Charles Dunst, author of Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman recommends an important batch of books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Charles' book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
I'm slightly cheating with this answer, but it's two books: Francis Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution and Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. Those books offer a truly grand and sweeping examination of how humans built our world – and what seems to be going wrong today. I wrote all over my copies and still find myself coming back to them with regularity.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I learned a ton from Aynne Kokas's new book, Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty. I reviewed it favorably for the Council on Foreign Relations – and while I didn't give it any stars in that review, I would rate it five out of five.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie. I remember reading it as a kid and being completely blown away by the breadth of the story – and Rushdie's somewhat chaotic style. I didn't know books were allowed to be written like that. I definitely didn't understand most of the book as a 12- or 13-year-old, so I should probably read it again sometime soon.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
On paper. I write all over my books, fiction or non-fiction, so hard copies are a must. But I actually prefer paperbacks to hardbacks – paperbacks are easier to carry and write in!
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I'm cheating again with two answers. My first favorite is Backstory bookshop, an independent store in south London that I love because of its commitment to serving a neighborhood near where I used to live. They also hosted my London book release party, so I'm biased. My second favorite is Kramers books, in Washington, D.C.; I now live right across the river in Virginia, but I love Kramers – it's always busy; the selection is great; and they have a restaurant in the back.
Many thanks to Charles for recommending an important batch of books! Please don't forget to check out Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman.
Image Copyrights: Hodder & Stoughton (Defeating The Dictators), Profile Books Ltd (The Origins of Political Order, Political Order and Political Decay), Oxford University Press Inc (Trafficking Data), Penguin Random House Children's UK (Haroun and the Sea of Stories),