By Ha-Joon Chang
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Author: Lawrence Freedman Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013 In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives. The range of Freedman's narrative is extraordinary, moving from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to the opposing strategies of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, the strategic advice of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the grounding of revolutionary strategy in class struggles by Marx, the insights into corporate strategy found in Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the contributions of the leading social scientists working on strategy today. The core issue at the heart of strategy, the author notes, is whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control. Time and again, Freedman demonstrates that the inherent unpredictability of this environment-subject to chance events, the efforts of opponents, the missteps of friends-provides strategy with its challenge and its drama. Armies or corporations or nations rarely move from one predictable state of affairs to another, but instead, feel their way through a series of stages, each one not quite what was anticipated, requiring a reappraisal of the original strategy, including its ultimate objective. Thus the picture of strategy that emerges in this book is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point, not the endpoint. A brilliant overview of the most prominent strategic theories in history, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics, this masterful volume sums up a lifetime of reflection on strategy.
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Author: Joe Biden In November 2014, thirteen members of the Biden family gathered for their traditional Thanksgiving celebration. But this year felt different from the previous. Joe and Jill Biden's eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor fifteen months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. 'Promise me, Dad,' Beau had told his father. 'Give me your word that no matter what happens, you're going to be all right.' Joe Biden gave him his word. Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden's extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. While Beau fought for, and then lost his life, the Vice President balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family, while contemplating the insistent and urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016. Even in the worst times, Biden was able to lean on the strength of his long, deep bonds with his family, on his faith, and on his deepening friendship with the man in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.
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By Ali Hassan Mwinyi
Tawasifu hii inafuatia wasifu wa Mwalimu Julius Nyerere na tawasifu ya Rais Benjamin Mkapa na kuziba pengo lililokuwa limebaki katika kumbukumbu ya awamu tatu za mwanzo za uongozi wa Tanzania huru.
Vitabu hivi vinasaidia kuweka historia sawa; vinaziba baadhi ya mapengo katika kuelewa mambo mbalimbali ya kihistoria. Kitabu kinaitwa “Mzee Rukhsa” kuakisi uongozi wa Rais Mwinyi aliyependa kutumia neno jepesi kama hili kuashiria mambo makubwa aliyokuwa akiyafanya kufungua mipaka ya uchumi na siasa katika Tanzania.
Mojawapo ya mambo yanayowekwa sawa humu, ni kwamba, si kweli kuwa Rais Mwinyi alimkaidi Mwalimu kwa kuanzisha mageuzi kwenye uchumi. Kwa heshima kubwa aliyokuwa nayo kwa Mwalimu, hata akajiona kama ni kichuguu mbele yake aliyemlinganisha na Mlima Kilimanjaro, asingeweza kufanya hivyo. Isitoshe, Rais Mwinyi aliongoza serikali kwa miaka mitano ya mwanzo bila kuvaa kofia ya mwenyekiti wa chama (CCM). Mwalimu asingetaka, yasingewezekana.
Mwalimu alishajaribu kila njia lakini uchumi wa Tanzania uliendelea kudorora. Hazikuwepo fedha za kigeni hata kwa mambo ya msingi kabisa. Mwalimu akampa rukhsa Mwinyi kujaribu maarifa mengine. Baadaye yalikuwapo mambo ambayo Mwalimu hakuyafurahia, akayakemea hadharani. Lakini kimsingi alikubali hoja ya mageuzi, ikiwemo kufungua uchumi kwa sekta binafsi ya ndani na nje ya nchi.
Kadhalika kwenye siasa. Mwalimu aliona umuhimu wa mageuzi kwenye siasa, ikiwemo mabadiliko yaliyoakisiwa kwenye “Maamuzi ya Zanzibar”. Kitabu kinafafanua ilivyotokea, na kwamba wazo la awali lilikuwa la Mwalimu Nyerere, ingawa baadaye kuna mambo hakuyapenda.
Kitabu pia kinazungumzia changamoto nyingi za urais wa Ali Hassan Mwinyi, ikiwemo ile ya muundo wa muungano; migomo; uzawa na chuki baina ya wafanyabiashara; migogoro ya kidini na kadhalika. Yote hayo na mengine yamewekwa vizuri katika lugha nyepesi ya kueleweka na kila mtu.
Rais Mwinyi amechukua muda mrefu kukamilisha tawasifu yake, lakini thamani yake ilitosha kusubiriwa.
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Author: C. S. Lewis For many years an atheist, C. S. Lewis vividly describes the spiritual quest that convinced him of the truth and reality of Christianity, in his famous autobiography. "In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God ... perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." Thus Lewis describes memorably the crisis of his conversion. 'Surprised by Joy' reveals both that crisis and its momentous conclusion that would determine the shape of Lewis's entire life.
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