Category Archives: Books

Architecture & Design Books: “Lo-TEK Design By Radical Indigenism” By Julia Watson (Taschen)

julia_watson_lo_tek_design_by_radical_indigenism_va_gb_3d_04698_1910101554_id_1260524.png-380x526Lo—TEK, derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge, is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs, countering the idea that indigenous innovation is primitive and exists isolated from technology. It is sophisticated and designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems.

Three hundred years ago, intellectuals of the European Enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology. Influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism, and racism, this mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovation, deeming it primitive. Today, we have slowly come to realize that the legacy of this mythology is haunting us.

With a foreword by anthropologist Wade Davis and four chapters spanning Mountains, Forests, Deserts, and Wetlands, this book explores thousands of years of human wisdom and ingenuity from 20 countries including Peru, the Philippines, Tanzania, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, India, and Indonesia. We rediscover an ancient mythology in a contemporary context, radicalizing the spirit of human nature.

To read more or purchase: https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/architecture/all/04698/facts.julia_watson_lotek_design_by_radical_indigenism.htm

Cultural History Books: “Wicked City – The Many Cutures Of Marseille”

From a Literary Review online review:

Wicked City The Many Cutures of Marseille Nicholas Hewitt 2019The Toulousain Charles Dantzig wrote, ‘I find the Marseillais tiresome, especially those who, as soon as you speak to them, start to bang on about the uniqueness of being Marseillais, adding with a particular sort of whining machismo that no one likes them and everyone defames them. Their humour is nothing more than pitiable braggadocio.’ Régis Jauffret, who grew up there, is pithier: ‘Marseille is a tragic city. It formed my imagination.’ (It’s an imagination of peerless bleakness.)

Literary Review December 2019Nicholas Hewitt died in March, less than a month after completing the text of Wicked City. It’s a fine monument to his curiosity, compendious knowledge, resourcefulness and measured enthusiasm. He calls it ‘a series of snapshots’, which is perhaps too modest. If they are snapshots, they have been photoshopped and retouched to accord with his vision of the city and its well-rehearsed mythology of outsiderdom and exceptionalism, edginess and banditry. And his aspiration to explore Marseille’s hold on the ‘nation’s imagination’ is also too modest. The ‘international imagination’ would be more apt.

To read more: https://literaryreview.co.uk/babylon-on-sea

New History Books: “American Disruptor – The Scandalous Life Of Leland Stanford” (De Wolk)

It is also the saga of how Stanford, once a serial failure, overcame all obstacles to become one of America’s most powerful and wealthiest men, using his high elective office to enrich himself before losing the one thing that mattered most to him – his only child and son. Scandal and intrigue would follow Stanford through his life, and even after his death, when his widow was murdered in a Honolulu hotel – a crime quickly covered up by the almost stillborn university she had saved.  Richly detailed and deeply researched, American Disruptor restores Leland Stanford’s rightful place as a revolutionary force and architect of modern America.

American Disruptor is the untold story of Leland Stanford – from his birth in a backwoods bar to the founding of the world-class university that became and remains the nucleus of Silicon Valley. The life of this robber baron, politician, and historic influencer is the astonishing tale of how one supremely ambitious man became this country’s original “disruptor” – reshaping industry and engineering one of the greatest raids on the public treasury for America’s transcontinental railroad, all while living more opulently than maharajas, kings, and emperors.

Literary & Cultural Books: “The Peanuts Papers” Looks At Life Of Charles M. Schulz And His Cartoon Characters

The Peanuts Papers Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown Snoopy & the Gang and the Meaning of LifeOver the span of fifty years, Charles M. Schulz created a comic strip that is one of the indisputable glories of American popular culture—hilarious, poignant, inimitable. Some twenty years after the last strip appeared, the characters Schulz brought to life in Peanuts continue to resonate with millions of fans, their beguiling four-panel adventures and television escapades offering lessons about happiness, friendship, disappointment, childhood, and life itself.

In The Peanuts Papers, thirty-three writers and artists reflect on the deeper truths of Schulz’s deceptively simple comic, its impact on their lives and art and on the broader culture. These enchanting, affecting, and often quite personal essays show just how much Peanuts means to its many admirers—and the ways it invites us to ponder, in the words of Sarah Boxer, “how to survive and still be a decent human being” in an often bewildering world. Featuring essays, memoirs, poems, and two original comic strips, here is the ultimate reader’s companion for every Peanuts fan.

Website: https://www.loa.org/news-and-views/1586-silliness-small-stakes-and-a-compelling-other-world-jonathan-franzen-pays-homage-to-_peanuts_

 

New Tech Books: “The Future Is Faster Than You Think”, Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler (Jan 2020)

The Future Is Faster Than You Think Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler 2020Technology is accelerating far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. During the next decade, we will experience more upheaval and create more wealth than we have in the past hundred years. In this gripping and insightful roadmap to our near future, Diamandis and Kotler investigate how wave after wave of exponentially accelerating technologies will impact both our daily lives and society as a whole. What happens as AI, robotics, virtual reality, digital biology, and sensors crash into 3D printing, blockchain, and global gigabit networks? How will these convergences transform today’s legacy industries? What will happen to the way we raise our kids, govern our nations, and care for our planet?

Peter Diamandis The Future Is Faster Than You ThinkRecently named by Fortune as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” Peter H. Diamandis is the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions.  He is also the executive founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies.

As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education. He is co-founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies, and co-founder and Vice
Chairman of Celularity, Inc., a cellular therapeutics company.

Website: https://www.diamandis.com/

Books On Aging: “Old Man Country – My Search For Meaning Among The Elders” (Thomas R. Cole)

From a NextAvenue.org online review:

Old Man Country Thomas R. Cole 2019Am I Still a Man?

Masculinity is not a natural collection of individual traits but, rather, a cultural story, a plot or a script by which men are judged and judge themselves. One problem is that this script for masculinity stops at midlife. For most old men in American society, there are no landmarks of achievement or value; no lighthouse guiding one’s moral compass; no employment office with the sign “old men wanted.” There is only the province of retirement — a barren place often marked by an absence of wealth, prestige and personal meaning.

Do I Still Matter?

At least since the institutionalization of retirement in the mid-20th century, old men have often felt marginalized, useless or invisible. Retirement is a primary source of depression for those whose identities and self-esteem have depended on being productive, earning a living and being engaged with others in the workplace. Employment and volunteer work are often less possible for men who have reached their 80s.

What Is the Meaning of My Life?

Because our society provides old people with no widely shared meanings or norms by which to live, the task of finding significance in later life falls to individuals in their relationships with family and community.

Meaning is partly a matter of love and of relevance. If I love and am loved, my life has significance. Meaning is also a moral question: Have I lived a good life by my own lights? Did I, and do I, measure up to my own expectations and to the standards of my family, religion, community and nation?

Am I Still Loved?

Love, of course, means many things. There is love of God. There is love that comes from God or a Divine Being or Beings — love that carries existential meaning. It is the kind of love Ram Dass received from his guru Neem Karoli Baba, who inspired him to live a life of loving service on the path toward merging with Brahman, the ultimate reality in Hinduism.

To read more: https://www.nextavenue.org/questions-older-men-ask-themselves/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1eb08d4dfa-12.10.2019_Tuesday_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-1eb08d4dfa-166479103&mc_cid=1eb08d4dfa&mc_eid=6cab05fae0

New Biographies: “The Shadow Of Vesuvius -A Life Of Pliny” By Daisy Dunn

The Shadow of Vesuvius A Life of Pliny by Daisy Dunn Dec 2019When Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge, his thirty-seven-volume Natural History, and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father. Grieving his loss, Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder’s notebooks—filled with pearls of wisdom—and his legacy. At its heart, The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man, who would grow up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan. A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books, it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son. Interweaving the younger Pliny’s Letters with extracts from the Elder’s Natural History, Daisy Dunn paints a vivid, compellingly readable portrait of two of antiquity’s greatest minds.