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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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

Physicist Tom Nash on M-Theory and the Cosmos

“The room was crackling with interest—did you feel it?” my friend Jan Broek asked me. I did. The occasion was a New School conversation with physicist Tom Nash about the nature of the universe. I expected an audience of ten—but forty New School friends showed up. There is a hunger for physics and cosmology at The New School. Clearly we have to do more.

Tom and I have been friends for 50 years. He has had a distinguished career in experimental physics at Fermilab. He is now a member of the California Institute of Technology group that participates in the search for direct detection of gravitational waves (some of which may even come from incredibly soon after the big bang). We talked about Stephen Hawking’s book The Grand Design and decided to do a New School conversation about the issues it raises. Continue reading