Insightful study into the reasons why nations prosper and why some don’t. And proves the case of the pejorative effect of aid. A must read for anyone working in developing countries or with international NGO’s.
Profoundly influenced my view on privacy vs security. Made me stop with Facebook, mistrust governments even more and strengthened me in my stance that big solutions, using a lot of data, are dangerous. A must-read for anyone interested in the consequences of living in a data-controlled world.
One that I wanted to read for a while. This is the kind of novel that makes fiction worth reading, yes even an unique experience. It’s with a great deal of jealousy that I read about Amadeu Ignacio who works at daytime and writes at night. Like the protagonist, Gregorius, he barely sleeps. They don’t feel particularly well, but what a enrichment of life not needing sleep would mean!
Absolutely delightful book. This is how one should live – technology, science and human creativity will solve our problems. I am a convert, cynicism is the easy choice, to be a rational optimist is the inspiring way to live.
One has to admire the man’s courage – not a lot of people dare to write about their failures. And that makes this book such a pleasure to read; his cunning account of his attempt to become leader of Canada’s liberal party and after that, premier. As we know he never made it to the highest office, but that is exactly what makes this account a great guide for anyone aspiring a career in politics. Most pressing lessons: 1) know why you want to be a politician – what is your story? (and yes, everyone says he wants to make a difference), 2) be clear on what you want to accomplish, 3) be prepared for low-hearty attacks and perversions of your message.
Een greep uit mijn uitzendingen “Feit of Fabel” op BNR Nieuwsradio
– Over The Fact Club – 22 augustus 2013
– Over de thema’s in de campagne – 22 augustus 2013
– Over Nederland in Europees verband – 22 augustus 2013
– Over Jolande Sap en Mark Rutte – 6 september 2012
– Over bio-plastics en vroegtijdige schoolverlaters – 14 juni 2103
– Over vreemdelingenbewaring – 21 juni 2013
– Terugblik op 2013 – 28 juni 2013
Voor meer uitzendingen zie The Fact Club
Watching the series Tour of Duty as a kid gave me the feeling to ‘see and feel’ the Vietnam War. This novel does an even better job. The battle for Matterhorn, one of the many hills in the dense Vietnam forest, tells the whole story: the horror of war, the friendships that keep the young soldiers together, racial tensions, competing ambitions, totally meaningless fights, and the struggle not to go crazy. Left me speechless and in great admiration of Karl Marantes, who worked for more than three decades on the book.
The book’s protagonist wants to recreate his memories, in the sense of actually rebuilding them, and spends all his money and time on it. As it gets more and more real, it also gets more violent. Highly original.
Wonderful little book that eclipses all management books in explaining that the power of imagination and inspiration can take us anywhere. Zander’s speeches are a delight, using his passion for music (he is a conductor) to convey his message.
But then suddenly, last Saturday, after 7 weeks of complete silence, the news broke out. The talks about new austerity measures between Prime Minister Mark Rutte and a delegation of supporting parties collapsed, leading to the demission of the Cabinet. Elections are due for September. Already can be heard that we are synonymous to Greece, struggling with the deficit, losing credibility with the financial markets.
Whilst the world around us is changing at great pace, the Dutch political system has come to a halt. Economic and social reforms, measure to strengthen the economy will give way for elections, debates and never ending negotiations. They will be digging themselves in. The trenches of Verdun, on a 21st century background.
Just like in Verdun, the majority doesn’t know what got them into this mess, but doesn’t know how to escape either. They’re stuck and barely advancing. This is the result of our political system, the way of thinking. Politicians are paralyzed by the small margins of our mediacracy; electorally, mediawise and mentally. The inability of current politicians to explain why their policies, their choices, are the right ones is enforcing this paralysis. And the media are encouraging this behaviour.
We need a breakthrough. To be able to stay competitive in a changing world, the Netherlands badly need reforms. The labour and housing market are in bad shape, our educational system doesn’t adapt to the new reality and the economy is heading towards recession. The challenges are way too big to be dealt with on the traditional way.
We need passion, vision and courage: we need creative leadership. Politicians who are able to incorporate the outside world, trends and ambiguity in their thinking. Who dare to be contrarian, creative and original. It takes politicians that are not corroded by ‘small politics’ or the fear of the media monster. Those people, unfortunately, are scarce; especially in Parliament.
It seems that despite the fall of his cabinet, the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte is still in the lead. But he will have to leave the trenches. Escape the system and tell a new story. A story we can believe in, a vision on profit, people and environment. He has the potential. First of all, he is a skilled communicator and after the failure of the talks, freed from the difficult construction that suported his cabinet. Besides he’s usually a positive man, he has proven to be a flexible thinker and has all the air-time he needs. He knows how to inspire a team, but his capacity to inspire a nation will be decisive. Can he lead?
The worst that can happen is that he will be blamed for not following traditional procedures of compromising. That his colleagues will resent him for not following the ‘party rules’. But probably the majority will follow, because people want to be inspired, they want to be part of a project with a clear goal, especially in difficult times. The Prime Minister has proven to be a fine manager in the past. Now, he should be an inspiring leader. Fearlessly creative.
For both the country’s future and his own political future, Mark Rutte needs this transformation; this miracle to happen in the coming months. As a religious man, he should know that there are only a few Christian holidays left – Ascension day, Pentecost – to make up for the failure of Easter.
Probably the best book ever on the excitement and sheer craziness of extreme mountaineering.
Hilarious account of Congressman Charlie Wilson, who together with CIA operative Gus Avraktos, creates an ever expanding program to support the Afghan Mujahideen – back in the days when the Soviets were fighting in Afghanistan. This story proves that reality is more surprising than our imagination.
Devastating account of the atrocities in Idi Amin’s Uganda – through the eyes of a man who loses everything. Beautiful and painful at the same time.
Samen met Mickey Huibregtsen stelde ik deze essaybundel samen. In dit boek laten we verschillende mensen, uit diverse sectoren, aan het woord over hun visie op maatschappelijke verandering.
Na de lancering volgde veel aandacht in de media. Zo waren er dagelijkse interviews met auteurs op BNR Nieuwsradio en publicaties in het Financieele Dagblad.
De maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen volgen elkaar in hoog tempo op. Om hier adequaat op te kunnen reageren zal iedereen – van burger tot politicus, van journalist tot wetenschapper – voor zichzelf de vraag moeten beantwoorden hoe onze toekomstige samenleving eruit zou kunnen zien en welke rol hij daarin moet spelen. Deze essaybundel is een brede waaier van ideeën over een ommezwaai in de Nederlandse maatschappij. Het zijn ideeën van toonaangevende mensen over de kernvragen die het publieke debat zouden moeten beheersen en vragen als:
– Hoe maatschappelijk betrokken is de burger?
– Hoe selectief en effectief is de overheid?
– Moeten wetenschap en onderwijs vrijer worden?
– Durven bedrijven maatschappelijk actief te worden?
– Nemen de media hun verantwoordelijkheid?
– En wat betekent dit voor de maatschappij in haar geheel?
Met bijdragen van grote namen uit de politiek, media, wetenschap en het bedrijfsleven. Onder anderen: Frank Ankersmit, Vincent Icke, Margalith Kleijwegt, Uri Rosenthal, Paul Rutten, Bernard Wientjes, Jos de Beus, Wiet Bruijn, Steven van Eijck, Ben Knapen, Fokke Obbema, Mabel van Oranje, Marian Oudeman, Paul Schnabel, Willem Stevens en Steven de Waal.
As millions of others, I call myself a Murakami fan. This books was my introduction to his world, one I will never forget.
Old marine officer Menzies tells in this page-turner how the Chinese Empire collapsed in 1421 at its highpoint: at a time when it ruled the oceans, had established posts as far as on the shores of Patagonia and was cultural trendsetting. Until a perfect storm – internal unrest, imperial overstretch, superstition – made the emperor chose to close down the country, destroy his state of the arts war ships (‘as high as buildings’) and forbid all diplomatic and trade relations. This is the situation China has more or less been in ever since. It is only now that China is reclaiming, after 500 years, its dominant position in the world. Heavily criticized, but a great read.
The best book I’ve read from one of the best Dutch contemporary authors.
In Coetzee’s post-Apartheid South-Africa violence is unleashed in new ways.
Read it for the first time as a relatively young boy and was easily pulled into the adventures of Marlow and Kurtz. Re-reading years later gave me a better understanding of the depth of this beautiful allegory.
Served as inspiration for Apocalypse Now, one of my all time favorites.
Of all his books I pick this one as it made the most impact on me – anyone wanting to understand the art of creating an atmosphere, please turn to the late Garcia Marquez.
Read all his books, but this one stands out. American Psycho is over the top in every sense: it’s cruel, fascinating and raises questions about one’s own motivations.
Reading it in two days at the age of 14, this book taught me the beauty of great literature. Will never forget the first sentence and have been looking for the mysterious country home, where Henry, Camilla and the rest came together, ever since.
A worldwide best seller, I found it a mediocre book, too childish. I only finished it because of the interesting historic bits.