I love Nassim Taleb’s books: they’re thought-provoking, intelligent and pretty original. His themes are important ones: how do complex systems behave, why is being anti-fragile better than being robust? His writing is full with philosophy inspired insights, new views on old matters and funny provocations. His latest subject is no exception: the importance of having “skin in the game”. Taleb makes it pretty clear that one should never listen, let alone trust,… Read More

Waarom stemmen zoveel Amerikanen tegen hun eigen belang? Hoewel deze vraag al vaak onderzocht is, is ze nu na de verkiezing van Trump en kiezersmanipulatie via social media weer relevant. De linkse hoogleraar Arlie Russel Hochschild (Berkeley) gaat in dit boek verder waar de meeste onderzoekers ophouden: ze gaat daadwerkelijk tussen haar onderzoeksgroep wonen (5 jaar!), sluit vriendschappen, verdiept zich in hun leefwereld en voert eindeloos veel gesprekken. Epicentrum is een plek… Read More

Gewapend met kennis en rede gaan Richard Dawkins en Lawrence Krauss de wereld over om een lofzang op de wetenschap en de ratio te prediken. Hun grootste tegenstander: religie. Met niet aflatende energie en met duidelijk plezier kruisen de twee wetenschappers de degens met religieuze zeloten van Australië tot de Verenigde Staten. Zien! Hier de hele documentaire. The Unbelievers, Gus Holwerda, 2013 **** En kijk dan ook meteen The God Delusion, van de hand… Read More

Fascinating piece by the great Nassim Nicholas Taleb (from last summer) on intolerance as a winning strategy (when in doubt, choose McDonald’s). It’s a long read, but worth every minute. It will teach you a lot on the impact of applying minority rule to democracy, religion and financial markets. As a teaser: “Let us conjecture that the formation of moral values in society doesn’t come from the evolution of the consensus. No,… Read More

Een boek waar ik wakker van heb gelegen. Hoewel de toon luchtig is en er veel valt te lachen, is er maar een conclusie te trekken uit dit dappere journalistieke project: we moeten ons grote zorgen maken. Midden in onze maatschappij leven grote bevolkingsgroepen niet alleen langs elkaar heen, maar komen ze ook steeds verder van elkaar te staan. Het vertrouwen in de Nederlandse samenleving is daar minimaal wat, bij ongewijzigd beleid,… Read More

A tremendous, and yet modest film, on a big subject: child molestation and cover-up within the Boston Catholic Church. Well acted, it also demonstrates the societal importance of brave, investigative journalists (an almost extinct species nowadays). I dearly hope that winning the Oscar will help to further unveil the criminal behaviors of so many in the Catholic Church.

One of the most intriguing notions Houellebecq puts forward in his latest novel is not that the populist right is a stable force in the political landscape, nor that in 2022 a Muslim party wins a large share of votes. No, it’s the reaction to this outcome that surprises. When it becomes clear that the first round of the 2022 French presidential elections is won by the Muslim party, followed by the Front National (by… Read More

Tells the stunning success story of IS in Iraq and Syria and explains the drivers behind the creation of a  Caliphate that, under the leadership of Al-Baghdadi, invites all Sunni Muslims to join the new Holy Land. IS has made maximum use of the total chaos in the region, the fitna (civil war) within the Islamic community between Sunni’s and Shi’ites and has surprised the divided, indecisive, ill-prepared West with its brutal message that appeals to so many. IS’ goal is nothing less… Read More

I turned to this book on the advice of a real non-fiction book worm, wanting to give more depth and context to my attempts to better understand the revived antisemitism in the world. And it did. It is a shocking history of persecution, discrimination and organized slaughter. One that started long before the Holocaust, long before the Inquisition, even before the Romans crucified Jesus. The creation of Israel has nothing to do –… Read More