How do we make sense of the disparity between the rich and poor? Why do some nations prosper and others fail? Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson argue that the common explanations of geography, culture, and ignorance are all inadequate. The answer to the question of inequality is found in institutions. Some nations have political and economic institutions conducive to growth while others do not. Why Nations Fail tells us why popular hypotheses don’t work and why institutions are the true difference makers.
Read on for key insights from Why Nations Fail.
If you were a fly on the wall of the Trump White House, what would you see? Journalist Michael Wolff had that singular opportunity, and gives us a window into what it is like working for Trump both on the campaign trail and during his first year in office. In Fire and Fury, Wolff divulges scene after scene of dysfunction, power plays, and PR disasters, relying on both first-hand observations and scores of interviews with White House staffers.
American liberals tend to see themselves as righteous champions of the oppressed, standing up against bullies who perpetuate inequality and injustice and all that’s bad in this world. According to syndicated columnist, Ben Shapiro, the grand irony is that liberals are the real bullies. In this book, Shapiro argues that the left, rather than actually helping victims, has successfully used victims—real and imagined—to gain moral high ground and bludgeon those with differing views into silence. In discussions about race, class, gender, the environment, and a slew of other topics, the left shuts down opposing views by vilifying the people who hold them.
Read on for key insights from Bullies.
In this brief, popular-level treatise, Yale professor of history Timothy Synder argues that, “History does not repeat, but it does instruct.” He appeals to the practice of the United States’ Founding Fathers who, in the face of threats to the political order, examined the rise and fall of ancient democracies to gain insights and establish a political system that would safeguard a free society against tyranny. Snyder invites his reader to continue the tradition of understanding history in the interest of preserving liberty. He offers twenty lessons from the twentieth century European experience, a period full of destruction and bloodshed under fascist and communist regimes. Snyder advises that it would be wise to learn from the missteps and mishaps that allowed tyranny to gain footholds in the not-so-distant past.
Read on for several key insights from On Tyranny.
5 Minute Read
What happens when a scholar presents new evidence that threatens the foundations of a popular narrative? Ideally, those who hold to the established explanation examine the evidence presented, raise counterpoints if they have any and a discussion ensues. There are other times, however, when people come after the scholar instead of the idea. Psychologist Michael Bailey was one such scholar whose name and reputation got dragged through the mud after presenting a controversial thesis about sexual minorities. Scholar and activist Alice Dreger got caught in a crossfire when she showed the smear campaign to be motivated by ideology rather than facts. Galileo’s Middle Finger is a glimpse into Dreger’s world of activism and scholarship, the particulars of the Bailey smear, and how activists and academics handle controversies.
Read on for key insights from Galileo’s Middle Finger.
A few months after losing her second bid for the presidency and after some much needed rest, Hillary Rodham Clinton sat down to write a book detailing to herself and to her constituents what went wrong. She shoulders complete responsibility for her defeat. That said, there were many unexpected twists and turns that effected the election process. Clinton lays out in intricate detail how the combination of all these events led to her defeat. She also issues a warning about upcoming elections, anticipating that similar problems will recur in the future.
Read on for insights from What Happened.
Not since the 1940s had a Foreign Policy piece elicited such strong reactions as Samuel Huntington’s piece titled “The Clash of Civilizations?” So furious was the pushback and frequent the misinterpretations of his thesis that Huntington turned his essay into a lengthy treatise, arguing that the strongest alliances and divides between peoples will not be between social classes, the rich and poor, or political ideologies, but between civilizations. Even decades after its publication, it is every bit as controversial and illuminating, and still considered one of the most significant essays on geopolitics.
Read on for key insights from The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
The question that the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally poses is whether a man and a woman can be “just friends.” The question that people are asking in the wake of the stir that Caitlyn Jenner has catalyzed is whether a man can become a woman. If you’re looking to understand the transgender movement that is sweeping the United States, this book is a perfect place to start.
Read on for key insights from When Harry Became Sally.
10 Minute Read
“All good. It's all good!” This was Beau Biden's response to each new setback as he endured the ravages of glioblastoma. This positive attitude buoyed his dad, Joe Biden, who was serving his sixth year as vice president of the United States. Balancing his devotion to family and to country in seasons of crisis made 2016 the most tumultuous year of Biden’s life. In Promise Me Dad, he reflects on the year and the lessons and challenges it contained.
Read on for key insights from Promise Me, Dad.
6 Minute Read
According to Gingrich, America has never seen a candidate like Donald Trump. Academia, the left, and the elite media have no idea how to deal with this outsider, and, as a result, they have let loose a torrent of criticism towards Trump, his policies, and his cabinet. Whatever one might think of Trump, there is no doubt that he has tapped into a part of America that felt it had been neglected and forgotten. Gingrich shares some perceptions gained through his personal interactions with Trump and familiarity with Trump’s life.
Read on for key insights from Understanding Trump.
Culture critic and writer Matt Walsh argues that conservatives and Christians have been too passive, and that they need to start standing up to the Left’s attempts at redefining objective truth to better suit liberal ideologies and agendas. If they succeed in refashioning fundamental ideas about marriage, gender, and life, the window of opportunity for reversing cultural trends will close soon.
Read on for key insights from The Unholy Trinity.
Political science professor Robert Reich makes a case for America recentering its politics, economics, and culture on the concept of the common good. The past fifty years have been a story of win-at-all-costs politics and business strategies that is leaving the country’s social fabric threadbare. The Common Good is a both conciliatory and bracing exhortation to return to responsibility and trust-building.
Read on for key insights from The Common Good.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court determined in a 5-4 decision that the right to marriage extends to same-sex couples under the Equal Rights Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was not an expansion but a fundamental change to the institution of marriage. A change of this magnitude will have significant impact on laws, policies, institutions, and culture for years to come. Researcher and political analyst Ryan T. Anderson gives his take on what that impact will likely be.
Read on for key insights from Truth Overruled.
Readers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your ignorance! For all the Che Guevara T-shirts and “power to the people” chants, how many people know what Communism advocates? Find out what Karl Marx and his colleague Friedrich Engels actually believed in The Communist Manifesto.
Read on for key insights from The Communist Manifesto.
Former FBI director urges a return to ethical leadership and a commitment not merely to a political party or particular person, but to lasting values, like integrity and truth. From interactions with Mafia bosses in New York to private conversations with presidents in D.C., Comey offers us examples of exemplary (and less-than-exemplary) leadership from his work as a federal prosecutor and director of an intelligence agency.
Read on for key insights from A Higher Loyalty.
13 Minute Read
At the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hillary described the Clintons as “dead broke.” If this was how the early 2000s started for the Clintons, then there has been a dramatic reversal of their fortunes. Researcher and writer Peter Schweizer led a team of researchers to follow the Clintons’ money trails, and puts a pattern of dubious behavior before the public.
Read on for key insights from Clinton Cash.
George Orwell of 1984 fame reflects on the poor state of the English language and its corrosive effect on political life. He points out recurring problems with the popular communication style, like vagaries and cliché images, and suggests practical ways we can move English—and with it, politics—in a more constructive direction.
Read on for key insights from Politics and the English Language.
Martin Luther King, Jr. offers candid reflections on faith, culture, and politics in the United States. Coretta Scott King says that, of all her late husband’s writings, Strength to Love is the work that people most consistently describe as life-changing.
Read on for key insights from Strength to Love.
10 Minute Read
Economist Thomas Sowell argues that single-factor explanations of disparities between individuals and groups (e.g., genetics, discrimination, or exploitation) fail to take life’s complexity or basic probability into account. Sowell reviews studies across numerous disciplines to build a case that misunderstanding the causes and acting on half-baked definitions of discrimination have often led to policies that harm the very people those policies were designed to help.
Read on for key insights from Discrimination and Disparities.
Across the plains of Osage, Oklahoma, small flowers begin to bloom in April. By May, however, larger plants spring up, overshadow, and choke out the smaller flowers that had blossomed first. The Osage Indians refer to May as the season of “the flower-killing moon.” This natural cycle is a fitting metaphor for the systematic murder of Osage Indians at the hands of greedy settlers wanting claim to Osage lands.
Read on for key insights from Killers of the Flower Moon.
12 Minute Read
As a political philosopher and German Jew during the rise of Nazism, Hannah Arendt had a lot to say about totalitarianism and the elements that give rise to such movements.
Read on for key insights from The Origins of Totalitarianism.
Why are Germans so anal about punctuality or Brazilians more likely than Arabs to be accused of showing too much skin? Cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand believes that culture best explains our divisions and conflicts.
Read on for key insights from Rule Makers, Rule Breakers.
Trump’s critics not only oppose him—they despise him. But what is Trump’s actual track record regarding policy? Does he deserve every last spew of caustic invective? Historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson dedicates his book to America’s “deplorables” and argues that, though often crass and unpredictable, Trump’s job performance has been unexpectedly remarkable.
Read on for key insights from The Case for Trump.