Category Archive: Civilization, Culture, Globalization, Human Ideas and History

  1. The Secret

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    downloadBy Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller

    One of the great privileges of my recent past, along with about 900 other men and women from 50 countries around the world, was hearing Mark Miller, a Sr. VP at Chik-fil-a, address the audience of the CBMC World Convention in September of 2014.  Mark did a wonderful job of explaining the SERVE model which is what great leaders know and do and the featured subject matter of the book The Secret.

    The Secret is a profoundly easy read, yet delivered in a story form that is captivating to the very end.  It is about a mid-level manager, Debbie Brewster, who applies and is awarded with the opportunity to be part of the company’s new mentorship program. Much to Debbie’s amazement, her mentor will be the company President, Jeff Brown. Debbie becomes further amazed when Jeff’s assistant contacts her to schedule their first mentoring session and offers to schedule the meeting at a convenient time for Debbie.  The book leads Debbie through an array of surprises that go against most all of her pre-conceived notions about mentoring, the style of the company President, Jeff Brown, and profound truths that she discovers throughout her mentorship program.

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  2. Godonomincs

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    godonomics-book-coverHow to save our country and protect your wallet through biblical principles of finance

    By Chad Hovind

    In September of this year, Chad Hovind gave an entertaining and challenging keynote presentation at the 10th CBMC World Convention in Orlando, Florida USA. He also generously gave out copies of his new book Godonomics: How to save our country and protect your wallet through Biblical principles of Finance.

    As finance professional with over 30 years of marketplace experience and considerable education in the field, I was intrigued by what a “pastor” might have to tell us about our current weak economic condition and prospects. Hovind would like this book to “create a new context to think, dialogue, and reason together as fellow Americans” rather than “demonize one another.” In fact Godonomics was written to “encourage every Christ-follower to venture into the mine field of politics and to help influence our nation’s economic system.” At the very least, one has to admire Hovind’s desire to see his fellow believers become re-engaged in public dialogue.

    Godonomics begins with an explanation of God’s economic principles as stated in the Bible: property rights, incentives and personal freedom. These are central to understanding Godonomics and form the basis of Hovind’s solution to helping the USA (although one can probably assume all economies) out of its “quagmire.” Having established the foundation of Godonomics, the author proceeds to address key historical and contemporary economic figures essentially with advice from God, the Bible and Godonomics. These figures include Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Jim Wallis, Karl Marx, the IRS and finally the reader. It is a creative tool, which adds interest to the book: I have to say I was looking forward to what God would say to the IRS (among other things, God apparently thinks higher taxes are bad because they lead to more centralized control).

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  3. Economics of Good and Evil

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    EconomicsGoodEvil 160x160by Tomáš Sedláček

    Recommended

    Professor Sedláček is a former economics advisor to Czech President Václav Havel and currently teaches at Charles University in Prague. I first met and heard Dr. Tomáš Sedláček at the Europartners Conference held in Prague in February 2014. In addition to his economics expertise and policy experience, Tomáš is a practicing marketplace Christian who is not afraid to challenge public thinking about economic and social government policy.

    He wrote this book “to show that there is a much broader and fascinating story of economics than its mathematical perception.” Much of the book is devoted to telling the historical story of how we came to see economics as a mathematical exercise despite its’ roots in philosophy, theology, sociology and even psychology. Clearly Prof. Sedláček favors the broader approach since he believes it helps us make policy decisions more closely related to the human condition (reality). When we uncover the ancient myths in our past economic thinking, we discover the same in our current thinking. A case in point- our common misconceptions that modern economic thinking began with Adam Smith’s book “Wealth of Nations” published in 1776. Sedláček believes the roots go back to the very beginnings of the human story.

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  4. The Second Machine Age

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    Second Machine Age

    Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

    By Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee

    HighlyRecommended

    Read a sample of: The Second Machine Age Work

    Most of us have begun to wonder what is going on in our national economies as well as the global one. We note that recession recoveries have not been as robust as in the past and also that government tools (both fiscal and monetary) do not seem to be as effective. Moreover, we have noticed that there seem to be fewer good job opportunities for the average person. What is going on?

    The authors are two MIT professors who have taken the time to explore up close and personal the inventive world of digitization. In Second Machine Age they explain the great structural reordering that is underway and what the future might bring. Essentially it is about the impact of technology on our lives, our businesses and our economies. It does not disappoint. In fact it is hard to read this well written and researched book and not ask: What should I be doing to be sure I (or my family, company, city or nation) am prepared for the impact of this digitized age?

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  5. Jerusalem, (Simon Sebag Montefiore)

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    JerusalemBiographyHighlyRecommended


    Read a sample of: Jerusalem, The Biography

    Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism, and coexistence.

    In this masterful narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings the holy city to life, through the people who created and destroyed it—from Herod, Cleopatra and Nero to Churchill, Rasputin and Truman—and draws on the latest scholarship, his own family history, and a lifetime of study to show that the story of Jerusalem is truly the story of the world.


  6. Guns, Germs, and Steel, (Jared Diamond)

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    GunsGermsSteelRead a sample of: Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies

    In this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world.

    Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion –as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war –and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures.

    A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California’s Gold Medal.


  7. Collapse, (Jared Diamond)

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    CollapseSocietyRead a sample of: Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization.

    Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted.

    As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland.

    Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

    Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?


  8. The Next 100 Years, (George Friedman)

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    Next100Years

    Recommended

    Read a sample of: The Next 100 Years, A Forecast for the 21st Century

    George Freidman is the CEO and founder of Stratfor, a private intelligence and forecasting company. His writings on geo-political events and crisis’ are always insightful and quite often spot-on. This book is a case in point. He accurately predicts that the new Russia would begin to take action in the mid-2010’s, to reconstitute the old Russia, including the reacquisition of Crimea. His predictions were uncannily accurate. Consequently, if you are interested in 21st Century geo-political events (the interaction of global players: cultures, countries and companies) you will appreciate the clarity Friedman brings to such complicated topics.

    He admittedly writes from an American perspective. He convincingly predicts that the USA will recover from the current economic and leadership malaise to remain the world’s only superpower for the next 100 years. His analysis of the Asian powers: China, Japan and Korea may be worth the price of the book. In Freidman’s future for example, China never rises to the superpower level primarily due to the rise of internal regional forces that constantly challenge central control from Beijing. This is a fascinating read for all who have wondered if China’s rising economic power will ever result in real global power.

    In our super-connected world, these geopolitical events cannot be ignored. For Christ-followers engaged in international marketplace activities, a working knowledge of the dynamics at play here are crucial to good decision-making. God has blessed us with minds to think and analyze. Let us use them by seeking out solid resources like this to help us make sense of this world. Since our work is our ministry, we honor God when we keep ourselves informed and prepared.

     


  9. How the West Really Lost God, (Mary Eberstadt)

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    HowWestLostGodRecommended


    Read a sample of: How the West Really Lost God, Secularization

    In this magisterial work, leading cultural critic Mary Eberstadt delivers a powerful new theory about the decline of religion in the Western world. The conventional wisdom is that the West first experienced religious decline, followed by the decline of the family. Eberstadt turns this standard account on its head.

    Marshalling an impressive array of research, from fascinating historical data on family decline in pre-Revolutionary France to contemporary popular culture both in the United States and Europe, Eberstadt shows that the reverse has also been true: the undermining of the family has further undermined Christianity itself.

    Drawing on sociology, history, demography, theology, literature, and many other sources, Eberstadt shows that family decline and religious decline have gone hand in hand in the Western world in a way that has not been understood before—that they are, as she puts it in a striking new image summarizing the book’s thesis, “the double helix of society, each dependent on the strength of the other for successful reproduction.”

    In sobering final chapters, Eberstadt then lays out the enormous ramifications of the mutual demise of family and faith in the West. While it is fashionable in some circles to applaud the decline both of religion and the nuclear family, there are, as Eberstadt reveals, enormous social, economic, civic, and other costs attendant on both declines.

    Her conclusion considers this tantalizing question: whether the economic and demographic crisis now roiling Europe and spreading to America will have the inadvertent result of reviving the family as the most viable alternative to the failed welfare state—fallout that could also lay the groundwork for a religious revival as well.

    How the West Really Lost God is both a startlingly original account of how secularization happens and a sweeping brief about why everyone should care. A book written for agnostics as well as believers, atheists as well as “none of the above,” it will permanently change the way every reader understands the two institutions that have hitherto undergirded Western civilization as we know it—family and faith—and the real nature of the relationship between those two pillars of history.


  10. Clash of Civilizations (Samuel P. Huntington)

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    ClashCivilizations

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    Read a sample of: Clash of Civilizations

    The classic study of post-Cold War international relations, more relevant than ever in the post-9/11 world, with a new foreword by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    Since its initial publication, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order has become a classic work of international relations and one of the most influential books ever written about foreign affairs. An insightful and powerful analysis of the forces driving global politics, it is as indispensable to our understanding of American foreign policy today as the day it was published.

    As former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says in his new foreword to the book, it “has earned a place on the shelf of only about a dozen or so truly enduring works that provide the quintessential insights necessary for a broad understanding of world affairs in our time.”

    Samuel Huntington explains how clashes between civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace but also how an international order based on civilizations is the best safeguard against war. Events since the publication of the book have proved the wisdom of that analysis. The 9/11 attacks and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the threat of civilizations but have also shown how vital international cross-civilization cooperation is to restoring peace.

    As ideological distinctions among nations have been replaced by cultural differences, world politics has been reconfigured. Across the globe, new conflicts—and new cooperation—have replaced the old order of the Cold War era.

    The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order explains how the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics. These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly “universal” Western ideals, and intensify intercivilization conflict over such issues as nuclear proliferation, immigration, human rights, and democracy.

    The Muslim population surge has led to many small wars throughout Eurasia, and the rise of China could lead to a global war of civilizations. Huntington offers a strategy for the West to preserve its unique culture and emphasizes the need for people everywhere to learn to coexist in a complex, multi-polar, muliti-civilizational world.


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