The Centre proposes three good books to add to your reading list this fall.
From Holy War to Holy Terror: Eighteen Years Inside Afghanistan
by Kathy Gannon
Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, cradled by mountains to the South and East, desert to the West, and the fractious tribal lands to the North. For much of its history it has been a land visited only by people on their way to somewhere else. Not, though, by Kathy Gannon. She arrived in 1986 with dreams of being a foreign correspondent, expecting that she might move on soon afterwards. She stayed 18 years, becoming in that time the most knowledgeable Western journalist to observe the cataclysms that rocked the region and after 2001 went on to convulse the world. From the collapse of the Soviet occupation to the years of anarchic tribalism, to the creation and rise of the Taliban, to the hijacking of power by al Qaeda, Gannon stayed with the story of Afghanistan and its people. She watched the country go from being the battleground for a proxy superpower conflict to a forgotten backwater where vicious local politics ran unchecked and the essential structure of the country decayed. With the collapse of respect for law apart from the law of the gun went due process, education, a public role for women, the economy, and the last vestiges of interest from the international community. At the end, Afghanistan had become so damaged and vulnerable a country that it became the refuge for a truly evil man whose designs would bring global ignominy and another round of superpower conflict to its mountains and plains.
Throughout this time Gannon has been an intimate observer whose personal friends throughout he country have allowed her to see the world through Afghan eyes. She brings this brilliant and affectionate insight to provide a gripping portrait of a nation that was abused and idly discarded by the West, used as an incubator for religious extremism by its neighbours, and hugely, fatally misunderstood by almost everyone.
Fons Trompenaars, Charles Hampden-Turner
Managing People Across Cultures maps out the value of people issues in the organizations of today. It challenges us to ask key questions such as "How did Human Resource Management (HRM) come to be and what genuine need is there for it?" and "What should the future direction of HRM be?" Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner spell out their vision for what HRM must do to stay relevant to businesses today. Their view is that people management must embrace the values of entrepreneurship, i.e. agility, flexibility and innovation to ensure its continued effectiveness. The authors also argue that workplaces have to become customized to grow and learn as its employees push the boundaries of learning and discovery. Functional barriers also need to be torn down. You will discover that the rightful place for HRM is at the fountainhead of any business; the place where ideas are first generated and mobilized for action.
Why We Love France but not the French
From a distance, modern France looks like a riddle. Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong shows how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Approaching France like a pair of anthropologists, authors Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow use anecdotes and observations, history, political analysis and reflection to uncover the French national character, offering a fresh take on a country that no one seems to understand.
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong is a journey into the French heart, mind and soul. Deciphering French ideas about land, food, privacy and language, Nadeau and Barlow weave together the threads of French society – from centralization and the Napoleonic Code to elite education and even street protests – giving us, for the first time, a complete picture of the French.