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Nov 2019 | Book recommendations | home

Angst und Macht, Herrschaftstechniken der Angsterzeugung in kapitalistischen Demokratien, Rainer Mausfeld

My interest in all aspects of propaganda, or public relation how it is called today, is the main reason I decided to pick up this book by Rainer Mausfeld, a German emeritus professor of psychology, with a focuss on perception psychology.

In "Angst und Macht", in English "Fear and Power", Mausfeld explains ways in which the engendering of fear has been applied in politics within capitalist democracies. If you like the works of Niccolò Machiavelli or Noam Chomsky you should definitely get this one as well.

By the time I finished it, I learned a lot not only about politics but about the major conflicts in our society between the turn of the 19th century and today. Mausfeld's broad scope lets you draw important cross-cutting lessons about political leadership.

Unfortunately, it seem that Mausfeld's work has not been translated into English yet.

We Can Build You, Philip K. Dick

Yes, this is a classic, but I’m a big fan of everything Philip K. Dick has written, and his 1972 novel "We Can Build You" is no exception.

The science fiction novel (originally written in 1962 as "The First in Our Family") centers on Louis Rosen, a small businessman whose company produces spinets and electronic organs. Louis starts to question reality when Rosen's partner begins the production of androids ("simulacra"), based on famous Civil War figures, starting with Edwin M. Stanton and Abraham Lincoln.

After starting a relationship with Pris Frauenzimmer, the schizophrenic daughter of his business partner, who has designed both androids, Louis becomes obsessed with her and begins to hallucinate...

Warum an die Zukunft denken?, Mario Sixtus

Mario Sixtus, born 1965, lives and works as a freelance author and filmmaker in Berlin. He wrote for German news, like Frankfurter Rundschau, c't, DIE ZEIT, FAS or brand eins and produced documentaries and TV-movies, esp. for arte and ZDF.

"Warum an die Zukunft denken?", in English "Why think of the future?", is Mario Sixtus' first essay published as a book. Unfortunately, like Mausfeld's work Sixtus' book has also not been translated into English yet.

Sixtus' book is a thought-provoking look at a topic that’s top of mind for a lot of people right now: the future - esp. the apocalyptic visions of overpopulation and global warming as well as the dystopian elements in today's societies.

He provides a fresh look on why so many of us, people living in developed countries, aren't able to see the improvements of the living conditions in other parts of the world. He shows why it's not necessarily our fault that we only see a dystopian armageddon.

Although I don’t agree with him about everything, I think his analysis of the problem with our self-perception is pretty good.

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