21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Harari

Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present.

I really enjoyed this book. Harari is a BIG PICTURE guy who quickly puts things into perspective.

His chapter on God is excellent, for example.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)by Yuval Noah Harari … attempts to untangle the technological, political, social, and existential quandaries that humankind faces. …

In The New York TimesBill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”


related 2020 interview:

Yuval Harari: This is the worst epidemic in ‘at least 100 years’

Social Media – Good or Bad?

When the internet — and then social media — got popular I was convinced it would make the world better.

Better informed.

The poor and powerless would have a voice. A blog. A podcast.

Seems I was wrong. 

Social media was supposed to be the ultimate free speech platform, a place where the world would come together to swap information and share opinions. It would be the battleground of ideas. …

Twitter has become a playground for bots and trolls. Facebook is filled with misinformation, a place where foreign governments can set up groups to spread fake news. …

At the same time, users have retreated into their own bubbles. …

Social Media has had its Day

 

I Am Malala with Christina Lamb

If you want to know more about life in Pakistan I recommend this autobiography of a teenager.

If you want to know more about the plight of girls and women in extremist Muslim nations, this is the book. Malala is a symbol. She was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

I hadn’t recalled that the Taliban assassin shot Malala and hit both girls sitting either side of her as well. All three survived.

Christina Lamb is an excellent writer, expert in this region. She too was nearly killed by the Taliban, on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up in October 2007.

2013

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (2013) is an autobiographical book by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Christina Lamb …

The book details the early life of Yousafzai, her father’s ownership of schools and activism, the rise and fall of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Swat Valley and the assassination attempt made against Yousafzai, when she was aged 15, following her activism for female education.

It has received a positive critical reception and won awards, though it has been banned in many schools in Pakistan. …

Swat Valley has been an important tourist destination in the past. And may be again in future. Malala is a Pashtun, the majority of whom follow Sunni Islam.

The leader of the Swat Taliban in Malala’s day was Maulana Fazlullah.  He was killed by American drone strike in 2018.

Today Malala is a student at Oxford studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

She and her father run the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. That’s an important cause for me too.

I’m proud to say Malala has honorary Canadian citizenship.

 

 

 

 

Joker

  1. Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant. He certainly deserves the Academy Award for Best Actor.
  2. The theme of economic inequality is important in 2020. It will be one of the big issues of the next 10 years.
  3. Joker is a story of mental illness. A cautionary tale warning us to provide better health care or the worst can happen.
  4. It will be studied by film students for decades alongside Taxi Driver. I thought the cinematography superb. Robert De Niro perfect casting.

Joker .. was inspired by 1970s character studies and the films of Martin Scorsese (particularly Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy) …

The film polarized critics; while Phoenix’s performance, the musical score, cinematography and production values were praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illness, and handling of violence divided responses. … (68% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Joker has grossed over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to do so …

… the most profitable film based on a comic book …

Phoenix is interested in doing a sequel.

 

 

 

The Guardians by John Grisham (2019)

Went directly to #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List.

I recommend it.

“The Guardians” is Grisham’s 40th novel; he’s now 64 …

Such creative longevity is not that unusual in the suspense genre, but what is rare is Grisham’s feat of keeping up the pace of producing, on average, a novel a year (in 2017 he published two) without a notable diminishment of ingenuity or literary quality. Dame Agatha Christie, who barely paused between books to sharpen pencils during her near-50-year marathon mystery career, is another such marvel. …

Grisham’s main character here is a so-called “innocence lawyer,” a workaholic attorney-and-Episcopal-priest named Cullen Post. Post has trimmed his life down to the barest of essentials, living in spartan quarters above the nonprofit Guardian Ministries, his workplace in Savannah, Ga. The book focuses on Post’s investigation into the wrongful conviction of a black man named Quincy Miller who was set up to take the fall for the murder of a white lawyer in a small Florida town some 22 years before …

WaPo review 

Grisham is a member of the board of directors of the Innocence Project, which campaigns to free and exonerate unjustly convicted people. This book is laser focused on that topic.

This novel was inspired by Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries. That organization has freed dozens of wrongfully accused.

When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

Peace on Earth – One Love

Hundreds of Christians, Jews and Muslims came together at the Tower of David in Jerusalem to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

1,000 Strangers – Christians, Jews, And Muslims – Sing ‘One Love’ By Bob Marley

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. (2018)