Reading on the go

I’ve been travelling, including a week of holiday, so my reading has leant more towards fiction than usual. (Tokyo – my first trip, highly recommended, loved the TeamLab exhibitions.) Among the non-fiction, though, were two excellent (non-economics) books: Philip Ball’s The Modern Myths (about exactly that – how Frankenstein, Dracula etc gained mythical status) and Christopher Clark’s Revolutionary Spring (about the revolutions across Europe in 1848).

Before getting fully back into the swing of economics reading, I just finished my colleague Martin Rees’s If Science is to Save Us. For somebody who worries a lot about existential risk, Martin is a sunny, cheerful person, and it’s an optimistic book reflecting on recent experience (especially during the pandemic) of the intereaction between science and policy. I found his chapter ‘Science Comes Out of the Lab’ particularly interesting as it includes some of Martin’s experiences including participation in the Pugwash conferences. He argues that the UK establishment is too much more secretive than the US establishment, to the detriment of both science and policy. It’s well worth a read for those interested in science policy.

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