Category Archive: Arm Chair Critic – The Joy of reviewing a book

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Mark Twain

Nov 13

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H.Frank

What is the importance played by luck in success? Are achievements purely attributable to hard work, talent and skills alone? Do high achievers over emphasise the ‘Bismarkian’ motto of blood, sweat and tears at the expense of the crucial factor of luck? Robert H. Frank, the H. J. Louis Professor of Management and Professor of …

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Nov 11

The Retreat Of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

In the bleak and vaudevillian backdrop of both Brexit and the meteoric rise of Donald Trump, Edward Luce’s “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” (“The Book”) provokes a hard but welcome introspection underlying the rise of populism in settings of democracy. The pervasive spread of “Illiberal democracy” (a term coined by the journalist Farid Zakaria in …

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Nov 06

Talking to my Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism – Yanis Varoufakis

The one most arresting reason why I love reading the books of Yanis Varoufakis is the degree of accessibility which he accords. Although an expert in the domain of Economics, he has the unique and compelling ability to shed the garb of an expert and make himself comprehensible to every layman whose curiosity has piqued …

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Nov 04

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi

Writing with raw irreverence, impetuosity and in an irascible vein, Matt Taibbi combines shades of Gonzo journalism popularized by the famous Hunter J. Thompson with his own in your face style of trenchant reporting to chart the unimaginable and meteoric rise of the eccentric Donald Trump, first to the pinnacle of the Republican Nomination and …

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Oct 31

I Can’t Breathe by Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi has penned an essential, excoriating and evocative work that can be considered to be a pioneering effort in the realm of Social Sciences. On the 17th of July 2014, forty four year old Eric Garner was put in a choke-hold (a maneuver deemed to be illegal by the Police Department decades ago), by …

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Oct 26

Stieg Larsson: Our Days in Stockholm by Kurdo Baksi, Laurie Thompson (Translator)

In this touching tribute to his mentor, friend and ‘big brother’, Stieg Larsson, Kurdo Baksi, the Swedish social commentator and author lays bare his candid reminisces about a friendship that lasted a decade under the skies of Stockholm. The world needs no introduction to Stieg Larsson the author as exemplified by the roaring success of …

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Oct 21

Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment Yanis Varoufakis

Dazzling, Incendiary, Cynical and Diabolical, Yanis Varoufakis’ explosive memoir detailing his short sojourn as the Finance Minister of Greece during the period when his country was a roiling cauldron of financial ruin and political excesses, makes for some essential reading. “Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment” (“The Book”) pierces the veil …

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Oct 15

Out Of The Wreckage – A New Politics for an Age of Crisis: George Monbiot

Trenchant, egregious and passionate, “Out of the Wreckage…” (“The book”) represents a loud voice bemoaning the surge of neo-liberalism that has wielded what George Monbiot perceives to be a pernicious influence over humanity. Preferring the ferocity of individualism over the warmth of togetherness, man has tragically become a puppet whose strings pull him dangerously towards …

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Oct 14

The Econocracy: The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts – Joe Earle, Cahal Moran, Zach Ward-Perkins

This is a very arresting attempt by a group of involved economic practitioners and students to bring the ‘dismal science’ back to the people. Currently, as argued passionately by the authors, the real of Economics has been showcased and stereotyped as being the exclusive preserve, privilege and preoccupation of a select few ‘experts’ whose claim …

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Oct 14

How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World’s Most Dynamic Region – Joe Studwell

“How Asia Works…” (“The book”) comes highly recommended, garnering rave reviews from the likes of Bill Gates etc. The book more than merely lives up to the hype generated. Joe Studwell is more of a surgeon than an economist/journalist as he diagnoses the stumbling blocks, flexes out stimulants and prescribes suggestions that constitute the preserve …

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