Goodhart describes himself here as a “social democrat”, and the premise of Head Hand Heart is one that many on the left will sympathise with. Like Thomas Piketty, he is concerned by how the graduate/non-graduate divide has become the central basis of inequality in liberal democracies, while politics becomes a game played by and for knowledge elites. Like David Graeber, he is alert to how a surfeit of reliance on qualifications and bureaucracy has led to unnecessary labour. At the core of Head Hand Heart is one of the central problems of communitarian philosophy: how to distribute the social conditions of esteem and self-esteem more equally. … [Read more...] about Head Hand Heart by David Goodhart review – does getting a degree matter too much?
For answer, Galchen turns to a form that has its roots in the distant past. Over a millennium ago, a Japanese woman by the name of Sei Shonagon – a member of the empress’s court, and a mother herself – wrote what’s become known as The Pillow Book. Made up of 185 short entries covering a range of subjects and perspectives, it is, Galchen tells us, “difficult to characterise. It’s not a novel and not a diary and not poems and not advice, but it has qualities of each, and it would have been understood at the time as a kind of miscellany.” The form, which would have been familiar in 11th-century Japan, is barely used these days, but it’s ideally suited to Galchen’s purposes. At this point in her life snatches of writing are all she can manage, but by gathering them together as Shonagon did rather than trying to develop them, she makes a virtue of necessity. … [Read more...] about Little Labours by Rivka Galchen review – when a baby is like a puma
The extent to which this pool of expertise has been devalued is one of the most shocking revelations of Blythman's book. Supermarket buyers are said to be predominantly men in their mid-20s who are tormented with performance targets by their bosses and rotated between departments at 12- to 18-month intervals, to prevent them from forming loyalties to suppliers that could get in the way of extracting the best deal possible. Both books abound in stories of the idiotic specifications set by the supermarkets (Victoria plums, for example, must be 38mm, unmarked, with stalk), and of the zeal with which they are enforced by buyers ignorant of the product in question (including one who rejected a consignment of Worcester pearmains, a traditionally pear-shaped apple, because they were not round enough). The consequent "grade out" - the proportion of a consignment that has to be junked because it doesn't meet the spec, though still perfectly edible - can be as high as 35%. … [Read more...] about Force feeding
What Else is in ‘Rage’ The book, which is said to be based on 18 interviews with Trump and people close to him which were conducted between December 2019 and July 2020, also describes the US president’s impressions with Kim when the two met in Singapore for the first time back in 2018, with America’s president referring to his counterpart as “far beyond smart”. … [Read more...] about Kim Jong-un Shared Details About Killing His Own Uncle With Trump, Woodward’s Book Claims
Solomon uses the book, which is subtitled "a dozen kinds of love", to investigate different types of family, including children born of rape, children convicted of crime, transgender people, deafness, dwarves, Down's syndrome, schizophrenia and disability. The author said he was accepting the prize on the behalf of the families he interviewed while writing the book, "who told me their stories with such bracing honesty and such unyielding passion", speaking of his admiration "for the human spirit that allowed so many of them to end up grateful for lives they would once have done anything to avoid, that allowed them to love and fight for children whom so much of society might have dismissed". … [Read more...] about Wellcome book prize goes to Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree