Tuesday , November 24 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings (page 5)

Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Kurt Vonnegut and The Idle Rich

Final in a #ReadWithMe Series Read the first two parts here and here. The second half of the book takes us to the Rhode Island Rosewaters, who were swindled out of their fortune by a cunning ancestor of their Indiana cousins.  Although Fred Rosewater is an Ivy League graduate, he doesn’t get to slurp from the Money River; his disappointed wife “married Fred because she thought everybody who lived in Pisquontuit and had been to Princeton was rich” (155).  She...

Read More »

The Marvel of Trains

Third in a #ReadWithMe series.* “For all of human history until the 1820s, nobody went faster than the speed of a galloping horse”. I cannot think of another consideration equally telling, of the tremendous progress we made in a rather short time. The main engine, pardon the pun, of such progress was the locomotive. “The man who did most to make the breakthrough in speed” as a craftsman of humble origin, George Stephenson: “The year is 1810 and a new coal mine has...

Read More »

Bad Blood

Innovation requires big dreams. Changing the world isn’t for the faint of heart, the unadventurous, or those who aren’t willing to take chances. But those big dreams have to be backed up by hard work, integrity, and endless research and analysis. John Carreyrou’s book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup looks at a startup founder and company who may have had the first, but who certainly lacked all the rest. I still remember the first time I...

Read More »

Serendipity and Innovation

Second in a #ReadWithMe series. Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works is a treasure trove of examples which suggest that innovation is often serendipitous. Indeed, sometimes “use precedes understanding”. Writes Ridley that “throughout history, technologies and inventions have been deployed successfully without scientific understanding of why they work”. Later science catches up. This is something to keep in mind, when confronted with the so called “linear model”, by...

Read More »

Rosewater’s River of Wealth

Second in a #ReadWithMe Series The Rosewater Foundation’s inflation-adjusted $87 million endowment represents roughly $700 million, not billion, in today’s dollars.  Nothing to sneeze at, but I apologize for the error in my first entry.  I must have had federal stimulus bills on my mind… I have now read the second quarter of Rosewater.  Eliot Rosewater has walked away from high culture, a beautiful French wife, and charitable support of the arts – returning...

Read More »

Why Matt Ridley Writes on Innovation

First in a #ReadWithMe Series Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works is a remarkable book. It is the third book in a row that Ridley, better known as a scientific journalist and, indeed, one of those rare people who makes highly complex scientific arguments understandable to the average educated reader, devoted to the _economic_ and _social_ realm. The first was The Rational Optimist, followed by The Evolution of Everything. The book is masterful in two different...

Read More »

Cities and economies: They’re made of people!

If you live in a city then there’s a good chance that on the first weekend of May every year you can find people who hold free walking tours highlighting local insights, history, or hidden nuggets in the neighbourhood you’re walking. The people leading these tours do so in honour of the work and life of Jane Jacobs.  In lieu of a Jane’s Walk this year, I led a virtual reading group (VRG) for Econlib through a discussion of selections from Jane Jacobs’ masterpiece,...

Read More »

Reflections on Science and Society

At Grove City College in the 1980s we had required courses which were dubbed “Key Courses” – you had to take survey courses in Religion and Philosophy, Social Science and History, Science, and the Creative Arts.  My Religion and Philosophy course was a year long, and the professor, Professor Reed Davis (now at Seattle Pacific University) — taught us Plato, as well as the Old and New Testament, and Augustine’s City of God and Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion. ...

Read More »

Why is a Baker Like a Beggar?

Review of First Cow (2020), Dir. Kelly Reichardt, starring John Magaro and Orion Lee First Cow is a quiet movie. Set mostly in the woods and a small trading post in the Oregon territory, and focusing almost exclusively on two characters, it is also a small movie. There’s no epic sweep here, of story or of scenery. But the tiny details of First Cow come together to tell a story about entrepreneurship and ambition that Econlog readers will be thinking about for a...

Read More »

Comments on Siegel’s Fewer, Richer, Greener

Last week, I was part of the Cato Institute’s book forum on Laurence Siegel’s Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance.  Here’s my commentary on the book. 1. Vast areas of agreement: a. Until March, the world was getting richer at a marvelous pace. Absolute poverty has been disappearing before our eyes after ten thousand years of apparent permanence. b. Conventional measures sharply understated the glorious reality, because the environment...

Read More »