Archive | books RSS feed for this archive
empire-of-things

Book review: Empire of Things, by Frank Trentmann

I’ve read a lot of books on consumerism, some I would recommend and many I wouldn’t. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the subject until I read Empire of Things: How we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the 21st. Frank Trentmann rightly points out that the historical […]

4 Comments Continue Reading →
how-change-happens

Book review: How Change Happens, by Duncan Green

There are so many different people out to change the world – activists and campaigners, politicians, academics, business people, community groups. All of them have their own understanding of change, although the chances are that many will never have given it much thought. How Change Happens seems like a pretty important topic then, and Duncan […]

Leave a Comment Continue Reading →
reinventing-prosperity

Book review: Reinventing Prosperity

A few weeks ago I was at an event where Graeme Maxton and Jorgen Randers presented some of their thinking from their new book. They gave an overview of thirteen ideas to save the world, which included a number of things I’ve covered on the blog, but presented in a perspective I hadn’t heard before. […]

2 Comments Continue Reading →
books-of-2016

My books of 2016

2 Comments Continue Reading →
no_such_thing_as_a_free_gift

No such thing as a free gift, by Linsey McGoey

Over the years I’ve talked about philanthropy a fair bit on the blog, from billionaire donors at The Giving Pledge, to more everyday generosity through Giving What We Can. I’ve explored the Effective Altruist movement, and the opportunities we all have to make a difference. I believe that the best use of wealth is to […]

1 Comment Continue Reading →
sliceofearth

The planet’s four quadrants

Last week I reviewed Paul Collier’s book The Plundered Planet, and I mentioned that he often has useful shorthand ways of explaining things. One of them that appears in the book is the four quadrants. The world has just short of 200 nation states, but Collier suggests you can divide them into four rough quarters: […]

5 Comments Continue Reading →
plundered-planet

The Plundered Planet, by Paul Collier

A few years ago I read Paul Collier’s book The Bottom Billion, and when I saw that his follow-up was about sustainability, it went on that long, long list of things to read. A couple of weeks back I spotted The Plundered Planet on my brother’s book shelves. I borrowed it, and have now slightly […]

4 Comments Continue Reading →
the-wealth-of-humans

Review: The Wealth of Humans, by Ryan Avent

The world is on the cusp of a digital revolution, argues Ryan Avent, and it will be just as transformative as the industrial revolution. It will overturn long held traditions about work, income, and politics. Depending on how we respond, we could end up with a more equal, more fulfilling future, or we could resort […]

3 Comments Continue Reading →
deface-the-currency

Deface the Currency, by Samuel Alexander

Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek philosopher who lived a life of radical simplicity some 2,300 years ago. While other philosophers spent their time in discussion, Diogenes turned his life into a kind of subversive performance art. He would walk backwards, heckle other philosophers, and lived in a clay wine barrel with almost no possessions. […]

Leave a Comment Continue Reading →
the-happiness-industry

The Happiness Industry, by William Davies

You don’t have to explore too far into the topics of consumerism or postgrowth economics before you bump into happiness metrics. It’s a popular theme, pointing out that happiness levels have been more or less the same for decades, despite a doubling of income and rising consumption. That has led some people to call for […]

1 Comment Continue Reading →