TIMEFULNESS, by Bjornerud NOTE: Meeting Online

Futurist
Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 pm

The Futurist Book Group is led by Sam Lubell and Eamon Bobowski and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Politics and Prose, in the Den coffeehouse. Please note: book group is meeting online. Please contact: Sam Lubell samlubell@verizon.net for online access information.

The Futurist Book Group was started by the Washington chapter of the World Future Society, but now operates independently of that organization. It has met at Politics and Prose on the first Wednesday of every month except August since 2004. About 10 of our 50+ members attend nearly every meeting; and several people who don’t attend also read our selections. We hold lively, wide-ranging discussions of non-fiction books which are focused on the future.

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World Cover Image

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World (Paperback)

$16.95


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

Why an awareness of Earth's temporal rhythms is critical to our planetary survival

Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales of our planet's long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of the environmental problems we are creating. The lifespan of Earth can seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth's history--and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth's deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Featuring illustrations by Haley Hagerman, this compelling book offers a new way of thinking about our place in time, showing how our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and how our actions today will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations.

This edition includes discussion questions for reading groups.
Marcia Bjornerud is professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University. She is the author of Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and a contributing writer for Elements, the New Yorker's science and technology blog.
Product Details ISBN: 9780691202631
ISBN-10: 069120263X
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: February 11th, 2020
Pages: 224
Language: English


MERITOCRACY TRAP, by Markovits NOTE: Meeting Online

Futurist
Wednesday, September 2, 7:30 pm

The Futurist Book Group is led by Sam Lubell and Eamon Bobowski and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Politics and Prose, in the Den coffeehouse. Please note: book group is meeting online. Please contact: Sam Lubell samlubell@verizon.net for online access information.

The Futurist Book Group was started by the Washington chapter of the World Future Society, but now operates independently of that organization. It has met at Politics and Prose on the first Wednesday of every month except August since 2004. About 10 of our 50+ members attend nearly every meeting; and several people who don’t attend also read our selections. We hold lively, wide-ranging discussions of non-fiction books which are focused on the future.

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite Cover Image

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite (Hardcover)

$30.00


Special Order—Subject to Availability
(This book cannot be returned.)
A revolutionary new argument from eminent Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits attacking the false promise of meritocracy 

It is an axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort. Even as the country divides itself at every turn, the meritocratic ideal – that social and economic rewards should follow achievement rather than breeding – reigns supreme.  Both Democrats and Republicans insistently repeat meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we are. It sustains the American dream.
 
But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy now ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring rich adults to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy’s successes.
 
This is the radical argument that Daniel Markovits prosecutes with rare force. Markovits is well placed to expose the sham of meritocracy. Having spent his life at elite universities, he knows from the inside the corrosive system we are trapped within. Markovits also knows that, if we understand that meritocratic inequality produces near-universal harm, we can cure it. When The Meritocracy Trap reveals the inner workings of the meritocratic machine, it also illuminates the first steps outward, towards a new world that might once again afford dignity and prosperity to the American people.
Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and founding director of the Center for the Study of Private Law.
Product Details ISBN: 9780735221994
ISBN-10: 0735221995
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: September 10th, 2019
Pages: 448
“Ambitious and disturbing. . . Markovits forcefully interrupts the comfortable bath of self-flattery in which our well-graduated professionals pass their hours.” – New York Times Book Review

“An imaginative new book that will prompt endless debate in the faculty lounge, the country-club tap room, and the family dinner table. . . a book that will jolt and provoke the reading public . . . Markovits produces shocking figures about the yawning wealth gap on leafy campuses.” The Boston Globe

"The Meritocracy Trap defines a central issue of our age: the rise of new elites who, unlike their aristocratic forebears, seem to have the moral high ground. The system is rigged in a different way, but it’s still rigged all right." – Sunday Times

“We’ve been waiting for the Big Book that explains America's wrong turn. Daniel Markovits has supplied it. The Meritocracy Trap is a sociological masterpiece – a damning indictment of parenting and schools,  an unflattering portrait of a ruling class and the economy it invented. Far too many readers will recognize themselves in his brilliant critique, and they will feel a rush of anger, a pang of regret, and a burning desire to remake the system.” —Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind
 
“Provocatively weighing in on growing inequality, Daniel Markovits weaves a disturbing tale of merit and social division. Pulling no punches, he warns us that meritocracy is a  trap, fetishizing certain skills and endless assessments. Markovitz shows – in exquisite detail – the perverse link between an upper class education and elite jobs and how together they enrich the few, while devaluing and demoralizing the rest.” —Jerry Brown, former governor of California
 
“At once wide-ranging and rigorous, subtle and penetrating, Markovits’s book is revelatory both in its particulars and in its big picture. Anyone who wants to argue about the merits of meritocracy must take account of this book.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, NYU and author of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
 
“Daniel Markovits has written a bold, brave critique of the meritocracy-backed version of inequality that prevails today. He argues persuasively that meritocracy is destructive and demoralizing for winners and losers alike. Challenging conventional wisdom, Markovits shows that technological change is not a fact of nature that happens to increase the value of highly credentialed workers; instead, the prevalence of credentialed elites calls forth technologies that bias the labor market in their favor and hollow out the middle class. This is a splendid book that should prompt soul-searching among meritocrats.” —Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

“The system is rigged. And the culprit, Daniel Markovits argues, is meritocracy—the same ideal that was supposed to promote fairness. Brilliant, lucid, and urgent, The Meritocracy Trap exposes a national catastrophe.” —James Forman Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own

LIGHT OF THE STARS, by Frank NOTE: Meeting Online

Futurist
Wednesday, August 5, 7:30 pm

The Futurist Book Group is led by Sam Lubell and Eamon Bobowski and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Politics and Prose, in the Den coffeehouse. Please note: book group is meeting online. Please contact: Sam Lubell samlubell@verizon.net for online access information.

The Futurist Book Group was started by the Washington chapter of the World Future Society, but now operates independently of that organization. It has met at Politics and Prose on the first Wednesday of every month except August since 2004. About 10 of our 50+ members attend nearly every meeting; and several people who don’t attend also read our selections. We hold lively, wide-ranging discussions of non-fiction books which are focused on the future.

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth Cover Image

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth (Paperback)

$16.95


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

Winner of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Award for Science



"A valuable perspective on the most important problem of our time." —Adam Becker, NPR


Light of the Stars tells the story of humanity’s coming of age as we realize we might not be alone in this universe. Astrophysicist Adam Frank traces the question of alien life from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers, and he demonstrates that recognizing the possibility of its existence might be the key to save us from climate change. With clarity and conviction, Light of the Stars asks the consequential question: What can the likely presence of life on other planets tell us about our own fate?



Adam Frank is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester. He is a co-founder of NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog and an on-air commentator for All Things Considered. He also served as the science consultant for Marvel Studio’s Dr. Strange. He lives in Rochester, New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393357066
ISBN-10: 0393357066
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 20th, 2019
Pages: 272
Language: English
[An] engaging and accessible book.… Frank enlivens the text with his passion, opinions and even some of his own projections of our possible fates.
— Alan Lightman - New York Times Book Review

Light of the Stars provides a marvelous perspective on how astronomy could make us all better Earthlings.

— Lee Billings - Scientific American

Adam Frank relies on elegant prose and conversational writing to make modern science comprehensible and illuminating for the nonspecialist.… [A] profoundly important book.
— Forbes

This enthralling book by a leading astrophysicist places our human drama in its proper cosmic context, showing why civilizations must use their technology to safeguard rather than sabotage their planet's climate.
— Max Tegmark, best-selling author of Life 3.0

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