Author Archives: Harry Katz


Ever heard of Robin Dunbar? He’s the guy who famously discovered Dunbar’s Number: 150. Wait, let me clarify that. Robin Dunbar did not discover the number 150. What he did discover is that 150 is roughly the largest number of … Continue reading

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Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

On the surface, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia is a memoir of the years 2001 to 2010 when the author, Peter Pomerantsev, lived and worked in Russia.  In reality, the book … Continue reading

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I was on vacation last week and took one of my periodic side trips into fiction. Greenwood, by Canadian writer Michael Christie, is a novel about family and trees and the relationship between them. It spans four generations of the … Continue reading

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On Tyranny

I’ve lived my whole life in democratic countries. I’ve never experienced what it’s like to live under a dictatorship, thankfully. But these days, I’m worried. Democracy here in the US and around the world seems more fragile that it used … Continue reading

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The Economic Weapon

This book could not be more timely. Published one month before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War is about the origins, evolution and uses of economic sanctions during … Continue reading

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The Address Book

You probably don’t think about your street address very much. These days, I imagine you use it mainly to fill out forms or to tell online retailers where to deliver your packages. In reality, your address is loaded with meaning … Continue reading

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When We Cease to Understand the World

When We Cease to Understand the World is a book about ideas that defy comprehension told in a way that defies categorization. It’s written by Benjamin Labatut, a Chilean writer born in Rotterdam in 1980. This is his third book, … Continue reading

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COVID Year 2

A year ago, I posted a reflection on working from home during the first year of the pandemic. A lot has happened in the second year. Back then, I was waiting for my turn to get the COVID vaccine. I … Continue reading

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The Fabric of Civilization

What are you wearing right now right next to your skin? Do you prefer clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or silk?  Maybe you don’t mind synthetics like polyester. If you’re about to start a workout, you might … Continue reading

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Notes on the Invasion of Ukraine

I read because it helps me make sense of the world. I blog because it helps me distill what I’ve read, and hopefully it helps others make sense of the world too. The events of the past week make all … Continue reading

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