Democracy in Danger - that book again!

About a year ago a journalist I find most trustworthy recommended a book that seemed well suited to my unease about the direction our nation was headed. Fareed Zakaria pitched How Democracies Die by Steven Livitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. I read the book; it did not quell my fears for our country. In fact, it convinced me that our democracy might be in more serious danger than I’d first thought. 

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A Fun Book for Everyone - unbiased, straightforward

What a breath of fresh air! A book in 2018 that has no political bent and no ax to grind. Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy by Tim Harford doesn’t even claim these are the fifty most important inventions. He just treats us to a delightful history of fifty inventions and shows the undeniable impact each has had on today’s economy. Even if you’re not a student of the economy, it’s a fun read with no hidden agenda and no allegiance to any political party.

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Changing Minds - a Magic Wand?

Probably not. But have we ever seen a period in our lifetime when more people hoped more fervently to change more minds – but were ever so nervous about trying to do so? Did you ever before walk on eggs like you’re walking on eggs now? Biting your tongue? Holding back with strangers – nice, friendly folk you genuinely like – because they might be “on the other side”? Carefully remembering not to tread on certain ground with family because one can never be sure who’s in what camp? 

But, oh, how we’d like to change their minds! And how they’d like to change ours! In many cases, I think, we also long to change our own minds.

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"How Democracies Die" - A book we all should read

Each week Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s Global Public Square, recommends another book for me to read. I listen to Fareed because I believe he is one of the smartest, most balanced and intellectually curious journalists of our time. Consequently, each week my reading list grows. When Fareed recommended How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, I moved it to the top of my list

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Optimism and Abundance

Let’s kick that “scarcity” perspective for 2017 

Yes, I know this is meant to be a space to talk about communication. On the other hand, what element of human interaction does not involve communication? So I’m giving myself wide latitude here today, and I’m going to share with my readers the bounty – the uplifting, optimistic, promising bounty – I have discovered over the past year in two works that nicely bookend a world perspective based on positive expectations.

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Take Refuge in a Book

Retreat from the crush of communication.

Take refuge in a book. That’s the best I can offer, and I offer it with confidence that it is, indeed, the best advice you’re going to get today!

I’ve been wounded (perhaps not mortally) by the use of language over the past year to bully and frighten, cudgel and cajole the great unthinking masses. And it continues, as if neither the losers nor the winners can be satisfied with the results. It is hard to bear.

Now for the good news: I have borne it with the help of one of North America’s most fabulous novelists. She’s a Canadian, not an American, which is grimly humorous in a time when so many Americans have been talking idly of defecting to Canada. This amazing author launched her series of intelligent, highly literary, compellingly sensual and intriguing mysteries in 2005. It’s called the Inspector Gamache series, and it includes, counting the masterpiece released in September of this year, 13 novels. Today I’m going to tell you a little about this author and this series. If you’re still casting about for a harmless, temporary escape from the madness that has been America in 2016 (and nothing in a bottle seems to be a good option), here is your antidote.

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