Monday, May 22, 2006

New Book - Chew on this

Eric Schlosser & Charles Wilson
Chew on this: the truth about fast food
Puffin, 2006, 394.12 SCH

Eric Schlosser
Fast food nation: the dark side of the all-American meal
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, 394.1 SCH

Based on and extending the work of Eric Schlosser's 2001 bestseller Fast Food Nation (which is also in the RSA library stock), Chew on this presents a comprehensive analysis of the fast food industry. Guiding us through the growth and development of the industry, its success, what fast food actually is, what goes on in the slaughterhouses, meatpacking factories and flavour labs, global advertising, merchandising in UK schools, mass production and the exploitation of young workers in the thousands of fast-food outlets throughout the world, it also takes a look at the effects on the environment and the highly topical issue of obesity. Meticulously researched, lively and informative, with first-hand accounts and quotes from children and young people, Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson handle a very serious subject in a thoughtful and objective manner.

Read an April 2006 review of Chew on this from the Guardian Newspaper.
Read a Powells interview with Eric Schlosser following the release of Fast food nation.

Available to borrow by RSA Fellows - contact the Library for details. Ask about our Freepost service.

New Book - Hard facts...

Jeffrey Pfeffer & Robert I. Sutton
Hard facts, dangerous half-truths, and total nonsense: profiting from evidence-based management
Harvard Business School, 2006, 658.403 PFE

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton show how companies can bolster performance and trump the competition through evidence-based management, an approach to decision-making and action that is driven by hard facts rather than half-truths or hype. Hard Facts guides managers in using this approach to dismantle six widely held—but ultimately flawed—management beliefs in the core areas of leadership, strategy, change, talent, financial incentives, and work-life balance. This practical and candid book challenges leaders to commit to evidence-based management as a way of organizational life – and shows how to finally turn this common sense into common practice.

Read a review of Hard Facts from The Observer Newspaper.
Read an abstract of Hard Facts adapted into an article for the Strategy & Leadership Journal.

Available to borrow by RSA Fellows - contact the Library for details. Ask about our Freepost service.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Book - The architecture of happiness

Alain de Botton
The architecture of happiness
Hamish Hamilton Publication, 2006, 720.1 DEB

Accompanied by a successful Channel 4 television series, The architecture of happiness suggests that it is architecture's task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be. Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton considers how our private homes and public edifices - from those of Christopher Wren to those of Le Corbusier and Norman Foster - influence how we feel, as well as how we could learn to build in ways that would increase our chances of happiness.

Read reviews of The architecture of happiness from The Guardian and The Independent newspapers.

Monday, May 15, 2006

New Book - Unspeak

Steven Poole
Little Brown & Co, 2006, 306.44 POO

Defining its supject as a "mode of speech that persuades by stealth", Unspeak is a book about language as a weapon. Every day, we are bombarded with those apparently simple words or phrases that actually conceal darker meanings. For any government or organization seeking to exert power over a society, connecting with the general public and seeking to influence or even manipulate them is a vital task. Within a democratic society, the use of language is the most powerful tool for achieving this task, whether by a government seeking support for a policy or by a company seeking consumption of a product. Providing on the front cover of the book the terms "climate change", "war on terror" and "ethnic cleansing" as examples of unspeak, Steven Poole traces the globalizing wave of modern unspeak from culture wars to the culture of war, and reveals how everyday words are changing the way we think.

Read a review of Unspeak by Tony Blair's former communications director Alistair Campbell in The Guardian Newspaper.

Steven Poole continues his work in Unspeak through his regularly updated Unspeak blog.

New Book - On Late Style

Edward W. Said
On Late style
Bloomsbury, 2006, 809 SAI

"Each of us can readily supply evidence of how it is that late works crown a lifetime of achievement. Rembrandt and Matisse, Back and Wagner. But what of artistic lateness not as harmony and resolution but as intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction?"

Published posthumously, On Late style is Edward Said's last book of literary criticism, and appropriately examines works created at the end of the lives of many artists across a myriad of genres, including Beethoven, Jean Genet and Glenn Gould. It illuminates the ways in which these works differed from the artists' previous works in an attempt to explore what they tell us about the creative evolution throughout the life of an artist.

Other RSA Library items by or featuring Edward W. Said include...

Parallels and paradoxes: explorations in music and society
Bloomsbury, 2003, 780 BAR

The End of the peace process: Oslo and after
Granta Books, 2002, 956.05 SAI

Reflections on exile and other literary and cultural essays
Granta Books, 2000, 814.54 SAI

Blaming the victims: spurious scholarship and the Palestinian question
Verso, 1998, 956.940 SAI

Culture and imperialism
Vintage, 1995, 306.2 SAI

Edward Said: the last interview - extended version (DVD)
ICA Projects, 2004, DVD DIB

Thursday, May 11, 2006

New Books - Oak / The secret life of trees

The secret life of trees
Allen Lane, 2005, 582.16 TUD

William Bryant Logan
Oak: the frame of civilization
W. W. Norton, 2005, 634.972 LOG

The oak tree is found throughout the temperate zones of the world; knowing how to use it has made an astonishing difference to human history. Acorn-eating has sustained humans and animals; oak has been central to religious rites, heating, homemaking and travel by land and sea; the ink from oak galls advanced the written word; oak casks have made possible food and drink storage and transport; oak ships have fought the dramatic naval battles that determined political and economic history. In a lively literary prose typical of this playwrite, William Briant Logan combines science, philosophy, spirituality and history in his biography of this essential tree that has been integral to the path of human civilization, and since time immemorial has been a symbol of loyalty and strength, generosity and renewal. Read a review of Oak at Guardian Unlimeted. Oak is related to the RSA project: RSA 250th anniversary tree planting project.

The age of trees often inspires awe, from the redwoods of California to English oaks. We wonder how they live so long, and how they really work. After all, trees provide us with air to breathe, fruits to eat, and wood to build with - and they do the same for thousands of creatures and plants. In The Secret Life of Trees, Colin Tudge explores the way trees work and what they are, finding out how they communicate, how they tell the time, how they came to exist, and much much more. Strange and surprising, this witty and informative book will make everyone fall in love with the trees around them. A respected science journalist, Colin Tudge has writen for all the major British science magazines and newspapers. Read his article of May 2004 in The Guardian newspaper on GM crops and worls agriculture. The Secret life of trees is related to the RSA project: RSA 250th anniversary tree planting project

Report & Download - Urban Task Force

In 1998 Richard Rogers was invited to chair a Government Task Force charged with translating sustainable urban development principles into strategic advice for planning authorities in England.

The Urban Task Force was faced with 3 specific urban challenges:

  • decline of regional inner-city areas and communities.
  • an official prediction of a requirement for 4 million additional households.
  • suburban sprawl consuming greenfield sites at an alarming rate, causing social and economic decline within inner-city areas.

The mission statement of the Urban Task Force was 'To identify causes of urban decline, to recommend solutions that will bring people back into our cities and to establish a vision for urban regeneration based on the principles of:

  • design excellence.
  • social well-being.
  • environmental responsibility.
  • within a viable economic and legislative framework.'

The result, published in 1999 and making over 100 recommendations, was the report 'Towards an Urban Renaissance: the final report of the Urban Task Force'. The executive summary of this report is available to download.

Six years on, the Urban Task force has come together again to write the report 'Towards a Strong Urban Renaissance'. Published in November 2005 its aim is to stimulate further public debate, encourage new thinking and build on the significant action prompted by the original report.

The work of the Urban Task force is relevant to the RSA projects: RSA Inclusive Design Resource and RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy, within the RSA Manifesto challenge : Fostering Resilient Communities.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Book - Alternatives to prison

Anthony Bottoms, Sue Rex & Gwen Robinson (ed.)
Alternatives to prison: options for an insecure society
Willan Publishing, 2004, 364.680 ALT

Compiling research from a variety of experts conducting research throughout the UK, Alternatives to prison provides a valuable contribution to the search for alternative approaches to punishment and dealing with offenders. It provides a comprehensive and wide-ranging review of the range of issues associated with using the variety of non-custodial sanctions, such as the idea of punishment as communication, electronic monitoring and the community supervision of offenders, and sentencing management.

Including a chapter on dealing with substance-misusing offenders within the community, Alternatives to prison is of relevance to the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy.

The RSA is just one organization within a significant movement dealing with public policy including issues of crime & punishment such as prisons. These range from activist groups such as No More Prison, to think tanks such as Rethinking Crime & Punishment who have a number of reports available to download, and academic institutions such as the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London.