Put off your holiday shopping? Need a last minute stocking stuffer? Here’s the Eduwonk Holiday Book List. And some bonus coffee and sock ideas, too.
Jonathan Rauch’s new book “The Constitution of Knowledge” is the concise case for liberalism as a force for progress. It’s accessible, because whether he’s writing about special interest gridlock, free speech and ideas and why they matter to social progress, or how to survive and thrive through middle age, Rauch takes big ideas and elegantly presents them.
Constitution of Knowledge extends ideas in “Kindly Inquisitors” but is keenly relevant in the present moment with liberalism under pressure from the left and the right.
A few times this year I’ve written about or mentioned the idea in Julia Galef’s “The Scout Mindset” or suggested it to clients for shared reads. Trying, as best we can, to understand the world as we find it is pretty important. If you’ve ever been told that pointing out some problem, inconsistency, or awkward fact is giving comfort to the other “side” or faced pushback for deviating from a narrative in education this will resonate. Galef outlines the advantages and habits of mind of independent thinking.
Amanda Ripley’s “High Conflict” is, like all her books, a fascinating dive into an aspect of life that is at once right there in plain sight but under-examined – we can move past conflict.
Randall Kennedy’s book of essays, “Say It Loud!,” out earlier this year is an engaging perspective on a variety of people and events. A great counter to the flattening of the discourse.
Andrew Sullivan also has a new collection of essays. It’s sprawling, which underscores his eclectic career and ideas – and influence.
Jeff Shesol’s “Mercury Rising” is a fascinating look behind the scenes on the Mercury Project, the political stakes and personalities.
John McPhee’s “Looking for a Ship” takes you inside merchant shipping. Alex Haley took cabins on merchant ships when he needed to focus on work, which makes sense considering his Coast Guard career. After reading this book you’ll understand the attraction, or you won’t.
I’ve been getting coffee from Red Bay Coffee in Oakland. It’s an easy subscription or gift card, if you use this link you should get a discount, the Coltrane is delicious. I also get beans from Holler Roast. Recommend the Holler Roast Blend with a dark roast but your mileage may vary and she has a lot of options.
Finally, I strongly dissent from the idea that socks are a lame holiday gift. Good socks are wonderful. I’m a big adherent of Darn Tough socks for hiking, work socks, and everyday. But then Jenna Talbot bought me some Bombas and, well, they’re pretty awesome, too.