Tuesday, August 05, 2008

RSA Library Update - July 2008

What follows is a complete list of RSA library acquisitions for the month of July 2008. Fellows are welcome to e-mail the Library if they wish to borrow any of these items.

000s – Generalities

100s – Philosophy & Psychology

Daniel Goleman
Emotional Intelligence
Bantam Books, 2005, 152.4 GOL
Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman's brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our two minds--the rational and the emotional--and how they together shape our destiny. Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart. The best news is that emotional literacy is not fixed early in life. Every parent, every teacher, every business leader, and everyone interested in a more civil society, has a stake in this compelling vision of human possibility.

Noah Goldstein, Steve Marin and Robert Cialdini
Yes! What Science tells us about how to be Persuasive
Profile, 2007, 153.852 GOL
Most of us are only too aware that, whatever roles we have in today's fast-moving world, much of our success lies in getting others to say 'yes' to our requests. What many people might not be aware of, though, is the vast amount of research that has been conducted on the influence process. What factors cause one person to say 'yes' to the request of another? Yes! is full of practical tips based on recent academic research that shows how the psychology of persuasion can provide valuable insights for anyone interested in improving their ability to persuade others - whether in the workplace, at home or even on the internet.

200s – Religion

Trevor Beeson
Round the Church in Fifty Years: An Intimate Journey
SCM Press, 2007, 283.4209045 BEE
One of the most perceptive and entertaining of writers, Trevor Beeson, takes us on a fascinating and amusing journey through the Church of England in the last fifty years. From the publication of Honest to God and to the ordination of women and rows over sexuality, it has been an extraordinary time, with its moments of exhilaration and absurdity. We travel a decade a time, taking in the Swinging Sixties and the Gay Nineties, enjoying an overview of both momentous change and obscure events in the Church, on the international stage and at a local level. In the Thatcher years, when the Church was the government's most effective opposition, what foolish or trivial things were exciting the minds of local preachers and editors of parish magazines? This wonderful book embraces both. Each section comprises 50 vignettes that capture the spirit of the age in which they were written.

300s – Social Sciences

Chip and Dan Heath
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck
Arrow Books, 2008, 302.2 HEA
What is that makes urban myths so persistent but many everyday truths so eminently forgettable? How do newspapers set about ensuring that their headlines make you want to read on? And why do we remember complicated stories but not complicated facts? In the course of over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have established what it is that determines whether particular ideas or stories stick in our minds or not, and Made to Stick is the fascinating outcome of their painstaking research. Packed full of case histories and thought-provoking anecdotes, it shows, among other things, how one Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria, and how a gifted sports reporter got people to watch a football match by showing them the outside of the stadium. Entertaining and informative by turns, this is a fascinating and multi-faceted account of a key area of human behaviour. At the same time, by showing how we can all use such cleverly devised strategies as the 'Velcro Theory of Memory' and 'curiosity gaps', it offers superbly practical insights, setting out principles we all can adopt to make sure that we get our ideas across effectively.

Richard Seyler Ling
New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion
MIT, 2008, 303.4833 LIN
This book looks at how cell phones and mobile communication may in many cases strengthen social cohesion. The message of this book is simple: the mobile phone strengthens social bonds among family and friends. With a traditional land-line telephone, we place calls to a location and ask hopefully if someone is there; with a mobile phone, we have instant and perpetual access to friends and family regardless of where they are. But when we are engaged in these intimate conversations with absent friends, what happens to our relationship with the people who are actually in the same room with us? In New Tech, New Ties , Rich Ling examines how the mobile telephone affects both kinds of interactions - those mediated by mobile communication and those that are face to face. He looks at the evidence, including interviews and observations from around the world, which documents the effect of mobile communication on social bonding and also examines some of the other possibly problematic issues raised by tighter social cohesion in small groups.

Kenan Malik
Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate
Oneworld, 2008, 305.8 MAL
The debate about race is back - and with a vengeance. In the past, scientific ideas of race reflected political ideas of inferiority and superiority, whereas today it reflects contemporary notions of diversity. Kenan Malik challenges both sides of the race debate, controversially revealing that it is not through the scientific study of human differences but through our political obsession with identity and diversity that racial ideas are once more catching fire. Weaving together politics, history, science, and philosophy, Strange Fruit discusses issues ranging from the science of skull measurement to the politics of the Holocaust; from diabetes rates among Hispanics to the fate of the Elgin Marbles; from the genetics of altruism to the struggle for Aboriginal rights; and, from the successes of Human Genome Project to the failures of multiculturalism. Huge in its reach and powerful in its grasp, the book uproots the conventional ways of thinking about race, science, and identity.

John Naish
Hodder & Stoughton, 2008, 306.3 NAI
For millions of years, humankind has used a brilliantly successful survival strategy. If we like something, we chase after more of it: more status, more food, more info, more stuff. Then we chase again. It's how we survived famine, disease and disaster to colonise the world. But now, thanks to technology, we've suddenly got more of everything than we can ever use, enjoy or afford. That doesn't stop us from striving though and it's making us sick, tired, overweight, angry and in debt. It burns up our personal ecologies and the planet's ecology too. We urgently need to develop a sense of 'enough'. Our culture keeps telling us that we don't yet have all we need to be happy, but in fact we need to nurture a new skill -- the ability to bask in the bounties all around us. Enough explores how our Neolithic brain-wiring spurs us to build a world of overabundance that keeps us hooked on 'more'. John explains how, through adopting the art of enoughness, we can break from this wrecking cycle. With ten chapters on topics such as Enough food, Enough stuff, Enough hurry and Enough information, he explores how we created the problem and gives us practical ways to make our lives better.

Stella Creast (ed.)
Participation Nation: Reconnecting Citizens to the Public Realm
The Involve Foundation, 2007, 323.042 CRE
Whether through online consultations, deliberative focus groups or citizens’ juries, never before have there been so many opportunities for citizens to influence public services. There is now a growing consensus that the state can no longer direct the actions of citizens without their cooperation any more than the market alone can be relied upon to address the challenges of modernity. Whether in dealing with climate change, public health concerns or tackling international terrorism and promoting pro-social behaviour, we are entering an era in which progress can only be made in a society in which individuals, communities and public services are each able and willing to play their own part. For this to happen, public participation must become the core, not the counterpart, of the future of public service decision marking. The time has come, it appears, for people power.

John Bolton
Surrender is not an Option: Defending American at the United Nations and Abroad
Simon & Schuster, 2007, 341.2373 BOL
The son of a Baltimore fireman and the first person in his family to go to university, with scholarships to Yale College and Yale Law School, John Bolton candidly recounts his sixteen month tenure as US Ambassador to the United Nations, his Senate confirmation battle, and the highlights of his career in public service in two prior Republican administrations. In this explosive book, Bolton details how he made sure that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan did not run for a third term and that another 'secular Pope' did not succeed him and why no country except the United States has done much about ending the genocide in Darfur. With a no-holds barred approach, John Bolton provides a unique insight into the workings of this monolithic institution and America's place within it.

Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
The Devil Came on Horseback
Dogwoof Pictures, 2008, 355.0218 STE
An up-close, honest, and uncompromising look at the crisis in Darfur, The Devil Came on Horseback exposes the on-going tragedy taking place in Sudan as seen through the eyes of one American witness. Using the exclusive photographs and first-hand testimony of former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle, the film goes on an emotionally charged journey into the heart of Darfurm Sudan, where in 2004 Steidle became witness to a genocide that to date has claimed over 400,000 lives. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate. A film which demands to be watched by as many people as possible, The Devil Came on Horseback is a heartfelt account of what this particular American witness saw and, just as important, what he did afterwards.

Christopher Booker and Richard North
Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming, How Scares are Costing us the Earth
Continuum, 2007, 363.1 BOO
From salmonella in eggs to BSE, from the Millennium Bug to bird 'flu, from DDT to passive smoking, from asbestos to global warming, 'scares' have become one of the most conspicuous and damaging features of our modern world. This book for the first time tells the inside story of each of the major scares of the past two decades, showing how they have followed a remarkably consistent pattern. It analyses the crucial role played in each case by scientists who have misread or manipulated the evidence; by the media and lobbyists who eagerly promote the scare without regard to the facts; and finally by the politicians and officials who come up with an absurdly disproportionate response, leaving us all to pay a colossal price, which may run into billions or even hundreds of billions of pounds. In an epilogue the authors compare our credulity in falling for scares to mass-hysterias of previous ages such as the post-mediaeval 'witch craze', describing our time as a 'new age of superstition'.

Robert Kunzig and Wallace S. Broecker
Fixing Climate: The Story of Climate Science, and How to Stop Global Warming
GreenProfile, 2008, 363.738747 KUN
We've heard a lot about climate change - but what can we do about it? Wallace Broecker, the eminent scientist who coined the term global warming way back in 1975, believes in a solution emerging on the horizon: 'artificial trees' designed to remove CO2 directly from the air. Penned by Broeker with award-winning science writer Robert Kunzig, this riveting and important book looks back at Earth's volatile climate history to shed light on the challenges we face ahead. Ice ages, planetary orbits, a giant 'conveyor belt' in the ocean...it's a story full of extraordinary discoveries and maverick thinkers. Broecker likens climate to a slumbering beast, ready to react to the smallest of prods. And prodding it we are, by pumping 70 million tonnes of CO2 into the air each year. Fixing Climate explains why we need not just to reduce emissions but to start removing our carbon waste from our atmosphere. And in a thrilling last section of the book, we learn how this could become reality, using 'artificial trees' and underground storage.

Jane Martin and Ann Holt
Joined-up Governance: Making Sense of the Role of the School Governor
Adamson, 2007, 371.2011 MAR
Written by two leading experts on governance, Joined-up Governance establishes the underlying principles of the governors’ work and links them to their responsibilities. The result is to reveal and pattern and a purpose which will help governors to focus on the essential tasks and give them the confidence to do less of what others could or should be doing.

Alex Gibney
Taxi to the Dark Side
Revolver Entertainment, 2008, 399 GIB
As US Soldiers occupied war-torn Afghanistan in 2002, a young Afghan taxi driver called Dilawar was arrested, along with his passengers, at a checkpoint for an alleged involvement in a Taliban rocket attack. Confined to a solitary cell at Bagram, Dilawar was chained and exposed to continuous beatings and torture from the US soldiers. Five days after his arrest, Dilawar died.

400s – Language

Maryanne Wolf
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Icon, 2008, 418.4019 WOL
'We were never born to read', says Maryanne Wolf. 'No specific genes ever dictated reading's development. Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago. And with this invention, we changed the very organisation of our brain, which in turn expanded the ways we were able to think, which altered the intellectual evolution of our species.' In Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf explores our brains' near-miraculous ability to arrange and re-arrange themselves in response to external circumstances. She examines how this 'open architecture', the elasticity of our brains, helps and hinders humans in their attempts to learn to read, and to process the written language. She also investigates what happens to people whose brains make it difficult to acquire these skills, such as those with dyslexia .Wolf, a world expert on the reading brain, brings both a personal passion and deft style to this, the story of the reading brain. It is a pop science masterpiece on a subject that anyone who loves reading will be sure to find fascinating.

500s – Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Michio Kaku
Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Tour beyond Science Fiction, Fantasy and Magic
Allen Lane, 2008, 509.05 KAK
Physics of the Impossible takes us on a journey to the frontiers of science and beyond, giving us an exhilarating insight into what we can really hope to achieve in the future. Everyday we see that what was once declared 'impossible' by scientists has become part of our everyday lives: fax machines, glass sky-scrapers, gas-powered automobiles, a worldwide communications network and high-speed elevated trains. Here, internationally bestselling author Micho Kaku confidently hurdles today's frontier of science, presenting the first truly authoritative exploration of the real science of tomorrow; a field normally left to writers of science fiction. He reveals the actual possibilities of perpetual motion, force fields, invisibility, ray guns, anti-gravity and anti-matter, teleportation, telepathy, psychokinesis, robots and cyborgs, faster than light travel, time travel, zero-point energy, extraterrestrial life, even clairvoyance. And he shows how few of these ideas actually violate the laws of physics. The real differences between the impossible, the unlikely and the imminent have never been so clear.

Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel Primack
The View from the Centre of the Universe
Fourth Estate, 2006, 523.1 ABR
Ever since Galileo discovered that Earth is not the centre of the universe, we've thought of 'the universe' as either an enormous ice-cold vacuum or a setting for science fiction. Now, thanks to startling discoveries in astronomy and physics, we can see that the universe is far more coherent than anyone ever imagined it to be. For the first time in history, we have the necessary tools, theories and thinking to create a science-based cosmology (the study of the origin and structure of the universe) that explains not only how the universe works but what our place in it really is. This emerging cosmology explains how the universe operates, what the universe is made of, where it may have come from, how it is evolving and why it makes sense that humans are on Earth at all. Authors Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams, a world-renowned astrophysicist and a science philosopher, explain these astonishing new ideas in ways that will literally change how we view the world, showing us how intellectually thrilling and intuitively meaningful these new concepts are.

600s – Technology (Applied Sciences)

Julia Middleton
Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World
Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 658.4092 MID
Many leaders have established their reputation in the internal silo environment of their organization. When they extend their leadership role beyond the organization, authority and legitimacy are constantly in question. Julia Middleton argues that new leaders need to be confident to legitimize themselves and challenge old ways. They need to develop a leadership style that will enable them to lead beyond the traditional boundaries and constraints of the organization. This book provides many challenging and compelling ideas and examples.

700s – The Arts

Rebecca Jenkins
The First London Olympics, 1908
Portrait, 2008, 796.48 JEN
A hundred years ago a 140-acre site of scrubland in London was transformed into the White City, which housed the 1908 Franco British Exhibition and a state-of-the-art stadium built to house the first London Olympics. The Olympics were organised by volunteers in 18 months, at a fraction of the cost of the modern Olympics and yet, just as today, the sport was overshadowed by doping scandals, and the protests of an occupied nation seeking independence. The British team were pitted against a US team dominated by Irish Americans and lost. The Games culminated in the historic marathon when Italian baker Dorando Pietri was disqualified, after he was helped across the finish line. Rebecca Jenkins's book, aided by over 70 charming illustrations, is a fascinating slice of social and sporting history and provides a thought-provoking contrast to the forthcoming London Olympics of 2012.

800s – Literature

David Foster Wallace
Consider the Lobster
Abacus, 2007, 814.54 WAL
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humour? What is John Updike's deal anyway? And who won the Adult Video News' Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in his new book of hilarious non-fiction. For this collection, David Foster Wallace immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaigns in recent history. Later he strolls from booth to booth at a lobster festival in Maine and risks life and limb to get to the bottom of the lobster question. Then he wheedles his way into an L.A. radio studio, armed with tubs of chicken, to get the behind-the-scenes view of a conservative talkshow featuring a host with an unnatural penchant for clothing that only looks good on the radio. In what is sure to be a much-talked-about exploration of distinctly modern subjects, one of the sharpest minds of our time delves into some of life's most delicious topics.

900s – Geography & History

Fareed Zakaria
The Post-American World
Allen Lane, 2008, 909.83 ZAK
'This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else'. So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering. Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the 'rise of the rest' - the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others - as the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world. The tallest buildings, biggest dams, largest-selling movies, and most advanced cell phones are all being built outside the United States. This economic growth is producing political confidence, national pride, and potentially international problems. How should the United States understand and thrive in this rapidly changing international climate? What does it mean to live in a truly global era? Zakaria answers these questions with his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination.

Simon Foxell
Mapping London: Making Sense of the City
Black Dog, 2007, 911.421 FOX
Mapping London: Making Sense of the City is a beautiful, compelling anthology that explores over six centuries of London maps. The book is a cartographic journey through the city, tracing its fascinating evolution and exploring the hopes and fears of its inhabitants as events unfold. Mapping London is lavishly illustrated with over 150 maps - from the earliest Roman and Saxon maps, contemporary town planning, literary imaginings and utopian prophecies through to the renderings of artists and comics, as well as timeless icons such as the London Underground map and the Monopoly board.

Sukhdev Sandhu
Night Haunts
Artangel/Verso, 2007, 914.210486 SAN
London at night, from Shakespeare's time to Dickens to Jack the Ripper, was always seen as a lawless orgy of depravity and pestilence, teeming with rogues and bandits. But is it now as bland and unthreatening as any new town? Sukhdev Sandhu journeys across London to find out whether the London night really has been rendered neutral by street lighting and CCTV cameras. Sandhu's forays see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive its pulse, from the avian police to security guards, zookeepers and exorcists. He wades through the sewers, hangs out with pirate DJs and accompanies the marine patrol looking for midnight corpses. In a beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated book he seeks to reclaim the mystery and romance of the city - to revitalise the great myth of London for a new century.

Sarah Wise
The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
Bodley Head, 2008, 942.1081 WIS
In 1887, Government inspectors were sent to explore the horrifying - often lethal - living conditions of the Old Nichol, a notorious 15-acre slum in London's East End. Among much else they found that the rotting 100-year-old houses were some of the most lucrative properties in the capital for their absent slumlords. Peers of the Realm, local politicians, churchmen and lawyers were making profits on these death-traps of as much as 150 per cent per annum. Before long, the Old Nichol became a focus of public attention, with journalists, the clergy, charity workers and others condemned its 6,000 inhabitants for their drunkenness and criminality. The solution to this 'problem' lay in internment camps, said some, or forced emigration - even policies designed to prevent breeding. Concentrating on the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century, The Blackest Streets is set in a turbulent period in London's history, when revolution was very much in the air - when unemployment, agricultural depression and a crackdown on parish relief provided a breeding ground for Communists and Anarchists. Sarah Wise explores the real lives behind the statistics - the woodworkers, fish smokers, street hawkers and many more. She excavates the Old Nichol from the ruins of history, laying bare the social and political conditions that created and sustained this black hole which lay at the very heart of the Empire.

Jonathan Fenby
The Britannica Guide to Modern China
Robinson, 2008, 951 FEN
In 2008, as Beijing hosts the Olympic Games, the world's attention is focused on China - yet the most populous nation on the planet is still something of a mystery for many. This comprehensive introduction to the country gives an unbiased and lively overview of China's people, its culture and recent history. In an illuminating account of the rise of modern China, The Britannica Guide shows how this former peasant economy has been transformed in the last three decades to achieve its present position as a super-power - and the future looks set to be even more impressive. Drawing together the most up-to-date material, and presenting it in a clear, reader-friendly style, it is the perfect companion for travellers who wish to know the country beyond the tourist trail, students and business people who need an overview of the culture and society, and of course the general reader, who wants to understand China's remarkable legacy and potent future.

Danny Postel
Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism
Prickly Paradigm Press, 2007, 955 POS
The Iran depicted in the headlines is a rogue state ruled by ever-more-defiant Islamic fundamentalists. Yet inside the borders, an unheralded transformation of a wholly different political bent is occurring. A liberal renaissance, as one Iranian thinker terms it, is emerging in Iran, and in this pamphlet, Danny Postel charts the contours of the intellectual upheaval. Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran examines the conflicted positions of the Left toward Iran since 1979, and, in particular, critically reconsiders Foucault's connection to the Iranian Revolution. Postel explores the various elements of the subtle liberal revolution and proposes a host of potential implications of this transformation for Western liberalism. He examines the appeal of Jurgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt, and Isaiah Berlin among Iranian intellectuals and ponders how their ideas appear back to us when refracted through a Persian prism. Postel closes with a thought-provoking conversation with eminent Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo. A provocative and incisive polemic highly relevant to our times, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran will be of interest to anyone who wants to get beyond alarmist rhetoric and truly understand contemporary Iran.