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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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On the Meaning of Life – Will Durant

Upon being confronted outside his house by a man who is contemplating suicide, Will Durant is challenged to proffer a valid reason that would dissuade the latter from going ahead with his deadly proposition. Of course Durant could not have waxed eloquent a la Edmund Burke or a Macaulay considering the gravity of the circumstance …

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Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era – James Barrat

Reading more like a hyper extension of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” than an introduction to an explosion of technology, James Barrat’s “Our Final Invention”, brings us face to face with the alarmingly potential consequences of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) gone uncontrolled. Banking on materials collected from interviews with scientists, pioneers in robotics, chief technology officers …

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Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone – Satya Nadella

Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. These are the three most passionate exhortations one finds in “Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. An autobiography subtly disguised as an expression of the current cultural ethos prevailing inside the world’s largest tech behemoth, “Hit Refresh” is an alarmingly thought provoking book. Emphasising his …

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The Curse of Damini – Debajani Mohanty

An interesting and honest debut work highlighting the dire plight of women in a caste based, male dominated chauvinistic society and the spirited efforts of one determined woman to break out from this vicious environment to chart her own destiny. Set predominantly in undivided Bengal during pre-independence India, “Curse of Damini” is a part fictional …

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