Mark Henry, author of In Fact: An Optimist's Guide to Ireland at 100 recommends a group of great books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Mark's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
It has to be Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund. It’s a wonderful reminder that most of us are entirely wrong in our perceptions of progress on planet Earth. Despite the negative news cycle, the world has never been better off, healthier and better educated than it is today. (The book so moved Bill Gates that he paid for a free copy for every graduating American student in 2018.) After reading Factfulness, I was inspired to start searching for data on Ireland’s progress, and that ultimately resulted in my book In Fact.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
It was How to be a Liberal by Ian Dunt. The book is more of a history of liberal thought than a ‘how to’ guide but it’s a very useful overview for all that. I was particularly taken with Dunt’s "six lies of nationalism" which he outlines in his opening chapter and to which liberal thought stands in complete opposition.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I see many previous authors have plumped for books by J.R.R. Tolkien so I’m going to skip over those and instead chose The Mad Scientist’s Club by Bertrand R. Brinley. I picked this up on my very first visit to the United States as a child and it was so exotic to buy a book that you simply couldn’t lay your hands on back at home, and one that made heroes of children with an interest in science! I was hooked.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I’ve enough noise in my life between back-to-back Teams calls all day and three children to entertain thereafter. Audiobooks have limited appeal so. It’s my belief that paper withstands the extremes of Irish weather, or a spilt cup of coffee, better than a Kindle so that’s my preference every time.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
Hodges Figgis in Dublin is set in a beautiful heritage building with four floors of books. I tend to judge a bookshop by the estimated browsing hours you can spend there so Hodges Figgis tops the table on that criteria. It means they can accommodate a lovely mix of popular and obscure titles so there’s always a lovely ‘find’ to be made alongside the guarantee of getting whatever you came for.
Image Copyrights: Gill (In Fact), Hodder & Stoughton (Factfulness), Canbury Press (How To Be A Liberal), Purple House Press (The Mad Scientists' Club).