PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewBitwise: A Life in Code, David Auerbach’s thoughtful meditation on technology and its place in society, is a welcome effort to reclaim the middle ground. Auerbach ... recognizes the very real damage it is causing to our political, cultural and emotional lives. But he also loves computers and data, and is adept at conveying the awe that technology can summon, the bracing sense of discovery ... The book is a hybrid of memoir, technical primer and social history. It is perhaps best characterized as a survey not just of technology, but of our recent relationship to technology ... but what’s really distinctive about this book is his ability to dissect Joyce and Wittgenstein as easily as C++ code ... Auerbach’s polymathishness is impressive; it can also be overwhelming. This is not a book that wears its knowledge lightly, and the trail is sometimes meandering, littered with digressive pathways and citations. It’s hard to pin down a clear line of argument. Still, this doesn’t really detract from the overall pleasure of reading. Bitwise is best approached as a series of essays and snippets. This is one of those books you dip in and out of ... We need guides on this journey—judicious, balanced and knowledgeable commentators, like Auerbach.
PanThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewAs a parable of the new India...Balram’s tale has a distinctly macabre twist. He is not (or not only) an entrepreneur but a roguish criminal with a remarkable capacity for self-justification. Likewise, the background against which he operates is not just a resurgent economy and nation but a landscape of corruption, inequality and poverty … There is an absence of human complexity in The White Tiger, not just in its characters but, more problematically, in its depiction of a nation that is in reality caught somewhere between Adiga’s vision and the shinier version he so clearly — and fittingly — derides. Lacking this more balanced perspective, the novel feels simplistic: an effective polemic, perhaps, but an incomplete portrait of a nation and a people grappling with the ambiguities of modernity.
Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght
PositiveThe Financial TimesIn considered, often enlightening, prose, they delve into John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin and Amartya Sen. They look at a number of alternative schemes; they discuss various objections to guaranteed income programmes, including those over cost, free riding, and the possibility of diminished incentives ... a conclusion that the current bleak situation is more structural than cyclical, and a conviction that radical new ideas are required to break out of the straitjacket in which much of the western world finds itself.