five-new-books-to-read-in-december-2020

Five New Books To Read In December 2020

8 min read

1. The Last Days of John Lennon - James Patterson

The Last Days of John Lennon

What is it about?

“The greatest true-crime story in music history, as only James Patterson can tell it. Enriched by exclusive interviews with Lennon’s friends and associates, including Paul McCartney, The Last Days of John Lennon is the thrilling true story of two men who changed history: One whose indelible songs enliven our world to this day—and the other who ended the beautiful music with five pulls of a trigger.”

Taken from the product description on Amazon.

Why I want to read it

I have loved The Beatles ever since I first discovered my parents’ White Album record as a nine-year-old. I remember being spellbound by songs such as Back In The USSR, Bungalow Bill and While My Guitar Gently Weeps and then feeling a sense of genuine loss when my parents explained to me that the band couldn’t make any more music because one of its members had been murdered a few years before.

I’ve read, watched and listened to much more about The Beatles since then and find myself increasingly captivated by the music and the stories behind it. I know of James Patterson as a best-selling fiction writer (although I’ve not read anything by him yet) and I’m really interested to read how he applies his writing style to real-life events that are arguably far more powerful than a made up story. - James

Release Date

December 7, 2020

Where to get it

2. Data Action: Using Data For Public Good - Sarah Williams

Data Action: Using Data For Public Good

What is it about?

“Big data can be used for good--from tracking disease to exposing human rights violations--and for bad--implementing surveillance and control. Data inevitably represents the ideologies of those who control its use; data analytics and algorithms too often exclude women, the poor, and ethnic groups.

In Data Action, Sarah Williams provides a guide for working with data in more ethical and responsible ways. Too often data has been used--and manipulated--to make policy decisions without much stakeholder input. Williams outlines a method that emphasizes collaboration among data scientists, policy experts, data designers, and the public. This approach creates trust and co-ownership in the data by opening the process to those who know the issues best.”

Taken from the product description on Amazon.

Why I want to read it

I work with data in my day job, so I have spent a lot of time thinking (and reading) about its huge potential for making the world a better place as well as the dangers of too much personal data accumulating in the hands of companies and states. I’m really interested to see what Sarah Williams proposes in Data Action. There is definitely a need for an ethical framework for working with data as its impact on every aspect of life increases. - James

Release Date

December 8, 2020

Where to get it

3. Badass Habits - Jen Sincero

Badass Habits

What is it about?

“Badass Habits is a eureka-sparking, easy-to-digest look at how our habits make us who we are, from the measly moments that happen in private to the resolutions we loudly broadcast (and, erm, often don't keep) on social media. Habit busting and building goes way beyond becoming a dedicated flosser or never showing up late again--our habits reveal our unmet desires, the gaps in our boundaries, our level of self-awareness, and our unconscious beliefs and fears.

Badass Habits features Jen's trademark hilarious voice and offers a much-needed fresh take on the conventional wisdom and science that shape the optimism (or pessimism?) around the age-old topic of habits. The book includes enlightening interviews with people who've successfully strengthened their discipline backbones, new perspective on how to train our brains to become our best selves, and offers a simple, 21 day, step-by-step guide for ditching habits that don't serve us and developing the habits we deem most important.”

Taken from the product description on Amazon.

Why I want to read it

I am sold on the importance of habits as a way to learn skills and live healthily. Every time I've managed to train myself to do something consistently (over the last year it has been going for long walks and studying Italian), I have really felt the benefits. Books such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear helped me understand the science and best practices behind habit formation so I'm looking forward to finding out how Badass Habits will add new ideas and concepts to the topic. - James

Release Date

December 1, 2020

Where to get it

4. Competition is Killing Us: How Big Business is Harming Our Society and Planet - and What To Do About It - Michelle Meagher

Competition is Killing Us - Michelle Meagher

What is it about?

We live in the age of big companies where multi-billion and trillion dollar mammoths dominate the market and prioritise shareholder profits over all else. This leads to extreme wealth inequality, inhumane conditions for workers and relentless pressure on the environment. Yet no government or organisation has the power to regulate these companies and hold them to account.

In Competition is Killing Us, lawyer and campaigner Michelle Meagher, establishes a new framework to control capitalism, presenting a fair and comprehensive approach to competition law that limits unfair mergers, enforces accountability and redistributes power through stakeholder governance. By debunking six myths about the free market, Meagher shows how corporate capitalism concentrates power at the cost of people and planet, and shares a new vision for anti-trust for the 21st century. It's time capitalism worked for the many and not just the few.

Taken from the product description on Amazon.

Why I want to read it

It’s becoming more and more known that wealth inequality in society is at ridiculous levels. Big companies, no matter how much profit or revenue they generate they always want more. I have worked in international corporations and this endless drive for more is exhausting. It’s also frightfully unfair how much these big companies get away with because they have the resources to get around laws through loopholes and other means. I really am against any kind of unfairness so when a book comes out about how there could be a solution to this ever growing problem then I definitely want to read it to educate myself and see what hope we have for the future. - Adam

Release Date

December 10, 2020

Where to get it

5. The Nature of Conspiracy Theories - Michael Butter

The Nature of Conspiracy Theories - Michael Butter

What is it about?

In this book Michael Butter provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to the nature and development of conspiracy theories. Contrary to popular belief, he shows that conspiracy theories are less popular and influential today than they were in the past. Up to the 1950s, the Western world regarded conspiracy theories as a legitimate form of knowledge and it was therefore normal to believe in them. It was only after the Second World War that this knowledge was delegitimized, causing conspiracy theories to be banished from public discourse and relegated to subcultures.

The recent renaissance of conspiracy theories is linked to the internet which gives them wider exposure and contributes to the fragmentation of the public sphere. Conspiracy theories are still stigmatized today in many sections of mainstream culture but are being accepted once again as legitimate knowledge in others. It is the clash between these domains and their different conceptions of truth that is fuelling the current debate over conspiracy theories.

Taken from the product description on Amazon.

Why I want to read it

I love conspiracy theories! I mean did we really land on the moon as a species?! Really?! But in all seriousness I am always intrigued by them. Sometimes they just seem damn right outrageous and sometimes they seem completely legitimate and believable. But what I like most about them is they make you look at certain events throughout history from different angles. History is told from a certain perspective but in any situation there are always many perspectives. It's very easy these days to get locked into your silo (especially with the mass adoption of social media) and therefore only see things from this one perspective. However, when you hear conspiracy theories, even if they seem ridiculous sometimes they usually bring facts and perspectives from events and situations that you would otherwise not know about. And one thing we need more than ever nowadays is the ability to look at things from many perspectives and not get trapped in our ways of thinking. - Adam

Release Date

December 7, 2020

Where to get it

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