World Citizen Challenge: Complete!

August 14, 2009 at 9:04 am | Posted in Challenges | 2 Comments

Am I first?

Actually I finished on Tuesday, I just haven’t had a chance to post about it yet.  I believe I have completed the Postgraduate level of the World Citizen Challenge.  In fact, I sort of overdid it because I got so interested in the alternate titles I’d picked that I wanted to read all of them.  Here’s my summary:

Politics: A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It – Stephen Kinzer

A close look at the beginning of a nation’s recovery process after genocide.

Economics: The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs

I was incredibly moved by this book.  Sachs shows us that the bulk of extreme poverty could be eliminated in a manageable time period.  Let’s do this thing!

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben

McKibben challenges the concept that economic “growth” is desirable or, in fact, actually growth.  He has a few new ideas that ought to turn some heads.

History: Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss

A fascinating look at something outside my normal reading zone.  The 1960 Olympics games happened at the crux of some major historical forces.

Culture/Anthropology/Sociology: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture by Ruth Benedict

This book felt a bit dated to me.  I dare say it would have been written differently had it been done today; cultural imperialism has faded a bit in favor of political correctness.  Still it’s an interesting look at Japanese culture from Western eyes.

Worldwide Issues: Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

Bass reminds us that humanitarian intervention has been practiced for over 200 years, and that the arguments we hear against it have been made and resolved multiple times.

Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales

Slavery.  It’s still here and it sucks.

Memoirs: The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Reading these books together was a fantastic experience, a great way for the armchair traveler to compare not only parts of Asia with each other and the rest of the world, but with themselves in past and future versions after a time of massive change.

I’d also like to recommend An Imperfect Offering, by James Orbinski.

This was a great challenge, and the list of suggested titles definitely made me want to continue to read through them.

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