Steven Johnson is one of my favorite writers. Over the years, he has gotten me to rethink paradigm shifts (they happen in a more piecemeal fashion than I used to believe) and evolution (we can plan at some of our mental—if not our physical—evolution as a species). So, I read Farsighted the day it arrived on my Kindle.
The same political polarization that grips the nation has hit American college campuses, including most of the elite schools that produce a disproportionate share of our country's leaders. In this provocative new book, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explore some of its contours, causes, and consequences. It is provocative precisely because it goes way beyond university life to address broader issues involving everything from the way we raise our children to broader polarization that has only gotten more intense than it was when they finished the book. I do not agree with everything they say, but the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the fate of American higher education and society, both of which have been at the heart of my life since I was a student in the differently polarized 1960s and 1970s.
Like many progressives who came of age in the 1960s, I'm struggling to figure out why we haven't made more progress on race relations in my adult lifetime. Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility helps us do so by showing why whites have a hard time discussing race, seeing their role in perpetuating inequality, and how we could break ourselves out of that logjam.
I belong to the Next Big Idea Club. It was created by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink to promote the ideas of the next generation of thinkers whose insights might change the world. For a fee that is roughly the equivalent of the cover price, they send me eight books a year that they think will change lives AND send a copy to a teenager in an underserved community. So far, they haven’t disappointed. One of this fall’s two books is Zachary Wood’s Uncensored, which is must reading on two levels, the second of which I want to focus on here.
Hans Rosling’s Factfulness is a book all social scientists should read because it tools about how our failure to see the real data on development had led to political mistake after political mistake