It should be fairly obvious to any longtime readers of this blog that my “Reading Challenge Extravaganza” from a few years ago is mostly extinct. However, I have set some new goals recently to make the most of my remaining free time before returning to school in the fall of next year.
I’ve made it a goal to read at least 5 books a month. My attention span is sporadic and I typically read multiple books at once so the following books have all been started if not halfway read already but this list I intend to finish this month:
The Two-Income Trap by Elizabeth & Amelia Warren (2003)
“More than two decades ago, the women’s movement flung open the doors of the workplace. Although this social revolution created a firestorm of controversy, no one questioned the idea that women’s involvement in the workforce was certain to improve families’ financial lot. Until now. In this brilliantly argued book, Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren and business consultant Amelia Tyagi show that today’s middle-class parents are suffering from an unprecedented and totally unexpected economic meltdown. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable than ever before. Today’s two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but actually has less discretionary income once their fixed monthly bills are paid. How did this happen? Warren and Tyagi provide convincing evidence that the culprit is not “overconsumption,” as many critics have charged. Instead, they point to the ferocious bidding war for housing and education that has quietly engulfed America’s suburbs. Stay-at-home mothers once provided a financial safety net if disaster struck; their move into the workforce has left today’s families chillingly at risk. The authors show why the usual remedies–child-support enforcement, subsidized daycare, and higher salaries for women–won’t solve the problem, and propose a set of innovative solutions, from rate caps on credit cards to open-access public schools, to restore security to the middle class.” – Amazon.com
It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Normal J. Ornstein (2012)
“Acrimony and hyperpartisanship have seeped into every part of the political process. Congress is deadlocked and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, endangering our very system of constitutional democracy. And one of these parties has taken on the role of insurgent outlier; the Republicans have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, and ardently opposed to the established social and economic policy regime.
In It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. The first is the serious mismatch between our political parties, which have become as vehemently adversarial as parliamentary parties, and a governing system that, unlike a parliamentary democracy, makes it extremely difficult for majorities to act. Second, while both parties participate in tribal warfare, both sides are not equally culpable. The political system faces what the authors call “asymmetric polarization,” with the Republican Party implacably refusing to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter the cost.
With dysfunction rooted in long-term political trends, a coarsened political culture and a new partisan media, the authors conclude that there is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. Until voters learn to act strategically to reward problem solving and punish obstruction, American democracy will remain in serious danger. ” – Amazon.com
(This book is highly disturbing so far. Worth the read for anyone interested in the bitter details of the kinds of practices that our elected officials frequently engage in to thwart their colleagues. It’s disgusting.)
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber (2011)
“Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. ” – Amazon.com
How to Build Healthcare Systems by J.A. Muir Gray (2011)
“The horizontal arrangement of healthcare services into primary, secondary and tertiary services is no longer useful or fiscally prudent. How To Build Healthcare Systems offers a fresh approach to the question of how to organise healthcare services so that they deliver value – to patients, providers and payers.” – Amazon.com
Responding to Healthcare Reform: A Strategy Guide for Healthcare Leaders by Daniel B. McLaughlin (2011)
“Responding to Healthcare Reform clarifies the complexities of the ACA by explaining the underlying theories that shaped it, describing the act’s impact on the role of the healthcare organization, and offering direction for strategy formulation. Written for healthcare executives, it focuses on the sections of the bill that are most pertinent to provider operations.” – Amazon.com
Healthcare Operations Management by Daniel B. McLaughlin and Julie M. Hays ( 2008)
“This book is about operations management and the strategic implementation of programs, techniques, and tools for reducing costs and improving quality. It not only covers the basics of operations management, but also explains how operations and process improvement relate to contemporary healthcare trends such as evidence-based medicine and pay-for-performance. The book’s practical approach includes real-world examples to illustrate concepts and explanations of software tools that solve operational problems.” – Amazon.com
Shew. The last two books are actually textbooks. I’m attempting to make up for my lack of healthcare industry education so that I can better prepare myself for grad school.
LET’S DO THIS!