Recommended Reading

We don't necessarily endorse the authors of these books or their views. We believe that by reading these books we can develop a helpful and better understanding of politics, issues, and political philosophy.

> > Economic Growth

SHOP CRAFT AS SOULCRAFT: AN INQUIRY INTO THE VALUE OF WORK

Recommended by former guest speaker of Gen Next, Pat Bassett

The author draws on his own experience for inspiration — he quit a miserable think tank job and has found joy and meaning working as a motorcycle mechanic—to question the presumed value of the cubicle working world, deplore society's disconnection from the material world and vividly convey the reward of working with one's hands. Summary taken from Amazon.com.

THE STARFISH AND THE SPIDER:
The Unstoppable Power of Leadersless Organizations

Recommended by Gen Next Member: Chris d'Eon.

Brafman and Beckstrom, a pair of Stanford M.B.A.s who have applied their business know-how to promoting peace and economic development through decentralized networking, offer a breezy and entertaining look at how decentralization is changing many organizations. Summary by Amazon.com. Buy the book.

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THE WEALTH OF NATIONS:

"Adam Smith's enormous authority resides, in the end, in the same property that we discover in Marx: not in any ideology, but in an effort to see to the bottom of things." - Robert L. Heilbroner. Buy the book.

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BECOMING A CATEGORY OF ONE: HOW EXTRAORDINARY COMPANIES DEFY COMMODITY AND DEFY COMPARISON

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, Kemper Freeman.

"Calloway contends that, with a little customer research, you can make your products stand out from the crowd and reap the benefits. These days, so many companies strive to fit into a niche that they must elbow their way past a mass of competitors to do so. Why strive to be a leader in your category when you can create a different category and be the only one in it? Such are the lessons to be learned in Becoming a Category of One. By using consultant Joe Calloway's tips and advice, you can avoid being "commoditized" and differentiate yourself and your business from your competitors simply by shifting focus to your customers. You'll also receive Executive Book Alert, which keeps business executives up-to-date on the latest in business thinking. Their editors scour the book lists and catalogs, talk with business book publishers, and network with top business authors, to find the next best business books to summarize. As they do this, they will share the results of their research in this e-Newsletter."Book Summary is published by Summary.com. Buy the book.

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THE WORLD IS FLAT:
A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim in The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists - the optimistic ones at least - are inevitably prey to. Buy the book.

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CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM:
Fortieth Anniversary Edition

"Milton Friedman is one of the nation's outstanding economists, distinguished for remarkable analytical powers and technical virtuosity. He is unfailingly enlightening, independent, courageous, penetrating, and above all, stimulating." - Henry Hazlitt, Newsweek. Buy the book.

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ROAD MAP FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE:PAUL RYAN

A Roadmap for America's Future is a comprehensive alternative to the heavily government-centered ideology now prevailing in Washington, which pursues a relentless expansion of government, and creates a growing culture of dependency - and in the process worsens a status quo that already threatens to overwhelm the budget and smother the economy. The Roadmap - updated to reflect the dramatic decline in the Nation's economic and fiscal condition since its previous introduction in 2008 - draws on Americans' strengths to restore the Nation's legacy of leaving the next generation better off. More.

> > Education

REAL EDUCATION:
Four simple truths for bringing America's schools back to reality

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, John Connors.

Murray proposes four "simple truths"-ability varies, half of all children are below average, too many people are going to college, and America's future depends on how we educate the gifted-for parents, educators, and policymakers to confront. The current focus of the educational system, Murray contends, of educating all children to the same level and holding them to the same standards (i.e., No Child Left Behind) ignores these four truths and attempts to prepare most children to earn a B.A., though many of them are not suited for college and would be happier and more productive in different careers. He suggests that bachelor's degrees should be reserved for students with the ability and interest in careers requiring it and instead there should be a series of national certifications to show what a job candidate can actually do. Summary Published on Amazon.com.

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EDUCATION WARS:
The new battle for brains

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, John Connors.

The end of stimulus — as well as the power shift in Congress — will have a profound effect on which regions and states can position themselves for the longer-term recovery. Nowhere will this be more critical than in the battle for brains. Read Op-ed.

LOS ANGELES TIMES:EDUCATION
Headline news

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, John Connors

More.

THE HEART AND THE FIST: THE EDUCATION OF A HUMANITARIAN AND THE MAKING OF A NAVY SEAL

Recommended by Gen Next National Board Member DJ Burke

The heart and the Fist shares one man’s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service. - Summary taken from Amazon.com

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CHURCHILL:
A Life by Martin Gilbert

It is impossible to understand the Second World War without understanding Winston Churchill, the bold British Prime Minister who showed himself to be one of the greatest statesmen any nation has ever known. This lengthy biography is a single-volume abridgment of a massive, eight-volume work that took a quarter-century to write. It covers Churchill's entire life, highlighting not only his exploits during the Second World War, but also his early belief in technology and how it would revolutionize warfare in the 20th century. Churchill learned how to fly a plane before the First World War, and was also involved in the development of both the tank and anti-aircraft defense. But he truly showed his unmatched mettle during his country's darkest moments: "His finest hour was the leadership of Britain when it was most isolated, most threatened, and most weak; when his own courage, determination, and belief in democracy became at one with the nation," writes Gilbert. There are several wonderful books available on Churchill, but this is probably the best place to start. Buy the book.

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OVER A BARREL:
A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage

Over a Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage is meant as a concise summary of the urgent oil shortage issue, written to be read by everyone of high school age or older. It provides a balanced and factual picture of the medium-to-long range role of oil in supplying the world's energy needs, as well as an understanding of the many technical and social implications of the alternatives to oil. Buy the book.

> > International/Foreign Affairs

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CHILDREN OF JIHAD:

Rather than globetrotting for pleasure like many post-collegiate backpackers, Cohen charms his way through Middle Eastern countries typically thought of as unfriendly to the West. This type of travel is not without its problems: he suffers intimidation, unauthorized searches and other threats over the course of his two years spent among the twentysomethings of Lebanon, Syria and Iran. While gamboling across the region, Cohen drops in on Palestinian refugee camps, chats up Hezbollah members at a McDonalds, talks nuclear power with Iranians over illegal moonshine and meets "Iraqis who like us" in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is often repeated that the colorful and gifted youth immortalized in this book are surprisingly similar to their class of American counterparts, valuing education, dreaming of the future, and tooling with emerging technologies to broaden their sense of the world. Cohen's accounts are sharp and his intentions admirable.More at Buy.com

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WALTER RUSSEL MEAD: BLOG

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, John Connors.

Walter Russell Mead is the Editor-at-Large of The American Interest magazine, and is a thought leader on foreign policy. Until 2010, Mead was the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.Read more.


> > Environmental


POWER HUNGRY:THE "MYTHS" OF GREEN ENERGY AND THE REAL FUELS OF THE FUTURE:

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, John Connors. 

The promise of "green jobs" and a "clean energy future" has roused the masses. But as Robert Bryce makes clear in this provocative book, that vision needs a major re-vision. We cannot--and will not--quit using carbon-based fuels at any time in the near future for a simple reason: they provide the horsepower that we crave. The hard reality is that oil, coal, and natural gas are here to stay.Book Summary is published by Flipkart.com.

 

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TRIUMPH OF THE CITY: HOW OUR GREATEST INVENTION MAKES US GREENER, SMARTER, HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER

Recommended by former guest of Gen Next, Robert Bryce.

A pioneering urban economist offers fascinating, even inspiring proof that the city is humanity's greatest invention and our best hope for the future.

America is an urban nation. More than two thirds of us live on the 3 percent of land that contains our cities. Yet cities get a bad rap: they're dirty, poor, unhealthy, crime ridden, expensive, environmentally unfriendly... Or are they?
Summary taken from Amazon.com. Read More.


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WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE: AN ECOPRAGMATIST MANIFESTO

Recommended by former guest speaker of Gen Next Robert Bryce.

According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization-half the world's population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury-is altering humanity's land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world's dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some longheld opinions and embrace tools that they have traditionally distrusted. Summary taken from Amazon.com. Read More.

> > Political

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HARDBALL:
How Politics Is Played

Hardball, first published in 1988, is like a modern version of Machiavelli's The Prince, only much more richly illustrated, with anecdotes drawn from talk-show host Chris Matthews's stint as a congressional staffer (where he worked for, among others, renowned Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill). Discussing such basic principles as "It's not who you know; it's who you get to know" and "Don't get mad, don't get even - get ahead," Matthews not only dishes out choice Washington insider info, he has over the years inspired many readers to apply his principles for political success to their own professional lives. Buy the book.

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FREE TO CHOOSE:
A Personal Statement

The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. Buy the book.

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THE BATTLE:                                                                         How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future

Written by guest of Gen Next, Arthur Brooks

Free enterprise embodies the values that define us as a nation: individual liberty, equal opportunity, entrepreneurship and self-reliance. It is the source of our past success, and the promise of a better future. But the recent economic crisis has distorted our values, and given the small minority who oppose free enterprise a pretext for sweeping European-style social democratic change.

The Battle offers a plan of action for the defense of free enterprise. It is at once a call to arms and a crucial redefinition of the political and moral gulf that divides Left and Right in America today. The battle is on, and nothing less than the soul of America is at stake. Summary provided by AEI.

 

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KEEPING AMERICA'S EDGE:

"The United States is in a tough spot. As we dig ourselves out from a serious financial crisis and a deep recession, our very efforts to recover are exacerbating much more fundamental problems that our country has let fester for too long. Beyond our short-term worries, and behind many of today's political debates, lurks the deeper challenge of coming to terms with America's place in the global economic order.

Our strategic situation is shaped by three inescapable realities. First is the inherent conflict between the creative destruction involved in free-market capitalism and the innate human propensity to avoid risk and change. Second is ever-increasing international competition. And third is the growing disparity in behavioral norms and social conditions between the upper and lower income strata of American society." - National Affairs. Read More.

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RECONSTRUCTING AMERICA:
The Symbol of America in Modern Thought by James W. Ceaser

Ceaser (government and foreign affairs, Univ. of Virgina) distinguishes between the "metaphysical or symbolic" America (the notion of America as a materialistic, decadent country) and the "real" America (America as a preeminent bastion of freedom and opportunity). The negative concept, he argues, originated in Europe?primarily in Germany and France. To flesh out this idea, he traces the thought of pertinent Germans from Hegel to Heidegger ("with passages through Spengler and Junger") and the French from Buffon to Bandrillard ("with passages through Maistre and Kojeve"). An engagingly written excursion through American and European political and intellectual history. this book touches on an important issue in contemporary American society: not only how other countries see America but the negative attitudes prevalent among certain groups, including academics here at home. In view of the climate of opinion surrounding Waco and Oklahoma City, this book's positive appraisal, written in a style accessible to the lay reader, could be of interest to a wide readership. Buy the Book.

 
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