Good Reading -- January 2021

Philip C. Ordway

Original post:

https://philipordway.substack.com/p/good-reading-january-2021


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Quoted

  • “I try to have nothing in the room that’s not about writing. It’s hard enough to concentrate.” — Robert Caro

  • “In a cable to Washington in 1944, George F. Kennan, counselor at the United States Embassy in Stalin’s Moscow, warned of the occult power held by lies, noting that Soviet rule ‘has proved some strange and disturbing things about human nature.’ Foremost among these, he wrote, is that in the case of many people, ‘it is possible to make them feel and believe practically anything.’ No matter how untrue something might be, he wrote, ‘for the people who believe it, it becomes true. It attains validity and all the powers of truth.’” (Source: history.state.gov)

Facts and Figures

  • There are more corporate communications personnel at Amazon (969) than there are journalists at the Washington Post (798). — Source: LinkedIn research in Post Corona by Scott Galloway

Books

  • Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know (And Many Others You Will Find Interesting) — This book fits well with the Pinker/Ridley/Rosling books of recent years in fighting our pessimism with actual data that supports optimism. This is also a beautiful book and one that is much needed these days. (This was a holiday gift from Bill L — thank you!)

  • Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity — I skimmed Scott Galloway’s other book, “The Four” about a year ago and I also read his blog, “No Mercy / No Malice” from time to time. This material repeats much of the material found there, and it would have made a better blog post than book. That said, it’s impressive that he cranked this out in a few short weeks during the summer of 2020, and it does have several thought-provoking passages. (This book was also a holiday gift — thanks, Mom!)

  • The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations — Daniel Yergin’s prior masterpieces on oil (The Quest and The Prize) deserved their accolades, and this book is very good too. It is stunning to think about how much changed in just a few years. There is excellent, readable history and analysis here. (Yet another gift — thank you Adam S.!)

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