Politics & History
In this book, Robert Greene cites anecdotes from history – particularly military warfare, politics, psychoanalysis, and sports – to describe timeless strategies of war that have been used by people in the past.
The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave La Bon explains the psychology of crowds, their vulnerabilities, and their greatest virtues.
In Homo Deus, Harari brings up many of the same ideas that he discussed in Sapiens – including crediting our success as a species to our ability to communicate and believe stories efficiently. But after transcending our primordial roots, our ambitions have grown. Today, the conversation about attaining immortality is not speculation, but a real possibility that large companies such as Google are willing to bet on.
In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Harari writes about globalism, nationalism, religion, technology, meditation and economics but the book is more philosophical than historical although many interesting historical references are made. Harari’s thesis is that the source of the development of society is the fictions we have created, but when these fictions are taken too seriously, they lead to the disintegration of society.
Sapiens by Harari is an ambitious attempt to summarize the history of humankind, including our harsh beginnings when we competed with other human cousins for resources, our conquests, our innovations, our tragedies, and our greatest achievements.
This book by Sarah Chayes makes the argument that corruption is the precursor for violent extremism and not the other way around.
An Introduction to Middle East Politics – Benjamin MacQueen
In An Introduction to Middle East Politics, Benjamin McQueen provides a brief history of the Middle East, focusing on its relationship with the West, and how this relationship has changed, and in other ways has stayed the same, from the time of the Ottomans until present day.
The claim John Perkins makes in the Confessions of an Economic Hitman is not that there is one global conspiracy or that there is a small group of men in a dark room scheming about how to take over the world, but that there are many small conspiracies taking place at the same time, by international organizations, governments, and businesses.
Thousands of years ago, sharing was natural, because it made economic sense. Societies that shared resources and helped each other were not utopian, but far more peaceful than the agricultural societies that came after. More importantly, these societies survived.
Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond’s thesis in Guns Germs, and Steel is that arbitrary geographical characteristics defined the fate of civilizations.
Hunting’s thesis in The Clash of Civilizations that there is an original and irreconcilable divide between the nations of the world.
In A Theory of Everything, Ken Wilber explains what we have discovered about human consciousness, from a bird eye view. He builds on the work of Clare Graves, and explains how all modes of human thinking can be grouped into 8 distinct groups.
The Better Angels of our Nature – Steven Pinker
The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker argues that violence has declined with time. He does this by discussing the threats of violence one by one, going through what the statistical data shows us.
The Triumph of the Therapeutic – Philip Rieff
Rieff describes modern society (the book was written in 1966) as completely different from the past. Previously, society was marked by “religious man” – and then, many centuries later, by “economic man”, and now, in the current stage, by “psychological man.”
Girard’s Mimetic Theory – Wolfgang Palaver
A great overview of Mimetic Theory, by Wolfgang Palaver. In a systematic careful synthesis of Girard’s thought, Palaver summarizes the mimetic insights that were derived from authors such as Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Flaubert, and Proust.