The Way Of The Strangers: Encounters With The Islamic State by Graeme Wood

The Blurb On The Back:

Graeme Wood’s The Way Of Strangers is a riveting, intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State’s true believers, one which up-ends our understanding of their psychology, character and aims.

From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London to the suburbs of Melbourne, Wood, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, interviews supporters, recruiters and sympathisers of the world’s most infamous jihadist group.  We meet an Egyptian tailor who once made bespoke suits for Paul Newman and now wants to live under Sharia; a garrulous Australian convert who translates the group’s sermons and threats into English; and a self-taught Muslim cleric who is now determined to see America, the nation of his birth, drenched in blood.  Drawing on insights from a wide spectrum of Islamic scholars, Wood explores the group’s apocalyptic dogma and the theology that influences its expansionist project.

The Islamic State is bent on murder and apocalypse, but its recruits find meaning and fellowship in a utopian dream.  This appeal of the Islamic State is key to understanding it – and predicting what its followers will do next.

With on-the-ground reporting, vivid character studies and clear-eyed analysis, The Way of Strangers uncovers a movement that has inspired tens of thousands of people to abandon or uproot their families.  It will shape how we see a new generation of terrorists.  

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science And How Mathematicians Took Over The Markets by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back, but there are the following quotes:

“This book has humour, attitude, clarity, science and common sense; it pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.” 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Scholar and former trader

 

”There are lots of people who’d prefer you didn’t read this book: financial advisors, pension fund managers, regulators and more than a few politicians.  That’s because it makes plain their complicity in a trillion dollar scam that nearly destroyed the global financial system.  Insiders Wilmott and Orrell explain how it was done, how to stop it happening again – and why those with the power to act are so reluctant to wield it.” 

Robert Matthews, Author of Chancing It: The Laws Of Chance And How They Can Work For You

 

”Few contemporary developments are more important – and more terrifying – than the increasing power of the financial system in the global economy.  This book makes it clear that this system is operated either by people who don’t know what they are doing or who are so greed-stricken that they don’t care.  Risk is at dangerous levels.  Can this be fixed?  It can and this book – full of healthy scepticism and high expertise – shows how.” 

Bryan Appleyard, Author and Sunday Times writer

 

”In a financial world that relies more and more on models that fewer and fewer people understand, this is an essential, deeply insightful as well as entertaining read.”

Joris Luyendijk, Author of Swimming With Sharks: My Journey Into The World Of The Bankers

 

”A fresh and lively explanation of modern quantitative finance, its perils and what we might do to protect against a repeat of disasters like 2008-09.  This insightful, important and original critique of the financial system is also fun to read.” 

Edward O. Thorp, Author of A Man For All Markets and New York Times bestseller Beat The Dealer

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Will China’s Economy Collapse? by Ann Lee

The Blurb On The Back:

The recent downturn in the Chinese economy has become a focal point of global attention, with some analysts warning that China is edging dangerously close to economic meltdown.  Is it possible that the second largest economy in the world could collapse and drag the rest of the world with it?

In this penetrating essay, Ann Lee explains both why China’s economy will not sink us all and the policy options on which it is drawing to mitigate against such a catastrophic scenario.  Dissecting with realistic clarity the challenges facing the Chinese economy, she makes a compelling case for its continued robustness in multiple sectors in the years ahead. 

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Will Robots Take Your Job? by Nigel M. de S. Cameron

The Blurb On The Back:

The trend that began with ATMs and do-it-yourself checkouts is moving at lightning speed.  Everything from driving to teaching to the care of the elderly and, indeed, code-writing can now be done by smart machines.  Conventional wisdom says there will be new jobs to replace those we lose – but is it so simple?  And are we ready?

Technology writer and think-tank director Nigel Cameron argues it’s naïve to believe we face a smooth transition.  Whether or not there are “new” jobs, we face massive disruption as the jobs millions of us are doing gets outsourced to machines.  A twenty-first century “rust belt” will rapidly corrode the labour market and affect literally hundreds of different kinds of jobs simultaneously.

Robots won’t design our future – we will.  Yet, shockingly, political leaders and policymakers don’t seem to have this in their line of sight.  So how should we assess and prepare for the risks of this unknown future?

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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