New non-fiction books this month dealing with change on global and personal levels, including revolution and a self-deprecating tale of middle-age.
How to change the world / John-Paul Flintoff.
“What difference can you make in the world? We all want to live in a better world, but sometimes it feels that we lack the ability or influence to make a difference. John-Paul Flintoff offers a powerful reminder that through the generations, society has been transformed by the actions of individuals who understood that if they didn’t like something, they could change it. Combining fresh new insights from history, politics and modern culture, this book will give you a sense of what might just be possible, as well as the inspiration and the courage you need to go about improving and changing the world we live in.” (Syndetics summary)
Digital revolutions : activism in the Internet age / Symon Hill.
“From Occupy to Uncut, from the Arab Spring to the Slutwalk movement, few questions about recent activism raise as much controversy as the role of the internet. This book suggests that the internet is a tool, not a cause, of social change. It has profoundly affected the way people communicate, making it easier to find the truth, to learn from activists on the other side of the world, to co-ordinate campaigns without hierarchy and to expose governments and corporations to public ridicule. But it has also helped those same governments and corporations to spy on activists, to disrupt campaigns and to create illusions of popular support. (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The courage quotient : how science can make you braver / Robert Biswas-Diener.
“Scientific studies confirm what most of us have suspected all along: that those who are bold enough to go after what they want enjoy greater success and happiness. Biswas-Diener begins with the premise that courage is more about managing fear than not feeling it. As he shows, all of us display some from of bravery in out daily lives (in fact, studies reveal that women exhibit courage in higher numbers than men). He then goes on to describe the different types of people who demonstrate bravery, from general and individual courage to civil courage.” (Book jacket)
The precariat : the new dangerous class / Guy Standing.
“The “precariat” is a “class-in-the-making,” lacking labor-related security and resulting from the neoliberal insistence on labor market flexibility, according to Standing (economic security, U. of Bath, UK), who argues that it is a dangerous class that is prone to listen to and mobilize behind ugly political voices of populism and neo-fascism. He describes the causes and characteristics of the precariat, the particular place of migrants within the precariat, and political responses to the anomie and anxiety within the precariat (including the scapegoating of immigrants). He also proposes “mildly utopian” political measures for addressing the emergence of the precariat that are guided by an ethos of social solidarity and universalism. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The burning question : we can’t burn half the world’s oil, coal and gas, so how do we quit? / Mike Berners-Lee & Duncan Clark.
“The Burning Question reveals climate change to be the most fascinating scientific, political and social puzzle in history…. The simple truth is that tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars – at least until we have the means to put carbon back in the ground.” (Book jacket)
Slavery inc : the untold story of international sex trafficking / Lydia Cacho ; foreword by Roberto Saviano ; [English translation, Elizabeth Boburg].
“Illegal, inhumane, and impervious to recession, there is one trade that continues to thrive, just out of sight. The international sex trade spans the entire globe, a sinister network made up of criminal masterminds, local handlers, corrupt policemen, wilfully blind politicians, eager comsumers, and countless hapless women and children… (Book jacket)
Radical / Maajid Nawaz with Tom Bromley.
“Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. He was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. Arriving in Egypt the day before 9/11 his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture, before being thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt’s president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation and on his release after four years, he publically renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. Five years after his release, Maajid now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, The Quilliam Foundation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dirty money : the economics of sex and love / by Marina Adshade.
“In this witty and revalatory investigation of the so-called dismal science, University of Columbia professor Marina Adshade skips the usual widgets and uncovers how the market comes to bear on our most intimate decisions: sex, dating, courtship, love, marriage, and even breaking up.” (Book jacket)
Africa’s future : darkness to destiny : how the past is shaping Africa’s economic evolution / Duncan Clarke.
“Africa’s Future tells the tale of Africa’s economic evolution, revealing unique prisms for understanding the continent’s panoramic story, one of triumph over the lasting influences of nature and multiple political tragedies. Modern Africa developed diverse economic pathways to betterment – yet survivalist economies litter the landscape. Its paradox of “subsistence with many faces” coexists amidst the tiny middle class, growing rich, and many more poor expected in the future. Clarke provides seasoned views on a continent of unlocked potential which has witnessed many false dawns. Not “poor” but poorly managed, Africa holds greater promise, its destiny revealed by its history.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The body economic : why austerity kills / David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu.
“The global financial crisis has had a seismic impact upon the wealth of nations. But we have little sense of how it affects one of the most fundamental issues of all: our physical and mental health. This highly significant new book, based on the authors own groundbreaking research, looks at the daily lives of people affected by financial crisis, from the Great Depression of the 1930s, to post-communist Russia, to the US foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s. The conclusions it draws are both surprising and compelling: remarkably, when faced with similar crises, the health of some societies – like Iceland – improves, while that of others, such as Greece, deteriorates. Even amid the worst economic disasters, negative public health effects are not inevitable: it’s how communities respond to challenges of debt and market turmoil that counts. The Body Economic puts forward a radical proposition. Austerity, it argues, is seriously bad for your health.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Love bombing : reset your child’s emotional thermostat / Oliver James.
“Love Bombing is a radical new method for resetting the emotional thermostats of troubled children and their parents, setting them on a much happier trajectory. It is simple to do, easily explained and works for both severe and mild problems from aged three to early teenage.” (Syndetics summary)
Musings from middle age / Kerre Woodham.
“A laugh-out-loud account of one woman’s journey to the brink of middle age as she discovers her new place in the grand scheme of things. Is there an invisible line we cross at a certain age when we become ‘un-chat-up-able’ and become someone’s mum? When do barmen and supermarket check-out operators start calling us ‘madam’ and why do some women have the unnatural urge to cut their own hair with nail scissors or run away to Buddhist retreats when they hit 40? In this hilarious collection of stories from the brink of middle age, Kerre shares her insights into what makes us tick as women ‘of a certain age’. Topics explored include coping with the empty nest, shoes and other indulgences, when is it futile to dress to impress, is there such a thing as a female mid-life crisis, and many more. Told in Kerre’s frank and self-deprecating style, this is a hilarious account of living life to the fullest, no matter what your age” (adapted from publisher’s information)