Editor’s note: I don’t know how I stumbled on this decade-old book but beyond Gaudiani’s ill-advised “independence declaration”, she riveted my interest. Claire Gaudiani is a well-known student of philanthropy in the USA. The history of American philanthropy (See Zinsmeister from earlier blogs) fascinates me. The second value of this book is her argument in favor of a middle ground between too much government regulation of giving and leaving philanthropy entirely unbound. It’s an endless but worthy concern since neither our government nor our wealthy can be entirely trusted.
Editor’s Comment: Bryson is well known for his variety of interests, from his ambitious “A Short History of Nearly Everything” to a delightful childhood memoir I read called “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid”. “The Body” fascinated me with startling details of how our body works. Chapters are broken into parts: brain, heart, lungs as well as systems: immune, chemistry and skeleton. Bryson adds a point of view, such as his concerns over the overuse of antibiotics. (see excerpt) I’m recommending this book with only two promises, it’s far more readable than your biology textbook and you will understand a lot more about the only body you’ll ever own when you’re done.
Book of the Month by Mihir Desai
Editor’s note: Thanks to my son, Timmy, for this my favorite read of the year so far. I imagine that loving it depends on your perspective. My children and I consider ourselves wisdom-seeking writers who generally hold finance in disdain. And I know quite a few finance wizards who are not inclined to the arts. Desai, a long-time business and law professor at Harvard makes wonderful connections between the two disciplines – from as far back as Archimedes to as current as The Simpsons. I mean, who knew that the first examples of 529 college plans were romance savings accounts (for dowries) in 15th century Florence!
Editor’s note: Thanks to friend, Frank Dixon, for turning me onto Giffels, a local (Akron) professor and writer. Don’t let the theme of building his own coffin (yes, that’s the story) throw you off. Rather than morbid this book is filled with wisdom, warmth and laughter. It is quite more about living than dying. Whether the cause is the author’s writing or my comprehension, the book started to really delight and engage me more after page 148, when at least a half dozen times I would stop, say “wow” and reread the paragraph or section.
Editor’s note: I’ve read ten books on business and philanthropy over the least few months. None were worth sharing so I’ve been stuck on historical fiction but now it’s back to business. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s recommended it so I tried it. It was first published in the late 1960s so it took me a while to adjust to style and numbers and policies from the mid-20th century. Who remembers “Cornering” or the flash crash of 1962? As I adjusted, I realized that is what must have appealed to my business heroes. That in business, as in life, that never changes is that no matter the numbers, practices and policies, we are emotional and irrational beings.