If you are at all curious about Economics, when it works and when it fails us, and how it needs to be practiced, then the next book on your reading list should definitely be Economics Rules, by prize-winning economist Dani Rodrik. From Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” to modern day economic theories, Rodrik gives us a guide to better understand the power and limitations of a social science that affects every aspect of our lives. He evangelizes for the practical utility of economics: his main premise is that there are abundant, simple economic models that could be applied to different public problems, from combating disruptions in the global economy, to financing public transport, to fighting poverty. On the other hand, he is well aware that economics often fails us, and through analysis and examples shows us why economists sometimes don’t get it right. And no, this book is not intended only for those with the background in economics; it is written in a way that is approachable, funny and interesting. You can enjoy it and learn from it even if you’ve never heard about Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, or John Maynard Keynes before.
Bill Nye’s new book tackles one of the critical issues confronting today’s world, climate change and global warming. It is an incontrovertible fact that the Earth becomes warmer every year and the polar ice caps are melting. If that doesn’t scare you enough, the resources we need to survive are becoming more and more scarce. Nye argues that we should all stop and rethink the way we live and try not to leave to future generations an Earth that is dirty, overheated, and depleted of resources. By his own admission, Bill Nye is an engineer and a tinkerer so he always looks for technical solutions to a problem, and that is what this book offers. Among other things, he says we need to find new sources of energy, new ways to store and transmit that energy, and new ways to include our government and citizens everywhere in this immense undertaking. You don’t need to be a science nerd or to have a lot of knowledge on the topic to understand this book. It is, after all Bill Nye, The Science Guy who wrote it! He is undeniably unstoppable in his optimism and putting a positive spin on negative issues, and he has a way of explaining things in a way that is both understandable and entertaining.
There is another world separated from ours by a veil called Peristan or Fairyland, inhabited by nonhuman beings made of fireless smoke and smokeless fire known as jinn, who, from time to time, cross over to our world. At least, that’s what Salman Rushdie tells us in his new novel Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Random House, $28). In the year 1195 Dunia the jinnia from Fairyland met Ibn Rushd, the philosopher in exile, fell in love, and had myriad half- human, half- jinn children. Some eight hundred years later, a great storm descends on our world and, as the slits between the worlds crack open, a strangeness begins—in the collision of the two worlds, a battle between light and dark starts. Dunia returns, enlisting her descendants to fight the dark jinn. With curses that date back centuries, dead philosophers who talk beyond the grave, a man who walks on air, a baby that identifies corruption with her mere presence, and that everlasting fight between good and evil, Rushdie masterfully combines magic realism, fantasy, science fiction, and mythology—all the while tackling immediate questions of faith and reason, philosophy and religion, love and humanity.