2021 Summer Reading List

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Summer is pretty tight this year, but there is always room left to read some good books, even if it’s a couple: Here is what I am reading this summer.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Rene Girard

Girard is a hell of a theorist. His mimetic theory – imitation and its cultural implications – is one with profound, unbelievable explanatory power. Nothing is left untouched – from conflicts to religion to the origin of political institutions. I have read a review of his work by Palaver. But you know, these things, you want to get close to the original texts as possible. Like we say in our parlance: if at all you want to eat bread, it’s best to eat the one baked on the same day – and preferable directly from the bakery. One more thing: I never read more than ten pages in one sitting. If it’s more than that, well, I had rather not read it at all.

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Thomas Sowell

A fiery, factful defense of the free-market economy. I have largely completed reading the tome, but a few chapters require a deeper, closer reading. What the nonagenarian American professor teaches in the book is pretty simple but not at all obvious, primarily because of our susceptibility to political correctness. He talks about the gospel of the price system. He will disappoint if you think economics is about money – because it is not; it is about the underlying resources. That policies have consequences – second-order effects, third-order effects, and the like. That economics is about the allocation of scarce resources that have alternative uses. That if the government takes over the Sahara Desert, it will soon be short of sands… And that we can’t have it all.

Principles: Life and Work

Ray Dalio

Ray is a hedge fund billionaire who had achieved unparalleled success with his investment firm, Bridgewater. I felt it would be worthwhile to ‘pick on his brain.’ Not sure how it ends, but it contains some bloody useful principles, except that it is those rules you have heard so many times that its repetition had beaten them into banality. In other words, I am finding the book boring, at least at this point. However, I am always very, very careful with the simple rules – they are usually the best. But our brain(?) conflate simplicity with triviality. I have learned it is a trap. So, I kept reading – and continue to pay attention even if I have seen the movie before.

Formation: The Making of Nigeria From Jihad to Amalgamation

Fola Fagbule and Feyi Fawehinmi

This I have not touched. A friend of mine sent it to me just a few days ago, and I cannot wait to get on with it. Nigeria had made some of us worried and sad, increasingly over the years. As if the situation is not bad enough – it continues to get worse. Perhaps a deep dive into history will afford us better quality, informed diagnosis – and prognosis – of the country’s far too numerous ailments.

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