Book Reviews
Into the light: How humans became intelligent
March 9th, 2017, 10:27 PM
Print section Print Headline:  The blind Bach-maker Print Fly Title:  Consciousness explained UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Quantum leaps Fly Title:  Into the light Main image:  Dan dares Dan dares From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. By Daniel Dennett. W.W. Norton; 496 pages; $28.95. Allen Lane; £25. HUMAN neurons are distant relatives of tiny yeast cells, themselves descendants of even simpler microbes. Yet they are organised in structures that are capable of astonishing feats of creativity. How did the world get from bacteria to Bach, from fungus to fugues? Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher and cognitive scientist, tells the tale in his new book, revisiting and extending half a century of work on the topic. The story is one of Darwinian natural selection: of complexity emerging gradually as beneficial mutations are preserved and harmful ones weeded out. It requires the reader to make some ...
Podcast: The Economist asks: Thomas Friedman
January 30th, 2017, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Podcast: The Economist asks Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20170128_mma905.jpg Is technology making us populists? App makers and Silicon Valley executives wax lyrical about technological disruption. But millions perceive innovation as a threat - are they wrong? Best-selling author Tom Friedman joins us. Anne McElvoy hosts. Published:  20170126 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Hakan Gunday’s fiction: People-smugglers
December 15th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section Print Rubric:  A prescient novel about people-smugglers Print Headline:  Managing the traffic Print Fly Title:  Fiction UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The lessons from Aleppo’s tragic fate Fly Title:  Hakan Gunday’s fiction Main image:  20161217_bkp509.jpg More. By Hakan Gunday. Translated by Zeynep Beler. Arcade Publishing; 398 pages; $25.99. STILL in his mid-teens, the precocious but disturbed narrator of “More”, a novel about people-smugglers in Turkey, takes charge of a group of 33 Afghan refugees locked in a covered reservoir. As the “deity” of a “small country”, he watches how authority and control evolve amid this microcosm of desperate humankind. Effective leadership, he observes, rests on a ruler’s ability to foment a mood of “sustainable crisis”: a never-ending blend of hope and dread that tightens his grip on ...
Football writing: A game of two halves
November 2nd, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section Print Headline:  A game of two halves Print Fly Title:  Football writing UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  America’s best hope Fly Title:  Football writing Main image:  20161105_bkp511_hr.jpg Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game. By Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund. Harvill Secker; 412 pages; £18.99. To be published in America by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in January 2017. “MY STRUGGLE”, the six-volume, 3,600-page series of autobiographical books by Karl Ove Knausgaard, is a daunting work. In it he ruminates on his life and his thoughts, often in excruciating detail. Readers looking for a gentle introduction to Mr Knausgaard’s work could do worse than pick up a copy of “Home and Away”, a new book co-written with Fredrik Ekelund, a Swedish author. The book is an exchange of letters between the two men, around the time of the 2014 World Cup, which was held in Brazil. With Mr Ekelund in Rio de ...
The Economist asks: Should we turn our understanding of the Middle East on its head?
October 20th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Economist asks Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20161022_mma903_107.jpg   Rubric:  Host Anne McElvoy is joined by Peter Frankopan, historian and bestselling author of The Silk Roads, to discuss how reorienting how the history of the Middle East is viewed could have far reaching ramifications for diplomacy Published:  20161020 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Babbage: The brain that stopped remembering
August 17th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Babbage Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160820_mma902_107.jpg Rubric:  Paul Markillie buckles up for a future of 48-volt hybrid cars. Matt Kaplan examines whether self-control is really a finite resource. And Luke Dittrich, the author of a new book, explains how a lobotomy gone wrong paved the way for the science of memory. Tom Standage hosts Published:  20160817 Source:  Online extra Enabled
The Economist asks: Does power inevitably corrupt?
August 10th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Economist asks Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160813_mma903_107.jpg   Rubric:  Anne McElvoy interviews prominent psychologist Dacher Keltner, author of new book The Power Paradox, to investigate how power is acquired, maintained and abused Published:  20160810 Source:  Online extra Enabled
The Economist asks: How will worries over technology shape our digital future?
June 29th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Economist asks Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160625_mma903_107.jpg Rubric:  As gadgets become more intelligent, should we embrace smart devices or fear them? Thomas Rid, a professor at King's College and author of a new book, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History, talks to our editors Kenneth Cukier and Edward Lucas Published:  20160629 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Historical perspective: On pluralism and light
April 25th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Historical perspective Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160423_mma906_107.jpg Rubric:  "Holy Lands” by Nicolas Pelham and "Six Facets of Light” by Ann Wroe are two new books by Economist writers. Both look at contemporary questions through historical lenses​ Published:  20160423 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Money talks: Single and ready to spend
April 19th, 2016, 10:27 PM
UNMARRIED women are becoming an increasingly potent economic force and we check in with the author of our Special report on business in Africa 20160419 17:27:24 Comment Expiry Date:  Wed, 2016-05-04
Contemplatively: The Economist asks: Charles Duhigg on how to be smarter
April 14th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Contemplatively Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160416_mma903_107.jpg Rubric:  The author of “Smarter, Faster, Better” boasts a way to make us more productive. Kenneth Cukier and Anne McElvoy quiz his findings on Economist Asks Published:  20160414 Source:  Online extra Enabled
The week ahead: Zuma's misspent millions
February 5th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The week ahead Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20160206_mma904_107.jpg Rubric:  Trump faces up to defeat in Iowa but leads the polls in New Hampshire, South Africa's president uses public funds on his mansion and we check in with the author of our special report on Turkey Published:  20160208 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Waging war: The World in Conflict
January 25th, 2016, 10:27 PM
In his new book, John Andrews, former foreign correspondent for The Economist, discusses the history, evolution and persistence of terrorism and global warfare 20160125 18:30:19 Comment Expiry Date:  Tue, 2016-02-09
Love and marriage: It takes grit
January 14th, 2016, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Migrant men and European women Fly Title:  Love and marriage Main image:  What more do you want? What more do you want? Couple Mechanics. By Nelly Alard. Translated by Adriana Hunter. Other Press; 307 pages; $16.99. ALL marriages are suspense thrillers, in a way. From the outside, any relationship is a mystery. But even from within there is much that is unknown and unsaid; no one really knows how it will all end. Years in, when responsibilities replace the romance and the days all look alike, staying together can feel less a desire than a duty. This is the moment when many marriages fall apart. There is “an element of will in love”, writes Nelly Alard in “Couple Mechanics”, the new English translation of her award-winning novel “Moment d’un Couple”. Every relationship forces couples to “decide to love, to keep on loving, or to stop loving.” Such negotiations are invariably tricky, as Ms Alard shows in this elegant and gripping tale about a marriage on the rocks. The couple at the centre of this book live in ...
Artificial intelligence and job security: The Economist asks: Jerry Kaplan
December 11th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Artificial intelligence and job security Byline:  The Economist.com Main image:  20151212_mma9011_107.jpg Rubric:  The author of “Humans Need Not Apply" discusses the impact of the artificial-intelligence revolution on peoples' jobs, wealth and happiness Published:  20160114 Source:  Online extra Enabled
The Economist asks: Flora Fraser: The Washingtons: A legacy forged in war
November 5th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Economist asks: Flora Fraser Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20151107_mma904_107.jpg Rubric:  We ask the author of a new historical biography how Martha Washington's role shaped the course of America's history, and became a template for future First Ladies Published:  20151105 Source:  Online extra Enabled
German football: The making of a Fussballwunder
October 2nd, 2015, 10:27 PM
THIS week's issue of The Economist includes a review of a new book about German football. Read it here. 20151002 12:26:53 Comment Expiry Date:  Sat, 2015-10-17
New American fiction: Being Franzen’s friends
September 3rd, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Trump’s America Fly Title:  New American fiction Main image:  20150905_bkp506.jpg Purity. By Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 576 pages; $28. Fourth Estate; £20. “THE reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator,” Jonathan Franzen, an American novelist, has said. Following this rule, he has written two exceptional books that bring readers deep into the lives of troubled Midwestern families. “The Corrections”, about grown-up children home for Christmas, won a National Book Award in 2001, and “Freedom”, about a troubled marriage in the George Bush era, was even more emotionally deft and haunting. “Purity”, his latest novel, follows a now-familiar formula, tracing the interlocking lives and personal musings of a cast of broken characters. The protagonist Pip, whose real name is Purity, is a lost young woman with $130,000 in student loans, searching for the identity of her father. Like Pip in Dickens’s “Great Expectations”, she evolves from innocent to worldly wise through a novel full of ...
Mozambican fiction: Of lions and men
August 6th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Time to fix patents Fly Title:  Mozambican fiction Main image:  20150808_bkp512.jpg Confession of the Lioness. By Mia Couto. Translated by David Brookshaw. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 192 pages; $25. Harvill Secker; £16.99. MIA COUTO’S writing fuses stark and rich imagery and is steeped in the history, superstitions and political turmoil of his native Mozambique. In his latest novel, “Confession of the Lioness”, his characters—and by extension, readers—are forced to sift shaky facts and conflicting testimonies to get the full, devastating picture. The novel comprises two alternating narratives. One follows Mariamar Mpepe in her village of Kulumani. After the horrors of Mozambique’s civil war (fighting stopped in 1992) comes new danger in the form of marauding lions. For her safety, Mariamar’s father locks her up, leaving her with little to do but reminisce about her sunny childhood with her grandfather, and about her relationship with a hunter 16 years ago. The exploits of that hunter, Archangel “Archie” ...
Cricket and life: The art of batting
July 16th, 2015, 10:27 PM
THE ECONOMIST has published a review of “Who Wants to be a Batsman?”, a new book about cricket. Read it here. 20150716 20:36:35 Comment Expiry Date:  Fri, 2015-07-31
Drug-trafficking: On the cocaine trail
June 25th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The right to die Fly Title:  Drug-trafficking Zero Zero Zero. By Roberto Saviano. Translated by Virginia Jewiss. Penguin Press; 416 pages; $29.95. Allen Lane; £20. ROBERTO SAVIANO’S first book, “Gomorrah”, put him in grave danger. An exposé of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, it sold over 10m copies. But it also struck a nerve with its subject, and death threats soon followed. Mr Saviano, an Italian journalist, now moves between safe houses under 24-hour police protection. He dedicates his new book “to all my Carabinieri bodyguards. To the fifty-one thousand hours we’ve spent together and to those still ahead.” His movement may have been curtailed, but not his anger or ambition. His latest book, “Zero Zero Zero”, is an exploration of the global cocaine trade, from the foothills of the Andes to the nightclubs of Europe. It is a well-trodden trail, but the book provides a useful overview of the industry, explaining the incongruous mix of co-operation and cruelty in each link of the supply chain. Cocaine-trafficking is risky but enormously profitable. As Mr Saviano ...
Milan Kundera’s new fiction: Unbearable lightness
June 11th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Watch out Fly Title:  Milan Kundera’s new fiction Main image:  20150613_BKD001_0.jpg The Festival of Insignificance. By Milan Kundera. Translated by Linda Asher. Harper; 115 pages; $23.99. Faber & Faber; £14.99. MILAN KUNDERA has a philosopher’s roving mind and a storyteller’s smooth tongue. The Czech writer has lived in France since 1975 and has produced 11 works of fiction, all of which play deftly with themes of mortality, love, meaning and totalitarianism. His most famous, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, about lovers in Prague, came out in 1984 and won him the most acclaim. He has not published a novel for 14 years, but his name is often whispered as a contender for the Nobel prize in literature. The “Festival of Insignificance”, his new novella, came out in France last year, and has now been translated into English. It tells the story of four male friends in Paris and their personal musings. Eroticism takes centre stage, as it often does in Mr Kundera’s work. The book begins with Alain, a ...
The Economist Asks: Steve Hilton: More than tech
June 1st, 2015, 10:27 PM
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Economist Asks: Steve Hilton Main image:  20150606_mma901_107.jpg Rubric:  The author of "More Human" and former policy advisor to David Cameron talks about how government, education and business are overdue for redesigns Published:  20150601 Source:  Online extra Enabled
Andrew Palmer on "Smart Money": The good that finance can do
May 17th, 2015, 10:27 PM
The Economist’s business affairs editor, Andrew Palmer, discusses his new book “Smart Money”, which argues that for all its flaws, we need the finance industry more than ever Comment Expiry Date:  Mon, 2015-06-01
Adair Turner on debt: Leverage Leviathan
May 14th, 2015, 10:27 PM
Comment Expiry Date:  Fri, 2015-05-29