This book urges readers to beware, but not despair about the threats, dangers and complexities that accompany the rewards of the expanding opportunities of pervasive data.
Then the author proceeds to go though the history of reasons to despair and then some suggestions for how the dangers may be mitigated.
Although two authors are credited for the book, the entirety is in the voice of Smith, a lawyer by training and the president of Microsoft.
Many years ago in one of my university courses, the professor prefaced his presentation of an essay with, “I am a retailer of knowledge. This writer is a primary producer of knowledge.”
I am not certain, but I think it was an essay by the political economist Joseph Schumpter. By about the sixth read through, I had tamed the piece to a 'difficult read'. Before that it was mostly opaque, with ideas I hadn't encountered and words I hadn't seen used in that context.
'The Future is Asian' by Parag Khanna is a comprehensive book reflecting the size and complexity of Asia and how inclusive he is in portraying it. The Arctic, Israel, Japan and Australia/New Zealand are on the margins of Khanna's Asia.
I would put this book in the top half dozen of the best in the last 100 I have read. Without excusing 'bad behaviour in western eyes' the author tries, and succeeds to a large extent, to explain it, and the characters involved, in an illuminating way.
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-rich and Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland, 2012
With no background on this book, I had been expecting a Naomi Klein-type of visceral rant against wealth and the wealthy. And the latter part of the title “and fall of everyone else” does nothing to dispel this boding.
‘The Prehistory of the Mind:the Cognitive origins of Art Religion and Science’ by Steven Mithen deals with the evolution of the human mind from the common ancestor with the apes six million years ago to the most modern humans who appeared sometime between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago.
The author is a British archaeologist.