Saturday, October 17, 2015

Author du Jour: Jeremy Rifkin

Author du Jour: Jeremy Rifkin "The Zero Marginal Cost Society."

The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the eclipse of Capitalism are just some the engaging thoughts Jeremy Rifkin proposes in his latest book, The Zero Marginal Society." When something dies something else must sprout from the ashes and this is the point the book makes. With the slow demise of the capitalist era emerges the new economic system of the Internet of Thing, something transforming our lives radically.

From the Publisher: "Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its death―the inherent entrepreneurial dynamism of competitive markets that drives productivity up and marginal costs down, enabling businesses to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to win over consumers and market share. (Marginal cost is the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted.) While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Author du Jour: Anthony Loewenstein

DisasterCapitalismAuthor du Jour: Anthony Loewenstein "Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe."

In this age of global conflicts, there is never a shortage for milking out tragedies. Whether he is dealing with immigrants stuck at borders or immigration centers, destructive mining practices or questionable NGOs in Papua New Guinea where locals have not recourse but to rebel, award-winning journalist Antony Loewenstein gives a first account, from the front line, of the rise of Disaster Capitalism. If you want to learn how companies such as G4S, Serco and Halliburton derive a large part of their profits, this book is for you.

From the publisher: "Award-winning journalist Antony Loewenstein travels across the US, Britain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Australia to witness the reality of Disaster Capitalism—the hidden world of privatized detention centers and militarized private security, formed to protect corporations as they profit from war zones. He visits Britain’s immigration detention centers, tours the prison system in the United States, and digs into the underbelly of the companies making a fortune from them. Loewenstein reveals the dark history of how large multinational corporations have become more powerful than governments, supported by media and political elites."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Author du Jour: Nick Sousanis "Unflattening"

Author du Jour: Nick Sousanis "Unflattening"

If you are looking something truly original. Something that will make you think, look no further. "Unflattening" is a graphic novel like no other. A PhD dissertation that looks at the way we learn. A meditation on education. Between the theme and depth of the concept with the captivating drawing, Mr. Sousanis is at the helm of an impressive set of skills.

Here below is from the publisher.

"Unflattening" is an insurrection against the fixed viewpoint. Weaving together diverse ways of seeing drawn from science, philosophy, art, literature, and mythology, it uses the collage-like capacity of comics to show that perception is always an active process of incorporating and reevaluating different vantage points. While its vibrant, constantly morphing images occasionally serve as illustrations of text, they more often connect in nonlinear fashion to other visual references throughout the book. They become allusions, allegories, and motifs, pitting realism against abstraction and making us aware that more meets the eye than is presented on the page. (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Books du Jour, EP#212, "The First Time They Did It" 05-20-15

 Episode #212    “The First Time They Did It”  (broadcasting May 20th, 2015)

Only tonight on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

“The first time they did it” is about first timers. Regardless how old they are and where they come from, how and when they did it is a topic they do not shy away from. As a matter of fact, they are quite loquacious discussing the topic, exposing their weaknesses and frustration and the moment of bliss round the corner waiting to greet them. But before “graduating,” they shared similar painstaking journeys of perseverance and painstaking apprenticeship.

Susan Strecker, “Night Blindness” offers a rare exploration of the singular, unparalleled love between a daughter and her cancer-riddled father, and writes with unflinching honesty about the dynamics of a family in crisis, and the fallout of a single rash act: how responsible was she in the death of her brother?

Helen Wan, “The Partner Track” took the world by storm with its new take on the office politics/law firm novel that follows a Golden Girl employee who has passed the apprentice stage and is now facing mature and relatable issues. But textbook and reality are two worlds apart, and soon our Chinese American prodigy has to wade across the deep waters of damage control as she herself drowned in a her own romantic life.

John Benditt, “The Boatmaker” tells the tale of a fierce complicated silent man who wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the small island where he was born. The boat carries him to a bigger island, where he becomes locked in a drunken and violent affair whose explosion propels him to the mainland. Hence begins a long journey of discovery, part fable and part allegory.

Thank you to CITY Winery, NY

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Books du Jour, EP #211, "Jazzing Up the Tune" 05-13-15

Episode #211    “Jazzing Up the Tune”   (broadcasting May 13th, 2015)

Tonight only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

The ears don't lie. They know when something sounds phony. But what about authors writing about music? This week's episode takes a look at the crossroad of music and literature, in all its form: rhyme, rhythm, lyricism, repetitions, and of course the theme of music itself, not only in the lives of the characters depicted but also in the authors’.

Rick Moody, “On Celestial Music.” A dazzling selection of essays about music. Moody’s anatomy of the word cool reminds us that in the postwar 1940’s, the word was infused with the feeling of jazz music, whereas now it is merely a synonym for neat. The collection laments the loss in contemporary music, without failing to inspire us and dive into the music that enhances our lives. 

Mary Morris, “The Jazz Palace.” In the midst of boomtown Chicago, two Jewish families suffer terrible blows. They have lost their boys on the SS Eastland, which sank in 1915. But Benny Lehrman, the only son left, has no interest in saving the family business and making hats. His true passion is piano—especially jazz.

Julia Titus, “Poetry Readers for Russian Learners.” Through the poetry of 19th and 20th Centuries Russian authors, including Pushkin and Akhmatova, the book helps all level of Russian learners refine their language skills. Poems have their own music and rhythm, singing to the witnesses of history, clamoring human insights and the muffling of tragic biographies.

Thank you to CITY WINERY, NY

The Books du Jour Team

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Books du Jour, EP #210, "The Monopolies of Monarchs" 05-06-15

Episode #210   “The Monopolies of Monarchs(broadcasting May 6th, 2015)

Tonight only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

The journey from the heavens to our heart can happen in the blink of an eye. But from the heart to the Heavens is a different story. Legal battles may stand in the way. Today, we look at the downfall of a king accountable only to the Gods above; the wandering Jews in search of a promised land and only facing rejection, and finally the legal battle for a board game in the wake of the financial crisis and its pernicious values.

Mary Pilon, “The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game.” The way the Parker Brothers tells it, Monopoly, the world’s most famous board game, was invented by an out-of-work salesman in the depths of the Great Depression, who sold his invention. A fabulous rags-to-riches story to say the least. But as Pilon explains it: “it’s just not quite exactly true”.

Charles Spencer, “Killers of the King” relates for the first time to the shocking stories and fascinating fates of the 59 men who signed Charles I of England’s death warrant in 1649. This act not only changed British history forever, reverberated across the ocean to the young British colonies in American, which more than 100 years later also rose up against their king, but also became their death sentence.

Roger Cohen, “The Girl From Human Street” trails the upheavals of a family saga, with none of the comfort of a happy ending. Through the decades, the Jewish sense of “otherness” is pervasive, and Cohen finds it has been significant factor in his family’s history of manic depression. A moving portrait and an elegy to his mother, June, who struggled most mightily with her illness. But also a tale of remembrance and repression, moral ambivalence, suicide, and amazing resilience.

Sponsor: City Winery