Politics & Social Sciences

The Communist Manifesto

  Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels
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The Communist Manifesto was first published in London, by two young men in their late twenties, in 1848. Its impact reverberated across the globe and throughout the next century, and it has come to be recognised as one of the most important political texts ever written. Maintaining that the history of all societies is a history of class struggle, the manifesto proclaims that communism is the only route to equality, and is a call to action aimed at the proletariat.

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"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."

Rousseau's The Social Contract progresses the case for democratic constitutionalism derived from popular sovereignty. He defines "freedom" as participation and the duty to observe laws one has a hand in making.

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The trial of Socrates refers to the trial and the subsequent execution of the Athenian philosopher Socrates in 399 BC. Socrates was tried and convicted by the courts of democratic Athens on a charge of corrupting the youth and disbelieving in the ancestral gods. The trial was described by two of Socrates' contemporaries, Plato and Xenophon, and is one of the most famous trials of all time. The trial, last days, and death of Socrates are presented in this volume through four works of Plato. These works are the Euthyphro, Apology (i.e. Defense Speech), Crito and Phaedo (Socrates' Death scene).

The Art of War

  Sun Tzu
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Written in China more than 2,000 years ago, Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War is the first known study of the planning and conduct of military operations. These terse, aphoristic essays are unsurpassed in comprehensiveness and depth of understanding, examining not only battlefield maneuvers, but also relevant economic, political, and psychological factors. Indeed, the precepts outlined by Sun Tzu can be applied outside the realm of military theory. It is read avidly by Japanese businessmen and in fact was touted in the movie Wall Street as the corporate raider's bible.

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A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.

The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences

  John Bellamy Foster, Fred Magdoff
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876 financial crisisIn the fall of 2008, the United States was plunged into a financial crisis more severe than any since the Great Depression. As banks collapsed and the state scrambled to organize one of the largest transfers of wealth in history, many—including economists and financial experts—were shocked by the speed at which events unfolded.

The Prince

  Niccolo Machiavelli
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839 prince'It is far safer to be feared than loved...' Machiavelli made his name notorious for centuries with The Prince, his clever and cynical work about power relationships. The key themes of this influential, and ever timely, writer are that adaptability is the key to success and that effective leadership is sometimes only possible at the expense of moral standards.

Democracy in America

  Alexis de Tocqueville
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875 democracy americaAlexis de Tocqueville (1805-59) came to America in 1831 to see what a great republic was like. What struck him most was the country's equality of conditions, its democracy. The book he wrote on his return to France, Democracy in America, is both the best ever written on democracy and the best ever written on America. It remains the most often quoted book about the United States, not only because it has something to interest and please everyone, but also because it has something to teach everyone.

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877 wealth nationsAdam Smith's masterpiece, first published in 1776, is the foundation of modern economic thought and remains the single most important account of the rise of, and the principles behind, modern capitalism. Written in clear and incisive prose,

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844 republicOstensibly a discussion of the nature of justice, The Republic presents Plato's vision of the ideal state, covering a wide range of topics: social, educational, psychological, moral, and philosophical. It also includes some of Plato's most important writing on the nature of reality and the theory of the "forms."

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