Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

In a frenetic world obsessed with deliverables and results, Jenny Odell makes the case for How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, arguing not for passivity, wilful ignorance or sloth, but rather for the potential we create by refusing productivity and redirecting our attention to active modes of listening and contemplation. By shining a critical light on … Continued

Book Review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress by Thomas J. Bollyky

In Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, Thomas J. Bollyky combines a ‘germ’s eye view’ of human history with some powerful reflections on the challenges that face us over the coming decades. This is a beautifully written book, recommends Duncan Green, packed with great one-liners and historical anecdotes. This review was originally published on the From Poverty … Continued

Book Review: The Quirks of Digital Culture by David Beer

In The Quirks of Digital Culture, David Beer provides a patchwork of quirky vignettes that together create a representative picture of the cultural environment in which we now live, showing how digital culture offers a means of access, insight and possibility while also bringing the payoff of surveillance, manipulation and a sense of inescapability. Ignas Kalpokas highly … Continued

Book Review: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

In Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events, Robert J. Shiller argues for the significance of narrative when it comes to understanding the drivers of economic events, arguing that contagious narratives not only play a causal role in their unfolding but also that such events transform our narratives. The book raises important issues, writes … Continued

Book Review: Probing the Corporate Manipulation of Science

In this repost, Christie Aschwanden reviews David Michaels’ The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception, finding the book to provide a combative and unflinching account of the way in which corporate interests have infiltrated regulatory science. Their secrets are out — the tobacco industry’s decades-long campaign to undermine the science linking their products to cancer … Continued

Book Review: Storytelling with Data: Let’s Practice! by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

In Storytelling with Data: Let’s Practice!, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic presents a new guide to data communication, featuring over 100 hands-on exercises and 250 data visualisations to help build skills in impactful data communication grounded in effective storytelling. Intended for anyone committed to improving their ability to communicate data and complemented by a website that enables users to further hone their … Continued

Book Review: Are Filter Bubbles Real? by Axel Bruns

As references to echo chambers and filter bubbles become ubiquitous in contemporary discourse, Axel Bruns offers a riposte in Are Filter Bubbles Real?, which questions the existence of these phenomena. While not convinced by all of the author’s arguments, Ignas Kalpokas welcomes the book as a must-read for those looking to critically reflect on some of the assumptions surrounding social … Continued

Book Review: Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy by Richard Watermeyer

In Competitive Accountability in Academic Life: The Struggle for Social Impact and Public Legitimacy, Richard Watermeyer critically explores the increasing quantification of academic life and the rise of the marketised competitive university. This book particularly succeeds in not only exploring the futility and counterproductiveness of quantified academic performance metrics, but also revealing how complicity among some academics allows … Continued

What we talk about when we talk about universities, a review essay

The history of universities, including in the UK, is always also the history of the political community; their future, equally, dependent on the future of the community as a whole. In this review essay, Jana Bacevic examines two recent books that offer a good illustration of this point, Who Are Universities For? by Tom Sperlinger, Josie McLellan and Richard Pettigrew and British Universities in the … Continued

Book Review: Research Impact and the Early Career Researcher: Lived Experiences, New Perspectives edited by Kieran Fenby-Hulse, Emma Heywood and Kate Walker

In Research Impact and the Early Career Researcher: Lived Experiences, New Perspectives, Kieran Fenby-Hulse, Emma Heywood and Kate Walker bring together contributors to offer different voices on how researchers experience and respond to the demand for impact. Since the conceptualisation, search for and realisation of impact can have different effects on ECRs, this collection will help ECRs become more familiar with how others have coped with […]