Summer Reading and Listening Picks

Women Carding, Combing and Weaving Wool (detail). Boccaccio. Le Livre des cléres et nobles femmes. MS Fr. 12420, fol. 71; French 1403. Bibliotèque Nationale, Paris.

Women Carding, Combing and Weaving Wool (detail). Boccaccio. Le Livre des cléres et nobles femmes. MS Fr. 12420, fol. 71; French 1403. Bibliotèque Nationale, Paris.

If you are in search of some summer reading (or New School podcasts for your walks and drives), here are some suggestions:

  • Thomas Picketty, Capital in the 21st Century. Paul Krugman says “the most important economics book of the year—and maybe of the decade.  Picketty, arguably the world’s leading expert on income and wealth inequality, does more than document the growing concentration of income in the hands of a small economic elite. He makes a powerful case that we’re on the way back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are dominated not just by wealth, but by inherited wealth, in which birth matters more than effort and talent. Picketty’s range of reference to literature and social thought makes Capital a pleasure to read.

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The View from Tinos

On a recent trip, I visited a friend and colleague, Michael Samuels, on the island of Tinos in the Greek Mediteranean. Michael’s house is poised for flight—precipitously above a steep, terraced valley flowing down to the blue water. He built the house as a temple: donkeys carried 80 tons of sand and cement down 144 stone stairs to the site. Stones came from the land.

From Michael’s balcony, I counted 13 Venetian dovecotes. Six hundred are scattered around the island of Tinos in 41 villages. Doves are prized for meat, eggs, and fertilizer. Dovecotes must be built near water and cultivated areas—out of the wind so that baby doves can fly. They are works of art, embroidered with stone carvings. Venetians ruled Tinos for five century, from the fall of Constantinople in 1204 until 1715. Ottoman Turks ruled until 1821. Continue reading

Spiritual Biography, Robert McDermott

mcdermott heroRobert McDermott is president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies. His interests include wisdom philosophy, Hindu and Buddhist spiritualities, inclusive and esoteric Christianity, higher education, and Anthroposophy. We had a wonderful day-long conversation on February 7th at Commonweal. Continue reading

Conversation with Malcolm Margolin

hero

Malcolm Margolin was born in a Jewish neighborhood in Dorchester outside Boston in 1940. He was a dreamy child with his nose always in a book. School bored him. A piercing intelligence pushed him forward. He graduated from Harvard, married his Radcliffe girlfriend, and ultimately found himself in a VW bus he bought for $300 headed to California from his home base in New York City. After many wanderings he settled in Berkeley and began to make a living for his growing family as a writer. Continue reading

“Do It Yourself” and “Maker” Movements Bringing Hope

Do you know about the DIY Movement? The Maker Movement? The Great Re-Skilling Movement? If you are like me, these movements (DIY stands for “do it yourself”) may at best be at the edge of awareness. I’ve come to know some remarkable young people in West Marin who identify with these deeply interactive movements, which reflect critical trajectories in technology, environment, culture, and economics. Continue reading