Friday, June 29, 2007

RSA Library Web Pages & New Information Resources Section

The RSA is currently undertaking a complete redesign of our website, the first stage of which is already complete. As part of these changes the Library & Archive pages have been updated, with a focus on a simpler more usable layout, and including a new Information Resources section. This section contains easily assessable information on the long history of the RSA, our historic house and our fellowship. Whether a list of the most famous and notable people who have been fellows of the society, or a time line of our history, all can be found here.

For those with a particular interest in the history of the society, our archive now has its own blog, and the William Shipley Group is an independent body devoted exclusively to the history of the RSA.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Paddy Ashdown - Book & RSA Lecture

Paddy Ashdown
Swords and Ploughshares: Bringing Peace to the 21st Century
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007, 327.172 ASH

Paddy Ashdown made headlines this weeks after it emerged that Gordon Brown had offered him the Cabinet post of Northern Ireland secretary, a move that has generated much interest and perhaps provided some further insight into what Gordon Brown was referring to earlier in the year when launching his campaign for the labour leadership, describing "new kind of politics". This has lead some to speculate over the potential for Brown to bring about a new approach to government characterised by "a very un-Blair openness", while others including many Lib Dems have criticised him for attempting to undermine and divide his opponents.

Many have engage in the debate over Brow's motives for the offer, as well as the Lib Dem reaction to it and the wider political implications. Yet relatively little attention has been placed on the great strength of Lord Ashdown's credentials in bringing about and maintaining peace in areas of conflict, or the contribution he might make to the foreign policy of any British government.

On Wednesday 27 June, Lord Ashdown will present a lecture at the RSA entitled Perspectives on Peacebuilding, in which he will outline his views on the challenge of bringing about peace and discuss ways in which we could go about it differently. His new book Swords and Ploughshares: Bringing Peace to the 21st Century is out now and currently available to borrow from the RSA Library.

Read a description of Swords and Ploughshares from the publisher, Orion Books.

Friday, June 15, 2007

RSA Library Update - June 2007

What follows is a complete list of RSA library acquisitions for the month of June 2007. Fellows are welcome to e-mail if they wish to borrow any of these items, or search the library catalogue for thousands of other titles....

000s – Generalities

Nassim Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Allen Lane, 2007, 003.54 TAL
Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a concept that has implications on almost everything, from the rise of religions, to events in our own personal lives. A Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principle characteristics: it is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable than it was. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb reveals, we are hard-wired not to truly estimate risk, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the 'impossible'.

100s – Philosophy & Psychology

Gordon Brown
Courage: Eight Portraits
Bloomsbury, 2007, 179.609 BRO
What is it that makes some men and women take difficult decisions and do the right thing against the odds when easier and far less dangerous alternatives are open to them? To answer this question, Gordon Brown explores the lives of eight outstanding twentieth-century figures including Edith Cavell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

200s – Religion

Scott Thomas
The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations: the Struggle for the Soul of the Twenty-First Century
Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, 201.727 THO
This book is about the global resurgence of culture and religion in international relations, how these social changes are transforming our understanding of International Relation theory, and the key policy-related issue areas in world politics.

Ziauddin Sardar
What do Muslims believe?
Granta, 2006, 297 SAR
The teachings of Islam emphasise unity, humility, forgiveness and love of God, the Qur'an sings the virtues of knowledge and rationality, and the life of Muhammad demonstrates the importance of tolerance, social justice and brotherhood. So, why is Islam so associated with hatred, violence, obstinacy and bigotry? Ziauddin Sardar examines the true teachings of Islam and explores the reality of the Muslim world today.

Ziauddin Sardar
Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim
Granta Books, 2005, 297.092 SAR
Desperately Seeking Paradise is Ziauddin Sardar’s attempt to intellectually reconcile Islam with modernity through a vivid account of his explorations of different branches of Islam and of his travels throughout most of the Islamic world.

300s – Social Sciences

Hugh Barton
Shaping Neighbourhoods: a Guide for Health, Sustainability and Vitality
Spon, 2005, 307.12 BAR
Current policies in planning emphasise the importance of rejuvenating neighbourhoods. This new guide seeks to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, promoting an inter-professional and collaborative approach to making localities work. The objective is to design neighbourhoods that are healthy, safe, friendly and attractive for residents and users, whilst being more self-sustaining in terms of water, energy, local services and work.

Nassim Taleb
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
Penguin, 2007, 332.601 TAL
Everyone wants to succeed in life, but what causes some of us to be more successful than others? Is it really down to skill and strategy - or something altogether more unpredictable? This book is all about luck and more precisely, how we perceive luck in our personal and professional experiences.

Lynn Johannson
Going for the Green: A Manufacturers Guide to Lean and Green
E2 Management Corporation, 2006, 333.717 JOH
Simple to understand and designed specifically for small businesses, Going for the Green provides valuable insights into improving productivity, being more competitive and being considerate of the environment at the same time.

Anthony Mancuso
Nolo's Quick LLC: All You Need to Know about Limited Liability Companies
NOLO, 4th edition, 2007, 346.07 MAN
Nolo's Quick LLC explains, in plain English, the advantages and drawbacks of forming an LLC – including limiting your personal liability. It provides all the essential information business owners need to know about this valuable business option.

Richard E. Neustadt & Earnet R. May
Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers
Free Press, 1988, 350.007 NEU
Two professors of government analyze both the political disasters and successes of recent decades in order to provide telling lessons on how to use history to improve decision-making. A dozen case studies are drawn in great detail, explaining just how to examine a situation to help decide what to do today to improve the prospect for tomorrow.

Chris Goodall
How to live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individuals Guide to Stopping Climate Change
Earthscan, 2007, 363.738 GOO
How to Live a Low Carbon Life provides a comprehensive, one-stop reference guide to calculating individual carbon emissions. Covering all aspects of modern life from transport to home heating to where our food comes from and the difficult issue of holiday travel, the book provides easy-to-use tables for conducting a personal lifestyle 'carbon audit'.

Steve Rolles, Danny Kushlick & Mike Jay
After the War on Drugs: Options for Control
Transform Drugs Policy Foundation, 2006, 364.177 ROL
After the War on Drugs is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a road map and time line for reform.
Fellow’s donation.

Tim Grant, & Gail Littlejohn (eds.)
Teaching about Climate Change: Cool Schools Tackle Global Warming
New Society Press, 2001, 372.357 GRA
Making reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is a national focus in developed countries all over the world. Schools are well-placed to combine conservation strategies with an education program that makes links between lifestyle choices and the future of the planet. This exciting resource provides educators at all grade levels with strategies to teach about global warming and engage students' interest in doing their part to help cool the planet.

400s – Language

500s – Natural Sciences & Mathematics

600s – Technology (Applied Sciences)

Denise Grocke & Tony Wigram
Receptive Methods in Music Therapy: Techniques and Clinical Applications for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators and Students
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006, 615.851 GRO
This practical book describes the specific use of receptive (listening) methods and techniques in music therapy clinical practice and research, including relaxation with music for children and adults, the use of visualisation and imagery, music and collage, song-lyric discussion, vibroacoustic applications, music and movement techniques, and other forms of aesthetic listening to music. The authors explain these receptive methods of intervention using a format that enables practitioners to apply them in practice and make informed choices about music suitable for each of the different techniques.

David Parrish
T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity
Merseyside ACME, 2006, 658.11 PAR
T-Shirts and Suits is a book for creative entrepreneurs to help them to become even more successful by bringing together creative talent and business best practice.
Fellow’s donation.

700s – The Arts

Philip Jodidio
Calatrava: Santiago Calatrava – Complete Works 1979-2007
Taschen, 2007, 720.92 JOD/CAL
Santiago Calatrava is not only one of the world's most prominent architects, but is also an engineer, sculptor, and painter. His recent projects include the stadium for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the new railway station in Liege, and he it the only architect ever to have his work exhibited at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Currently designing the main transport hub for the Ground Zero site in Manhattan, Calatrava is one of the greatest and most innovative architects alive and this book places his architecture in the context of his art, where nature meets engineering.

Neal Gabler
Walt Disney: the Biography
Aurum, 2007, 791.43 GAB
His classic films illuminated everyone's childhood. The theme parks are on every tourist itinerary. The movie empire is one of Hollywood's biggest players. Walt Disney is one of the few men who unquestionably changed our culture. Neal Gabler is the first author to have had complete access to the Disney Archives, enabling him to write the definitive biography of this remarkable man.

David Goldblatt
The Ball is Round: a Global History of Football
Viking, 2006, 796.334 GOL
In this extraordinary book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It is the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a chronicle of who won and who lost. But it's also a history of states and markets, money and power, and, above all, how all these forces interact.

800s – Literature

900s – Geography & History

Andrew Duncan
Secret London
New Holland, 2006, 914.21 DUN
Aimed at visitors and Londoners alike, this fully updated edition of Secret London unlocks the city's most fascinating secrets - both above and below ground. Celebrated historian Andrew Duncan strips away bricks, mortar and tarmac to uncover parts of the capital that even born-and-bred Londoners may never have seen.

Satish Kumar & Freddie Whitefield (eds.)
Visionaries of the 20th Century: a Resurgence Anthology
Green Books, 2006, 920.009 KUM
Visionaries of the 20th Century brings together the lives and works of 100 great men and women who offered inspiration, hope and healing. The 20th century was marked by wars, dictatorships and environmental destruction, yet many individuals kept alive the hope of a sane and sustainable future through their example, ideas and vision.

Chris Stringer
Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain
Allen Lane, 2006, 936.101 STR
Homo Britannicus tells the epic history of life in Britain, from man's very first footsteps to the present day. Drawing on all the latest evidence and techniques of investigation, Chris Stringer describes times when Britain was so tropical that man lived alongside hippos and sabre tooth tiger, times so cold we shared this land with reindeer and mammoth, and times colder still when we were forced to flee altogether.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Yo, Blair!: Tony Blair's Disastrous Premiership
Politico's, 2007, 941.085 WHE
We want you to get up the arse of the White House and stay there. Blair aid Jonathan Powell to incumbent US Ambassador Christopher Meyer in 2001 Bestselling journalist and writer Geoffrey Wheatcroft's timely and coruscating polemic argues that Tony Blair has signally failed in his principal responsibility to defend the interests of his country. Instead, by taking us to war on America's coattails, by reducing British foreign policy to the level of self-righteous sound bites and expensive foreign travel, and by chasing his childish infatuation with his own image as an international statesman, Tony Blair has doggedly pursued the interests of the United States whilst blatantly disregarding the warnings from his own experts and the demands and needs of his own people.

Philip Humphrey
A Century of Colt Hill
Ellingham Press, 2006, 942.273 HUM
A Century of Colt Hill is an intimate portrait of a small Odiham community throughout the twentieth Century. Skilfully blending individual accounts of residents with a painstaking search through the archives, RSA Fellow Philip Humphrey has created an intriguing account of life in regional England.
Fellow’s donation.

Benjamin Franklin
The Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin
The Arion Press, 2006, 973.3 BEN
Commonly known as The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, this edition has been published in celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth. A storyteller of genius, Franklin is a significant figure in American history and was strongly connected to the RSA.
Fellow’s donation.


Peter Marcan (ed.)
The Marcan Visual Arts Handbook: Where to go for British Contacts, Expertise and Speciality in the Fine and Applied Arts.
Peter Marcan, 2006, REF 702.541
This comprehensive visual arts resource contains nearly 2000 descriptive entries, which cover a range of British organisations and information sources, along with bibliographical listings.


David Attenborough
Planet Earth: As You've Never Seen it Before - The Complete Series
Narrated by David Attenborough, this hugely successful BBC documentary series allows the viewer to experience the earth as never before with groundbreaking footage of our planet and its wildlife.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Book - On the Move

On the Move: Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington DC, 2 February, 2006
W Pub. Group, 2007, 261.8 BON

“6,500 Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about Justice and Equality." – Bono.

Based upon the speech given at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast, On the Move is a shining example of Bono’s ability to awaken mass desire for change and illustrates just why he has become so influential in the continuing struggle to end poverty in Africa. Whether using political means to lobby the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, or, as in this example talking in religious terms by reflecting on his own faith and challenging people of all faiths to reach across boundaries and come together for a greater cause, Bono has proven himself to be an inspiring and powerful crusader against poverty.

Bono has once again made his significant presence felt both in the run up to and during the recent G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. By drawing the attention of the world back to the promises made at the Gleneagles G8 summit and warning of a potential
backslide at this years summit, in recent weeks Bono has helped to ensure that the G8 leaders have still been under pressure to deliver. He has also met with leaders including Angela Merkel and George W. Bush during the summit itself.

The result of the discussions about aid for Africa has been a restating of the promises made two years ago, including pledging $60bn to fight Aids and other diseases. Despite this,
Bob Geldof, a close campaigning ally of Bono, has been quoted by the BBC as describing this pledge as ‘a total farce’.

Friday, June 01, 2007

New Book - 'Teaching About Climate Change'

Tim Grant
Teaching About Climate Change: Cool Schools Tackle Global Warming
New Society Publishers, 2001, 372.357 GRA

Following on from the success we have had with our Personal Carbon Trading Project CarbonLimited, on 5 June 2007 the RSA will launch ‘Carbon Control’ a new initiative aimed at actively involving children between the ages of seven and fourteen in the issue of climate change. Timed to coincide with World Environment Day, the project will run a competition challenging children to come up with and share ideas for reducing carbon emissions, with environmentally friendly prizes to be won. Visitors to the site will also be able to use the ‘Carbonator’ to find out how their daily actions can help to reduce climate change.

The vital role of educating young people about environmental issues within schools, as a means of promoting social change, has been well publicised by organisations such as the magazine
Green Teacher. Available to borrow from the RSA Library, Teaching About Climate Change is an anthology produced by the magazine offering a framework for teaching fundamental concepts and contains a variety of activities that can be undertaken in school, at home or in the community.

The Carbon Control website also contains resources for teachers available to download, enabling them to plan lessons at both the Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 level.