Most interesting reads from 2021
A few of the recommended readings from the Future Cities Project in 2021
“A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic“ by Laura Dodsworth
Avoiding conspiratorialism, this is an important critique of the first year of Covid lockdowns and the hidden hand of the Behavioural Insights Team
“Free Speech: And Why it Matters” by Andrew Doyle
A series of examples and counter-arguments, chapter by chapter, of the key aspects against cancel culture and attacks of free speech. Provides great ammunition against those trying to close down debate.
“Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future” by Elizabeth Kolbert
This is worth reading. Kolbert’s arguments are not endorsed by this website, but it is always important to read books that we don’t necessarily agree with. This is well-written but intensely precautionary and fearful approach to scientific and technological solutions.
“1,000 Years of Joys and Sorrows” by Ai Weiwei
The autobiography of the world’s most successful dissident. At its most basic, it is a useful criticism of censorship.
“100 Years of Identity Crisis: Culture War over Socialisation” by Frank Furedi
An exploration of the history that gave rise to the contemporary culture wars; a spiralling conflict over values. It demonstrates how the ‘awareness training’ industry and its technical approach to ‘moral engineering’ are actually reinforcing the problem of social fragmentation.
“Jews Don’t Count” by David Baddiel
Thought-provoking polemic about how racism against Jews is deemed less racist than that towards other groups. Even though Baddiel argues that racism can only be defined by its victim, it is a very useful reminder of the casualisation of anti-semitism.
“The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class” by Joel Kotkin
This book warns of the rise of a new unelected aristocracy – a clerisy – of opinion-formers able to run society for their own benefit without worrying about the popular will. It is a book about democracy – a defence of democracy – and all the more important for that.