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The American Spectator

 

Books for Christmas

December 23, 2009

By Brian C. Anderson

PRINTER FRIENDLY

Alain de botton is one of the most charming, intelligent writers around today, able to shed new light on topics ranging from architecture to travel to the practical and life-improving uses of philosophy. His latest book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (Pantheon), may be his best. De Botton looks at 10 different industries, including such diverse occupations as engineering, logistics, and cookie-making, and intimately captures what he calls "the beauty and occasional horror of the working world," where much of our lives are spent and where so many hopes and frustrations play out. You won't think about your job the same way after reading it.

This year's Newbury Medal winner for best-children's title, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins), reimagines Kipling's Jungle Book in a dark and sometimes frightening setting. It's a perfect stocking-stuffer for a curious pre-teen (though adults will enjoy it as well). The hero, Nobody Owens, orphaned by the evil "man Jack" as a toddler, winds up adopted by the quarrelsome ghosts of a neighborhood graveyard, who protect him from the killer. As he grows up, navigating between the living world and the dead, Nobody learns about responsibility, family, and bravery. The book abounds with memorable characters and proves, once again, that Gaiman is our greatest fantasist.

Two books by City Journal colleagues illumine our understanding of contemporary economic life. Nicole Gelinas warned about the financial meltdown in our pages long before it happened. Her first book, After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street—and Washington (Encounter), provides the most lucid explanation I've yet come across of what caused the crisis and a road map for how to get out of it. Drawing on extensive interviews with the world's leading economic thinkers and policymakers, Guy Sorman's Economics Does Not Lie: A Defense of the Free Market in a Time of Crisis (Encounter) reminds us that, despite our current woes, capitalism works better than any known alternative in generating prosperity.

Original Source: http://spectator.org/archives/2009/12/21/books-for-christmas

 

 
 
 

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