Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar Summary
In a sweeping narrative, the author of the megabestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate. Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She describes the often heroic efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshall, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and the American Irving Fisher to put those insights into action—with revolutionary consequences for the world. From the great John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American economists Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers transformed the world—from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the entire planet. In Nasar’s dramatic narrative of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, world wars, revolutions, economic upheavals, and each other’s ideas to turn back Malthus and transform the dismal science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto age-old destiny of misery and early death. This idea, unimaginable less than 200 years ago, is a story of trial and error, but ultimately transcendent, as it is rendered here in a stunning and moving narrative.
Ladies of the Grand Tour by Brian Dolan Summary
"According to the 1747 publication The Art of Governing a Wife, women in Georgian England were to "lay up and save, look to the house, talk to few and take of all within." However, some women broke from these directives and took up the distinctly male privilege of traveling to the Continent to develop mind, spirit, and body. For many the Grand Tour -- often undertaken in great parades of coaches laden with servants, trunks, and furniture -- became an intellectual and romantic rite of passage. The landscape, health spas, salons, and social scene of Enlightenment Europe provided a wealth of glamorous, revolutionary, and therapeutic experiences from which many ladies returned "the best informed and most perfect creatures." Brian Dolan leads us into the hearts and minds of the ladies through their stories, thoughts, and court gossip, recorded in journals, letters, and diaries. Ladies of the Grand Tour creates a mesmerizing portrait of a previously overlooked slice of eighteenth-century life."
Political Arithmetic by Robert William Fogel,Enid M. Fogel,Mark Guglielmo,Nathaniel Grotte Summary
We take for granted today that the assessments, measurements, and forecasts of economists are crucial to the decision-making of governments and businesses alike. But less than a century ago that wasn’t the case—economists simply didn’t have the necessary information or statistical tools to understand the ever more complicated modern economy. With Political Arithmetic, Nobel Prize–winning economist Robert Fogel and his collaborators tell the story of economist Simon Kuznets, the founding of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the creation of the concept of GNP, which for the first time enabled us to measure the performance of entire economies. The book weaves together the many strands of political and economic thought and historical pressures that together created the demand for more detailed economic thinking—Progressive-era hopes for activist government, the production demands of World War I, Herbert Hoover’s interest in business cycles as President Harding’s commerce secretary, and the catastrophic economic failures of the Great Depression—and shows how, through trial and error, measurement and analysis, economists such as Kuznets rose to the occasion and in the process built a discipline whose knowledge could be put to practical use in everyday decision-making. The product of a lifetime of studying the workings of economies and skillfully employing the tools of economics, Political Arithmetic is simultaneously a history of a key period of economic thought and a testament to the power of applied ideas.
In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman by William J. Cook Summary
What is the shortest possible route for a traveling salesman seeking to visit each city on a list exactly once and return to his city of origin? It sounds simple enough, yet the traveling salesman problem is one of the most intensely studied puzzles in applied mathematics—and it has defied solution to this day. In this book, William Cook takes readers on a mathematical excursion, picking up the salesman's trail in the 1800s when Irish mathematician W. R. Hamilton first defined the problem, and venturing to the furthest limits of today’s state-of-the-art attempts to solve it. He also explores its many important applications, from genome sequencing and designing computer processors to arranging music and hunting for planets. In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman travels to the very threshold of our understanding about the nature of complexity, and challenges you yourself to discover the solution to this captivating mathematical problem.
Ending the Pursuit of Happiness by Barry Magid Summary
We all have a right to the pursuit of happiness - but could we actually be happier if we gave that whole thing up? This surprising new book from Zen teacher, psychoanalyst, and critical favorite Barry Magid inspires us-in gentle and winking prose-to move on and make peace with the perfection of the way things actually are, including ourselves. Magid invites us to consider that our ''pursuit of happiness'' may actually be a source of our suffering. He takes an unusual look at our ''secret practices'' - what we're really doing when we say we're meditating-like trying to feel calmer, or more compassionate, or even ''enlightened'' (whatever we imagine that means!). He also uncovers our ''curative fantasies'' about spiritual practice-those ideas that we can somehow fix all the messy human things about ourselves that we imagine are bad or wrong or unacceptable. In doing so, he helps us look squarely at-and avoid-such pitfalls. Along the way, Magid lays out a rich roadmap of the new ''psychological-minded Zen'' - a Zen that includes our entire life, our entire personality - as pioneered by his teacher, bestselling author Charlotte Joko Beck.
Origami Design Secrets by Robert J. Lang Summary
The magnum opus of one of the world’s leading origami artists, the second edition of Origami Design Secrets reveals the underlying concepts of origami and how to create original origami designs. Containing step-by-step instructions for 26 models, this book is not just an origami cookbook or list of instructions—it introduces the fundamental building blocks of origami, building up to advanced methods such as the combination of uniaxial bases, the circle/river method, and tree theory. With corrections and improved illustrations, this new expanded edition also covers uniaxial box pleating, introduces the new design technique of hex pleating, and describes methods of generalizing polygon packing to arbitrary angles. With coverage spanning the foundations of origami construction and advanced methods using both paper and pencil and custom-built free software, Origami Design Secrets helps readers cultivate the intuition and skills necessary to develop their own designs. It takes them beyond merely following a recipe to crafting a work of art.
China’s Grand Strategy by Lukas K. Danner Summary
This book describes the main contradictions in China’s actions on the world stage—peaceful vs. assertive—through a culturally informed framework that takes into account China’s historical memory and political culture. The author analyzes nine cases, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as examples that show both China’s commitment to peace and development in the region, as well as its concerted effort to introduce alternative institutions on the global stage that could challenge the hegemony of the West and Western values.
In Pursuit of Military Excellence by Shimon Naveh Summary
This book offers a scientific interpretation of the field of military knowledge situated between strategy and tactics, better known as operational art', and traces the evolution of operational awareness and its culmination in a full-fledged theory. The author, a Brigadier General (ret.) in the Israeli Defence Forces and Doctor of History, King's College, London, clarifies the substance of operational art' and constructs a cognitive framework for its critical analysis. He chronicles the stages in the evolution of operational theory from the emergence of 19th-century military thought to Blitzkrieg. For the first time the Soviet theories of Deep Operations' and Strike Manoeuvre' that emerged in the 1920s and 1930 are discussed. The author argues that it is these doctrines that eventually led to the crystallization of the American Airland Battle theory, successfully implemented in the Gulf War.
Interpreting China's Grand Strategy by Michael D. Swaine,Sara A. Daly,Peter W. Greenwood Summary
China's continuing rapid economic growth and expanding involvement in global affairs pose major implications for the power structure of the international system. To more accurately and fully assess the significance of China's emergence for the United States and the global community, it is necessary to gain a more complete understanding of Chinese security thought and behavior. This study addresses such questions as: What are China's most fundamental national security objectives? How has the Chinese state employed force and diplomacy in the pursuit of these objectives over the centuries? What security strategy does China pursue today and how will it evolve in the future? The study asserts that Chinese history, the behavior of earlier rising powers, and the basic structure and logic of international power relations all suggest that, although a strong China will likely become more assertive globally, this possibility is unlikely to emerge before 2015-2020 at the earliest. To handle this situation, the study argues that the United States should adopt a policy of realistic engagement with China that combines efforts to pursue cooperation whenever possible; to prevent, if necessary, the acquisition by China of capabilities that would threaten America's core national security interests; and to remain prepared to cope with the consequences of a more assertive China.
No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice by Judith Martin Summary
“Add No Vulgar Hotel to the list of books you must read before you come to Venice.”—Donna Leon This is the definitive book for managing an incurable passion for a decaying, water-logged village. Whether you already have a raging case of Venetophilia or are among the fifteen million people who yearly put themselves in danger of contracting it, here is where you get your fix of Venetian wit, history, practicality, and enchantment.
The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy Summary
Manhattan, Thanksgiving eve, 1945. The war is over, and Eric Smythe’s party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara, an independent, outspoken young woman, starting to make her way in the big city. And then in walked Jack Malone, a U.S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, a man whose world view was vastly different than that of Eric and his friends. This chance meeting between Sara and Jack and the choices they both made in the wake of it would eventually have profound consequences, both for themselves and for those closest to them for decades afterwards. Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy era, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great, tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices and the random workings of destiny.