The Economist Audio Edition [December 6, 2014]

The Economist Audio Edition [December 6, 2014]
The Economist Audio Edition [December 6, 2014]
English | MP3@48 kbps + EPUB + MOBI | 199.59MB

Sheikhs v shale: The new economics of oil

  • Technology Quarterly
  • Shinzo Abe's last chance
  • Boost your business with a drone
  • P.D. James, queen of the sleuths
  • Our books of the year

The audio edition contains word-for-word recordings of all articles published in The Economist, read by professional broadcasters and actors. It is ideal for anyone who wants to listen to articles while travelling, exercising or just relaxing.

The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by "The Economist Newspaper Ltd" and edited in London. It has been in continuous publication since James Wilson established it in September 1843. As of summer 2007, its average circulation topped 1.2 million copies a week, about half of which are sold in North America. Consequently it is often seen as a transatlantic (as opposed to solely British) news source.

The aim of The Economist is "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."Subjects covered include international news, economics, politics, business, finance, science, technology, and the arts. The publication is targeted at the high-end "prestige" segment of the market and counts among its audience influential business and government decision-makers.

It takes a strongly argued editorial stance on many issues, especially its support for free trade and fiscal conservatism; it can thus be considered as a magazine which practises advocacy journalism.

Healthy Tipping Point [EPUB]

Healthy Tipping Point [EPUB]
Healthy Tipping Point: A Powerful Program for a Stronger, Happier You by Caitlin Boyle
2012 | EPUB | 3.23MB

Start small for big results with this inspiring guide to lifelong wellness—from popular health blogger and author of Operation Beautiful.

In Healthy Tipping Point, Caitlin Boyle shares the down-to-earth philosophy and authoritative advice that has made her websites so popular. Believing that reaching a tipping point means much more than tipping the scales, Boyle helps readers find their personal ideal balance in food, fitness, love, and life, in a breakthrough program organized around three shifts:

  • Get Real: Challenge negative-thought patterns to create space for success
  • Eat Clean: Ditch conventional “diet” advice and follow a simple eating plan tailored to keep energy high, while helping the environment—including forty-five delicious vegetarian recipes for foodies on the go
  • Embrace Strength: Commit to a high-powered fitness program designed to help one learn to love exercise and build a strong, lean body—with targeted guidance for novice runners, bikers, swimmers, and others

Featuring twenty inspiring success stories and photos of people who have transformed their lives, the book proves that a healthy body is absolutely attainable. Healthy living and a healthy self-image go hand in hand. For anyone who struggles to get fit, Healthy Tipping Point provides the drive to thrive.

Sex from Scratch [EPUB]

Sex from Scratch [EPUB]
Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules by Sarah Mirk
2014 | EPUB | 3.97MB

Mirk has a gift for asking questions that lead to productive conversations. I can't imagine a better quality for a writer to bring to a book exploring present-day relationships.

Sex from Scratch is honest without being didactic from the very first paragraph: "Look, I don't know what I'm doing. Most advice books are written by people who say they're experts and they sell you on the notion that there are secrets inside that will transform your life. I have to tell you some bad news: I'm no expert. There are no secrets here. Only you can change your life. Sorry."

The blend of Mirk's openness with the "good insights, practical advice, and admissions of honest mistakes" in the book's interviews engaged me in a way that slipped right past my defenses. I was having loads of insights and conversations before I was halfway through.

Through interviews and personal reflection, the book touches on many facets of "making your own relationship rules"-- popular relationship narratives, building feminist relationships, the value of taking care of yourself, navigating non-monogamy, marriage, gender, and much more.

I'd love to give this book to a parent or kid just starting to talk about relationships, because it's straightforward and empowering. It's clear that Mirk wants the best for her readers and sees information and communication as the best ways to get there.

Regardless of who you are (or aren't) and where you are (or aren't) in a relationship, this book will give you tools, models, and conversation points to better understand relationships and move forward intentionally.

The Twentysomething Guide to Getting It Together [EPUB]

The Twentysomething Guide to Getting It Together [EPUB]
The Twentysomething Guide to Getting It Together: A Step-by-Step Plan for Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis by Mary Traina
2014 | EPUB | 0.4MB

Your guide to making it as a real-life grownup!

Like a lot of people, author Mary Traina spent her early twenties making a mess out of her life--until she realized it was time to toss the red Solo cups and finally grow up. In The Twentysomething Guide to Getting It Together, she teaches you how to bust out of your rut with practical advice for kicking your bad habits, taking action toward your goals, and moving on to the next stage of your life as an adult. From answering tough relationship questions to advancing your career, she'll tackle all your biggest issues as well as give you a step-by-step plan for getting through your twenties in one piece.

Through Traina's signature humor, research, and real-world tips, this groundbreaking guide shows you how to:

  • Date a real man.
  • Escape entry-level hell.
  • Stop binge-drinking and overeating.
  • Emerge from a mountain of debt.
  • Cut those toxic friends of convenience.

With the same hip pop-culture references and endless wit that landed her a regular column on Zooey Deschanel's website, Mary Traina makes getting life together fun, easy, and--gasp--the cool thing to do!

Commit to Win [Audiobook]

Commit to Win [Audiobook]
Commit to Win: How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals [Audiobook] by Heidi Reeder, read by the Author
2014 | MP3 VBR ~ 90 kbps + EPUB | 5 hrs 55 mins | 239.79MB

What do you need besides motivation and willpower?

In Commit to Win, Heidi Reeder, PhD, unpacks over forty years of research by psychologists and economists to show that the key to reaching any goal, whether it’s to hit the gym more often or to finally quit that dead-end job, isn’t motivation, willpower, or determination. It’s commitment. Busting the myths most of us believe about commitment, Reeder shows that it all comes down to four variables:

  • Treasures: the benefits we get from working toward a goal,
  • Troubles: the difficulties we have to deal with,
  • Contributions: the time, money, and effort we invest, and
  • Choices: the number of good alternatives we have.

Together, these variables make up a formula that not only measures how committed we are, but also shows which factors we can change to get our commitment level in sync with what we want to do. Packed with practical examples and action plans for a variety of situations, Commit to Win will allow readers to stop wishing for things to be different and instead make practical changes that will naturally empower them to reach their goals. It will appeal to readers of Succeed and The Willpower Instinct.

The First 20 Minutes [Audiobook]

The First 20 Minutes [Audiobook]
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer [Audiobook] by Gretchen Reynolds, read by Karen Saltus
2012 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 6 mins | 250.5MB

Every Wednesday, Gretchen Reynolds singlehandedly influences how millions of Americans work out. In her Phys Ed column for The New York Times, she debunks myths, spurs conversation, and creates arguments among her readers by questioning widely held beliefs about exercise.

Expanding upon her popular columns, Reynolds tackles the questions we all have and (sometimes) ask about exercise. Consulting experts in physiology, biology, psychology, neurology, and sports, she uncovers how often we should exercise, how long workouts should be, how to avoid injury, and how to find the right form, routine and equipment for our goals.

She also reveals some surprising answers, like:

  • 20 minutes of cardio at a time is enough to obtain maximum health benefits. (And in some cases, just six minutes is all you need.)
  • Stretching before a workout is counterproductive. (It's better to just start easy, i.e., walk before you run.)
  • Core strength is nice but not necessary. (A six-pack looks great but actually has little bearing on performance.)
  • Walking improves your memory; housecleaning improves your mood. (The brain is like a muscle,; it likes to exercise.)
  • Chocolate milk is better than Gatorade for recovery. (Providing the best sports nutrition is often the simplest.)

Drawing on scientific expertise as well as her own athletic experiences, Gretchen Reynolds will help you find the right workout for your body, age, fitness and goals. Whether your desire is to be fit for the rest of your life, to look great in a smaller dress size or to run your third marathon in Boston, The First 20 Minutes will make your workouts work for you.

Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong [TTC Video]

Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong [TTC Video]
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong [TTC Video] by David-Dorian Ross
2014 | Course No 1908 | M4V, AVC1, 640x360 | English, AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.43GB

If you’ve ever seen a group of people moving in exquisitely graceful dance-like exercises in your local park, gym, or community center, you have witnessed the ancient Chinese arts of tai chi (taiji) and qigong. These ordinary people are improving their health, strength, balance, concentration, and mental well-being—and they are having fun while doing it! Best of all, you can enjoy all these benefits yourself, regardless of your current level of physical fitness.

Tai chi is a philosophy of balance and a pinnacle of the martial arts, known as tai chi chuan (or taijiquan), which means “the ultimate martial art.” Qigong, which is traditionally studied alongside tai chi, means “energy exercise.” Together, these two disciplines are transforming the way people take care of themselves. No need for high-intensity workouts that focus on a limited set of muscles and leave you feeling drained. Instead there is a better, centuries-old way to exercise that has these advantages:

  • The slow-motion moves of tai chi and qigong utilize more of your muscles than other exercises, giving you a total-body workout.
  • Tai chi and qigong are meditation in motion. You lose yourself in the rhythmic flow of the forms. Anxiety and the cares of daily life dissolve away.
  • The documented medical effects of tai chi and qigong include improved heart, lung, bone, and mental health, and an enhanced immune system.
  • Tai chi and qigong require no equipment. You can do them anywhere and need only enough space “for an ox to lie down,” as the traditional expression puts it.
  • People of all ages enjoy tai chi and qigong, while the low intensity of the poses makes them especially well suited for older people.

Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong is a complete introduction to the practice, history, benefits, and philosophy of these immensely rewarding activities. In 24 half-hour lessons, you learn the fundamentals of tai chi and qigong from an internationally renowned tai chi champion and trainer, David-Dorian Ross, who has been practicing tai chi for more than 35 years.

No other presentation of these venerable arts is as comprehensive and enjoyable. Unfailingly friendly and helpful, Mr. Ross explains each movement in easy-to-follow steps. He has a gift for anticipating a beginner’s questions, leaving no doubt about how you should be positioned for each pose.

And where other video products exist that emphasize mimicking an instructor’s choreography, which can end in boredom or burnout, this course is a multi-layered combination of practical instruction aimed at physical and mental health, together with deep insight into how to motivate and enrich movement and mindfulness in your own life, using the best of qigong and tai chi.

Those already experienced in tai chi and qigong will gain an unprecedented scope of understanding and will find Mr. Ross’s mindset and detailed instructions invaluable for refining their own skills. And his presentation of background topics, such as Chinese philosophy, medicine, and martial arts history, will enrich the practice of tai chi and qigong for everyone.

Master the World’s Most Popular Tai Chi Routine

Each lesson of Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong starts with a standing qigong exercise to get you energized. In the middle, you perform an easy tai chi movement to get you into the flow. You conclude each lesson with a posture from the Yang family short form, the best known of the different tai chi styles. The 24-movement Yang family short form, often called simply the short form, is the most widely recognized and performed tai chi routine in the world. When you see tai chi practitioners in the park—from Beijing to San Francisco to Paris—they are most likely doing the short form. By mastering one segment of the short form in each lesson, you will be able to join them, and even step out on your own, in no time!

The short form includes such memorable movements as Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane, White Crane Spreads Wings, and Waving Hands Like Clouds. The names are mnemonics to help you remember the graceful shapes you create as you take a step, turn, raise your arms, and then move forward, back, or to the side, making a distinctive figure depending on the movement. One posture beautifully merges with the next, with moves that are the foundation for many other tai chi routines.

You also learn about four other family styles of tai chi, as well as personal modifications you can make so that tai chi and qigong will work for you, no matter what your level of fitness or flexibility. You even investigate rudimentary weapons exercises, as well as a two-person exercise of tai chi, called push hands, that you play with a partner.

Get in Balance and Improve Your Health

Studies by Harvard Medical School and other research centers show that tai chi and qigong have a wide range of health benefits. These include:

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol: Tai chi and qigong are good for your heart, with effects including lowered blood pressure and improved levels of cholesterol.
  • Weight loss: Tai chi burns calories at a surprisingly high rate and reduces stress, making weight loss easier. It is also an excellent activity for people who are overweight.
  • Healthy back: One of the principles of tai chi and qigong is proper body alignment, which leads to good posture. The practice also helps control and relieve back pain.
  • Managing chronic disease: Tai chi and qigong are an effective adjunct to standard medical therapies for chronic diseases, helping you manage symptoms and stay healthier.
  • Better balance: Even simple tai chi and qigong poses improve balance, reducing the risk of falls for older people and those with neurological problems.

Balance also encompasses the way you lead your life, both at home and at work. We are all familiar with the competing demands on our time and attention that produce stress. Practicing tai chi and qigong can help resolve these tensions—not by making them disappear, but by putting them in perspective and making them manageable. Whenever life is in balance, everything works better. This inner harmony is represented by the ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol, and you will be intrigued to learn how completely this idea of balanced opposites permeates Chinese philosophy, medicine, and martial arts—and how tai chi epitomizes the best of those traditions, bringing them together for you in ways that are eminently practical, and potentially life-changing.

Take a Journey of Health and Fulfillment

Impressively graceful, Mr. Ross looks like he was born to do Chinese martial arts. But it’s inspiring to know that he was never athletic growing up; that as an adult he couldn’t sit still long enough to meditate in a seated posture, yet he fell in love with the moving meditation of tai chi; and that he has gone on to win the highest awards ever given to an American for international tai chi performance.

There’s no reason you can’t take a similar journey of health and fulfillment. “The best way to begin,” says this consummate practitioner and guide, “is to find a joy in the basic rhythms. All you have to do is put one foot forward and start.” Take that step and experience the joy of movement yourself with Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong.

Lectures:

  1. The Snake and the Crane
  2. First Steps in a Journey
  3. Harmony and Balance
  4. The Ultimate Martial Art
  5. The Five Families of Tai Chi Practice
  6. Qigong and the Five Animal Frolics
  7. Energy Exercise: A Branch of Chinese Medicine
  8. The First Pillar of Practice: Forms
  9. The Second Pillar: Push Hands for Two
  10. The Third Pillar: Standing Meditation
  11. Benefits to the Heart and Immune System
  12. A Healthy Weight and a Healthy Mind
  13. Tai Chi Legends: Stories of the Masters
  14. Reading the Tai Chi Classics
  15. A Superior Workout: Use More of Your Muscles
  16. Eight Pieces of Brocade and a Better Back
  17. Tai Chi Weapons: When Hands Are Not Empty
  18. Using the Mind: Inner Organizing Principles
  19. Mental and Physical Flow
  20. Creating Space for Choices
  21. Flow at Work: When Business Is in Balance
  22. Energy Flow in Your Surroundings
  23. Taking Practice Deeper
  24. The Evolution of Tai Chi

The Philosophy of Michael Mann [EPUB]

The Philosophy of Michael Mann [EPUB]
The Philosophy of Michael Mann edited by Aeon J Skoble, Steven Sanders, R Barton Palmer
2014 | EPUB | 1.39MB

Known for restoring vitality and superior craftsmanship to the crime thriller, American filmmaker Michael Mann has long been regarded as a talented triple threat capable of moving effortlessly between television and feature films as a writer, director, and executive producer. His unique visual sense and thematic approach are evident in the Emmy Award-winning The Jericho Mile (1979), the cult favorite The Keep (1983), the American epic The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and the Academy Award-nominated The Insider (1999) as well as his most recent works -- Ali (2001), Miami Vice (2006), and Public Enemies (2009).

The Philosophy of Michael Mann provides an up-to-date and comprehensive account of the work of this highly accomplished filmmaker, exploring the director's recognizable visual style and the various on-screen and philosophical elements he has tested in his thirty-five-year career. The essays in this wide-ranging book will appeal to fans of the revolutionary filmmaker and to philosophical scholars interested in the themes and conflicts that drive his movies.

Pinched by Don Peck [EPUB]

Pinched by Don Peck [EPUB]
Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It by Don Peck
2012 | EPUB | 1.91MB

The Great Recession is not done with us yet. While the most acute part of the economic crisis is past, the recession's most significant impact on American life still lies in the future. The personal, social, and cultural changes that result from severe economic shocks build and manifest themselves only slowly. But history shows us that, ultimately, shocks this severe profoundly alter the character of society.

Don Peck’s Pinched, a fascinating and harrowing exploration of our dramatic economic climate, keenly observes how the recession has changed the places we live, the work we do, and even who we are—and details the transformations that are yet to come. Every class and every generation will be affected: newly minted college graduates, blue-collar men, affluent professionals, exurban families, elite financiers, inner city youth, middle-class retirees.

This was not an ordinary recession, and ordinary responses will not fully end it. The crash has shifted the course of the economy. In its aftermath, the middle class is shrinking faster, wealth is becoming more concentrated, twenty-somethings are sinking, and working-class families and communities are changing in unsavory ways.

We sit today between two eras, buffeted, anxious, and uncertain of the future. Through vivid reporting and lucid argument, Peck helps us make sense of how our society has changed, and why so many people are still struggling.

The answers to these questions reveal a new way forward for America. The country has endured periods like this one before, and has emerged all the stronger from them; adaptation and reinvention have been perhaps the nation’s best and most enduring traits. The time is ripe for another such reinvention. Pinched lays out the principles and public actions that can help us pull it off.

The Yanks Are Coming! [EPUB]

The Yanks Are Coming! [EPUB]
The Yanks Are Coming: A Military History of the United States in World War I by H W Crocker III
2014 | EPUB | 0.5MB

Bestselling military historian H. W. Crocker III now turns his guns on the epic story of America’s involvement in the First World War with his new book The Yanks Are Coming: A Military History of the United States in World War I.

2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of that war, and in Crocker’s sweeping, American-focused account, readers will learn:

  • How George S. Patton, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall (of the Marshall Plan), "Wild Bill" Donovan (future founder of the OSS, the World War II precursor to the CIA), Harry S. Truman, and many other American heroes earned their military spurs in "The Great War"
  • Why, despite the efforts of the almost absurdly pacifistic administration of Woodrow Wilson, American involvement in the war was inevitable
  • How the First World War was "the War that Made the Modern World"—sweeping away most of the crowned heads of Europe, redrawing the map of the Middle East, setting the stage for the rise of communism and fascism
  • Why the First World War marked America’s transition from a frontier power—some of our World War I generals had actually fought Indians—to a global superpower, with World War I generals like Douglas MacArthur living to see, and help shape, the nuclear age
  • "The Young Lions of the War" -- heroes who should not be forgotten, like air ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Sergeant Alvin York (memorably portrayed by Gary Cooper in the Academy Award–winning movie Sergeant York), and all four of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons (one of whom was killed)

Stirring, and full of brilliantly told stories of men at war, The Yanks Are Coming will be the essential book for readers interested in rediscovering America’s role in the First World War on its hundredth anniversary.

Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism [EPUB]

Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism [EPUB]
Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism by Jennifer Percy
2014 | EPUB | 1.01MB

In 2005 a Chinook helicopter carrying sixteen Special Ops soldiers crashed during a rescue mission in a remote part of Afghanistan, killing everyone on board.

In that instant, machine gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend, Kip Jacoby, and seven members of his unit. Back in the US, Caleb begins to see them everywhere—dead Kip, with his Alice in Wonderland tattoos, and the rest of them, their burned bodies watching him. But there is something else haunting Caleb, too—a presence he calls the Black Thing, or the Destroyer, a paralyzing horror that Caleb comes to believe is a demon.

Alone with these apparitions, Caleb considers killing himself. There is an epidemic of suicide among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder who cannot cope with ordinary life in the aftermath of explosions and carnage. Jennifer Percy finds herself drawn to their stories, wanting to comprehend their experiences and pain.

Her subject, Caleb, has been bringing damaged veterans to a Christian exorcism camp in Georgia that promises them deliverance from the war. As Percy spends time with these soldiers and exorcists and their followers—finding their beliefs both repel­lant and magnetic—she enters a world of fanaticism that is alternately terrifying and welcoming.

With a jagged lyricism reminiscent of Michael Herr and Denis Johnson, Demon Camp is the riveting true story of a veteran with PTSD and an explora­tion of the battles soldiers face after the war is over. Percy’s riveting account forces us to gaze upon the true human consequences of the War on Terror.

Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I [EPUB]

Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I [EPUB]
Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I by Nick Lloyd
2014 | EPUB | 7.06MB

In the late summer of 1918, after four long years of senseless, stagnant fighting, the Western Front erupted. The bitter four-month struggle that ensued—known as the Hundred Days Campaign—saw some of the bloodiest and most ferocious combat of the Great War, as the Allies grimly worked to break the stalemate in the west and end the conflict that had decimated Europe.

In Hundred Days, acclaimed military historian Nick Lloyd leads readers into the endgame of World War I, showing how the timely arrival of American men and materiel—as well as the bravery of French, British, and Commonwealth soldiers—helped to turn the tide on the Western Front. Many of these battle-hardened troops had endured years of terror in the trenches, clinging to their resolve through poison-gas attacks and fruitless assaults across no man’s land. Finally, in July 1918, they and their American allies did the impossible: they returned movement to the western theater. Using surprise attacks, innovative artillery tactics, and swarms of tanks and aircraft, they pushed the Germans out of their trenches and forced them back to their final bastion: the Hindenburg Line, a formidable network of dugouts, barbed wire, and pillboxes. After a massive assault, the Allies broke through, racing toward the Rhine and forcing Kaiser Wilhelm II to sue for peace.

An epic tale ranging from the ravaged fields of Flanders to the revolutionary streets of Berlin, Hundred Days recalls the bravery and sacrifice that finally silenced the guns of Europe.

Climb to Conquer [EPUB]

Climb to Conquer [EPUB]
Climb to Conquer: The Untold Story of WWII's 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops by Peter Shelton
2011 | EPUB | 9.21MB

Few stories from the "greatest generation" are as unforgettable -- or as little known -- as that of the 10th Mountain Division. Today a versatile light infantry unit deployed around the world, the 10th began in 1941 as a crew of civilian athletes with a passion for mountains and snow. In this vivid history, adventure writer Peter Shelton follows the unique division from its conception on a Vermont ski hill, through its dramatic World War II coming-of-age, to the ultimate revolution it inspired in American outdoor life.

In the late-1930s United States, rock climbing and downhill skiing were relatively new sports. But World War II brought a need for men who could handle extreme mountainous conditions -- and the elite 10th Mountain Division was born. Everything about it was unprecedented: It was the sole U.S. Army division trained on snow and rock, the only division ever to grow out of a sport. It had an un-matched number of professional athletes, college scholars, and potential officer candidates, and as the last U.S. division to enter the war in Europe, it suffered the highest number of casualties per combat day. This is the 10th's surprising, suspenseful, and often touching story.

Drawing on years of interviews and research, Shelton re-creates the ski troops' lively, extensive, and sometimes experimental training and their journey from boot camp to the Italian Apennines. There, scaling a 1,500-foot "unclimbable" cliff face in the dead of night, they stunned their enemy and began the eventual rout of the German armies from northern Italy.

It was a self-selecting elite, a brotherhood in sport and spirit. And those who survived (including the Sierra Club's David Brower, Aspen Skiing Corporation founder Friedl Pfeifer, and Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman, who developed the waffle-sole running shoe) turned their love of mountains into the thriving outdoor industry that has transformed the way Americans see (and play in) the natural world.

The Confidence Trap [PDF]

The Confidence Trap [PDF]
The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present by David Runciman
2014 | PDF | 3.94MB

Why do democracies keep lurching from success to failure? The current financial crisis is just the latest example of how things continue to go wrong, just when it looked like they were going right. In this wide-ranging, original, and compelling book, David Runciman tells the story of modern democracy through the history of moments of crisis, from the First World War to the economic crash of 2008.

A global history with a special focus on the United States, The Confidence Trap examines how democracy survived threats ranging from the Great Depression to the Cuban missile crisis, and from Watergate to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It also looks at the confusion and uncertainty created by unexpected victories, from the defeat of German autocracy in 1918 to the defeat of communism in 1989. Throughout, the book pays close attention to the politicians and thinkers who grappled with these crises: from Woodrow Wilson, Nehru, and Adenauer to Fukuyama and Obama.

The Confidence Trap shows that democracies are good at recovering from emergencies but bad at avoiding them. The lesson democracies tend to learn from their mistakes is that they can survive them--and that no crisis is as bad as it seems. Breeding complacency rather than wisdom, crises lead to the dangerous belief that democracies can muddle through anything--a confidence trap that may lead to a crisis that is just too big to escape, if it hasn't already. The most serious challenges confronting democracy today are debt, the war on terror, the rise of China, and climate change. If democracy is to survive them, it must figure out a way to break the confidence trap.

Empire of Cotton: A Global History [EPUB]

Empire of Cotton: A Global History [EPUB]
Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert
2014 | EPUB | 34.51MB

The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism.

Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism. Sven Beckert’s rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, and combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially reshape the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia, and how industrial capitalism gave birth to an empire, and how this force transformed the world.

The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.

Native American History [EPUB]

Native American History [EPUB]
Native American History (The Native American Sourcebook) edited by J E Luebering
2010 | EPUB | 5.72MB

With the advent of European colonization, the North American landscape and the indigenous cultures that inhabited it changed irrevocably. While a large part of Native Americans' past has been marked by struggles for equality and sovereignty, a survey of the early history of various tribes reveals prosperous societies that managed to live peaceably with each other and a parade of various interlopers. This volume examines the trajectory of Native American cultures over the centuries, detailing how they have retained their longstanding values and traditions in the face of war, disease, resettlement, and assimilation.

Native American Culture [EPUB]

Native American Culture [EPUB]
Native American Culture (The Native American Sourcebook) edited by Kathleen Kuiper
2010 | EPUB | 6.56MB

Even as contact with European cultures eroded indigenous lifestyles across North America, many Native American groups found ways to preserve the integrity of their communities through the arts, customs, languages, and religious traditions that animate Native American life. While their collective struggles against a common cause may create the semblance of a shared past, each Native American community has a unique heritage that reflects a singular history. The ancient cultural legacies that both distinguish and unite these diverse tribes are the subject of this engrossing volume.

The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill [EPUB]

The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill [EPUB]
The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill: On Liberty, the Subjection of Women and Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
2010 | EPUB | 2.14MB

The writings of John Stuart Mill have become the cornerstone of political liberalism. Collected for the first time in this volume are Mill’s three seminal and most widely read works: On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism. A brilliant defense of individual rights versus the power of the state, On Liberty is essential reading for anyone interested in political thought and theory. As Bertrand Russell reflected, “On Liberty remains a classic . . . the present world would be better than it is, if [Mill’s] principles were more respected.”

African Religions: A Very Short Introduction [EPUB]

African Religions: A Very Short Introduction [EPUB]
African Religions: A Very Short Introduction by Jacob K Olupona
2014 | EPUB | 0.7MB

What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent, as well as exploring Christianity and Islam. It focuses on the diversity of ethnic groups, languages, cultures, and worldviews, emphasizing the continent's regional diversity. Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms and in their social, cultural, and political contexts. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations.

Olupona examines the myths and sacred stories about the origins of the universe that define ethnic groups and national identities throughout Africa. He also discusses spiritual agents in the African cosmos such as God, spirits, and ancestors. In addition to myths and deities, Olupona focuses on the people central to African religions, including medicine men and women, rainmakers, witches, magicians, and divine kings, and how they serve as authority figures and intermediaries between the social world and the cosmic realm.

African Religions: A Very Short Introduction discusses a wide variety of religious practices, including music and dance, calendrical rituals and festivals, celebrations for the gods' birthdays, and rituals accompanying stages of life such as birth, puberty, marriage, elderhood, and death. In addition to exploring indigenous religions, Olupona examines the ways Islam and Christianity as outside traditions encountered indigenous African religion. He shows how these incoming faith traditions altered the face and the future of indigenous African religions as well as how indigenous religions shaped two world religions in Africa and the diaspora.

Olupona draws on archaeological and historical sources, as well as ethnographic materials based on fieldwork. He shows that African religions are not static traditions, but have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences, and spread with diaspora and migration.

I Ching: The Essential Translation of the Ancient Chinese Oracle [EPUB]

I Ching: The Essential Translation of the Ancient Chinese Oracle [EPUB]
I Ching: The Essential Translation of the Ancient Chinese Oracle and Book of Wisdom translated by John Minford
2014 | EPUB | 2.5MB

A landmark new translation of the ancient Chinese oracle and book of wisdom

Pose a question, then toss three coins (or cast your yarrow stalks) to access the time-honored wisdom of the I Ching.

The I Ching, or Book of Change, has been consulted through the ages, in both China and the West, for answers to fundamental questions about the world and our place in it. The oldest extant book of divination, it dates back three thousand years to ancient shamanistic practices involving the ritual preparation of the shoulder bones of oxen. From this early form of communication with the other world, it has become the Chinese spiritual book par excellence. An influence on such cultural icons as Bob Dylan, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Philip K. Dick, and Philip Pullman, the I Ching is turned to by millions around the world for insights on spiritual growth, business, medicine, genetics, game theory, strategic thinking, and leadership, and of course for the window it opens on China.

This new translation, over a decade in the making, is informed by the latest archaeological discoveries and features a gorgeously rendered codex of divination signs—the I Ching’s sixty-four Tarot-like hexagrams. It captures the majesty and mystery of this legendary work and charts an illuminating path to self-knowledge.

Tarot for Beginners [EPUB]

Tarot for Beginners [EPUB]
Tarot for Beginners: A Practical Guide to Reading the Cards by Barbara Moore
2010 | EPUB | 4.19MB

This all-new edition of the popular Tarot for Beginners makes it simpler and more enjoyable than ever to learn how to read and interpret tarot cards. Award-winning tarot expert Barbara Moore clearly explains every aspect of the tarot so you can perform readings with ease and confidence.

Discover the core divinatory meanings of all seventy-eight cards, clearly broken down by Major and Minor Arcana, suit, and number. A variety of spreads and sample readings will help you develop essential skills and ultimately create your own unique style.

  • Card images are from three popular tarot decks that follow the classic Rider-Waite structure
  • Follow easy step-by-step instructions for giving effective readings for yourself and others
  • Learn about reversals, symbols, interpretive techniques, tarot journaling, and much more

Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness [EPUB]

Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness [EPUB]
Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness by Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham, Rupert Sheldrake
2001 | EPUB | 1.25MB

This book is a vibrant discussion between three of the most original thinkers of our time as they blend science, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and traditional wisdom to explore and expand our current views of reality. The late psychedelic visionary and shamanologist Terence McKenna, acclaimed biologist and originator of the morphogenetic fields theory Rupert Sheldrake, and the mathematician and chaos theory scientist Ralph Abraham join forces to investigate the relationships between chaos and creativity and their connection to cosmic consciousness.

The authors challenge the reader to the deepest levels of thought with wide-ranging investigations of the ecology of inner and outer space, the role of chaos in the dynamics of human creation, and the resacralization of the world. Among the questions the authors raise are: Is Armageddon a self-fulfilling prophecy? Are humans the imaginers or the imagined? Are the eternal laws of nature still evolving? What is the connection between physical light and the light of consciousness?

Part ceremony, part intellectual and spiritual discussion, these trialogues are an invitation to a new understanding of what Jean Houston calls “the dreamscapes of our everyday waking life.”

Understanding Cultural and Human Geography [TTC Video]

Understanding Cultural and Human Geography [TTC Video]
Understanding Cultural and Human Geography [TTC Video] by Paul Robbins
2014 | Course No 1761 | M4V, AVC1, 640x360 | English, AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.27GB

No one is an island. The community where you live, the food you eat, and the people you know are all part of a global chain of connections. Humans have transformed the planet over the past 10,000 years, and today, thanks to our transportation infrastructure, telecommunications, and a restless economy, the pace of globalization is accelerating. It is more important than ever to understand this chain of connections in order to tackle some of the biggest questions about human life on earth:

  • Is our current population growth sustainable?
  • How will we adapt to the changing climate?
  • Why are some nations rich and others poor?
  • What does globalization mean for local cultures?
  • What is the relationship between geography and the nation-state?

Tackle these questions and more in Understanding Cultural and Human Geography, a groundbreaking course that surveys the geographical context for human activity. Over the course of 24 eye-opening lectures, Professor Paul Robbins of the University of Wisconsin–Madison takes you on an interdisciplinary voyage across time and around the world to consider the dual nature of our relationship with “place.” You’ll see how our environment influences human life, and you’ll consider the way human life, in turn, influences the environment.

If you took a high school geography course, you likely spent your time memorizing countries and capitals, oceans and continents, rivers and mountain ranges. This is “descriptive geography,” a straightforward catalog of what the world looks like. But the field of geography is much more complex, much more dynamic, and much more human than a course emphasizing memorization would have you believe.

Understanding Cultural and Human Geography shows you the full range of the geographer’s purview. Beyond simple description, this course reveals the underlying structures that explain why the world is the way it is. You’ll see that geography is truly interdisciplinary, covering such a broad range of fields as:

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Economics
  • Geopolitics

Professor Robbins introduces you to each of these discrete fields and the connections between them, so you come away with a comprehensive understanding of human activity on earth. Understanding global trends and connections—from environmental changes such as deforestation to the way money and labor slosh around the globe—will give you new insights into the story of human civilization and current events.

Study the Relationship Between Humans and the Environment

One key theme of this course is that “place” is a construct. People make (and constantly re-make) places in response to myriad circumstances, ranging from economic conditions to changes in the ecology around them. Indeed, humans have taken over the earth so completely that some geologists now refer to our era as the Anthropocene—the “human era.” But is this a good thing?

After introducing the concepts of “place” and “region,” Professor Robbins examines the many ways humans have affected—or been affected by—the environment. For example:

  • Human have transformed the land through deforestation and the building of roads and cities.
  • Thanks to a growing population, we have harvested much of the biosphere for commercial farming and energy production.
  • International travel and transportation has led to the spread of disease and introduced invasive species to new lands.
  • Pollutants from the Industrial Revolution have altered our climate.

While it is tempting to despair over humanity’s takeover of the planet, Professor Robbins shows how the picture is complex, and that there is reason for optimism. Much of the human impact on the earth is not an inexorable march of destruction without any means of revitalization. In the case of deforestation, for instance, trends such as urbanization combined with governmental policies and the boom in forest industries suggest forests won’t be going extinct any time soon.

Immerse Yourself in the Global Economy

In addition to the study of particular environments, cultural geography seeks to find connections around the world. For instance, what does the outbreak of disease in one location have to do with the global price of gold? What does the international agriculture system have to do with the suburban American lawn? Why are Chinese investors buying land in Africa?

From India to Istanbul to the American Midwest, Professor Robbins takes you on an exciting journey across disciplines to show you the effects of the “great acceleration”—the rapid pace of globalization and cultural change. In this journey, you will:

  • look at the structure of our economic system, from the capture and processing of raw materials to commercial sales and data management;
  • see how the Columbian Exchange changed the world economy after 1492;
  • review the geography of wealth and poverty, including indices for measuring standard of living;
  • consider how our modern transportation system nullified the barriers of distance, as well as the effects this development had on labor and migration; and
  • unpack the trend toward urbanization and reflect on what this trend means for the future.

Beyond examining the financial impact of the “great acceleration,” you’ll discover the cultural implications of a world economy. For example, as cultures become more and more homogenized, thousands of languages are disappearing. Professor Robbins explores the wellspring of culture and delves into the complex relationship between culture and place.

Consider the Political Implications of Geography

The course ends with a unit on geopolitics, the study of geography and political power. You’ll visit several hotbeds of geopolitical activity—including Afghanistan, Ukraine, North Korea, India and Pakistan, and the Balkans—to explore the thorny issues of geography, ethnicity, and statehood.

You’ll also study several geopolitical theories, including Great Britain’s 19th-century “heartland theory” of international dominance and the United States’ Domino Theory of communism in Southeast Asia. Finally, you’ll look at the relationship between economics and geopolitics in the context of international agreements such as the European Union, as well as the pros and cons of international governance.

Think Like a Geographer

If you open any newspaper, the headlines demonstrate the world is always changing. The beauty of Understanding Cultural and Human Geography is that Professor Robbins provides you a methodology for understanding human life on earth. Whether thinking about environmental policies, cultural homogenization, economic circumstances, or geopolitical tension, there are no easy answers.

Beyond the excitement of traveling the globe, geography is an active field—a field that has the potential to completely change the way you view the world. You’ll learn to trace a chain of explanations from an event on one side of the earth to a seemingly unrelated cause on the other side. When you complete this course, you’ll have all the tools you need to look beyond the headlines and analyze world events in a whole new way.

Lectures:

  1. Writing the World: The Mapmakers Craft
  2. The Problem with Geographical Determinism
  3. Anthropocene: The Age of Human Impact
  4. Climate Change and Civilization
  5. Global Land Change
  6. The End of Global Population Growth
  7. The Agricultural Puzzle
  8. Disease Geography
  9. Political Ecology
  10. Economic Geography: Globalization Origins
  11. The Columbian Exchange
  12. Uneven Development and Global Poverty
  13. The New Global Economy
  14. Restless Humanity: The Migration Conundrum
  15. Urbanization: The Rise of New World Cities
  16. Geography of Language
  17. Understanding Cultural Geography
  18. The Importance of Place
  19. Cultural Commodification
  20. Culture, Power, and the Politics of Meaning
  21. The Geopolitical Imagination
  22. Regionalism and the Rise of New States
  23. Supranationalism: Taking on Big Problems
  24. Future Geographies