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20 June 2018 @ 08:42 pm
I haven't done one of these for ages. Must try harder...

(1) This week it is Snow on the Seats, by Andy Potts*. Everything you wanted to know about Russian football and were afraid to ask, seen through the eyes of a Sunderland fan and journalist. It's actually quite fun and chock-full of social history in amusing and less amusing snippets**.

(2) Last week it was Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens Davidowitz, subtitled "What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are". A Waterstones 'Buy One, Get One Half-Price' this was an entertaining and sometimes depressing read***. First published in 2017 it has an interesting premise (people tend to tell the truth about what they want to find when making anonymous searches on the internet, you can extrapolate from this) that is massively let down by the fact that in this post-Cambridge Analytica world it is massively out of date, because it assumes that the people telling the truth when they make their searches are not being manipulated by the internet itself... The author is also quite evidently an economist, which I am prepared to admit doesn't make him a bad person, and he doesn't seem to start from the premise of "Assume the economy is a perfectly spherical cow", but does mean that he finds fairly straightforward conclusions more shocking than they are. There's some good stuff in there, but I felt it would have been a better work if done in tandem with a sociologist.

*A friend. Why else would I be reading a book on football?

**Probably qualifying as both, Lavrentey Beria, head of the NKVD (as played by Simon Russell Beale in The Death of Stalin), actually had a crucial match replayed when his beloved Dynamo Moskva lost in 1939. They lost the second time, too.

***What Google searches reveal about US racism are not encouraging of ones faith in humanity.

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