Summer reading lists are about as ubiquitous this time of year as sunburns and cookouts, but not all of them exhibit a global affairs oeuvre. In a recent Chicago Tribune interview, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "...if I'm going to read a book, I want to come out smarter. It's not to escape, it's to learn." Taking a page from Emanuel's book (pun intended), here are seven great works featured in the 2016-17 Council program season that you can learn from, as well as videos of the authors speaking on the Council stage.
Kamal Al-Solaylee, What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), Harper Collins
Populists have achieved previously unimaginable success in recent years by playing on concerns relating to immigration, identity, and social change. Ryerson University professor Kamal Al-Solaylee explores these issues from the perspective of those who are often presented as the threatening outsiders: the millions of “brown” people from every corner of the Global South who often struggle to define their place or discover a cohesive voice in western societies.
Amy Webb, The Signals are Talking: Why Today's Fringe is Tomorrow's Mainstream, Public Affairs
Technological change often occurs at a bewildering pace and it is difficult enough to understand the latest developments, let alone predict what their broader implication might be for business, politics, or society. Noted futurist Amy Webb provides a practical framework for assessing the likely impact of emerging trends, while making the case for citizens to empower themselves to participate in, rather than merely spectate, the future of technology.
Tyler Cowen, The Complacent Class: The Self-defeating Quest for the American Dream, St. Martin's Press
Long renowned for its dynamism, America today has entered an era of stagnation and pessimism, argues Tyler Cowen. The George Mason University economist contends that this stasis is only partly related to economics, but also reflects broader cultural trends, particularly heightened conformism and decreased tolerance for risk. These tendencies could have implications for America’s future economic growth, social fabric, and role in the world.
Ed Luce, The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Atlantic Monthly
The Financial Times’ Washington correspondent Edward Luce issues a stark premonition on the future of liberal democracy. Political dysfunction, unresponsive elites, and an erosion of middle class living standards have fermented angry and disillusioned electorates across the West. Populists have capitalized on this mood with bold promises and nativist appeals, a trend that holds dire implications for open societies and global order, Luce contends.
Dan Drezner, The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas, Oxford University Press
Tufts University professor Daniel Drezner provides a fascinating look inside the changing world of experts: those public intellectuals and big name thought leaders whose prognostications dominate public discourse. Drezner believes that declining faith in authority, political polarization, and above all money are transforming the marketplace of ideas in ways that often fail to incentivize the sort of serious thinking needed to face today’s global challenges.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World, Yale University Press
Anne-Marie Slaughter examines the often misunderstood power of networks in today’s interconnected world. The Yale professor, and former director of policy planning at the State Department, urges policymakers to view geopolitics through the lens of the connections and relationships between myriad entities, in addition to the more traditional “chessboard” world of inter-governmental competition.
Richard Florida, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class–And What We Can Do About It, Basic Books
Urban studies professor Richard Florida was one of the first scholars to examine how the emergence of a “creative class” of young, urban professionals was driving growth across the world’s superstar cities. Revisiting this subject, Florida’s latest book explores the degree to which these cities have since become victims of their own success as gentrification, inequality, and segregation become entrenched issues of urban spaces.