World view

Peter Goodhew

My view of the world has been informed by observing life around me and reading the papers, but also by reading what I now realise to be a rather long list of books. During the professionally most active part of my career - to about age 67 - I largely read fiction for relaxation or technical stuff to keep up. Since then I have continued to read fiction (40-50 novels a year, especially for the Waverton Good Read) but have also devoured quite a number of polemical or opinionated volumes - most of them published in the last five years. I thought it would be interesting to list them here. I don't claim to have read every page, but I have certainly read all of most of them and most of all of them. Unfortunately, the killer combination of fast reading and age-related memory weakness means that I could not answer detailed questions on any of them: They have left an impressionistic world view, not one that I could instantly defend in court or at political hustings. However nothing that I have read changes my position as a socialist, an atheist and a worrier about the impact of climate change on my grandchildren.

The following list is in no particular order - just the way I found them in Kindle or on my shelves. However I do have a reflective comment: This is a bit of a generalisation, but two characteristics of these books shine out; the first is that they are very well referenced, with as many as a quarter of the pages being dedicated to listing sources; the second is that the essential message could be condensed to about 50 pages without loss of clarity. While reading, I am constantly saying to myself "yes, yes, you said that a few pages ago". This is not a criticism of the messages, but a comment on our (silly) expectation that a "book" runs to about 250 pages!

Naomi Klein This Changes Everything 2014 Climate vs capitalism
Calestous Juma Innovation and its Enemies 2016 Vested interest vs change
Nicholas Stern Why Are We Waiting? 2015 Climate change inaction
Dennis Skinner Sailing Close to the Wind 2014 Passionate but badly written
Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow 2011 Why people (donít) take risks
Mushtak Al-Atabi Think Like an Engineer 2014A bit pious
Guru Madhavan Think Like an Engineer 2015OK, but not inspired
David Goldberg & Mark Somerville A Whole New Engineer2014 The Olin experience. Mark has become a friend
Steve Silberman Neurotribes 2015History of autism
Richard Murphy The Joy of Tax 2015Labour view of tax as a good
Thomas Piketty Capital in the 21st Century 2014Inequality is bad and growing
Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett The Spirit Level 2009Equality good, inequality bad
Christopher Snowdon The Spirit Level Delusion 2011Attempted refutation of above
Robert Peston How Do We Fix This Mess? 2012Exposition of our problems
Richard Heinberg The End of Growth 2011Economics without growth
Tim Jackson Prosperity Without Growth 2009Economics without growth by a Professor of Economics
Steve Hilton More Human 2015Cameronís ex-guru gone native
Robert and Edward Skidelsky How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life 2012Happiness vs money
John Lanchester Whoops! 2010Why everyone owes and no-one can pay
Caroline Lucas Honourable Friends 2015Green MP
Zoe Williams Get It Together 2015Guardian columnist
Ronald Wright A Short History of Progress 2004Where are we going?
Owen Jones The Establishment 2014Left-wing columnist
Bruce Sterling The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things 2014connectedness
Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee The Second Machine Age 2014Digital progress
Paul Gilding The Great Disruption 2011Climate vs economy
Jared Diamond The World Until Yesterday 2012All of history!
Michael Braungart, William McDonough Cradle to Cradle 2009Total life cycle
Donella Meadows et al Limits to Growth: the 30-year Update 2004(non) progress since 1972
David D Friedman Future Imperfect 2008Technology and freedom in an uncertain world
Kingsely Dennis & John Urry After the Car 2009Travel with global warming
Gabrielle Walker, David King The Hot Topic 2008Survey of global warming
Clive Hamilton Requiem for a Species 2010Why we resist the truth about climate change
John Urry Climate Change and Society 2011Climate change in context
Andrew E Dessler Intro to Modern Climate Change 2012Textbook on climate change
Nigel Lawson An Appeal to Reason 2008The classic denier
Julie Hill The Secret Life of Stuff 2011Ways to use earthís resources better
James Lovelock The Revenge of Gaia 2006The earth is fighting back
Julian Allwood, Jonathan Cullen Sustainable Materials: with both eyes open 2012How to use scarce materials better

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