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‘A Book in Five Minutes’

‘Ramblinactivist’ Paul Mobbs’ book review blog, examining a significant, ‘old’, or often overlooked book; but one that provides an insightful analysis of current political or ecological debates.

About ‘A Book in Five Minutes’

It happens all too often. I’m discussing some issue or another and I mention a book or report which talked about this very detail – ten, twenty, or fifty years ago; only to be met with a blank or vague response. In today’s hectic world, it seems too many people don’t spend enough time study the heritage or evolution of the issues they claim to be enthusiastic about.

Agitate!, Educate!, Organise!

That's why I’ve started this new section of ‘The Metablog’. A place where I can answer those blank expressions before the conversation even takes place. Rather than wasting time repeating myself I can just say, “I’ve reviewed why it’s important here, read this!”.

No one is going to educate you to overthrow them

Of course, people have such short attention spans these days. Hence I’ve set an arbitrary limit on my reviews of three to five minutes. In that time I’ll review not so much the detailed content of the book, but how it came about, and why it is significant in the canon of literature on the issue. People can then decide if they want to devote the time to read it in detail – but at least they will know why it is important.

The speed of modern life, and the sheer amount of inane content that people are encouraged to soak up, drown out the more meaningful information in life. This is exactly what Aldous Huxley foresaw eighty years ago: It’s not necessary to ban books or stamp-out unwelcome ideas; you just have to produce so much book or ideas that no one knows which are the ‘good ones’.

An animated image of me extensive book collection

Activism is a craft. It’s something that develops as you put more effort into learning the background as to how we got in this state, and how people have dealt with these issues in the past. Those who do not study their past will ultimately waste time repeating work that has been done before. What’s worse, they’ll probably repeat the failures of the past for that same reason. I hope these little reviews will direct people towards books and reports which will help remedy that.

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