Locke’s Second Treatise offers an in-depth analysis on the origin of our right to liberty and the rights of governments. It shows how, by respecting the laws of nature, we can limit the power of government to best protect ourselves and our property from destruction or worse, tyranny.
The End of Power makes the case for how advances changes in technology and society have caused the old fortresses of power to crumble. We now face a brand new paradigm of power, one that isn’t hoarded by an elite few, but rather split amongst us all. But what does that mean for society and government?
ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (2015) charts the rapid rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, from its early beginnings to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Grippingly told, the story of ISIS’s domination over al-Qaeda in Iraq and its slow but ruthless push in Syria also shines light on the failings of the West in dealing with this fanatical yet disciplined jihadi group.
In Failed States, author Noam Chomsky details the ways in which the United States has used its power to relentlessly pursue its own geopolitical and economic interests. The book cites examples from throughout history to demonstrate why the United States’ stated goal of promoting democracy is inconsistent with its own actions, at home and abroad.
Leviathan (1651) examines the relationship of society and rulers and is widely held as a classic work on the nature of statecraft. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed that man’s natural inclination to war could only be tamed by a strong, centralized government. In these blinks, you’ll learn why Hobbes felt a commonwealth of men under a strong monarch was the only solution to securing peace and security for all.
Frontier Justice (2011) offers a detailed historical account of the plight of refugees. It also presents viable solutions that could improve the lives of refugees while ensuring a higher degree of safety for their host countries.
The Myth of the Strong Leader (2014) explores why people tend to favor charismatic leaders, those they perceive as “strong.” These blinks show which factors allow such leaders to rise to power and why such a personality type shouldn’t necessarily lead a democratic society. Importantly, you’ll learn what can happen on an international scale when ill-suited “strong leaders” take the reins of a democracy.
Political Order and Political Decay (2014) contrasts the history of democracy in America with its current condition to reveal the fundamental flaws of our modern democracy. From a declining middle class to selfish lobbyists and unadaptable institutions, these blinks explain just a few sources of political decay in the United States.
Blueprint for Revolution (2015) is your guide to starting a social movement that inspires people to come together and make real change happen. These blinks use historical anecdotes to detail a variety of nonviolent techniques that can be used to apply political pressure, fight oppression and diminish fear.
Engines of Liberty (2016) is an exploration into the influence citizens can have on government, and the changes that can be brought about through activism, the spreading of information and the mobilization of one’s peers. When it comes to the big issues of our time, like gay marriage, guns and human rights, it’s passionate citizens who are speaking up for what they believe in and bringing about change.
The Myth of the Rational Voter (2007) is all about the barriers our democracy faces and why they matter. These blinks break down the various misconceptions people have regarding democracy, explaining how they connect to flaws in the democratic method and show why our current forms of democracy don’t work.
Weapons of Math Destruction (2016) offers a critical look at the growing number of algorithms that could be impacting your day-to-day life in ways you’re not even aware of. As more businesses and services, including schools and police, use algorithms to automate jobs, an increasing number of people are suffering the adverse effects. So don’t leave yourself at the mercy of automation – find out what you can do to protect yourself and your data.
Shattered (2017) takes you behind the scenes of the 2016 US presidential election campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In these blinks, you’ll learn what went wrong for Clinton and her team, leading a seasoned politician to come second to a reality TV star in a tumultuous and bitter race for the nation’s highest office.
On Tyranny (2017) is a guide to recognizing the warning signs of tyranny, which, unfortunately, is a political climate that many are all too familiar with. Find out what you can do to protect yourself and keep your community vigilant and resistant to dangerous political leaders.
The American Presidency (2007) offers an introduction to the US presidency and the unique role each president must play in world politics. Find out what kind of thinking went into the creation of this job and how it has changed over the years. America’s Founding Fathers created a uniquely experimental government when they broke free from British influence; even today, their experiment continues to surprise us.
Go Back to Where You Came From (2017) takes a look at the current international political landscape and explains how the increase in refugees in Europe has contributed to the rise of the right-wing populist movement. It also explains why Muslim immigrants are the subject of such political demonization, how this issue has strengthened political extremism and why the populist movement is a serious threat to democracy as we know it.
Move Fast and Break Things (2017) takes a look at the grim reality of how giant tech companies are harming society in ways both big and small. By dodging taxes, they’re keeping money from government programs that have been behind some of our greatest innovations, and in their desperate hunt for data and profits, they’re invading our privacy while fleecing the creators of art and high-quality entertainment. Author Jonathan Taplin offers some light at the end of this dark tunnel, suggesting there may be better ways of negotiating with this technology.
How Democracies Die (2018) examines the fundamental principles of democracy, with a look at historical cases – particularly in Latin America – where democracies have turned into dictatorships or autocracies. The authors examine how these democratic downfalls have happened, whether it could happen again in the future, and what could be done to prevent this dangerous and often lethal outcome. Attention is also given to the presidency of Donald Trump, to question his motives and determine whether he qualifies as an American autocrat.
Fascism (2018) examines fascism, both as a historical phenomenon and a present-day threat. It explores the factors that lead to fascist governments as well as the common threads connecting them, while also cautioning citizens against complacency. Even today, there are many reasons to fear for the health of democracy.
Adults in the Room (2017) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of what it’s like to deal with the European Union establishment, as experienced by the former Minister of Finance of Greece. This scathing exposé shows that, when it comes to global politics, the best interests of weaker nations aren’t always of the utmost importance to those in charge.
The Soul of America (2018) takes readers on an enlightening tour of America’s tumultuous past. From the final moments of the Civil War to the long overdue civil rights and voting legislation of the 1960s, the book reveals the United States for what it has always been: a nation of deep and lasting conflict. By looking to America’s past, we can see both where today’s political divides stem from and why the nation will likely be able to persevere.
Suicide of the West (2018) answers two vitally important questions: what made the triumph of Western civilization possible and how can we preserve its achievements. Tribalism, Goldberg argues, might be deeply rooted in human nature, but it can be held in check. If we want to discover how that can be done, we need to look at the two greatest examples of what he calls the “miracle” – the revolutions that put England and, later, America on the path to liberty and greatness. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. If we fail to learn history’s lessons, we’ll end up contributing to nothing less than the suicide of the West.
The Road to Unfreedom (2018) chronicles the extraordinary political age we are now living in. Russian expansionism, led by Vladimir Putin, threatens to encroach on the freedoms that people in Europe and America enjoy. After having successfully helping to bring about Brexit, the Kremlin set its gaze on the United States and, in doing so, played a central role in ushering in the Donald Trump presidency. And with Europe in the midst of a right-wing ascendancy, Russia is wielding a greater influence than ever before.
The People Vs Tech (2018) examines the rise of digital technology. It argues this process is undermining six of the key pillars of democracy: active citizenship, a shared democratic culture, free elections, free association, equality, and governmental authority. Looking to the future and observing how it is already unfolding in the present, it paints a chilling picture of the possible dystopian world to come. However, it also shows the paths that are leading us to that world and suggests that these paths can be redirected, pointing the way to a better future.
The Future Is History (2017) tackles the complex issue of Russia’s love/hate relationship with democracy. By looking at the lives of a select few, Masha Gessen takes us from the collapse of the Communist Party to deep within the activism of the Putin era – all in an attempt to show us how and why Russia’s modern brand of totalitarianism came about.
Today, there is an increasing tendency for groups of people to form alliances based on shared traits, like gender, religion or sexual orientation; this is known as identity politics. But while we should be proud of our identities, they can also divide us. In Identity (2019), Francis Fukuyama charts the evolution of one of modern society’s most divisive topics, explains the problems it raises, and suggests what can be done to fix this situation.
Zucked (2019) is one early Facebook investor’s personal warning about the dangers of the platform. It vividly describes how Facebook is damaging both public health and the health of our democracies. From manipulating public opinion to building our addiction to technology, the picture painted in Zucked is of a business unmoored from civic or moral responsibility.
Revolutionary Iran (2013) tells the story of modern Iran, from the early twentieth-century origins of the 1979 revolution through to reactions to Ahmadinejad’s second presidential victory, in 2009. The book also dispels misconceptions and examines internal politics and cultural debates within the country.
Blowout (2019) takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the global gas and oil industry and reveals just how toxic it is. Author Rachel Maddow looks at evidence of this in the US, along with the corrupt deals being made in Russia and Equatorial Guinea, and makes a strong case for why big gas and oil needs to be held accountable for its actions – before things get any worse.
Un-Trumping America (2020) is former Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer’s playbook for beating Donald Trump and fixing the broken system of American democracy. Filled with practical campaigning and policy suggestions, it’s an ambitious guide to a brighter future.
Impeachment (2018) details how the Framers of the US Constitution envisioned the process of removing a president, and how the three impeachment proceedings prior to Trump’s have played out. Spanning the years right after the American Revolution to the late twentieth century, Impeachment looks at how the Framers imagined impeachment as a safety valve for democracy, as well as how Congress used impeachment to sanction Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton.
A Warning (2019) presents a harrowing view of the inner workings of the Donald Trump presidency. Penned by an anonymous White House insider, it details the tensions and turmoil behind the scenes of the most chaotic administration in modern American history.
Putin’s People (2020) is a shocking account of the corruption and political schemes that swirl around Russia’s infamous president, Vladimir Putin, and his close inner circle. The KGB is well-known as the former Soviet Union’s secret police force – but that was far from its only role in the Soviet government and economy. This is the story of how the KGB lost its power, gained it back, and has been exploiting it ever since.
Evil Geniuses (2020) describes the rise of the economic right after the 1960s and the consequences of their policies today. From Milton Friedman to Ronald Reagan, it looks at the significance of some of the right’s central figures while also sketching a broader narrative that explains how the US has ended up as it has today.
Honeybee Democracy (2010) traces the fascinating story of how bees decide where to build their new hive. Using highly evolved skills, like independent research and community debate, the bees’ deeply democratic decision-making process is a model we can all learn from.
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) is a seminal work of economics. Its ideas have proven prophetic, and remain relevant to this day. It claims that capitalism will ultimately be eroded by the very processes that define it. It also explains the differences between capitalism and socialism and their relationship to democracy, and helps readers understand the role of entrepreneurship and creative destruction in modern capitalism.
Woke, Inc. (2021) explores how the ideology of wokeness has come to infect America’s corporate sphere. While paying lip service to various social-justice causes, major American companies are acting in ways that are anything but just – and generating major profit in the process. Aside from being a nefarious way for corporations to make money, this strategy is also doing lasting damage to American democracy in surprising ways, and it’s time to snuff it out.
The Dying Citizen (2021) explores the ways in which modern American democracy is being weakened. Touching on issues like globalization and identity politics, it discusses how left-wing progressives are damaging the foundations of the United States.
The Constitution of Liberty (1960) is a classic of economic philosophy. As one of the seminal texts of modern liberalism, it reminds us of the values of individual freedom, limited government, and universal principles of law. First published in the 1960s, it contends that social progress depends on the free market rather than on socialist planning. This work remains relevant in an age where socialist ideas are gaining new popularity.
After the Fall (2021) takes a sobering look at the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism in places like Hungary, China, Russia, and the United States of America. It examines how the standing and influence of the US changed in the years following the Cold War, and how this has led to the current challenges facing democracy around the world.
The January 6th Report (2022) is the official Congressional report into the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The report confirms that Donald Trump, the outgoing president, was the root cause of the attack on the Capitol, and the committee recommended that he broke numerous laws in the process and should be brought to justice.
Adrift (2022) argues that the United States is flailing, despite all its success and global dominance since World War II. It’s a country struggling to adapt to revolutionary changes in technology, facing deep economic and political divisions and threats of extremism, and quickly losing ground to rivals like China. Despite all of this, Scott Galloway still sees reason for hope, but first lays out what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the nation.
Pegasus (2023) follows the thrilling, worldwide investigation into one of the most powerful and insidious pieces of cyber surveillance software known to date. Beginning with a massive data leak to a small, independent news outlet, it tells the story of how Pegasus came to be, the hundreds of innocent individuals who have had their privacy taken away by it, and the global team of reporters and editors who risked everything to bring the story to light.
Propaganda (1928) is a plain-speaking and unashamed defense of the techniques of political and social manipulation. Far from being a dark art practiced by despots and dictators, Bernays suggests that propaganda instead plays an essential and necessary role in the life of modern democracies. Not everyone agrees, of course, but nearly 100 years later the enduring influence of Bernays’s arguments is reason enough to engage with them.
The Making of Modern South Africa (2012) traces the history of South Africa from the colonial conquests of the eighteenth century to the birth of an inclusive democracy in 1994. Along the way, it unpacks how struggles over land, natural resources, and belonging shaped the country’s development.
The WEIRDest People in the World (2020) describes why Westerners think and behave so differently from most other people. It also explains how the policies of the Western Church in the realms of marriage and kinship have helped cultivate these odd cultural attributes, transforming the world and helping the West flourish in the process.
Animal Farm (1945) is a classic satirical novella that transplants the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to a small English farm. Once the animals stage an uprising, a political battle ensues between an ideological pig named Snowball and a power-hungry pig named Napoleon.
The Shadow Docket (2022) explores the Supreme Court’s growing abuse of its shadow docket – the procedural rulings it issues, often anonymously and without explanation. Since the mid-2010s, the conservative wing of the Court has increasingly relied on this opaque tactic to empower Republican administrations, influence elections, and transform the law in ways that threaten their own legitimacy.
Poverty, by America (2023) delves into the paradoxical issue of poverty in the abundant country of the United States. It explores potential solutions to this pervasive issue, based on extensive research.
Twilight of Democracy examines the rise of authoritarianism in countries once championing democracy. Anne Applebaum reflects on her own experiences and relationships with friends who have embraced far-right ideologies. She delves into the factors contributing to this shift, from polarization and social media to political and economic changes. Ultimately, the book reveals the dangers of growing divisions within societies and the erosion of democratic values.