Whether its the latest geopolitical insights, a sci-fi escapade or exciting thriller, nothing says “Summer” more than our bookshelf! Every summer our analysts and interns recommend a curated selection of the finest literature perfect for beach reading and holidays.
Deputy Director Michel Rademaker recommends “The Every” by Dave Eggers.
From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world’s largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet’s dominant ecommerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous—and, oddly enough, most beloved—monopoly ever known: the Every.
Datalab Assistant Analyst Diederik Dekkers recommends “The Island at the Center of the World” by Russell Shorto.
Russel Shorto takes the reader on a journey to the founding of Manhattan, a colony of New Netherland. Through the experience of individuals living in that time period, we get a fascinating insight in the origins of New York, and the United States.
PR and Communications Assistant Analyst Alessandra Barrow recommends “Infomocracy” by Malka Older.
Infomocracy is a sci-fi, cyber punk, political thriller that envisions a future where most nations and institutions have become incorporated into a worldwide ‘micro-democracy’ organised by ‘Information’ a search engine with a monopoly on, guess what?, information. The drama unfolds during the third election cycle where the incumbent party looks unlikely to give up power, raising fears of corruption, misinformation, war and the collapse of new democratic system – sound familiar?
Assistant Analyst Stella Kim recommends “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China” by Evan Osnos.
Age of Ambition gives a unique insight into contemporary China by the American journalist Evan Osnos who was the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker. The author tells the stories of both ordinary and famous Chinese confronted by the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s desire to maintain control, lifting a curtain to the gateway of China and how the country is portrayed in the West.
Data Scientist Maarten Vonk recommends “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman.
George Friedman attempts to predict the geo-political developments of the next 100 years. Despite the fact that this book had been written as early in 2009, it is very interesting to see which of the initial predictions have become reality now that the first outlines of the 21st have revealed itself. Especially relevant in a time where the geo-political landscape is reshaping rapidly.
HCSS founder Rob de Wijk recommends “Not One Inch” by M.E. Sarotte.
M.E. Sarotte reveals how tensions between America, NATO, and Russia transformed geopolitics. She draws on thousands of memos, letters, briefs, and other once secret documents-including many that have never been published before-which both fill in and complicate settled narratives on both sides.
Assistant Analyst Ricardo Pereira Teixeira recommends “The House of Spirits” by Isabel Allende.
The House of Spirits is a fantastic piece of literature and a staple of Latin American magic realism. Allende illustrates the reality of socio-political processes in Chile while including mystic elements in the narrative, which are central to the idiosyncrasies of the region. This book brings insight into the social, cultural, and political modernization processes of 20th Century Latin America and the perils embedded in such. Through the stories, Allende approaches important issues like the evolution of gender roles in Latin America, social class struggles reverberating in national politics, and a public outcry against tyranny, as the story focuses and hints on Pinochet’s Coup d’état.
Assistant Analyst Kendra Kock recommends “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides.
A dark tale of murder, love, and revenge. The Silent Patient is a modern day, metaphoric retelling of the Greek tragedy Alcestis, exploring the effects of marital betrayal and psychological disorders. This book immediately drops you at the centre of a vicious murder, a frightening asylum setting for the criminally insane, and a suspect who refuses to speak. If you are a fan of thriller/mysteries, you will not be able to put this down!
Assistant Analyst Mattia Bertolini recommends “The China Questions: Critical insights into a rising superpower ” edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi.
Great collection of essays in which various scholars answer key questions on China covering domestic politics, international relations, the environment, and much more. Very accessible book with little pre-knowledge on China required. A quick read!
Director of Research Tim Sweijs recommends “Emotional Choices: How the Logic of Affect Shapes Coercive Diplomacy” by Robin Markwica.
Fear, anger, hope, pride and humiliation: Robin Markwica analyses the role of emotions in coercive diplomacy. A rich book that weaves together insights from neurobiology, psychology, sociology, and the crisis bargaining literature, to explain why leaders sometimes yield to coercive threats…and sometimes don’t.
Executive Director Paul Sinning recommends “The dark valley: A Panorama of the 1930s” by Piers Brendon
L’Histoire se répete? Look out for similarities with the 1930s, given the current reshaping of the world order. Brilliant, comprehensive and frightening!
Data Scientist Saskia Heyster finishes this year’s HCSS Summer Bookshelf with the recommendation of “The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do” by Erik J. Larson
Whereas machine learning is pattern recognition, artificial intelligence is manifest when an algorithm can pass the Turing Test. But this book draws out questions on how to meaningfully understand intelligence when comparing human versus machine insight. And why it might be damaging to strive only for a narrow conception of algorithmic intelligence. An excellent read for anyone interested to question whether we have, and whether we should, strive to achieve artificial intelligence.