Books to Understand the World – 4X14

Books to Understand the World – 4X14
Books to Understand the World – 4X14
How the World Became Rich. The Historical Origins of Economic Growthby Mark Koyama and Jared Rubin or more technological, like Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity, by Daron Acemoğlu and Simon Johnson. Decades ago, what role was technology expected to play in economic progress, the advancement of capitalism and its unintended consequences? The limits of growth, by Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, and Jørgen Randers, a report commissioned from MIT by the Club of Rome and published in 1972, addresses these questions.

Also in the novel, the economy can be a fundamental element: The Europeansby Orlando Figes, explores its crucial role in the origin and expansion of great European culture.

Books about Latin America

Another example of the influence of books is the impact they have on the identity and vision of people. In this sense, one of those that has undoubtedly had the most influence on Latin America’s own vision has been The Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano, who blames the past for the problems of the present, an approach that is already beginning to be overcome. Nowadays it is interesting to see the clear link between culture, and especially literature, and Latin American politics, as explained in American deliriumby Carlos Granes.

Books about social challenges

Finally, we look at current social challenges through the window offered by literature, as in the case of the migratory phenomenon and its dramatic aspects, which Javier Zamora details in Alone, his personal and solitary journey from El Salvador to the United States at only nine years old. Another example is the problem of gender inequality, which reaches the point of scarcity of data and analysis related to women for decision-making, as addressed The invisible woman by Caroline Criado Perez.

Round table from the Madrid Book Fair 2024, “Geopolitics of sport and soft power”.
Elcano Conversations from the Madrid Book Fair 2023, How does Spain project its soft power? – 3X04.

List of recommendations for “Books to understand the world”:

Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy (Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman).
Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber (Andy Borowitz).

The zombie empire: Russia and the world order (Mira Milosevich).

Speech on voluntary servitude (Étienne de La Boétie).
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi).
Chronicles (Guy Delisle).

Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Cave of the Sun (Elias Khoury).
A Story of Love and Darkness (Amos Oz).

Cultural conflicts
French counter-enlightenment and the construction of the modern world.
A home in the world: memoirs (Amartya Sen).

Origin of international law
East-West Street (Philippe Sands).

How the World Became Rich. The Historical Origins of Economic Growth (Mark Koyama and Jared Rubin).
Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity (Daron Acemoğlu and Simon Johnson).
Views on inequality: From the French Revolution to the end of the Cold War (Branko Milanovic).
The Europeans (Orlando Figes).
Fortuna (Hernán Díaz).
The limits to growth (Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows and Jørgen Randers).
Why countries fail (Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson).
The man who saved the cherry trees (Naoko Abe).
Fear (Robert Peckham).
A Culture of Growth (Joel Mokyr).

Latin America
The labyrinth of loneliness (Octavio Paz).
The open veins of Latin America (Eduardo Galeano).
The years with Laura Díaz (Carlos Fuentes).
Dust in the wind (Leonardo Padura).
Hurricane season (Fernanda Melchor).
American delirium (Carlos Granes).
Looking back (Juan Gabriel Vásquez).

Social challenges
The Great Escape: Health, wealth and the origins of inequality (Angus Deaton).
Solito (Javier Zamora).
The invisible woman (Caroline Criado Perez).
Rethinking My Economics (Angus Deaton).
Factfulness (Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling).

Elcano Conversations

How what happens in the world affects us. A podcast from the Elcano Royal Institute in which we analyze international reality and the implications that major global transformations have for Spanish society. Twice a month, we bring international things closer to our daily lives.

Interior of a bookstore. Photo: Clay Banks (@claybanks).

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