Book Reviews

I started a series of book reviews in the middle of 2015 and this page summarises them.  I've arranged them in a thematic order and within each theme they are alphabetical according to the book title, ignoring trailing "the", "a", etc.  This is not set in stone so let me know if some other order would be more useful.  The posts include details about how to get hold of the books.

Politics and Economics

These books are political analyses of the economy:

The Establishment

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones is an account of how the cards are stacked against the local economy.  In this post I explain how people on the left sometimes seem to fail to understand that what is important is not so much the size of a business as its behaviour. 

Inequality and the 1%

Inequality and the 1% by Danny Dorling is an excellent analysis of the impact inequality has on our communities.  To be anti-ineqaulity is not to be anti-wealth.  The question is whether individuals or economies can be wealthy.  In a wealthy economy, individual wealth still exists but it is limited because individuals are not permitted to extract wealth from the economy.

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason is a helpful introduction to Marxism but ultimately disappoints because it seems unable to get to grips with Postcapitalism.  I remain unconvinced by his argument although perhaps more inclined to ask exactly what cpaitalism is and whether it is possible to conceive of an economy that is not capitalist.

Local Economy

These books explore aspects of the local economy:

Change Everything

Change Everything: Creating an Economy for the Common Good by Christian Felber is a manifesto for an economy for the common good.  In the first of three posts I introduce the book and express three reservations I had whilst reading it.  In Motivation and Meaning, I review how Felber explores the motivations people have for their involvement in the economy; moving from economy to politics to spirituality.  The final post, A Three Pillar Democracy, explores Felber's ideas for the practical ways everyone could find a voice in the economy.

How to Save Our Town Centres

How to Save Our Town Centres: A radical agenda for the future of high streets by Julian Dobson is a well-written and incisive study of what has gone wrong with our town centres and how to set them right.  This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of our town centres.  Dobson describes our town centres today and what is wrong with them as well as describing a practical vision of our town centres tomorrow.

The Local Economy Revolution

The Local Economy Revolution by Della Rucker is significant because Rucker is one of very few people writing about the local economy.  This first post lists her three main undercurrents.  Wise Economy builds on the three undercurrents with a positive vision about how a local economy based upon local businesses can work.

Impact of the Internet on the Economy

These books explore the impact of the Internet on the economy:

Location is (Still) Everything

Location is (Still) Everything by David R Bell, explores research into changes in behaviour in the market with the introduction of the Internet.  Evidence suggests that featuring something online does not necessarily mean all purchases are made online.  People will use the Internet to locate local services, for example.  What motivates people to choose between shopping online and locally?

Who Owns the Future?

Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier is a refreshing view of the impact of the Internet on the economy.  Whilst it is possible to conceive of a future where the influence of machines if benign, the reality is that machines tend to concentrate power in fewer hands.

Community Development

These books explore aspects of community development:

Looking Back to Look Forward

Looking Back to Look Forward by Cormac Russel, explores the Heritage of Asset Based Co´╗┐mmunity Developmen´╗┐t (ABCD).  A more detailed book is planned for some time in 2016.  The book is mainly an interview with John McKnight, a founder of ABCD, who talks about seven thinkers who have influenced his practice.