The Death of Expertise

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters

by Tom Nichols

This book is about the erosion of respect for facts, logical analysis, and critical thinking. Uninformed opinions carry the same weight as expert opinions. There is no vetting of dubious sources from credible sources. Beliefs are conflated with facts. It is in this climate that hoaxes, conspiracy theories, fake news, propaganda, and all manner of bullshit thrive. Tom Nichols, professor of national security at US Naval War College, examines this phenomenon and some of the causes, including higher education, technology, and the news media. Continue reading

The 3rd Way

the-3rd-way

The 3rd Way: Building Inclusive Capitalism through Employee Ownership

by Upendra Chivukula and Veny W. Musum

The subject of The 3rd Way sounds intriguing: addressing income inequality by expanding incentives for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and reforming the corporate tax code. While I think the authors have good intentions, their thesis is flawed. Continue reading

Einstein’s Dreams

einsteins-dreams

Einstein’s Dreams

by Alan P. Lightman

Einstein’s Dreams is historical fiction based on Albert Einstein’s study of the relativity of time, or time dilation.  The book is formatted like a journal of Einstein’s dreams about 30 imaginary worlds where time functions differently. The book was written by Alan Lightman, a physicist and humanities professor at MIT. The author embeds observations on human behavior in  these stories. Continue reading

101 Souls

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101 Souls Facing Forward

by John M. Crowther

When we think about history, especially ancient history, the vast spans of time can become a blur. In his book 101 Souls, John Crowther provides a new framework which puts history in the context of lifetimes. “Imagine a line of people stretching back through time to the beginnings of what we think of as civilization… 6000 years ago. Consider that each individual was born the year that the preceding individual dies, and that each lived to be 60 years old.” Simple math reveals that there would be only 100 lifetimes separating us from the beginning of civilization. Continue reading

Heads in Beds

heads-in-beds

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality

by Jacob Tomsky

If you travel frequently you might be curious about the inner workings of hotels. The subtitle captures the essence of this book: “a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality.” Jacob Tomsky starts out at a luxury hotel in New Orleans as a valet parking attendant, working his way up to positions of increasing responsibility. Later he moves to New York City and settles in as a front desk agent. He shares many stories about guests and employees, although “to protect the guilty and innocent alike” he has changed the names of the hotels and people he writes about.

Should you feel safe leaving your property unattended in a hotel? Consider the story about Tomsky teaching a coworker how to drive a manual transmission. “We burned the life out of a guest’s clutch teaching Eddie to drive. It smelled like a metal-and-oil barbecue up there.” Continue reading