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Rafat Ali's Top Book Recommendations

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

This monumental work of cultural history was nominated for a National Book Award. It chronicles America's transformation, beginning in 1880, into a nation of consumers, devoted to a cult of comfort, bodily well-being, and endless acquisition. 24 pages of photos. less
Recommended by Rafat Ali, and 1 others.

Rafat AliThis is the best business book any business journalist will ever read. Such a wide sweep understanding of everything about rise of consumers, capitalist society etc, would highly highly recommend. Really thick tome but highly readable: (Source)

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Downsizing. Decluttering. A parent's death. Sooner or later, all of us are faced with things we no longer need or want. But when we drop our old clothes and other items off at a local donation center, where do they go? Sometimes across the country-or even halfway across the world-to people and places who find value in what we leave behind.

In Secondhand, journalist Adam Minter takes us on an unexpected adventure into the often-hidden, multibillion-dollar industry of reuse: thrift stores in the American Southwest to vintage shops in Tokyo, flea markets in Southeast Asia to...
Recommended by Rafat Ali, and 1 others.

Rafat AliAnyone in B2B or business media, want to learn how to make your subject and writing interesting and big picture, read this. Certainly the most interesting book I have read in a while. (Source)

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A groundbreaking exploration of how finding one's way later in life can be an advantage to long-term achievement and happiness.

"What Yogi Berra observed about a baseball game--it ain't over till it's over--is true about life, and [Late Bloomers] is the ultimate proof of this. . . . It's a keeper."--Forbes

We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook--or even better, creating a start-up...
Recommended by Rafat Ali, and 1 others.

Rafat AliEnjoying this book a lot, a great landscape view around why we came to worship youth and early achievement over everything else in America. by @richkarlgaard via @goodreads (Source)

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Dongri to Dubai

Dongri to Dubai is the first ever attempt to chronicle the history of the Mumbai mafia. It is the story of notorious gangsters like Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem, but above all, it is the story of a young man who went astray despite having a father in the police force. Dawood Ibrahim was initiated into crime as a pawn in the hands of the Mumbai police and went on to wipe out the competition and eventually became the Mumbai police’s own nemesis.The narrative encompasses several milestones in the history of crime in India, from the rise of the Pathans,... more
Recommended by Rafat Ali, and 1 others.

Rafat AliFascinating book if you’re into this, history of Bombay underworld and rise of the biggest of them all. I have watched every movie on him at least 3-4 times, this read is worth it, slow build history until Dawood comes along. By @husainzaidi (Source)

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Recommended by Rafat Ali, and 1 others.

Rafat AliComplaining about too many tourists has a history going back a few centuries, right from the birth of leisure tourism. Via this fascinating book. (Source)

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A colorful and revealing portrait of the rise of India's new billionaire class in a radically unequal society

India is the world's largest democracy, with more than one billion people and an economy expanding faster than China's. But the rewards of this growth have been far from evenly shared, and the country's top 1% now own nearly 60% of its wealth. In megacities like Mumbai, where half the population live in slums, the extraordinary riches of India's new dynasties echo the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers of yesterday, funneling profits from huge conglomerates into lifestyles...

Tyler CowenWho are the Indian nouveau riche and what do they want? James Crabtree’s The Billionaire Raj will prove the defining work on these questions. It is a must-read for anyone interested in wealth, inequality, India, or the evolution of capitalism. (Source)

Nicolas ColinThe Billionaire Raj is a book by Singapore-based Financial Times alumnus James Crabtree. It depicts the radical change that India is currently going through, with the rise of extreme inequalities and the capture of the political system by wealthy families. What’s striking in James’s riveting painting of modern India is the optimism with which he describes the current state of things: not... (Source)

Rafat AliStarted reading @jamescrabtree’s Gilded Age book & enjoying it, less optimistic than him on U.S. vs China vs India future. I fully believe future of how the world lives is being created in SE Asia. The future will be best tested in South East Asia, even if it isn’t created there. (Source)

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The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways. less
Recommended by Nicholas Carr, Rafat Ali, and 2 others.

Nicholas CarrThe reason why I start with Tom Standage’s book is because we tend to think of the information age as something entirely new. In fact, people have been wrestling with information for many centuries. If I was going to say when the information age started, I would probably say the 15th century with the invention of the mechanical clock, which turned time into a measurable flow, and the printing... (Source)

Rafat AliThe not-Internet Internet of early 20th century and its effect on news/newspapers. From “The Victorian Internet” book, utterly fascinating. (Source)

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Feeling attention challenged? Even assaulted? American business depends on it. In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of messaging, advertising enticements, branding, sponsored social media, and other efforts to harvest our attention. Few moments or spaces of our day remain uncultivated by the "attention merchants," contributing to the distracted, unfocused tenor of our times. Tim Wu argues that this condition is not simply the byproduct of recent technological innovations but the result of more than a century's growth and expansion in the industries that feed on human... more

Yuval Noah HarariA very insightful book that surveys the history of modern information technology and its political implications, from the age of print and radio to the era of Google and Facebook. It gives the context of the current battle to control human attention. (Source)

Marvin LiaoI tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books. (Source)

Rafat AliHave to say @superwuster is best business writer there is. Just finished Master Switch , now reading “Attention Merchants”, the best history-in-context-with-rigor-and-intellectual-analysis writer/explainer there is. If I ever write a book, want to write it like Tim Wu. (Source)

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The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet's atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they're designed to work. And every time we "improve" their design, they get better at killing. Facebook's privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their "real names" initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter's toxicity and lack... more

Massimo Banzi"The world is working exactly as designed. And it’s not working very well. " Mike Monteiro (Must have book..) (Source)

Daniel BurkaI love that @monteiro writes in such clear, direct language. Reading his new book "Ruined by Design" might be difficult or hurt your ego, designers. And, you might disagree with Mike. But you should read it for a clear-headed viewpoint on our mistakes and challenges. 👏 (Source)

Rafat AliAs far as book intro lines go, this is as freakin’ amazing as it gets. From “Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed The World” by @monteiro (Source)

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