Recent Books -- Collapse, Fantastic Four, Rothfuss, Bottoms Up, The League, Bullshit Jobs, Divide
18 July 2023
- How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times by Pablo Servigne, Raphaël Stevens, Andrew Brown (Translator). Couldn’t finish, just annoying and broken from the start. Opens with a bunch of breathless collapse handwaving, and then tries to shift to data-based reasoning but is very linear and in-the-box in its analysis.
- Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross. I regularly dip into graphic novels, this one is pretty trite. Pass.
- The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Engaging, tho there is a little bit of “one damn thing after another” in these books. And then of course it is frustrating that the next book in the trilogy is apparently never coming out.
- Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs by Kerry Howley. Whew, a peak inside the mechanisms we put in place for the War on Terror is pretty ugly.
- The League by John Eisenberg. A good history of the first 20-30 years of the NFL, and the leaders who scrapped to make it happen. As a kid I read great stories of Sammy Baugh, Y. A. Tittle, Otto Graham, and other early NFL stars, this book was a great complement to those stories.
- Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber. What a load of crap. Couldn’t finish. Are there jobs that are meaningless? Sure I don’t doubt that. But he consigns entire catagories of jobs to the dustbin – management, finance, law, etc. And I don’t buy it, there are meaningful jobs in all those areas, and people can do these jobs with good intent and with meaning. I may not want to be a corporate lawyer, but there is a ton of meaningful work to do there – risk, IP, partnering, structure, etc etc etc. Ditto for finance. I don’t think the author has any experience or understanding of building large signifcant products, and the complexity involved. His casual disregard for entire occupations and industries was very offputting, I declined to finish.
- The Divide by Jason Hickel. Another anthropologist from the London School of Economics, and another underwhelming effort. The LSE must be a depressing place. Global poverty is a real issue, and it is clear that there are systemic causes that we have not wrapped our heads around, but the first two thirds of the book is just hectoring, and then the solutions all seem like untenable degrowth proposals. None of this is going to inspire any change.