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BookSpire

Lucy’s weekly column in the The Financial Times that I subscribed over a decade ago always carried wit and charisma through which she dispelled the condescending talk of business executives, explaining that speaking clearly is way better: pointing to contrarian nature of such behaviour, used often to rather hide malpractice or incompetence, than project professionalism.

It was a breather published in a rose-golden classical newspaper that still aspires to carry the high standard of reporting business news (for the very same reason I value the Weekend edition, especially its Books section).

The newspaper definitely lost after her leaving for a…


Where I read this book several years ago, it still resonates clearly — amid new instability between now Russia and the US, cancelling Open Skies Treaty, investing in orbital missile systems or supersonic delivery mechanisms of nuclear weapons. This coincides with literally no communication via channels built to de-escalate tensions as they rise — and no reliable channels to verify malign intent vs coincidence.

Such a situation, defused via international treaties, communication channels, contribute to rapid, costly and dangerous build-up of weapons of massive force and little room for error and virtually no recourse of action — and they happened…


A well planned and meticulously researched book that provides a bout of fresh air, despite decades spent on the subject and countless stories told in writing as well as cinematic optics, Dobbs holds one attention to the last page.

Especially poignant the story is in parallel to analysing recent Trump Presidency (shall one read Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, by the way, a mentor of Dobbs). Uneasy analogies abound, but so do stories told by Nixon himself, an avid historical biographies reader, of misdeeds and misfires of Presidents ennobled by history.

It also plays well in 2021 alongside…


Tristan Donovan won my heart with Replay: The History of Video Games and repeats with a story about the cola wars

Games and fizz drinks were both present in my childhood. Revisiting the joy from sweet memories is doubled by good storytelling of Tristan Donovan: where the book Replay I first read in 2010, following a review in Wired magazine to which I was glued every month, Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World, while published in 2013, came to my desk (or, technically speaking, flew to my Kindle) only recently, after a skillfull re-enactment in Wondery: Business Wars podcast I am glued to today on my way to work and back as well as travel.

The power of soft drink…


First time I read about how tech either influenced or suffered an impact from gender employment was in Bernardo Batiz-Lazo book about ATM (I tried to do a wholehearted review some time ago) and it told how banks tried to insure their front-office operations and menial tasks of accepting cheques and providing cash services. These were operated by women, who sought refuge in better paid manufacturing sector. Economic recovery in Britain in the aftermath of the WW2 took hold and these opportunities were robbing banks of dependable staff.

High-tech, automated teller machines, helped to alleviate the problem. Suprised I was…


New additions, bold plans, ambitious conquests

On average the number of books I consume exceeds 100 per year since I know too well the amount of good books on subjects close to my heard and mind far exceeds that number. After Kindle was made available on iOS, I travelled with the phone in hand during my train commutes to work starting in 2011.

I wrote my second degree’s thesis using almost exclusively Kindle editions and since then learned a habit of constantly trawling for good reviews and recommendations from professional domain peers.

dgwbirch is one such don who also reinforced the knack for history books I…


A titan shares his quirks in a short book — as if a reprieve from the work on his monumental 5th volume on LBJ

I’ve opened Robert Caro’s Power Broker standing in the basement floor of a Barnes and Noble store in NYC not far from Central Station — and took note of the book being recommended by a number of political dignitatirs — Barack Obama including.

Reeling and reminiscing on the order of power structures as they permeate through public and private domains that are covered by good writers of solid tomes, missing Power Broker was a painful experience (I simply could not take it and add it to my hand luggage) so I’ve compromised on Working when it was published a year…


Book — A PhD paper review

Being a book nerd, processing information written by smart people is now a habit and a mental exercise — seeing a widening backlog of books and papers trains one to go through the best examples and discard the rest:

Ruth Wandhofer’s PhD paper stands out in the former — and is highly recommended since it comes from an reputable professional in the field of regulation technology and transactional banking sphere

Ruth pulled a feat to produce a balanced and 360 degree overview of what blockchain technology can and cannot do for corporate and retail payments and how certain platforms can…


A story well told often needs an object to feel, touch and relate to: mission accomplished for a former head of the British Museum who told and then wrote a 2010 account of this illustrative history of the world

I’ve went back to the 2010 BBC4 podcast series and then to the book of Neil MacGregor after I savoured his great collection of stories about religion and societies as they come together in Living with the Gods.

A History of the World in 100 Objects is a companion to match it: very often the mentioned artifacts — edifices, monuments, headwear or other trinkets and tokens carry more in cultural or notional value than by weight or real-market value of what they are built of. Pieces of eight were precious both because they were made of silver yet also because…


A beautiful book pondering questions about how religious beliefs shaped societies and how societies formed religion — told through artifacts

Neil MacGregor is a great storyteller: packaging educational content infused in art, shape and form — borrowing from his successful career as head of National Gallery and The British Museum — as if, taking from the dusty corners and archived places artifacts that provoke our thinking.

This time, a yet another beautiful rendition of a BBC Radio 4 podcast and radio series about the intersection of the secular and the religious worlds: how still, as many years before the modern technological world, they come together in myriads of ways.

I would borrow from yet to be summarised book from my…

BookSpire

Summaries of Books read while airborne and when grounded

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