Along the way, Ridley dismantles a couple of persistent apocalyptic visions, the intractability of African poverty and climate change. Of the latter, he suggests that it may be less damaging than official forecasts predict, while the policies designed to combat climate change may be more damaging than their supporters recognize. Al Gore's recent mea culpa regarding the ethanol fiasco is surely a convincing demonstration of the second idea.

This is an important book, both erudite and richly entertaining, and it can't fail to immunize you to some very significant extent against the notion of the insoluble problem. (Anybody remember the H1N1 swine flu pandemic?)

The 2010 book circle is squared by Daniel Hannan's The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America. Hannan is the Brit who became an instant celebrity this year when he excoriated British Prime Minister Gordon Brown from the floor of the European Parliament, of which he is a member. The clip of this on YouTube went viral, and Hannan has appeared often since on Fox News and in other conservative venues.

It is a most curious fact that, even as European socialism inevitably implodes, America has moved sharply in its direction over the past couple of years. Hannan, who both loves America and understands its most fundamental traditions as few Americans do, wishes to warn us against this. And he is uniquely qualified to do so.

A member for the past 11 years of the European Parliament for Southeast England for the Conservative party, he has watched in mounting horror as political power and even sovereignty have drained away from the EU member states and been drawn into Brussels. The resulting diminution of both freedom and prosperity-the EU, with some 60% more people, has about the same GDP America does-is, Hannan asserts, totally underappreciated on this side of the pond. (It must be, or we would not be lurching toward statism.)

Hannan's book is therefore both a hymn to ordered liberty and a condign warning against the darkness of central planning and the increasing power of cadres of self-perpetuating bureaucracies. I quote from Roger Kimball's review in The Weekly Standard: "If you cherish freedom, and value independence and self-reliance, you will like this book. If you value security above all else, and look to government to take care of you, you will be frightened by it." Assuming as I must that you and your clients fall into the former category, this elegant and eminently readable little book is a must.

And finally, an extra recommendation-one for your American soul. One of the most moving books you and I will ever read was sent to me at the beginning of the year by its author, a CPA and financial advisor in San Antonio, Texas, named Conrad John Netting IV. It's called Delayed Legacy. A month before he was born in 1944, Conrad's father and namesake, a fighter pilot, was killed on a strafing run against a German convoy in France. But it wasn't until his mother's death in 1993 that Conrad discovered a whole trunk full of his parents' letters, as well as his father's medals and other correspondence. This sent him on a quest to find out more about his father's life and death-at almost the precise moment that the family in France who had buried Conrad's father undertook a search for the son.

If Anne Frank allows us to begin to get some human idea of the Holocaust, Conrad John Netting III, his wife and his son allow us some human idea of what was lost (and of what may yet be found) when a generation of Depression-era young men, who'd been forced to grow up far too quickly, went to war-so many never to return. Delayed Legacy is a singularly lovely and loving book.


©2010 Nick Murray. All rights reserved. These book reviews are drawn from the "Resources" section of Nick's monthly newsletter, Nick Murray Interactive. To see a sample issue, you may visit, and click on "Newsletter." New subscribers receive a free copy of Nick's prospecting book, The Game of Numbers.

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