Beach Life – July 2016

It’s time for some summer reading recommendations! For ‘Beach Life’ this time, the smallVOICE team pick some books for each other. Listen at 35’43 minutes in to July’s podcast.

villani coverMaths teacher Darren’s choice of book for Anne and Margaret is ‘Birth of a Theorem’ by the French mathematician, Cedric Villani. Villani is something of a media superstar in his home country, having won the prestigious Fields Medal, and he wears a natty cravat too. The book tells the story of how he took several years to prove a mathematical theorem – but before Anne and Margaret groan too loudly, Darren is at pains to point out that you don’t have to understand the maths in order to catch the excitement of the chase.

Nevertheless, Darren is secretly pretty chuffed at finally having managed to set some maths homework for the team…

Who Cooked Adam Smith's DinnerAnne’s choice for Darren & Margaret is ‘Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?’ by Katrine Marçal, published by Portobello Books Ltd (2015). Swedish economist, Katrine Marçal,
casts a suspicious eye on the “story about the meaning of human existence” told by free-market economists and on that story’s hero, the self-interested rational actor: ‘Economic Man’. The resulting book, translated into English by Saskia Vogel, thoughtfully challenges conventional assumptions about work, productivity, and value. Marcal argues that when looking at how Adam Smith’s dinner arrived at the table – through the baker, the butcher, the farmer – all of whom carried out their work due to rational self interest, economic theory overlooks the final stage – his mother, who lived with the unmarried philosopher for his entire life, cooked his dinner, and did so, out of love.

Paris walkMargaret pushes the boat out and chooses two books. For Darren, she picks ‘The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, a Pedestrian in Paris’ by John Baxter (does what it says on the tin). 

SoulKeepingAnd, for Anne, the choice is ‘Soul Keeping’ by John Ortberg. John Ortberg says on his website: “The soul is NOT ‘a theological and abstract subject.’ The soul is the coolest, eeriest, most mysterious, evocative, crucial, sacred, eternal, life-directing, fragile, indestructible, controversial, expensive dimension of your existence. Jesus said it’s worth more than the world.”

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