PositiveFinancial Times (UK)This book, while covering some of the same ground, is broader, taking aim at one of our best-entrenched and most outdated structures: the three-stage life. The first stage was traditionally spent growing up and getting educated. The second was consumed by working, making money and raising children. The third was spent in retirement ... Not everything the authors try to do comes off. They introduce us to some characters to illustrate their points: Radhika, a college-educated Mumbai freelance worker, Tom, a Dallas truck driver, and others. But they are not fleshed out, so when their names come up it is hard to remember who they are ... And Scott and Gratton chase after so many research papers that their narrative occasionally meanders ... But their argument is robust and their themes sufficiently important to make this book essential reading for policymakers and chief executives.
PositiveFinancial TimesWebster and the development of American English have been the subject of many books. The particular strength of Peter Martin’s is his exhaustive excavation of the letters and newspaper polemics of the time. The result not only gives us the gunpowder-whiff of the dictionary battles, but brings to life its combatants: Webster, Worcester, the Merriams and Chauncey Goodrich, Yale professor of theology and rhetoric, Webster’s son-in-law and fashioner of his legacy.
PanThe Financial TimesThis book is not only a polemic against literalism; it is an attack on any accommodation between religion and science, faith and progress ... Some of the fights he picks make sparkling reading...But the problem with Hitchens’ thesis that religion poisons everything is how to explain those who use it to do good ... So King wasn’t really religious and Stalin was. If that sort of intellectual and moral shabbiness is to your taste, this book should be too.
RaveThe Financial TimesIn The Prodigal Tongue, her witty and erudite account of the relationship between these two anglophone tribes, she culls some insults from British newspapers: \'mindless,\' \'ugly and pointless,\' \'infectious, destructive and virulent\' ... But ... American English, in both grammar and pronunciation, often hugs tradition more closely than many British varieties do ... what lifts The Prodigal Tongue is Murphy’s deep learning, lightly worn, in linguistics and linguistic history. She provides fascinating evidence ... Having stoked U.K.-U.S. rivalry, Murphy draws on her dual nationality to point out that the two English versions do not actually differ that much. In spite of the odd misunderstanding, the two countries have no difficulty with each other’s books and movies ... Murphy observes that the language today belongs to the hundreds of millions on every continent who speak it mostly to each other and who find native speakers, whether British or American, an unwelcome, verbose and often incomprehensible intrusion.