What We Are Reading Today: Zero to One Peter Thiel

What We Are Reading Today: Zero to One Peter Thiel
Short Url
Updated 20 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Zero to One Peter Thiel

What We Are Reading Today: Zero to One Peter Thiel

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by mobile devices. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: Learning to think for yourself.

Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: It starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw
Updated 02 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

David Nasaw’s magnificent, definitive biography of William Randolph Hearst is based on newly released private and business papers and interviews. 

For the first time, documentation of Hearst’s interactions with Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, and every American president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Roosevelt, as well as with movie giants Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Irving Thalberg, completes the picture of this colossal American. 

Hearst, known to his staff as the Chief, was a man of prodigious appetites. By the 1930s, he controlled the largest publishing empire in the country, including twenty-eight newspapers, the Cosmopolitan Picture Studio, radio stations, and thirteen magazines.  In Nasaw’s portrait, questions about Hearst’s relationships are addressed, including those about his mistress in his Harvard days, his legal wife, Millicent, ; and Marion Davies, his companion until death. 

Recently discovered correspondence with the architect of Hearst’s world-famous estate, San Simeon, is augmented by taped interviews with the people who worked there shed light on the private life of a very public man.


What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton
Updated 01 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: What constitutes our sense of self? 

Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, British journalist Georgina Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one’s identity.

The book “is a must-read for any racially integrated family, especially with children,” said a review in goodreads.com.

“This is a book written fiercely, scorchingly, with evident painful honesty. It is extremely well written and thought provoking,” it added.

“Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice,” said the review.

The author expresses her journey so well that others can relate and hopefully start their own if needed. “The combination of research and her personal journey, made this a fascinating read. Her story was very raw, and she held nothing back,” said the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley
Updated 28 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

It is normally assumed that international security regimes such as the UN can reduce the risk of war by increasing transparency among adversarial nations. 

The more adversaries understand each other’s intentions and capabilities, the thinking goes, the less likely they are to be led to war by miscalculations and unwarranted fears. But how is transparency provided, how does it actually work, and how effective is it in preserving or restoring peace? 

In Promoting Peace with Information, Dan Lindley provides the first scholarly answer to these important questions, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Lindley rigorously examines a wide range of cases, including UN peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Namibia, and Cambodia; arms-control agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and the historical example of the Concert of Europe, which sought to keep the peace following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. 

Making nuanced arguments based on extensive use of primary sources, interviews, and field research, Lindley shows when transparency succeeds in promoting peace, and when it fails.


What We Are Reading Today: European Passerines by Tomasz Cofta

What We Are Reading Today: European Passerines by Tomasz Cofta
Updated 27 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: European Passerines by Tomasz Cofta

What We Are Reading Today: European Passerines by Tomasz Cofta

Opening up new frontiers in birdwatching, this is the first field guide to focus specifically on the identification of European passerines and related land birds in flight. Showcasing 850 stunning and remarkably lifelike color illustrations from acclaimed bird artist Tomasz Cofta, produced using the latest digital technology, backed up with more than 2,400 photographs carefully selected to show typical flight profiles, it provides detailed and unsurpassed coverage of 205 European passerines and 32 near-passerines. This cutting-edge book brings a new dimension to birdwatching, the concise and authoritative species accounts presenting novel yet essential information on the flight manner of individual birds and the structure and behavior of flocks — features that are key to identification, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. It also includes precise transliterations of flight calls, supported by sonograms, and links to a unique collection of hundreds of online audio recordings. Beautifully designed and written in an accessible style, this book will appeal to birdwatchers of all abilities.


What We Are Reading Today: A Decade of Upheaval

What We Are Reading Today: A Decade of Upheaval
Updated 26 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: A Decade of Upheaval

What We Are Reading Today: A Decade of Upheaval

Authors: Dong Guoqiang and Andrew G. Walder

A Decade of Upheaval chronicles the surprising and dramatic political conflicts of a rural Chinese county over the course of the Cultural Revolution.
Drawing on an unprecedented range of sources — including work diaries, interviews, internal party documents, and military directives — Dong Guoqiang and Andrew Walder uncover a previously unimagined level of strife in the countryside that began with the Red Guard Movement in 1966 and continued unabated until the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.
Showing how the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution were not limited to urban areas, but reached far into isolated rural regions, Dong and Walder reveal that the intervention of military forces in 1967 encouraged factional divisions in Feng County because different branches of China’s armed forces took various sides in local disputes.
The authors also lay bare how the fortunes of local political groups were closely tethered to unpredictable shifts in the decisions of government authorities in Beijing, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Eventually, a backlash against suppression and victimization grew in the early 1970s and resulted in active protests, which presaged the settling of scores against radical Maoism.