Books

Books2017-12-02T22:53:48+00:00

I spend a lot of time with books. I have written a few of them. More importantly, I read a lot of them. Usually two non-fiction books a week.

A few years ago, a friend took a look at the list of books on my iPad/Kindle and asked why I didn’t share my thoughts about what I was reading. She was right in suggesting that I should. However, I didn’t have a way of doing so other than posting reviews on Amazon and, now, Goodreads.

With the launch of this website, I now have a way of writing short reviews of books in comparative politics and peacebuilding, especially those that are written from a systems or complexity approach and/or that focus on wicked problems. As with Amazon, I will only review books I really liked and recommend reading. Only giving five star reviews hurts my rating on Amazon, but that’s not an issue here. I will add titles as I read them and, when time permits, add others from my “backlist.”

As with everything else on this site, I’d welcome suggestion(s), especially if they come with reasons why your choice(s) should be at the top of my very large virtual stack of books to read.

To read these short summaries and reviews, just hover over the book’s image below and click.

2018-10-22T17:21:21+00:00

Does Your Rabbi Know Where You Are

Anthony Clavane's book has been on my radar screen for a long time. I finally got around to reading it now because I am helping an Oberlin student with her application to get a Watson Fellowship to study the link between soccer, peacebuilding, and social justice. Like me, Julie Schreiber is Jewish, so the joy of working with her also gave me the joy of reading this book. Like all good books about sports--at least for me--Does Your Rabbi Know Where You Are? has as much to say about British politics and society as it does about soccer (oops, I mean football).

2018-10-15T14:29:32+00:00

Dare to Lead

I'm a recent convert to the work of Brené Brown. After years of focusing on such things as shame and vulnerability, she has flipped the hierarchy and dealt with leadership in her most recent book with its intriguing title, Dare to Lead. What's unusual about the book is that she does not focus on traditional forms in which I exert leadership over you. Instead, she explores how I lead with you but also how I lead within myself. For all of those reasons, it is a book worth reading.

2018-10-08T15:56:30+00:00

Belonging

Because I include a chapter on Germany in my comparative politics textbook, I'm always looking for insightful books on the long-term legacy of the Nazi years. So, when I saw a review of Nora Krug's Belonging (simultaneously published as Heimat in German), I immediately bought it for two reasons. First, Krug (born 1977) is a generation removed from the Nazi experience. Still, she is obsessed about its impact, especially on her family. Second, Krug teaches illustration at Parsons School of Design, and the reviews said the images were as valuable as the prose. They were right.

2018-10-01T15:05:40+00:00

The End of College

I have been thinking a lot about higher eduction these days, because I'm increasingly unhappy about the state of things these days. Then, I spent a weekend at Oberlin planning my fiftieth reunion and came away quite excited about some of the interesting things they are doing. So, I decided to go back and reread Kevin Carey's book, The End of College, which had helped strengthen my grumpiness when I read it three years ago when it came out.