a few months ago

In Chocolate Wars, what’s gone wrong with business

One of the best ways I’ve found to explore the factors that influence the grand sweep of modern history is to examine the stories of individual companies, industries, and commodities. And among the books I’ve found that have helped the most are The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed […]

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6 months ago

This thrilling account of the early auto industry sets the record straight on Henry Ford

At first, before Henry Ford, before the twentieth century, the automobile was not a sure thing. In fact, it was a downright nuisance. For starters, they couldn’t agree on what to call it. A “road machine?” “Automotor horse?” “Buggyaut?” “Horseless carriage?” They didn’t know what fuel to use. Steam? Kerosene? Coal gas? Electricity? Maybe gasoline? […]

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last year

The Trumps and the Kushners: the backstory

His father was arrested for failure to disperse from a Ku Klux Klan rally. He was also investigated for profiteering by the U. S. Senate and the State of New York and sued by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations. His son-in-law’s father spent fourteen months in Federal prison for illegal campaign contributions, […]

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last year

Women programmers, blue-collar coders, and the world they’re building

The first computer programmer was a woman. Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, wrote code in 1842-43 for Charles Babbage‘s Analytical Engine, a computer that was never built. And a century later, when the first digital computers finally came into existence, the programmers were predominantly female. In fact, women continued to dominate the field well into […]

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a couple of years ago

It’s time for antitrust: break up big corporations to restore democracy

The Curse of Bigness highlights one of the most significant policy questions facing American society. The author, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, insists it’s time to restore America’s lost commitment to the antitrust legislation passed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Break up big corporations, he urges, since the increasing concentration of […]

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a couple of years ago

A cautionary tale about corporate power in Silicon Valley

Bad Blood is a cautionary tale about the corrosive effects of corporate power in Silicon Valley. It’s also vivid evidence for the invaluable role played by investigative journalists, whose work constitutes one of the few checks available in our society on corporate misbehavior. The multi-billion-dollar Theranos scandal detailed in this book is the most dramatic and best-known […]

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