Big Capital: Who’s London For? by Anna Minton

The Blurb On The Back:

Revealing exactly what is causing London’s housing crisis – and what can be done.

London is facing the worst housing crisis in modern times, with knock-on effects for the rest of the UK.  Despite the desperate shortage of housing, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of affordable homes are being pulled down, replaced by luxury apartments aimed at foreign investors.  In this ideological war, only market solutions to housing – which is a public good – are considered, which paradoxically makes the situation worse, because the market responds to the needs of global capital rather than ordinary people needing homes to live in.  In politically uncertain times, the housing crisis has become a key driver creating and fuelling the inequalities of a divided nation.  Anna Minto cuts through the complexities, jargon and spin to give a clear-sighted account of how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter And Live Happier by Ali Almossawi

The Blurb On The Back:

The secret recipe for modern success. 

Ali Almossawi’s first book Bad Arguments (“A flawless collection of flaws” Alice Roberts) was a cult hit all round the world.  In Bad Choices, he takes on algorithms, those perennially misunderstood principles that underlie so many of our everyday activities.  Taking us through twelve very funny, highly illustrated situations – from how we listen to music to finding every item on a shopping list as quickly as possible – Bad Choices explains how algorithms work and how to use them for yourself.

We all have an intuitive knack for solving problems, but can we use this ability to find items in logarithmic time?  Can we create cognitive stacks to cut down on errands?  Can we figure out which book we want to read next with link analysis?  Almossawai shows us how and once we recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, we’ll all become more nimble, creative thinkers, ready to face new challenges.

Covering everything from maze-solving in Ancient Greece to the Two Ronnies, and from rapping in supermarkets to how Facebook predicts our likes, in opening algorithmic thinking to all readers Bad Choices shows us how to choose better – and live happier.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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A Crime In The Family by Sacha Batthyany

The Blurb On The Back:

In the spring of 1945, as the Red Army approached the village of Rechnitz in Austria, Countess Margit Batthyany hosted a party in her ancestral home.  Around midnight, the guests – German aristocrats and SS officers – left the castle and shot 180 Jewish labourers waiting in the village below.  The bodies disappeared into a mass grave: the massacre remained a secret for decades, until Countess Margit’s great-nephew began to ask questions.

This is the story of those questions, and of the answers Sacha Batthyany found: of how an atrocity was concealed and how it was uncovered.  It is a story of Nazi Germany, of the gulags of Siberia, of Budapest in the darkest days of the Cold War, of an Auschwitz survivor alive today in Argentina, and of whole generations of Europeans: monsters and heroes, executioners and victims.

A Crime In The Family is a singular and heart-rending true story, told by an extraordinary writer confronting not only his family’s past but humanity’s. 

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