Tag Archives: culture

Book Review – The World According to Star Wars

The World According to Star Wars book coverThe World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

Is there anything more culturally central than Star Wars? Sunstein examines Star Wars as lessons into everything from rebellions and religion to fathers and constitutional law. He also explains why Star Wars is so universal and enduring. He argues that Star Wars, while also benefiting from good timing and some luck, became hugely popular because it is ultimately a story about freedom of choice and making the right decisions. Well-written and supremely interesting, The World According to Star Wars is an accessible and enjoyable look into, let’s face it, a rather nerdy topic. The book keeps a steady pace and is surprisingly informative but still light enough not to get bogged down in complex analysis. Sunstein claims that the book is written for everyone, even those people who don’t like Star Wars (really, who are you people?) but since I’m very far from that demographic, I can’t comment on how enjoyable it would be for them. I can say that I recommend this charming and educational delve into the Star Wars universe.

Book Review – Smarter Than You Think

Smarter Than You Think book coverSmarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

I feel like our culture is always so focused on the negatives of our rapidly evolving technology culture that we overlook the positives. Clive Thompson’s book is about those positives. Thompson argues that we are continually learning to harness new technologies to enhance our thought process rather than degrade them. He also points out that all the fears surrounding the digital age were once the same anxieties that came with all innovations including the printing press, telephone, radio and television and yet, we are not dumber or culturally bereft because of them. Blogging and status updates are allowing us to write more and with global audiences in mind; Google has given us an enormous transactive memory that allows us to focus on our passions and the bigger picture; the connectedness of the Internet allows for collective problem-solving. This book is an insightful and informative view of how technology is changing us for the better.

Book Review – The Monuments Men

The Monuments MenThe Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel

Review: For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the Monuments Men were a group of Allied soldiers tasked with preserving the cultural history of Europe. They stopped the bombing of churches and other significant architecture and tracked down art and artifacts stolen by the Nazis. The book follows a dozen or so of the original men who built the Monuments Men unit and discovered thousands of stolen art in hidden Nazi caches. The writing was middling but the story itself was inspiring and long overdue for telling.