's manual - by Red Hawk.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

Now should I read those books, or give up the internet?

I can't do both dab nabit.

Rick said...

Hmm, Connell is the poetry book. My large urban county library doesn't have a copy.

Well, I'm hooked, ordered a used copy...

CKMichaelson said...

Rick - Connell's earlier Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel is a nice companion piece, harder to find and perhaps a bit harder to parse, but well worth the effort. North Point Press reprinted much of ESC's work in the early 80's.