Books Words Life

Xin nian kuaile

花開 富貴 竹報 平安 Huākāi fùgùi. Zhúbào píng ān This is the Year of the Dragon. Mandarin learning sites Here are some of my favourites: This is a good word dictionary and can be synced with Skritter.

The Mystery of Capital

The Mystery of Capital, Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else Hermando DeSoto, Basic Books, 2000 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan Capital is an abstract concept representing the potential to create something else. DeSoto and his team examined developing and former communist countries to try and understand why capitalism doesn’t have more than foothold there. In each of these countries there is economic activity and urban expansion but

Suzhou Museum

I.M. Pei designed the Suzhou Museum (opened 2006). I visited the museum in 2009 when I took this photo. It is a stunningly beautiful place, both ancient and modern. Last evening I watched the PBS broadcast on American Masters

Who’s Your City?

Who’s Your City? The critical role of place in the world economy Richard Florida, Random House, 2008 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan In an increasingly urbanized world there are clusters where economic and other advantages occur. Florida has noticed this phenomenon and seeks to analyze how and why it occurs. The book has three big themes: Place and Happiness (location and well-being); the Three Stages of Life (that affect where we


Endgame; The End of the Debt Supercycle and How it Changes Everything John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper Reviewed by Graham Mulligan In the introductory essay the authors sum up the problem, quoting Wimpie from the Popeye cartoon, “I will gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” and Jean Mannet, “People only accept change in necessity and see necessity only in crisis”. The debt supercycle started more than 60 years

When China Rules the World

When China Rules the World; The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World Martin Jacques; Penguin Books, 2009 Summary by Graham Mulligan Martin Jacques writes from a scholarly perspective, and has a solid background that gives substance to his voice. His website description says ‘He is a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics, IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs,

The Last Lingua Franca

The Last Lingua Franca; English Until the Return of Babel Nicholas Ostler; Walker; 2010 Summary by Graham Mulligan Lingua Franca was the common contact language of the eastern Mediterranean in which Greeks and Turks could talk to Frenchmen and Italians. In 1204 Constantinople fell to the Franks who were from Venice. Many now regard English as a lingua franca spread by Anglo-American colonialism and economic interests. Indeed it is the

The End of Growth

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2011 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan This is a ‘living book’ updated at Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and leading educator on Peak  Oil. The book presents the reader with an economic argument, beginning with a brief review of how economies have evolved through history. The significant point here is

Post Cards From Tomorrow Square

Post Cards From Tomorrow Square; Reports From China. James Fallows, 2009 Reviewed by Graham Mulligan Fallows is the Atlantic Monthly correspondent for China. In his introduction to the book he categorizes some of the collection of essays as ‘policy’ oriented explorations of the tremendous variety of cultural developments that so frequently lead Western observers to take positions about ‘China’ as though it were one, indivisible reality. His portraits of individuals