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Philosophical Logic (Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy)
Philosophical Logic (Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy)
by John P. Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise, lucid, thorough, 13 Mar. 2013
Logic is not the easiest subject to write an intermediate-level text on, but in Philosophical Logic, Burgess, himself an internationally regarded logician from Princeton, does a superb job. In fact, it is quite astonishing at times how he manages to adequately explain the essential ideas with such few words and in such a concise way.

After a brief opening chapter on classical sentential and predicate logic (to which at least some prior knowledge is assumed), plus the philosophical motivations for going beyond this rather primitive mode of expression, Burgess covers, with a masterful balance between brevity and sufficient explanation, the five cornerstones of philosophical logic: temporal, modal, conditional, relevantistic and intuitionistic.

Whilst in many ways it may have made more sense to start with modal, since this is the usual starting point on an intermediate logic course (given its importance in other areas of philosophical, for example the realism vs anti-realism debate), Burgess begins with temporal logic, which, roughly speaking, aims to formalise time-based statements (what was, what is and what will be) into logical form. For example, "it will be the case that Obama will win the next election" or "it has always been the case that the world is spherical." What I particularly like here is that Burgess invests in properly explaining both the regimented (symbolic-based) and autonomous (language-based) approaches to temporal logic; the foundations of any serious study of this type of logic. Whilst interesting discussions on the axioms such as left extendability (time has no starting point) and right-extendability (time has no end-point) are unfortunately sacrificed for the sake of brevity, the outline of axioms and rules in temporal logic is pretty comprehensive and a very good starting point.

Burgess then moves onto modal logic, which seeks to formalise statements of possibility (what could be), actuality (what is) and necessity (what must be). In many ways, this chapter's structure mirrors the previous which is absolutely the right way of going about things given that these logics should be seen as having stark similarities in and amongst the obvious differences. After looking at the basic conventions formalised by the genius philosopher Sam Kripke when he was just 17 years old, Burgess divulges in a brief discourse of how best to analyse modal statements (possible worlds vs possible states) and different ways of looking at the same modality, such as physical necessity (laws of nature) and metaphysical necessity (what could not have otherwise been). What Burgess does here, and is typical of the whole book, is combine technical sections with philosophical explanations. This is crucial to the reader being able to stay on track and keep the 'bigger picture' in mind. Completeness and decidability are also proved, which is an unusual feature in a book pitched at this kind of level, but it may be useful to the advanced and ambitious reader.

The fourth chapter, namely Conditional Logic, analyses both indicative conditionals ("If Oswald did not shot Kennedy, someone else did) and counterfactual conditionals ("If Oswald had not shot Kennedy, someone else would have"). The former is the intuitive case and the latter much less so. The chapter's focus is mainly on the indicative case, and Burgess runs through the probabilistic and remoteness theories before looking at varying degrees of strengths in conditional statements.

The final two chapters, Relevantistic Logic and Intuitionistic Logic are undoubtedly the most challenging sections of the books and the reader should expect, and will be rewarded for, re-reading certain sections. Having said that, Burgess continues to provide lucid explanations of the formulae, axioms and rules of inference applicable to these two areas. It really is quite remarkable how Burgess continue to keep a very close eye on providing clear and concise explanations to predominantly technical theorems.

To conclude, Philosophical Logic is an excellent choice for someone undertaking a slightly more than basic study of philosophical logic. The chapters are designed in a way where you can dip in and out, meaning that if you just wish to understand, say, modal logic, you can acquire the technical and non-technical understanding without having read all the proceeding material. Ultimately, what Burgess does best here is combine the inevitable technicality of the material with the underlying philosophical motivations to produce an excellent companion to any logic student or the general reader seeking a more in-depth study of what logic is actually all about.


From Metaphysics To Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis
From Metaphysics To Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis
by Frank Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucid, original, engaging, 10 Mar. 2013
Based on the John Locke lecture series he was invited to give in 1994, Jackson splits up From Metaphysics to Ethics into six highly original, challenging and lucidly written chapters, with an influence that goes way beyond the shortish length of the book.

In the first chapter, Serious Metaphysics and Supervenience Jackson outlines his key metaphysical goal: to find a way of categorising all of reality into a single thesis, namely physicalism, which holds that all entities in the world are composed exclusively of physical 'stuff'. Rather than proceeding by giving a long, exhaustive list of what exists, Jackson prefers to engage in what he calls 'serious metaphysics' - winning the trade off between accurately detailing what exists in the world and keeping the list manageable. The problem here, and a problem that remains a key theme throughout the book, is that serious metaphysics, since it aims to be as economical as possible, always faces the so-called location problem: how to 'fit' certain objects into a world 'characterised' by, for example, physicalism. Jackson's own example, is how to fit solidity into a world made up solely of molecules. Jackson's answer is supervenience, whereby certain entities are said to be fixed and depend on others. So solidity supervenes on its molecular structure, meaning that should the lattice-like structure change, so would the solidity property.

Defending conceptual analysis is the primary effort of the second and third chapters, resulting in these two sections being the most challenging parts of the book, even though the underlying philosophical motivations have been clearly outlined. Anyway, here Jackson finds the motivation for conceptual analysis in his ambitious metaphysical project. It appears that conceptual analysis should be used as a way of furthering our understanding of the (primarily physicalists') entailment thesis, which states that, for example, if mental/psychological states (eg pain) are to be validly included in the physicalist account of the world, physicalism must entail mental/psychological states. The reason why this is so important is because if physicalism weren't to entail mental states, then the theory, very quickly, becomes rather implausible since what we intuitively regard as a substantive and ever-present part of our ontology (what exists in the world, independently of the mind) faces crude elimination.

In the fourth chapter, The Primary Quality View of Colour, Jackson uses the tools in the first three chapters to solve the location problem for colour: how can we fit colour into a world characterised by only the physical. This is, in my opinion the best chapter in the book and shows why Jackson was so thorough in providing the necessary philosophical vocabulary first to deal with this, seemingly untenable, problem. Here, we get a real insight into how a philosopher of Jackson's world-class calibre approaches the somewhat daunting prospect of giving an account for colour. After convincingly disposing of the key anti-realist position that colours are dispositional properties (due to their casual impotence), Jackson seems to follows a very similar line of argument to fellow Australian philosopher Jack Smart, in that colour can be reduced to (micro) physical properties, which are then responsible for causing colour experiences in us. What I particularly like about this chapter is how clearly structured it is: Jackson forwards arguments for and against his thesis, but in a way that gives very fair coverage to opposing arguments (something that has become a rarer quality amongst philosophers in recent years).

The final two chapters, namely The Location Problem for Ethics and Analytical Descriptivism attempt at finding a place for ethical statements in a world characterised 'descriptively' (what Jackson explains as being the 'is' side of the is-ought debate). I won't give too much away here, and the structure is similar to the 'colour problem', but what is particularly interested here is Jackson's decision to form the debate behind the landscape of cognitivism (the idea that moral judgements express truth-apt beliefs). It would have been fascinating to see how things would change should this assumption be relaxed.

In conclusion, From Metaphysics to Ethics is a highly rewarding, albeit challenging philosophical texts written by one of the leading philosophers of our time. I would certainly recommend this book to any intermediate level undergraduate philosophy student and also to non-philosophers who have the patience to work through quite subtle, intricate material.


Understanding Philosophy of Science
Understanding Philosophy of Science
by James Ladyman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, expressive, incisive analysis, 16 Feb. 2013
It is a rare treat for a leading, globally respected philosopher, specialising in a relatively narrow and technical field, to write a general, pitched to any undergraduate, textbook. Ladyman does not disappoint and it was unsurprising that this incredibly clear, non-technical and thorough introduction has been richly rewarded with the ultra-prestigious Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award. It should be noted here that the book's emphasis is very much on natural, rather than social science. And whilst there is obviously some degree of overlap, it may have been more accurate for this book to have been called Philosophy of Natural Science.

Understanding Philosophy of Science is, very sensibly, split into two parts. The first part deals with methodology. Here Ladyman kicks off with a lengthy and fruitful taxonomy on the historical formation and subtle variants of induction before proceeding to a beautifully clear analysis on the so-called 'problem of induction', which seeks to understand whether, if ever, we can make inferences from observed cases to unobserved ones. Using Ladyman's example, heat has always expanded when heated in the past, but what is to say it will do that next time? Is it fair to make such an inference? Or, objects have always fallen in the past, but can we infer they will do so next time we drop one? Ladyman then goes into the key arguments for and against such inference. He introduces ten reasons to adopt inductive reasoning and whilst there is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a little repetition here (circularity is alluded to a few times) it is a more than useful analysis. Ladyman then provides an entertaining a crystal clear look at the twentieth century philosopher Karl Popper. His radical view (known as falsificationism) states that science should serve to falsify inductive hypothesis rather than hopelessly attempt to confirm them.

The second part of the textbook looks at what you might call more deeply philosophical issues, namely scientific realism, which, if it wasn't for Ladyman's clarity of expression here, would be nearly impossible to understand. This theory states that we ought to believe in the unobservable entities postulated by our premier scientific theories. For example (and again this is Ladyman's), the theory of how gas glows in a neon light using electrons. Electrons are unobservable, but our relevant scientific theory, which seemingly appears to be true, postulates these entities and hence we ought to adopt them as existing. Whilst at times it does get a little unnecessarily symbolic (and therefore formal) at times, this at first sight difficult topic is given refreshingly clear explanations and insight. The main argument for scientific realism - the no-miracles argument which states that it would be pretty much a miracle of our scientific theories, which are so descriptively accurate of natural phenomena, were not also true is given ample space for further analysis and the most popular arguments vs scientific realism (meta-induction problem - which states history reveals a ruthless discarding of the so-called "best scientific theories" at the time, so the argument for scientific realism is basically a non-starter). The debate ends with the introduction of a new, still-to-be developed theory known as structural realism (where Ladyman is an authority on) which seeks to somehow neutralise these two key for and against arguments. I would offer a clearer explanation of what structural realism is, but Ladyman rather disappointingly (and from reading the rest of the book, quite out of character) leaves it to the reader to work out what this theory is actually all about.

Whilst conclusions at the end of every chapter would have been nice, this minor quibble is more than made up for by a quite brilliant index, making Understanding Philosophy of Science a good reference book as well as comprehensive introduction to the subject. Overall, this award-winning textbook has few flaws and is rich in clarity, accessibility and style. I strongly recommend this textbook to all those currently engaged in Philosophy of Science or with just a general interest in the subject matter.


Mystery of Economic Growth
Mystery of Economic Growth
by Elhanan Helpman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, well-researched, informative, 27 Jan. 2013
Elhanan Helpman's The Mystery of Economic Growth is a book with influence and knowledge far greater than its size. Whilst it may appear as if little meaningful discourse can be developed in such a short text, it is surprisingly concise and offers a very well-written summary of, crucially, up-to-date empirical and theoretical research being carried out on areas central to growth and development. Furthermore, and in stark contrast to many of its competitors, The Mystery of Economic Growth covers areas affecting the wealthier (so-called OECD member countries) and not just the poor, less developed ones.

The book is split up sensibly into seven distinct, clearly defined chapters all highly relevant to the key question at stake: how can we understand different levels and growth rates of an economy's development. It is therefore unsurprising that Helpman begins (after some pretty diagrams which indicate just how pertinent development theory is) with an introduction to the widely-used model for economic growth: the Solow model. What I particularly like here is that, rather than resisting to the all too familiar temptation of bombarding the early reader with maths (a clear mistake) or even with intuition that it clear to the author but no one else (a poor alternative), Helpman draws a diagram. And it is this diagram that the reader is encouraged the refer back to when analysing the key variables determining growth. It is the standard model showing how economies converge, despite initially varying enormously in per capital incomes, if the variables affecting the savings and replacement requirement investment per effective worker are similar enough.

After this, Helpman goes on to talk about productivity and innovation - two separate chapters that are, in my opinion often mistakenly combined into one larger topic. As Helpman notes himself, one of the reasons why income per capital is at a different level, and the reason it grows at different rates is because productivity is and grows differently in every country. Why? Innovation. The key point here is that the Solow model illustrates how an economy cannot just keep on accumulating more and more capital (since it will reach its unique steady-state). At that point, incomes per capital grows at the rate of productivity, and innovation is a key determinant of this. He summarises the point at the beginning of the next chapter "Productivity accounts for more than half the variation across countries in income per capita, and much more than half the variation across countries in growth rates of income per capita."

At this point, Helpman moves on to write about interdependence ie trade policy and globalization, and how these influence growth and development. Whilst sometimes not so tightly argued, it is a more than competent taxonomy of the landscape of research being conducted in this area, particularly when it comes to trade policies such as protectionism (Bairoch) and tariffs (O'Rouke).

Inequality, perhaps the most significant and poorly understood segment of development thoery is the next chapter: and it is discussed superbly. Helpman gives a brief but informative historical background before delving into the so-called 'ultimate' questions such as the relationship between inequality and growth (or to be more precise how inequaliy boosts growth), causes of inequality and then specifically how it has changed the living standards of the poor. Helpman integrates many of the major authorities on this highly controversial issue, most notably Dani Rodrik and Paul Krugman.

Finally, Helpman analyses institutions, and how this can make conditions conducive to growth. This is given a much more historical emphasis than the other chapters, perhaps because so much research is actively being undertaken in this region with little answers uncovered.

Overall, it would be hard to imagine a better introductory text to the key questions in growth and development. It is very much a companion guide rather than the definitive text, and a source of inspiration to the reader to beg more questions in this endless and perplexing field.


Realism and Anti-Realism (Central Problems of Philosophy)
Realism and Anti-Realism (Central Problems of Philosophy)
by Stuart Brock
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential, tightly argued, comprehensive, 1 Jan. 2013
What exists outside of the mind? This is the question that has, for thousands of years, left philosophers perplexed and engaged in the debate designed to answer this question. Realism, which holds that certain entities are mind-independent, and anti-realism, which believes the opposite.

It is hard to see how any undergraduate in philosophy could not be better resourced by having Realism and Anti-Realism. The realism vs anti-realism debate is one of central importance in epistemology and metaphysics, and touches on so many other areas of philosophical interests such as possible worlds (modality), morality and mathematics. Realism and Anti-Realism expertly covers all the central areas of the debates in the second part, whilst in the first part dealing provides a rigorous background and framework to begin appreciating and understanding this technical but rewarded segment in philosophy.

The first part of the book is the less interesting but absolutely essential part in grasping the debate. The first two chapters are, in the main, providing key definitions and conditions for realism and anti-realism. Once this has been explained, Brock and Mares go on to analyse, in considerable detail but surprising clarity, three most famous types of anti realism: 'Idealism', 'Kantianism' and 'Verificationism'. The unfamiliar reader should not be put off by these rather technical looking terms. They are all well explained, and the reader should feel just about comfortable enough to have a general overview of what this debate is really about.

However, it is the second part of the book where the authors really set the debate alight. The subsequent six chapters (colour, morality, science, mathematics, modality and fiction) are scrutinised for their realism and anti-realism qualities. What the authors do particularly well here is intelligently structure the domain at hand, avoiding the all too familiar lapse into detail which the author cannot easily 'fit' into the argument as a whole. Which, and equally importantly what, arguments are proposed for realism and anti-realism are clearly highlighted with subheadings for all the areas discussed, ensuring that the reader does not get lost.

One thing I was particularly pleased to see was just how well explained the mathematics chapter of the book was. Whilst an inevitably technical area (something the authors forewarn), Brock and Mares go slowly through the technical content, covering theories such as Formalism, Intuitionism, and Platonism. All the chapters are within the grasp of the patient, careful reader.

Overall, whilst this is a challenging books, probably most targeted at undergraduate philosophers, I can see this also being of some appeal to the interested non-philosopher, as no prior knowledge of any of the subject matter is assumed. Overall, I strongly recommend this text.


Economic Growth: International Student Edition (International Edition)
Economic Growth: International Student Edition (International Edition)
by David Weil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £47.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise, detailed, relevant, 27 Nov. 2012
It is unsurprising that David Weil's Economic Growth has reached a third edition and remains a recommended textbook in many higher education universities and colleges around the world for students enrolled on introductory and intermediate economic growth and development courses.

Throughout the book Weil, himself a widely regarded scholar in development theory, writes with a fluid, easy-to-read style that connects the reader to the complex and ever-changing issues surrounding reasons that some countries growth rich whilst other remain poor (the aim the book states that it seeks to explain).

The book's 17 chapters cover a very wide range of topics and interests, and include all the crucial areas one would agree is necessary to grasp the issues at stake such as physical and human capital, inequality, population and government. What I really like about this book above others is that, despite being predominantly an introductory text which assumes little prior knowledge (perhaps a little, very basic calculus), Weil has included chapters on areas less popularly discussed, but crucial to a meaningful discourse, such as societal culture and future trends. Whilst these are all complicated, multi-faceted issues, Weil gives everything a sense of relevance and simplicity to guide the reader through commonly misunderstood economic, social and statistical phenomena.

Each chapter finishes with a conclusion, the key terms used (all defined with extraordinary succinctness at the end of the book), review questions (which effectively summarise the material) and problem questions (more focused, often with an element of mathematical content). Whilst these are all useful, relevant and add a good degree and explanation to the material, answers are nowhere to be found. Readers will be all too familiar with this kind of complaint, but for the student of economics it is essential to have detailed answers to problems conveniently placed somewhere in the book, and not on an external website or something similar.

Another feature I particularly like about this text is the way chapters are compartmentalised into the different questions they raise. helping the reader 'manage' the relevance of the content. Government (chapter 12) for example is split into defining the role of government, how they can positively impact growth, negatively impact growth and why poor countries have bad governments. Weil has resisted the temptation we all too often see to 'clump' a vast array of issues under one umbrella term. This approach enables the reader to grasp the factor at stake in a structured, disciplined way.

Whilst readers often complain at the lack of changes when a new edition comes out, I don't think Economic Growth fits into that category. By default of the issues at stake, new data is coming out all the time and demands innovative new analysis on previously 'given' answers. Much of the data here has been updated so for readers with a second edition I would recommend getting the third if you want a more recent data span.

All in all, I strongly recommend this text as an excellent guide to courses involving growth and development. It's strong structure, clearly written style and array of issues discussed in detail give it the edge of many of its rival books.


The Philosophy of Social Science Reader
The Philosophy of Social Science Reader
by Francesco Guala
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Varied, Engaging, Relevant, 18 Nov. 2012
Guala and Steel's Philosophy of Social Science reader is an absolute must for anyone looking to get a solid introduction or build on their knowledge of the philosophical issues surrounding the social sciences. Daniel Steel and Francesco Guala, two erudite scholars in their own right, have put together a varied and world-class selection of up-to-date, relevant and engaging texts to suit all interests in this fast-developing field. Whilst some may be put off with the prospect of reading primary literature, the selection is accessible to both the specialist and non-specialist, student and non-student and reflects the current range of research being channelled into this exciting branches of philosophy.

I think the best way to give a useful outline of an anthology is to give a very brief summary of the 'umbrella' topics discussed. All sections take the approach of giving a comprehensive overview of the philosophical issues in social science (for example in history, economics, psychology) before drawing comparisons with the natural sciences (eg physics, chemistry). Each have between three and five papers - enough to give the reader a good grounding for the area concerned:

The first section ('values and social science') looks into whether the social sciences struggle as a result of value-ladeness (strongly influenced by subjective opinions of researchers and other agents involved in the inquiry) and includes the famous Ernest Nagel paper on 'The value-orientated bias of social inquiry.'

The second section ('causal inference and explanation') gives a refreshingly accessible approach to understanding the notoriously difficult notion of causality. Papers include the world-leading authority Harold Kincaid and overall it is quite astounding how the authors have managed to, from a vast array of published works, choose a selection that gives the reader a general but detailed overview of the problem of causality.

The third section looks at the often neglected area of 'Interpretaton'. In other words, what is the ultimate purpose for the two sciences and whether researchers should seek interpretation (ie meaning) or explanation. Alvin Goldman's celebrated 'Interpretation psychologized' makes up one of the four papers on this topic.

The fourth section, 'Rationality and Choice' get a little technical at times although this is somewhat inevitable given the reality of the nature of the research being carried out in these fields. Paper's include that of nobel prizewinning Daniel Kahneman who looks at the role (or perhaps more accurately, constraint) of psychology on economics. Nonetheless, I think there is enough choice here for those who are less inclined to work through the technicalities and want a more conceptual grasp of the questions at stake.

The fifth section, 'Methodological Individualism' (the link between society and the individuals that make up a society) and the sixth section ('Norms, conventions, and institutions') are a little different from the rest of the anthology in that they are much more social science specific and leave less room for comparison with the natural sciences. Nonetheless, the papers chosen come from the leading sources such as Steven Lukes, Martin van Hees and David Lewis.

The final section looks at the fascinating and fast-moving subsection entitled 'Cultural evolution.' A Richard Dawkins paper sets the tone for my favourite aspect of the book - a look into how cultures evolve in order to try and explain how they go to where they are today.


Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology
Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology
by Duncan K Foley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, informative, systematic, 2 Oct. 2012
Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology is as fascinating as the title would suggest. American Professor Duncan Foley gives a broadbrush account of the economics thinkers that have contributed to some of the most influential theories in the political economy. To any reader interested in how theories have developed or what famous terms such as the 'invisible hand' really mean, this book is a must for you.

Foley believes that Smith, in his 1776 classic The Wealth of Nations, commits a fallacy in believing that self interest when interacting with markets in the capitalist economic system creates a more desirable moral system as members of the economy are forced to, as a result, develop an interest and regard for others. There are a number of good reasons why Smith would believe this: property rights for example provide a springboard to self-interest economically speaking (such as owning business premises) whilst engendering a sense of regard for others (only functions if everyone respects each others business premises). Foley, a vehement opponent of this position, gives a good reason why this has proved not to be the case: capitalism has caused widespread socio-economic inequalities, hardly a symptom of care for others and a charitable society.

Foley goes on to give concise, clear and at times quite breathtaking reviews of some of the greatest economist-philosophers of all time. At times it is quite bizarre just how he manages to fit in and explain so clearly several concepts in the space of just a few pages. He begins with Adam Smith, the focal point of the book, before systematically moving onto Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Veblen and finally Keynes, with other more peripheral contributors in between such as Joseph Schumpeter and Vilfredo Pareto. What Foley does so well here is to pick out what is really important to know; providing the reader with a comprehensive understanding of each scholar with just the right amount of depth to keeping things both highly informative and very readable. For Smith for instance, Foley goes into great depths on the Division of Labour and Value Theory but less so on his theory of International Trade, as that aspect of Smith is complicated and not necessary to understand his general position and contribution to economics.

One minor quibble is that Foley fails to provide any damning textual evidence for Smith actually committing 'Adam's Fallacy.' This is a problem given that this concept features not only in the title but is referred to throughout the book. Foley defers to other academics to bring out direct textual references, but to be convinced that Smith makes this fallacy I would have liked to have seen it here. Nonetheless, this is exactly the kind of book that will be enjoyed by anyone interested in economic ideas and I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Neville Southall: The Binman Chronicles
Neville Southall: The Binman Chronicles
by Neville Southall
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Insightful, Honest, 28 Sept. 2012
Neville Southall: The Binman Chronicles
"The many faces of a football great - revealed for the first time." It is exactly these words at the back of the book, in combination with a hilarious and straight-talking radio interview, which tempted me into reading this book.

Southall, the legendary Everton and Wales Goalkeeper, has kept himself to himself after retirement. This is bucking the trend. In today's game, players seem to release autobiography's the minute they retire from the game or, worse still, before they've barely started and actually achieved anything. Southall has done something completely different: he gives a compelling insight into an utterly formidable career after achieving the many landmarks that has characterised his personal, footballing and post footballing career.

Whilst I may be an avid Everton fan, I am still as cautious as anyone in picking up a footballer's autobiography. So regularly they are boring, long-winded and purely a money making exercise. I feel this is very different for Southall: he is a man with a point to prove.

The Binman Chronicles outlines the quite extraordinary story of Southall's highly successful career as a Goalkeeper playing at the highest level of the national and international game. The young man from Llandudno (a small coastal town in Wales apparently) transforms from a binman waking up at 0430 to supplement his paltry income to the most formidable goalkeeper in the English game to a man dedicating his life to dealing with the disengaged youths in Kent. It should be clear that is by no means a normal football autobiography.

One of the real treats served up in this book is Southall's take on Everton's European hopes being cruelly taken away from them in 1985 (disappointingly, there is less insight on the Hillsborough Disaster). It really feels as if the words on the page are coming right from Southall's heart as he outlines the emotions and impact that infamous decision had on Everton's dramatic collapse as the country's top side. Southall goes on to give highly interesting and controversial reasons for the ban on English teams participating in European football.

The book ends with a different kind of insight: an insight into the world of negotiating with NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training). It is the way this book transforms seamlessly from the grit of professional football to the teaching of desperate young adults that give this autobiography an edge in the crowded football market. Whilst Southall is at times guilty of lapsing into giving details of too many games and goalscorers, this is nonetheless an excellent buy for those wanting an honest insight from a true footballing legend into what the game was like in the by-gone era of the 1980s and 90s.


How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life
How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life
by Robert Skidelsky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radical, Thought-Provoking, Entertaining, 19 Sept. 2012
My desire to read this book stems from the irresistible combination of authors. Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky, one of the greatest economists of his generation, and his son Edward, a highly respected philosopher with an already impressive research portfolio. It didn't disappoint.

The main thrust of the book is this: we're working more and more and not getting any happier. Per capital hours (and therefore incomes) have continued to grow but happiness has not. Why is this the case? The Skidelsky's have an answer: because we have never said 'we've got enough' and proceeded to live the good life. This audacious, carefully crafted brand new book outlines why this is the case and what we can do to achieve the world of the good life.

The background to this book is the mistaken way economic historians have traditionally categorised stages in an economy's development:

1) Capital Accumulation - Machines are created. Funded by the large proportion of income saved.
2) Age of Consumption - High levels of consumption financed from the saving in the previous stage
3) Age of Leisure - Consumption is swapped for leisure and it is time to live the 'good life'.

The book begins by asking why the developed economies of the Western world have never departed stage two and entered into stage three. Consumption levels have grown and grown over the last century. We haven't moved to leisure. The mistake that we would eventually stop consuming and transfer to leisure (perhaps a little unfairly attributed to Keynes given that so many followed the model above) makes up a highly intellectually stimulating opening chapter of the book. The Skidelsky's are convincing in their reasons: Man's insatiable love for material possessions and the desire to preserve and improve our social status are two sources of entrapment on the treadmill of consumption. Having more makes us want more, and having less than others makes us want more.

Towards the end of the book, the Skidelsky's decide would it means to live a 'good life.' I was a little underwhelmed with their choices. What would be a good opportunity to inject some of the ingenuity undoubtedly within these two great British thinkers, it is a little unimaginative: better friendships and better health make up the suggested list. In many ways though, this may be where the reader needs to take over and invent his or her own subjective criteria of the good life. It is an interesting thought experiment to compare your own values with the Skidelsky's contributions. Then finally, they outline ways to incentivise society to move to leisure: one particularly interesting idea is curbs on advertising given the extent to which capitalism relies on such techniques for selling goods and services.

Whilst the midsection, which engages in a philosophical discourse surrounding issues such as happiness and morality can read a little chaotically - at times a new philosopher is introduced virtually every paragraph, there are nonetheless few 'popular' economics books which start and finish as strongly as this. Overall, Lord and Dr Skidelsky successfully issue a rallying cry to radically change our perception of capitalism as an end in itself but rather the most effective means to living 'wise, agreeably and well' - the good life.


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