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Recommended Reads – Week 42

New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in our chaotic, connected age? In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest stories of our time–the rise of mega-platforms like Facebook and Uber; the out-of-nowhere victories of Obama and Trump; the unexpected emergence of movements like #MeToo–and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of “new power.”

For most of human history, the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized and then jealously guarded. This “old power” was out of reach for the vast majority of people. But our ubiquitous connectivity makes possible a different kind of power. “New power” is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It works like a current, not a currency–and it is most forceful when it surges. The battle between old and new power is determining who governs us, how we work, and even how we think and feel.

 New Power shines fresh light on the cultural phenomena of our day, from #BlackLivesMatter to the Ice Bucket Challenge to Airbnb, uncovering the new power forces that made them huge. Drawing on examples from business, activism, and pop culture, as well as the study of organizations like Lego, NASA, Reddit, and TED, Heimans and Timms explain how to build new power and channel it successfully. They also explore the dark side of these forces: the way ISIS has co-opted new power to monstrous ends, and the rise of the alt-right’s “intensity machine.”

In an era increasingly shaped by new power, this groundbreaking book offers us a new way to understand the world–and our role in it.


Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (4th book in the Cormoran Strike series)

“I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott-once his assistant, now a partner in the agency-set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been-Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next instalment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.


The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age by James Crabtree

A portrait of India’s new tycoon class, rapid growth, and deep inequality, written by a professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

India is the world’s fastest growing democracy, with an economy that is rapidly expanding, making a handful of Indians fantastically wealthy. At the same time, millions of Indians live in poverty, sometimes subsisting just feet from the fancy, almost unimaginable urban homes of the super-rich.

James Crabtree uses the home of the reclusive billionaire Mukesh Ambani (that is his home on the cover) as a symbol of an Indian system that Crabtree likens—quite convincingly—to our own Gilded Age. Like in other places around the world, fair government appears to be no match against the vast sums of private capital that the “Bollygarchs” employ to cement their interests. Crabtree uses interviews and riveting reporting to give us a fascinating look into the sudden, sometimes shocking, and seemingly insurmountable rise of the Indian super-elite, as they surf the wave of globalism.


Breath by Tim Winton

Breath is a story of risk, of learning one’s limits by challenging death. On the wild, lonely coast of Western Australia, two thrill-seeking teenage boys fall under the spell of a veteran big-wave surfer named Sando. Their mentor urges them into a regiment of danger and challenge, and the boys test themselves and each other on storm swells and over shark-haunted reefs. The boys give no thought to what they could lose, or to the demons that drive their mentor on into ever-greater danger. Venturing beyond all caution–in sports, relationships, and sex–each character approaches a point from which none of them will return undamaged.

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