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Kurt Barling's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Kurt Barling recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Kurt Barling's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Ethics of Identity

Race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality: in the past couple of decades, a great deal of attention has been paid to such collective identities. They clamor for recognition and respect, sometimes at the expense of other things we value. But to what extent do "identities" constrain our freedom, our ability to make an individual life, and to what extent do they enable our individuality? In this beautifully written work, renowned philosopher and African Studies scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah draws on thinkers through the ages and across the globe to explore such questions.
Recommended by Kurt Barling, and 1 others.

Kurt BarlingAppiah appeals to my sense of fairness, and appeals to my sense that difference does matter. (Source)

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Recommended by Kurt Barling, and 1 others.

Kurt BarlingThe remedy isn’t just to focus on a black condition, it needed to focus on the human condition. Patterson appreciated that. (Source)

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The Language of Genes

Did you know that two of every three people reading this book will die for reasons connected with the genes they carry? That our DNA gradually changes with age, which is why older parents are more likely to give birth to children with genetic defects than younger parents? That each individual is a kind of living fossil, carrying within a genetic record that goes back to the beginnings of humanity? In The Language of Genes, renowned geneticist Steve Jones explores the meanings and explodes the myths of human genetics, offering up an extraordinary picture of what we are, what we were,... more
Recommended by Kurt Barling, and 1 others.

Kurt BarlingFor me, Steve Jones’s book was a text of liberation in a strange sort of way: imaginative liberation, not political liberation. (Source)

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The Open Society and its Enemies

One of the most important books of the twentieth century, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies is an uncompromising defense of liberal democracy and a powerful attack on the intellectual origins of totalitarianism. Popper was born in 1902 to a Viennese family of Jewish origin. He taught in Austria until 1937, when he emigrated to New Zealand in anticipation of the Nazi annexation of Austria the following year, and he settled in England in 1949. Before the annexation, Popper had written mainly about the philosophy of science, but from 1938 until the end of the Second World War... more
Recommended by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kurt Barling, and 2 others.

Ayaan Hirsi AliOne of the biggest lessons for me from this book is that so many bad ideas that lead to authoritarian consequences begin with good intentions. (Source)

Kurt BarlingThis book helped me to think in a different way, gave me a strategy of looking for an alternative narrative in society. (Source)

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Black Skin, White Masks

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks  represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.

A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in...
Recommended by Jonathan Webber, Kurt Barling, and 2 others.

Jonathan WebberFanon was particularly interested in the psychiatric problems you could face if you were a victim of racism, particularly of anti-black racism in France. (Source)

Kurt BarlingFanon was saying that black people are re-burdened by skin colour in a white-dominated society. (Source)

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