During my forty year career in Investment Services, I hardly ever read a book, and then only an occasional one that was generally work-related. Approximately six months ago, however, I began reading books from our County Library, on a multitude of topics. So far, I’ve had great luck in my selections, and I would like to list a few of them. OVER TIME, I WILL MAKE ADDITIONS TO THIS LIST. If you don’t find one that might interest you, perhaps consider another!
GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH—TWO ALL-ROUND FEEL-GOOD STORIES:
Epic Measures, by Jeremy N. Smith.
Christopher Murray, a Harvard-trained M.D, with an Oxford, Ph.D. in Medical Health Economics, challenged the Global Health Establishment and won. His tool is a data base of virtually every known disease, broken-down by country. Knowledge of country-specific diseases enables more accurate, disease-specific appropriations. The free on-line “GMD Compare” is linked, as follows: http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/.
Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder.
Paul Farmer, a fellow resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with Chris Murray (cited above), and Jim Yong Kim, all three vowed to “Save the World,” and they are still working toward that goal. Farmer and Kim, through their Partners in Health, also challenged the Establishment, and appear to be winning, as well. PIH is providing high-quality health care to some of the poorest and remotest locations on Earth: Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, and a Siberian Gulag.
THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM:
Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will improve our terribly complex, blatantly unjust, outrageously expensive, grossly inefficient, error prone system: by Emanuel, Ezekiel J.
Dr. Emanuel is a Professor of Oncology and Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a key architect of the Affordable Care Act (derisively called “Obamacare” by the Republicans). This program currently provides health insurance to some 25 million previously uninsured Americans. Dr. Emanuel acknowledges that any Health Care, or Insurance, System can always be improved upon.
ORIGINS OF HUMANITY:
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
A great historical and scientific explanation of Who we are, Where we came from, and How we got here. The obvious idea is to understand our past in order to contemplate our future.
ENVIRONMENTALLY-BASED SCIENCE FICTION:
The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
Two scientists have written this science fiction novel, which predicts what the Earth, which Mankind is currently passing on to successive generations, might be like. We must change direction, in order to avoid assured destruction.
THE FINANCIAL CRISIS (4Q07 TO 1Q09):
Stress Test: by Timothy F. Geithner
Tim Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the beginning of the crisis and, then, he moved over to take Hank Paulson’s place, as Secretary of the Treasury during the First Obama Administration. The FRB-NY implements the Federal Reserve Board’s Monetary Policy. The book reveals the thinking from inside the Obama Financial Team.
Too Big to Fail: the inside story of how Wall Street and Washington fought to save the financial system from crisis–and themselves, by Andrew Ross Sorkin
Respected Wall Street journalist—as a reporter for the NY Times and a morning host on CNBC-TV—Mr. Sorkin describes the crises from outside the Government, with numerous excerpts of discussions and interviews with the Wall Street and Government participants.
Historically based Racism in America:
Freeman, by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
In this well-researched historical novel, Mr. Pitts describes life, in the Deep South, given the uncertainty of what life had actually become, in the vanquished south, immediately after the Civil War.
The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
A historically fictional novel, as told through the eyes of eleven year-old “Philip”, growing-up in a Jewish neighborhood of Newark, NJ, during pre-World War II America. The hypothetical situation assumes that famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, an avid Nazi-Sympathizer, defeated incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for the Presidency, in Isolationist America. Published in 2005, the ironies with the current political environment abound.
Mankind, and our Sense of Humanity:
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger.
Tribe is a wonderful book, that calls on a number of academic fields, in order to describe Mankind’s search for a sense of belonging. Mr. Junger traces this Tribalism from Colonial America, the WWII London Blitz, returning war veterans with PTSD, the lasting psychological effects on rape victims, etc. The outstanding review, from the Guardian (UK) is linked, as follows: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/22/tribe-by-sebastian-junger-review.
War and Misunderstanding:
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath, by Seymour M. Hersh
Sy Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering, what I believe, was the very darkest hour of the U. S. Army. Elements of the Army’s Americal Division massacred some 550 Vietnamese old men, women, children, even suckling babies—for no other reason, perhaps, than “scoring body counts”. The Courts Marshall went nowhere in what seems to have been a massive cover-up–by many men, up-and-down the Chain-of Command.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
This book tells the stories of a multitude of people—victims of sexual slavery, non-existent health care, domestic abuse and murder, decade’s-long civil warfare, etc. Once they found a way-out, they had the humanity to, then, help others. You might find other, similar books by this husband and wife team of interest.
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Samson
A hilarious fictional novel about a middle-aged professor of genetics, with Asperger’s Syndrome, deciding that he needs to find a wife, for his “Wife Project”. So, he draws-up a 16 page questionnaire for candidates to complete. Need I say more? Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda, suggested that he read it, since it deals with the structured mind of a logically-focused person.
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
This book describes how today’s Technological Revolution–the Digital Age–is taking-over where the Industrial Revolution had left-off. Now, as then, innovation often doesn’t necessarily precede applications, the two of which might come in either order, or even simultaneously. And in same cases, intermediate inventions or applications might be required.
Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance
After World War II, many people from Appalachia moved-up, to southern Ohio and Indiana, searching for a better way-of-life. But, they retained their Hillbilly culture—extreme poverty, lacking job skills or a respect for education. Actually, Appalachia moved north with them. This is J. D. Vance’s personal story about how he escaped, gained a good education and began a successful career; but, he still shares many of those same Hillbilly values.
The Rothschilds : a family portrait, by Frederic Morton
The true story of a poor man, who sends his five sons to the major capitals of Europe, creating a global financial dynasty. There are many financial lessons to be gleaned from this book: the origins of global banking; the reasons for some of the most basic securities laws; business intelligence (Intel); and the relationship between commerce and politics.
The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
Yes, the fiction adventure movie was great, but the book was even better. American naval forces compete with Soviet naval forces to find and “destroy” (retrieve) a run-away technologically state-of-the-art Soviet sub. All the while, the Americans don’t know if the Skipper has gone berserk, or is trying to turn it over to us. Once again, the Pentagon wonders where Clancy gets his spot-on information.