A college degree is no longer what it once was. I'm an educated twenty-something getting an advanced degree, and I can attest to that. Gone are the daA college degree is no longer what it once was. I'm an educated twenty-something getting an advanced degree, and I can attest to that. Gone are the days when getting a graduate degree automatically meant a higher salary bracket and a white collar job.
Christopher Hayes uses this platform to describe how a new "meritocracy" has broken down the system from college, to banks, to politics, to keep some in power and others consistently flouting the system. Hayes posits that we are consistently worsening conditions for the middle class, people of color, and the educated, creating a crisis in leadership. Who can we trust to take care of us as a society? Clearly, this is the perfect book for the 2012 Presidential Election. ...more
**I received my copy from Goodreads First Reads.**
The United States has a lot of people to feed, that's for sure. But Industrialized Farms have decima**I received my copy from Goodreads First Reads.**
The United States has a lot of people to feed, that's for sure. But Industrialized Farms have decimated our food system, and also made "natural food" a luxury for the communities who can afford it.
But hope is not lost, according to Katherine Gustafson. I like this book because it not only describes the iniquities faced in hungry communities, but it also describes sustainable solutions that can be copied in other places. It surprised me how affordable and practical most of the solutions really are. ...more
**I received my copy from Goodreads First Reads.**
I am not a gun person in the least. I actually hate guns. But they do have a fascinating history, as**I received my copy from Goodreads First Reads.**
I am not a gun person in the least. I actually hate guns. But they do have a fascinating history, as proven by Glock. The Glock is a gun that was in the right place in the right time. It's interesting to read how its very image has been coopted by Hollywood as some sort of sexy symbol for gangsters and other unsavory types. I don't give it above 3 stars because this isn't my type of nonfiction, but I nonetheless learned a few things about gun culture from it. ...more
Ok, I'm a corny librarian. But seriously you guys, good nonfiction should make you walk away feeling like a much more enlightened person and a betterOk, I'm a corny librarian. But seriously you guys, good nonfiction should make you walk away feeling like a much more enlightened person and a better participant in the society. The Psychopath Test has definitely Here's a brief list things I learned from this book.
1. Were it not for Scientologists (AKA the wackiest people on the planet) and L. Ron Hubbard's passionate hate for amateur psychiatrists, we would have very few ethical standards in the psychiatry. WHAT.
2. This book posits that many CEOs and world leaders possess psychopathic traits or are psychopaths, because they use brutal tactics to be successful. So... what if the world is run by people with no empathy for other human beings?
3. Psychiatry and mental illness overall is still largely amateurish and run by checklists. It's also vastly entertaining to follow one's roommate around and administer the Hare Psychopath Checklist.
4. I'm still %$#@ing terrified of running into a psychopath. I cannot fathom what it means to not have empathy for other people, and to think constantly in "bottom line" terms. In fact, I actually use the word "corporate" to describe people like that, which Ronson might laugh at.
If you've ever felt angry at your depression pills like me, or wondered why people at the top are such assholes, here's a perfectly scientific explanation. Love it. ...more
Honest review: I made it through the first few pages, and was turned off by the prose style and the amount of cursing - didn't feel ge**ARC/GIVEAWAY**
Honest review: I made it through the first few pages, and was turned off by the prose style and the amount of cursing - didn't feel genuine at all. I think conceptually, this could be a cool story with a lot of incredibly current and politically-relevant themes, but the "stream-of-voice" format was difficult to follow and at some points, lazy. This deserves a more rounded story with traditional prose. ...more
True story: I'm an ex-suburbanite happily living in Chicago - or as I like to think of it, a "rehabbed" suburbanite. I mean that quite literally: moviTrue story: I'm an ex-suburbanite happily living in Chicago - or as I like to think of it, a "rehabbed" suburbanite. I mean that quite literally: moving out of the suburbs was like attending rehab, in that I had to detoxify myself of ugly suburban ignorance tied to classism and white privilege. So when I saw a book entitled "Bomb the Suburbs", I was all about that shit: "YES, PLEASE.[fistpump]" Alas, fellow Chicagoan William "Upski" Wimsatt was really referring to bombing as in graffiti-bombing.
Okay, cool, I thought, but who is Upski? Turns out he's a DIY journalist and political activist from my hometown, which means I immediately have love for him. But, he also happens to be white. I approached this book with some hesitation because of this: how can a white person write about hip-hop? (That, and I really do know absolutely nothing about hip-hop itself.) Upski never hides his whiteness though - he remains an unapologetic and respectful observer of urban culture. He also uses his unique position to make some very solid observations about how graffiti and hip-hop become diluted and propagated by suburbanites. He certainly describes well how white privilege has infiltrated and corporatized something owned and created DIY by urban communities.
But why only three stars? Merely describing just wasn't enough for me. I felt he could've done more. But I could see a lot of inklings of good observations and ideas that weren't followed through upon. Perhaps at the time of publication, Upski wasn't yet mature enough to tackle the topics he brings up. Or maybe I didn't get it. Maybe I'm the wrong audience for this book - even though I'm a librarian in a Chicago public school, 100% African American and low-income. I could see how there's a lapse in experience and knowledge for me to fully appreciate this book. But still, I want to peruse more of his work, to see how these ideas are delved into. ...more
I love nonfiction like this, because it leaves me feeling like I am better prepared as a citizen of my planet. It may be the highest compliment I canI love nonfiction like this, because it leaves me feeling like I am better prepared as a citizen of my planet. It may be the highest compliment I can offer to a nonfiction text. This is not just a historical narrative of an epidemic - it's a treatise on how thorough scientific investigation is key to bettering the lives of urbanites and the world overall. This is like, the gospel of public health. Steven Johnson handles this narrative with stunning elegance and thoughtfulness, and I think this text belongs in every Urban Planning 101 course across the country. Even his writing style is uplifting and passionate:
"With the exception of the earth's atmosphere, the city is life's largest footprint. And microbes are its smallest. As you zoom in past the scale of the bacterium and the virus, you travel from the regime of biology to the regime of chemistry: from organisms with a pattern of growth and development, life and death, to mere molecules. It is a great testimony to the connectedness of life on earth that the fates of the largest and the tiniest life should be so closely dependent on each other." (Johnson, p. 96)
If you love urban planning, a good disease story, or are a city dweller, this one's for you. ...more