Books Read

I’ve had a lot of time at work to chill out recently and a whole load to read before I go.

Neuromancer by William Gibson is billed as a sci-fi classic and you can see where the ideas for the Matrix came from. Its dense with scientific and ‘internet’ technology words, it becomes difficult to follow unless you’re that way inclined.

Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo is another economist book about aid and its failure to really help. As usual, the criticisms are easy and well-documented while the solutions are based on neo-liberal, free trade and a denial of the political realities.

The Lucifer Effect – Psychologist Zimbardo’s analysis of how people turn back due to poor structure within their lives. He uses Abu Ghraib as an example where he served as an expert witness. Structural issues everywhere…

Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang, another book from an economist but this time promoting the idea of the state and protectionist sovereignty to build an economy and bring populations out of poverty. Again his solutions are confronted by political restraints but his solutions are far more in tune with the history of development in Asia and political realities of state and economic sovereignty.

Things Fall Apart – I read Achebe’s African classic again to garner ideas on the psychological damage wrought by colonialism.

Human Rights – a non-legal account of human rights, a book most welcome. After all, human rights is about principles, politics is about reality.

1848 – a historical account of the 1848 revolutions in Europe which finally got rid of the French monarchy, set the process for Italian and German unification and undermined the Austro-Hungarian empire. The revolutions came about from social and economic pressures within society, along the lines implicit right now. I’m interested in the parallels and the possibilities for change.

Ham and Rye is Charles Bukowski’s roman a clef concerning his childhood of family violence, chasing girls, bullying, dealing with spots and getting drunk. Its a fluid and funny read.

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