What We’re Reading: Aug. 30, 2016

Below you will find a list of books Geopolitical Futures’ analysts are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons our analysts chose them. All the King’s Men By Robert Penn Warren Jacob Shapiro: I’ve been a little under the weather the last few days and that means an excellent opportunity to retreat into some fiction. This is my favorite novel, and my third time reading it. It is loosely based on Huey Long, and I have been thinking about this novel recently as a result of the current state of American politics. You can read all the history you want, but there is no better description of a populist politician’s rise to political power and the tenuous relationship that can exist between ideals and political realities than Warren’s prose in this novel. Then of course there is the protagonist Jack, who says “the end of man is knowledge” but “he can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him.” Even so, Jack says, we have to know. It’s a feeling I’m well acquainted with. The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 By Eric Hobsbawm Lili Bayer: I read a lot of European history, […]

What We’re Reading: Aug. 23, 2016

Below you will find a list of books Geopolitical Futures’ analysts are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons our analysts chose them. Below you will find a list of books Geopolitical Futures’ analysts are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons our analysts chose them. The Swarm: The Second Formic War By Orson Scott Card George Friedman: I read a lot of science fiction. The great era of science fiction was Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke and others. Card is a current writer who bridges the gap between what science fiction was and is. I read this because it really forces me to do what is hardest, take seriously the vastly improbable. It opens me to thinking about geopolitics. But pomposity aside, it’s a genre that is free, fun and highly disciplined. Most serious scholars of literature do not take science fiction seriously. I don’t take them seriously. Science fiction captures our fears and hopes better than any other novels. The personalities involved are not as complex and self-absorbed as those that conventional novelists write on, that’s true. But they are searching for complexity instead […]

What We’re Reading: Aug. 16, 2016

Below you will find a list of books Geopolitical Futures’ analysts are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons our analysts chose them. Eisenhower: The White House Years By Jim Newton George Friedman: Eisenhower is our most underappreciated president. He took time to relax and play golf, and his syntax was, sometimes deliberately, skewed. The press claimed he was out of touch with major issues because of this. Nothing could have been further from the truth. He ended the Korean War, created a nuclear doctrine that essentially made nuclear war impossible, called up the 82nd Airborne to enforce integration in Little Rock, used the U-2 to understand the Soviet Union’s nuclear capability, stopped the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt and so on. He also oversaw one of America’s most prosperous periods by doing as little as possible. If you go back to his treatment in the media, and look back on what he achieved, the gap is stunning. This is a great book for laying that out. The End of Alchemy By Mervyn King Lili Bayer: Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England, examines the role of money and central banks […]

What We’re Reading: Aug. 10, 2016

Below you will find a list of books Geopolitical Futures’ analysts are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons our analysts chose them. A Hero of France By Alan Furst George Friedman: Alan Furst is one of my favorite novelists. He writes about World War II and the time leading up to it in Europe. He captures the feeling of impending tragedy that my parents lived through. Reading Furst is like talking to my father. He writes about heroism and resistance and superbly describes a truth, which is that heroes do not decide to be heroic and do not realize they are doing heroic things. They do what they do to stay alive and to maintain a shred of humanity. In that time and place, this made many into heroes. Interestingly, this is the first time Furst uses the term “hero” in a title. I wait to see what that means in this book. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money By John Maynard Keynes Published in 1935, Keynes’ classical work forms the basis for how economists and policymakers approach economic policy today. When assessing the eurozone’s challenges and analyzing the […]