Book Bits: 8 July 2023

The Art of Risk: What We Can Learn From the World’s Leading Risk-Takers
Richard Harris
Summary via publisher (Simon & Schuster)
In this ultimate armchair adventure, Harry takes us into the lives of other ‘risk-takers’, to find out why they do what they do. We meet people adventuring from the highest skies to the deepest oceans – BASE jumpers, drag racers, snipers and surfers – including climber Alex Honnold (from the movie Free Solo), sailor Jessica Watson, film director and deep-sea diver James Cameron. Each gripping story is a masterclass in risk from the experts: when to go, when to say no, how to prepare and above all, how pushing ourselves a little further helps us become more courageous and resilient in all of our challenges.

Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order
John Iceland, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Why do we disagree about the causes of and solutions to social inequality? What explains our different viewpoints on Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, income inequality, and immigration? In this tightly argued book, John Iceland, Eric Silver, and Ilana Redstone show how two clashing worldviews – one emphasizing Social Justice and another Social Order – are preventing Americans from solving their most pressing social problems. The authors show how each worldview provides a different understanding of human nature, morality, social change, and the wisdom of the past. They argue that, before Americans can find lasting solutions to today’s seemingly intractable societal challenges, they will need to recognize that each side possesses a wisdom the other lacks. Only then can we achieve the common ground and consensus we seek.

We Hold Our Breath: A Journey to Texas Between Storms
Micah Fields
Review via The Wall Street Journal
Although the population of Texas is roughly 85% urban, and the state boasts three of the nation’s 10 largest cities (with a fourth, Austin, poised to crack that group soon), there is a dearth of urban history about the Lone Star State. Such inattention, perhaps, is rooted in the state’s enduring reputation for wide open spaces, as a land of cattle ranches and oil derricks. The corrective offered by Micah Fields’s engaging—if occasionally exasperating—book about Houston is reason alone to pick it up. But more than that, “We Hold Our Breath: A Journey to Texas Between Storms” is a meditation on what many cities stand to lose in the Anthropocene.

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