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Nickel and Dimed: Undercover in Low-Wage USA by Barbara Ehrenreich
What is it like to be poor? If you ask a person who is not poor to imagine what poverty is like, they may say that poverty includes socioeconomic difficulties. However, no matter how poor someone is, life will go on. After all, they may be thinking, poor people are also living a life, just like everyone else. If you find yourself agreeing with this, you might be someone who’s socioeconomic status has limited your imagination of poverty. The book Nickel and Dimed, albeit old, illustrates to those who have not lived at or below the poverty line in America what life is like, through the words of the author’s experience tasting that life herself.
The author of this book is Barbara Ehrenreich, who identifies herself as a feminist, democratic socialist, and political activist passionate about writing on social issues that she sees in the United States. Although she came from a working-class family, she earned a Ph.D. in biology and started a career in writing that eventually lifted her out of working in labor-intensive jobs. She then decided to temporary leave her life behind in order to subsequently write and better understand how people make a living on minimum-wage “unskilled” jobs. She originally intended her work to be a simple newspaper column – but the experience was so vast and affected her so much that she turned it into a memoir
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
A survey has shown that by 2020, there were roughly 4.54 billion Internet users worldwide, with a penetration rate of 59%, an increase of almost 300 million since 2019. Globally, social media is used by 3.96 billion people—approximately 51% of the world population—with a year-on-year increase of 10%. The Internet has now become an integral part of most of people’s lives.
The internet, however, is a double-edged sword. Although the Internet has brought with it many conveniences, it has also burdened us with problems such as information overload and dependency on the virtual world. You may have noticed that much of the time, our brains have become accustomed to taking in information in a superficial manner, and that we are no longer able to hold our attention with matters that require deep thought. How have our brains changed? What are the consequences of those changes, and how can we circumvent this problem? The Shallows will provide us with answers to these questions.
Start-Up Nation:The Story of Israels Economic Miracle by Dan Senor, Saul Singer
From a geopolitical perspective, Israel is arguably the world's worst country, suffering from issues with wars and terrorism. Moreover, Israel's land area of 25,000 square kilometers is mostly infertile. The Negev Desert has about 12,000 square kilometers and occupies almost half of the entire Israeli territory. However, the harsh climate conditions don’t stop the country’s development. In 2014, The National RandD expenditure of Israel and its per venture capital ranked first in the world. The number of Israeli enterprises listed on NASDAQ ranked second globally, and the country’s GDP was over the average of other developed countries.
So, the question is: what secret does Israel hold to keep thriving? Anyone who briefly knows the country's circumstances and historical background would ask the same question. The book Start-up Nation offers some ideas and answers on this puzzling quest. The authors believe that cultural factors such as the emphasis on education, no blind belief in authority, the praise for entrepreneurship, and the high tolerance of failure all contribute to the success of this nation. In addition, the influence of Israel's military service system and government supporting policies on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship is also essential to guarantee constant economic growth.
The Hollow Crown:The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones
Today we will unlock the book The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors. This book details the history of the regime change from the fall of the House of Lancaster to the rise of the Tudors for nearly a century.
In June 1420, a triumphant song rang out from a church in the city of Troyes., A young girl wearing a crown and extravagant wedding dress, walked solemnly towards the church accompanied by a band. Her distinguished groom, a scarred faced, battle-weary warrior, wore stately and luxurious attire. The church was packed with well-dressed lords, knights and noblewomen who gathered to witness the wedding while 1,600 soldiers stood guard outside the church.
The two main characters in this sombre ceremony were King Henry V of Lancaster, England, and Catherine de Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France. The pairing formalized the partnership between England and France and put Henry V in control of Britain and France. Henry V won the Anglo-French war with his outstanding military expertise, however, King Charles VI of France was unable to govern due to mental illness as well as growing divisions and political opposition within his empire. France caved beneath the pressure of the English empire. As a result of France’s loss, Catherine’s brother Charles VII, lost his right to the Crown of France and its princess, both of which fell to Henry V.
Sam Walton:Made in America by Sam Walton, John Huey
In 1990, to the shock of even its founder Sam Walton, Walmart’s profits reached $1 billion for the very first time, representing a colossal leap in profits from the $41 million the company made ten years ago.
Wall Street investors were equally shocked, as they continually derided Walmart ever since its listing on the stock market. Even with the company growing so fast, they still claimed that Walmart would never be able to keep going with such a business model after it reached $1 billion in sales. When Walmart reported annual profits of one billion dollars, they started to say that everything would fall apart at ten billion dollars because you just couldn't manage a company that big with so few down-home management philosophies.
As you can see, the supposed Wall Street experts embarrassed themselves time and time again. Under Walton's leadership, Walmart became the world's largest retailer by 1990. Many statistics prove its massive scale of influence. At one point, every week Walmart welcomed almost forty million customers into its stores. 135 million men's underwear, 136 million women's underwear and 280 million pairs of socks were sold in a single year. A mere quarter of the fishing lines sold by Walmart in the United States are 600 thousand miles long and can circle the earth 24 times.
The Gaslight Effect:How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life by Robin Stern
This book presents us with thorough research on a manipulation tactic called gaslighting. Where does this name come from? During the initial stages of her research, Dr. Stern couldn’t quite put her finger on the phenomenon. Despite this, she knew that it was there, and it was real. Then, she recalled the term ‘gaslighting’ that had occasionally been used since the release of a 1944 film called Gaslight. In this film, a husband convinces his wife that she is insane, in order to take her inheritance. At first, the wife maintains her grip on reality, but as he manipulates her perceptions of reality, she begins to believe that what he says is true. His main argument centers on her hallucinating that the gas lights in their house are dimming, while in reality he is controlling them. The husband in the movie is consciously manipulating his wife in order to obtain her tangible property. However, in real life the one doing the gaslighting – the gaslighter – often doesn’t realize what they are doing.
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